Imagine having all the conveniences of living in a big city –the night life, the cuisine, the convenient abundance of amenities, the social feel– all while paying less in rent than your friends out in the suburbs and with tropical beaches (on two oceans!) and jungle hikes abounding within an hour’s drive. Welcome to Panama City.
Located on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal, Panama City is at the very nexus of the Americas — not only does a substantial amount of Pacific-Atlantic shipping pass through the canal, but the Panamanian airline (Copa Airlines), is the pre-eminent carrier in the Central America / Northern Latin America region. It’s a three-hour flight from Panama City to Miami, and if you lived anywhere else in the region, your flight to the States would almost inevitably go through Panama City anyway since it’s the central hub. If you’re in Panama City you are essentially at the center of the Americas. If you travel frequently this is an ideal place to be. If your business at all touches on international shipping or trade, or dealing with companies that do, or even just with major international businesses of any kind, they nearly all have offices in Panama City.
If your image of Central and South America is anything less than First World, you don’t know Panama City. Panama City is a solidly world-class first world city with well-maintained dependable infrastructure, and the kind of health and safety standards to rival any modern well-developed city. The internet (lifeblood of digital nomads!) is high speed and dependable, and your international phone calls will be crisp and uninterrupted.
Climate & Culture
Panama City is located on the coast and is sunny and breezy with moderate temperatures year-round. The average temperature every month of the year is in the mid-80s, average lows are never below 75f and only in one month (April) is the average high as high just barely in the 90s (90.0 f), so you can count on essentially never being uncomfortably cold and hardly ever being really uncomfortably hot.
Panama has a thriving culinary and cultural scene, so you won’t find yourself merely in an acceptable city, you will find yourself thriving in a vibrant one.
Cost of Living
You can get a two-bedroom apartment in the central area for $1,000-$1,500. Groceries should be around $400-$500. You can get good high-speed internet for $20-$45. You’ll never run out of places to go out to eat and can get a nice lunch for $7-$10, with a beer for $1. Altogether, an expat can live comfortably in Panama City for $1,753-$2,900, which I need hardly point out would not go very far at all in a comparable city in the United States!
You can even take advantage of the lower costs to improve your standard of living. Ever dream of having a maid? For $15 a visit, or full time for $250 a month you can have a maid and wave goodbye to all the tedious housekeeping chores. No more scrubbing tiles for you, no more laundry, no more struggling to find affordable childcare. You can even have a maid cook for you every day.
Things to Do
Go Out on the Town
Before we get into all the unique things about Panama City and Panama, consider, with lower costs and possibly a maid, you can be free to do more of everything you’ve always liked to do. Because it’s a big city with the limitless big city options, but the cost of living is so much less, whatever it is you like to do in your home city you can do a lot more of. Go clubbing every night? Eat out every day? Golfing? Bowling? Taking painting classes? Whatever you want!
And of course, Panama City is right on the coast, so that comes with its own long list of fun activities, from going to the beach to surfing, fishing, diving, sailing etc etc.
Visit the Beaches
But what truly sets Panama City apart is that it’s, of course, in Panama. Just an hour’s drive out of the city are the white sand beaches of the popular beach resort town of Coronado, or the majestic Cerro Azul mountains. Drive until you find a remote tropical beach you have practically to yourself, or hike to a different mountain waterfall every weekend. Or, also in an hour, you can even cross the continent to the Caribbean coast!
See all activities in Panama City
In conclusion, if you want to live in a thoroughly modern, vibrant, thriving city while simultaneously significantly reducing your cost of living and improving your standard of living, Panama City is the place for you!