Cost of Living in Panama 2018

First off lets set some parameters to answer this question. So many of the answers are all over the map.  So I have headings for each area of interest.
1.  It depends on where you live in Panama.  The City, like most major cities of the world is expensive.
The farther away you live from Panama City, the less expensive housing is.  However gated high end communities are expensive. 
2.  Communities outside of Santiago, Chitre, and David are even less expensive. You can rent nice places for $300 to $600 per month. And fabulous places for $1000 to $1500 per month.
3.  Food. If you eat like the locals, you can eat real real cheap.  If you want to eat like you are accustom to in the U.S. or Canada, you can still eat for reasonable prices as long as you do not buy like imported beef or exotics. You can find just about anything you want here.  If you cook at home, of course that is the most reasonable. But going out, if you stay away from the high end restaurants, you can eat very reasonably.  We have some good grocery stores and we even have Costco which is call Pricemart, it is a smaller version.
4.  Yes electricity is expense in all the countries of central and south America. So try to locate yourself in a little higher altitude so you do not need A/C and you can keep your electrical bills very reasonable.
5.  To buy a car or truck.  New prices and very close to U.S. prices on equally equipped vehicles. (About $500 more)  Tax of 7% is pretty equal or even less than many of the States.  Used cars here, depending on where you go can be expensive, but have you looked at used car prices in the U.S. lately?
6. Gas is higher (about 20 cents a gallon more)  here but diesel is less.
7. If you are a drinker. Well lets see, Panama brewed beer is 65 cents in the grocery store, Wine depending on what region of the world you want, is generally much less here. Stay away from American wines. Buy from Spain, Argentina or Chili.  And Rum, well you have lots of choices at great prices.
8. Health care.  Good medical insurance plans, Extremely good and relatively low cost medical care. We have some very good hospital here. And when is the last time your doctor gave you his cell phone number?
9.  Fresh fish. Go to the beach to your local fishing village and get Red or White snapper, Grouper, etc, for $2.00 a pound or buy the whole fish.
10.  Crime.  Yes there is crime here. No worse than major cities in the U.S. And again, it depends on where you are.  The City has the most crime.  Remember you have the haves and have nots here, just like anywhere.   Be smart, keep you eyes open and pay attention.  Like in the States, know where not to go, and don't stand out.
11.  Cell phones are easy to get and not expensive. Find out what cell service is the best for the area you are going to be in.
12.  Great internet and TV with Cable Onda if you are in an area they cover. In other areas there is Sky TV, Cable and Wireless Internet via phone line, even Dish Network is available in many area.
13.  Politics.  Stay out of it. You have no say here.  The Presidential elections are every 5 years. And there is usually alot of change from one Government to the next.

NOTE:  When you talk or read a review from someone, look at their background.  If they have lived hear all there life, how can they compare it to living somewhere else.  If they have only lived here a short time, where do they live? Have they been intelligent with decisions they have made? What are they comparing life here too and is it apples for apples.  Stay away from reviews from Tourist Companies and they are looking for you business not looking out for you.
And do you really think if it was more expensive to live here, there would be so many of us here, and so many more coming ????

I find your article very informative....thank you.

Congratulations! That's the clevest post I've ever seen.

If you are looking for detail expense cost we posted a report on our blog here: … live-here/

No, this is not an ad nor soliciting for any means! Just a detaile report on our cost inBoquete Panama!

We are now in the process of moving to Medellin, Colombia, which is 25% cheaper then Boquete with world class health care, super friendly people,spring like year round weather.

a well written answer .. i spend about 500 or more a month on food my biggest expense but includes my wine ,, i go to the farmers market once a week for veggies is hard to spend 12 bucks there .. i eat steak once or twice a week , ribs once or twice a week chicken twice a week ,, pork chops once a week .. and feitticeni alfredo with shrimp ever other week ,, i make gumbo every other week and ceveche once a month , fry or grill fresh fish once or twice a week , fried oysters when i can get them ,, grilled octopus when i can get it ,, i cook every day is a hobby and a passion ,, my elec and internet is about 130 a month house payment with ins , 380 ,, we own 3 vehicles so i figure with gas , maint and insurance is about 150 a month .. i barely get by on 2 grand a month ,, my health insurance is in colombia at 30 a month i figure the plane tickets and expense when i have to go around 250 i just consider that a " deductible ;' health insurance which is shitty is about 250 a month ,, i take braggs vinegar every day and go through a 6 dollar bottle of honey a week . gym is 22 a month .. has nothing to do with the cost of living in panama but my herbs and vitamins from puritans pride is about 15 a month i grow my own moringa and sell enough to pay for capsules etc, i been here 17 years could live on 1200 a month with out rent when we lived in the small town of cerro cama

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