Panama: The World’s Best Place to Retire in 2021

Panama has ranked second in the best places to retire in 2021. Panama has been ranking high many times during the past year in the retirement index by International Living, due to multiple reasons.

Tropical Weather
One of these reasons is the unique location of Panama, in which you can enjoy both the Pacific and Atlantic ocean, tropical warm weather plus you don't have to worry about hurricanes (read more about Panama weather here). 

Economy of Panama
Panama has an average annual economic growth rate of 4.6 percent over the last five years. Economics Consensus Forecast panelists foresee the economy expanding 6.4% in 2021. By 2022, the economy has an expected growth of 5.1%, even during times of COVID. 

Panama's economy keeps being strong due to the Panama Canal. The canal helped Panama become one of the strongest economies in the region. About 35 vessels pass through the Panama Canal each day, and each ship pays hundreds of thousands of dollars for the transit. The Panama Canal is essential to global trade and accounts for almost 10% of the country’s GDP. 

Besides, the strategic position of Panama made it a flight hub for international flights. Panama’s Copa Airlines is one of the best regional airlines, while Tocumen International Airport is the best airport in the Central America/Caribbean region.

Pensionado Visa
Panama's "Pensionado Visa" makes it attractive and easy for expats to move to Panama and become a resident. Once you become a retiree resident of Panama, you gain access to all the pensioner discounts offered to locals, which includes 25% off power bills, 50% off theaters, 25% off plane tickets, 20% off medication, 25% off meals at restaurants, and many more. 

Cost of Living
Panama might be more expensive than other Latin American countries such as Belize and Guatemala, but the cost of living can be lower than the United States, Canada, or Europe.

The cost of living in Panama depends on several factors. One of these factors is the location of living in Panama. Small towns in rural areas will be far cheaper than living in Panama City. Not only the rent or purchase of property is cheaper inland, but you will also find more local providers for fruit, vegetables, and meat which provide way lower prices than the supermarkets.

Another big factor is what your lifestyle is. If you prefer to eat local food, you can get a meal for $3.50USD anywhere in Panama which includes rice, salad, and protein. But if you like to eat at more high-end places you will pay more. This formula is the same for grocery shopping, hobbies, and activities, car prices, and maintenance, etc. If you decide to live like the locals then a couple can live well on $2,000 USD a month. 

One of the reasons that people decide to move to Panama is the availability to live on lower budgets, but Panama offers high-end luxury living as well, which you will pay for accordingly.

Healthcare
Panama’s private healthcare facilities are amongst the best in the region. A big plus is that most doctors are bilingual and speak both Spanish and English. A doctor visit including a standard health check costs you around 35$, and a dental appointment around 40$. International health insurances are available and the prices depend on your age, and the amount you want to cover. Decent health insurance will cost you less than 150$ a month. Our alliance partner ADG will help you find the insurance that suits your needs. 

Panama's retirement index score by International Living 
The table below presents an overview of the top 10 countries in our Annual Global Retirement Index by International Living.

Panama best place to retire 2021