So - You are Moving to Panama!

A country full of history and adventure. The famous canal, a cosmopolitan capital, beautiful beaches and breathtaking rainforests.

Check out our comprehensive destination information, updated daily, via the left hand menu.

But before you start here are our 10 top pieces of information for expats:

1.      Panama is both a popular retirement destination and a central hub for military personnel and ship workers with roughly 25,000 Americans living there.

2.       The climate in Panama City and Colón is tropical and humid. The rainy season lasts from May through early December, with the heaviest rains beginning in September. The Atlantic or Caribbean side has much higher precipitation than the Pacific side

3.       Citizens of certain countries - including the U.S., Canada and the U.K. - do not need tourist visas as long as they have tourist cards and onward or return airline tickets. Many executives enter Panama as tourists or obtain a visa, before applying for one of the more permanent visas.

4.       Panamanians do not usually mix with American military stationed there, but are generally very hospitable to foreign business associates. There is also a strong expatriate community in Panama, making it easy to meet people when you arrive.

5.       The language of business and everyday life is Spanish. English is the prevalent second language, and many Panamanians are bilingual, with approximately 14% of Panamanians speaking English as a native language. English is used in international business.

6.       Property prices in Panama are being boosted by the continuing economic recovery in the global economy and by a number of infrastructure upgrades taking place around Panama, most notably the widening of the Panama Canal.

7.       The population of Panama sits just under 4 million.

8.       The Panamanian currency is the balboa (B/.). It is kept at par with the U.S. dollar. U.S. banknotes circulate and are called balboas since there are no Panamanian banknote.

9.       The Panamanian economy is centred on the Panama Canal that connects the Atlantic Ocean (to the Pacific Ocean. The current locks which are 33.5 metres (110 ft) wide. But a third, wider lane of locks is currently under construction and is due to open in 2016.

10.    There is a continued threat of terrorism, particularly around the Panama Canal. However security is considered robust and an attack is seen as unlikely.


Here at World of Expats we are, or have been expats, in various locations around the world over many years, and have built up a huge amount of knowledge and experience to share with you as you embark on your journey.

We have over 5000 pages of destination specific information about the reality of moving abroad. This information is updated daily by providers in 176 destinations worldwide.  By registering you can access all of the content and receive regular destination updates. 

Register with us FOR FREE to access comprehensive information about Panama, including the following:

Moving to Panama: Passports and Visas

With some exceptions, foreigners visiting or relocating to Panama require visas. Visas are issued by Panamanian consulates for approximately US$36. There are several types of visas for Panama…

Moving to Panama: Climate

The Atlantic or Caribbean side of Panama has much higher precipitation and a less clearly defined dry season than the Pacific side…

Moving to Panama: Buying a Property

Whether renting or buying, using serviced apartments can give you time to find the right property. Find temporary accommodation for the dates you require here:

Our World of Expats Property Search facility will help you to find properties available to buy in Panama.

Moving to Panama: Household Goods

Incoming residents desiring to import furniture and household goods must have the consular invoice, the commercial invoice, and the bill of lading processed at a Panamanian consulate. The goods will be subject to customs duties in Panama based on their value…

Moving to Panama: Choosing A School

There are two main international schools in Panama and several schools that are run by the U.S. department of defense, while these schools are run for children of military personnel they allow children of civilians from other nations attend…

Moving to Panama: National Health Care

Medical costs are comparable to those in, for example, North America; however, doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for their services...

Moving to Panama: Everyday Living

French, Spanish and American food is available in restaurants, as is the native Panamanian cuisine, which is reminiscent of Creole cooking, hot and spicy…

Moving to Panama: Social Environment

There are strong expatriate communities in Panama, partly due to the presence of many foreign canal workers and the fact that Panamanians and expats stationed in Panama have tended not to mix…

Moving to Panama: Social Customs

Surnames can be confusing in Panama. Most Hispanics have two surnames, one from their father and one from their mother. The father's surname is listed first and is generally the one used when addressing someone. Señor Ernesto Pérez Balladeres should be addressed as Señor Pérez…