Cost of Living in Panama City, Florida

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Cost of Living in Panama City, Florida

With a population of 12,683, Panama City Beach is a city in Bay County, Florida. For a single adult in Panama City Beach, the total cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other needs is $35,602 per year, which is roughly the same as Florida’s yearly cost of living of $36,375 and less than the national number of $38,433.

The United States has had a substantial presence in Panama since the early 1900s, and it has lasted practically the entire twentieth century. This reality has had a long-term impact on the country, and it’s one of the reasons why so many ex-pats wishing to relocate to Central America choose Panama. Panama handed the United States rights to the Canal in 1903, and the Panama Canal Zone became an unincorporated US territory until 1979. The canal would be partially controlled by the United States until 1999. This is more than just a fast history lesson; it has a direct and immediate impact on how your life as an ex-pat in Panama will go.



Why Should You Relocate to Panama?

Panama is a great place for ex-pats, retirees, and even a growing number of digital nomads to call home for a portion of the year. Although the currency is pegged to the US dollar and English is widely spoken in the major cities, the food and culture are distinctly Panamanian. Because of the United States’ decades-long management of the Panama Canal, the United States has had a significant impact on Panama. Panama City now includes high-end malls, and English is commonly spoken in Boquete. While newcomers certainly make up a portion of the ex-pat population, Panama also has a large number of pensioners and military people who are leftover from the Canal Zone era. This implies that many ex-pats are drawn to the area since it has a strong American flavor. However, the country has a diverse spectrum of cultures from north to south, each of which contributes to the fascinating cultural experience of living in Panama. 


in Panama for as little as $1,000 a month is possible. However, this is only available in a few cities. It’s not a country where living costs are as low as they are in Thailand or even Mexico. The weather and simplicity of living are two factors that draw many visitors to Panama. Furthermore, unlike other nations, Panama provides a specific discount program for people who choose to retire there; the Pensionado program offers discounts ranging from 10% to 50% on everything from food to hotels to entertainment to plane tickets. You only need to show $1000 in monthly income to qualify as a retiree, which is a lower hurdle than in many other countries. Despite the fact that Panama is not the cheapest area in Central America, many ex-pats prefer it for its many other advantages.



Panama City Beach, Florida Housing Costs

One of the most significant components of the cost of living is housing. The median home value in Panama City Beach is $229,400, which is more than the national median home value of $204,900. Renting can be a less expensive option than buying a home. Approximately 37.90 percent of occupied residences in Panama City Beach are rented, which is similar to the national renter rate of 36.2 percent. The average renter in Panama City Beach pays $1,198 per month, which is similar to the national median of $1,023 per month. One of the most important drivers of housing affordability, aside from house value, is local income.


Housing affordability ratios range from roughly 1.0 in the least costly cities to more than 10.0 in the country’s most expensive markets, despite the fact that the average price of a home in the United States is 3.4 times the $60,293 median household income. The median household income in Panama City Beach is $61,481, which is 3.7 times the median property value.

Panama City Beach, Florida Transportation Costs

Transportation costs can be a considerable part of the overall cost of living. 90.10 percent of commuters in Panama City Beach drive to work, compared to 85.5 percent overall. An estimated 65.20 percent of workers commute to jobs outside of Panama City Beach, a higher percentage than the 43.7 percent of commuters who live and work in different locations across the country. The average commute time in Panama City Beach is 22.7 minutes, compared to a national average of 26.6 minutes. Taking into consideration the cost of gas, public transportation, and automobile maintenance, the EPI estimates that a single person in Panama City Beach spends $9,573 on transportation per year, which is similar to the national average of $9,760.

Panama’s Health-Care Costs Florida’s City Beach

Out-of-pocket health care expenditures and insurance premiums, assuming at least a basic level of health insurance coverage, are slightly cheaper in Panama City Beach than they are nationwide, and also lower than they are in Florida as a whole. The average cost of health care for a single adult residing in the area is $3,715 per year, compared to $4,213 in Florida and $4,266 overall.

Costs of Child Care in Panama City Beach, Florida 

Child care costs tens of thousands of dollars per year for families with children. The average yearly cost of child care for two children one 4-year-old and one 8-year-old in Panama City Beach is $11,679, which is roughly $500 less than the statewide average of $12,134. Meanwhile, childcare costs for two children in the United States average $15,853 per year.

of Food and Beverages in Panama City Beach, Florida

In much of Panama, you can drink tap water, which implies you’re less likely to get sick from the food than in many other undeveloped countries. Unfortunately, the food will not be the reason you decide to relocate here. While there are some excellent high-end gourmet restaurants, particularly in places with a large ex-pat population, the everyday cuisine is bland and uninspired. Fried plantains, beans, rice, and meat stews are all on the menu. Another daily item that has a substantial impact on overall living costs is food. The cost of food varies from city to city and town to town, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture.

A single adult in Panama City Beach spends an average of $3,448 on food each year, while a family of four spends an average of $9,957. For comparison, a single adult’s yearly food spend in Florida and the United States is $3,411 and $3,240, respectively, and a family of four’s annual food expenditure is $9,850 and $9,354. These figures are based on a nutritionally appropriate diet purchased from a grocery shop and prepared at home.

Panama City Beach, Florida taxes

Taxes are one of the few expenses that differ significantly from city to city and town to town. When state and federal income taxes, as well as Social Security contributions and Medicare payroll taxes, are factored in, the average adult working in Panama City Beach, Florida pays $5,164 per year, which is similar to the statewide average of $5,307.

