Most importantly what you need to know about Panama is that it only has two seasons instead of the traditional four seasons. The high season or dry season starts in December and ends around the middle of March. The low season or wet season is from March to December. It’s kind of implied, but the dry season is when there is limited rain and the weather is more like a “summer” The wet season is just what it implies, its more wet. Similar to the Hawaiian Islands the rain usually comes in the afternoon and might go for an hour or so and then stop. You will occasionally have a full rainy day during the wet season, but its mostly showers that move in and out with the clouds. The months of September to November can be the perfect combination of these two with limited rains which means cooler weather, but its not wet and dreary!
In Panama, a retired American couple can live on the beach and eat farmer’s market fruits and vegetables all year-round, without sacrificing the conveniences and amenities of home for $1,500 a month — all in.
The cost of living is low compared to the quality of life in Panama, which is why the Central American country was named the best place to retire in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index for 2016.
Already home to 50,000 US expats, Panama topped the index after raking in top scores across 10 categories including: buying and renting property, visas and residence, cost of living, environment and amenities, health care, infrastructure, and climate.
The list was compiled after consulting a team of correspondents, editors and retirees around the world.
New this year, voters were also asked to weigh in on two added categories which have emerged as important issues for expat retirees: healthy lifestyle and visas and residence.
Couples interviewed for the index raved about their new life in Panama, where the sweet life is described as not only cheaper, but simpler and stress-free.
“We’re healthier and living a better lifestyle here than we ever did in the U.S.,” says expat Mitzi Martain, who has lived on her farm near Santa Fe, Panama for nearly the last nine years.
Added Connie and Mikkel Moller who have been in Panama since 2012: “Our stress level is 10 percent of what it used to be.”
Utilities are a fraction of what retirees are used to paying back in the US, clocking in at around $100 a month for electricity, water, internet, cellphone cards, and trash pickup and allowing renters to live happily on $1,500 a month.
That can be slashed by up to half for couples who own their own property.
“In Panama’s capital I have the best of both worlds,” said IL Panama Editor Jessica Ramesch.
“There’s a growing cultural and arts scene…opera showcases, art exhibit openings and handicraft festivals…[and] there are so many new restaurants every week, I stopped trying to keep track.”
Here are the top 10 places to retire according to International Living’s Global Retirement Index 2016:
4. Costa Rica
Hola everyone!! So unlike the USA Panama is pretty particular about their driving rules and will enforce them to the fullest extent of the law. We have heard that you can bribe police officers, but we don’t think that’s any way to live or vacation. So read up on these rules ahead of time and you will be able to drive around knowing you won’t have to worry if you do get stopped.
Driving in Panama Do’s and Dont’s:
-Always carry your passport (or Panama ID called a “Cedula”), your country’s driver’s license (if you do not have a Panama driver’s license) and International Driver’s Permit when driving a vehicle in Panama. The Panama police will ask for these if you are stopped while driving.
-A foreign driver’s license is valid for 3 months in Panama. The police officer may ask to see the Panama immigration entry stamp in your passport to verify that you have not been in the country longer than 3 months. After the first 3 months foreigners are required to obtain a Panama driver’s license.