It’s vital to remember that other common taxes like property, sales, and excise taxes aren’t included in these computations. When these taxes are taken into account, and federal taxes are excluded, Panama City Beach inhabitants live in a state with a low average tax burden. Florida collects $2,158 in state taxes per person each year, compared to $3,151 on average across all states.


Additional Costs and Benefits of Living in Panama

Panama’s pensionada program for foreigners approaching retirement age is, in many ways, the best in the world. Foreigners who can show a monthly income of $1,000 (or acquire property and show a monthly income of $750) are eligible for the benefits, regardless of age. You can retire early and take advantage of what appear to be “senior discounts” to save money on an automobile. To demonstrate what appears to be a pension, you may only need to purchase an annuity or deposit money in a Panamanian bank.

Retirees are entitled to the following (often absurdly excessive) discounts:

50% off relaxation and amusement activities like movies, theatres, sports, and other public performances
30% off intercity buses, trains (well, the train route), and ferry boats
25% off domestic and international airline flights
50% off the rack rate at hotels from Monday to Thursday, 30% off on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
25% off food in licensed sit-down restaurants
15% off fast food places
15% off the total cost of services at hospitals, dentists, and private clinics, plus
20% off medical consultations
10% off prescription drugs at pharmacies
25% off monthly electricity use up to 600 kilowatts
25% off the water bill

You can also bring in up to $10,000 worth of home goods duty-free. The best part about it all? If the legislation changes, you’ll be able to keep the benefits on a grandfathered basis, which means they’ll be guaranteed for life as long as you’re a legal resident. Aside from the main bills, the Cunninghams spend $46 per month on a combined internet and cable TV package, $10-$20 per month or less on prepaid cell phones, and roughly $45 per month on electricity. However, if they kept the air conditioner on all the time, that number could triple.

Living in Panama in a Nutshell

Currency: Panamanian Peso Balboa is a currency that is tied to the US dollar 1:1.

Expat Life: The majority of ex-pats in Panama are retirees, according to the country’s pensionados program, which provides discounts and a more simplified visa process for retirees. Panama City has a younger ex-pat community, and you can often find digital nomads or long-term travelers settling down for three to six months in the Bocas del Toro islands.

Internet: Cities such as Panama City, Colon, and David all have high-speed internet. DSL, cable, and satellite internet are available in rural locations.

Average Local Wage: In Panama, a middle-class salary averages $1,200 USD. A monthly income in smaller cities is around $550. These vary by area and city.

Pet-Friendliness: Although Panama is somewhat pet-friendly, the process of transporting your pets can be a little daunting. Consider employing a local agent or fixer to assist you. Also, begin well in advance of your planned move to ensure that you have all of the necessary vaccines and papers.

Visas: Citizens of the United States do not require a visa to enter Panama. You’ll need a passport that’s valid for three months following your departure date from Panama to get access. You will be given a 30-day tourist card upon entering Panama, which can be extended to a 60-day tourist card. If you want to retire in Panama, check out the documentation requirements on the website of the US Embassy in Panama.

Issues that Could Arise: Outside of big cities, water and electricity disruptions are widespread.

Security: Relatively secure. In big cities like Panama City, petty theft, opportunistic crime, credit card fraud, and muggings are all widespread.

Water is Quite Safe: In most of Panama, you can drink tap water. In Bocas del Toro and Comarca de Guna, tap water should be avoided.

In Panama, the Best Places to Live

Panama offers a diverse range of living opportunities, each with its own distinct flavor.
The location has a significant impact on the cost of living in Panama. If you’re on a tight budget, you may have to rule out Panama City, however, it may be easier if you’re a dual-earner couple or a single ready to share a spacious flat with others.

There are numerous sites in Panama where Americans live, as well as a substantial population of retirees and ex-pats from other nations. Here are the big ones, but if you don’t need to talk in English, there are lots of smaller beaches and mountain villages to visit.

Panama City –
traveling south, Panama City is the closest you’ll get to Miami (good and bad). There’s no need for a car here, and there’s even a metro.

Coronado – It is a coastal vacation town about an hour south of San Diego. One of Panama’s oldest ex-pat communities.

Valle de Anton – This highland interior location, just 120 kilometers from the city, boasts chilly evenings, hot springs for soaking, and a laid-back vibe. This is a secure and upmarket alternative.

David – The capital’s second-largest city, but slightly higher in altitude and less congested.

Boquete – It is a renowned highland destination known for its flowers, coffee, adventure activities, and cold climate. For those looking to retire in Panama, this is the place to go.

Bocas del Toro – It is a group of islands renowned among tropical paradise seekers, outcasts, and revolutionaries. You won’t need a car, but you will almost certainly require a boat.


With the low cost of living in Panama, there are certain to be some drawbacks, no matter how many glowing stories you read about it. This is still a developing country, with many of the same issues in terms of public services, pollution, traffic, rubbish, and inefficiency as the rest of Latin America. You’ll still have to deal with inconvenient bureaucracy, and the local press is tightly controlled.

Unless you enjoy suffocating tropical heat, humidity, and insects, you might not enjoy the majority of the country’s coastline. 
You have the reverse problem at a greater elevation. Some people believe that Boquete, in the highlands, is ideal. Others believe it is far too chilly. “We never, ever leave the flat without our umbrellas because you simply never know,” Jim explains when the rainy season arrives. Visit during the most inconvenient time of year to form your own opinion. Overall, though, there are more benefits to living in Panama than drawbacks. Its convenient air connections, low taxes, good health care, sound banking system, simple visa process, and dollar economy make it a no-brainer for many retirees who don’t want to cope with a more difficult adjustment in Guatemala or Ecuador. If you’re considering migrating to Panama, we always recommend performing a trial run to determine if the country is right for you.

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