Has Panama worn out its welcome of always being at the top of most “Best Of” lists for retirement, investment, living abroad, and island getaways? Not really, but lately, the list makers have been courting new, lesser-known countries for inclusion. Think Malta and Bulgaria.
Both are lovely options, but they also present unique challenges. Malta is a tiny island with little nature and too many cars. The locals affectionately call it “The Rock” and most ex-pats agree the ability to easily get to other EU countries is a lifesaver; beautiful but claustrophobic.
Bulgaria offers a low cost of living but can be a bureaucratic nightmare for anything from opening a bank account to registering with a physician. Obtaining residency takes things in Bulgaria to a whole new level and you better speak Bulgarian because English is almost non-existent.
Portugal Is Safe
Portugal is a country that isn’t necessarily new and one with more pros than cons. Mild weather, beautiful scenery, reasonable costs for housing and daily living plus the ability to easily scoot around Europe are all big pluses. Portugal is also one of the safest countries on the planet, ranking only behind Iceland, New Zealand, Austria, and Denmark according to the Global Peace Index 2022. However, the economy has been chaotic and investments hard hit.
Even with some new considerations, Panama continues to rank at the very top for most of the list makers with the inference that it’s not just bargain living that makes a country one of the best retirement locations, but a mix of variables including first-world amenities such as exceptional health care, a strong government, stable economy, clean water, and good public transportation.
“Panama Is Perfectly Perched”
According to a recent article in Conde Nast Traveler, Panama continues at the top of most lists! They reported: “This is the 11th year Panama has earned the top spot on the Retirement Index, the country is perfectly perched between North and South America, just a three-hour flight away from Miami. It offers both Pacific and Caribbean beaches…the Panama Pensionado (or Panama Retirement) visa is one of the most attractive in the world with steep discounts on everything from airfare to theater performances. A retired couple can live very well in Panama City for less than $3,000 a month, (including rent), while a single person could retire pretty much anywhere in Panama for $1,700 a month. There are many excellent hospitals and clinics around the country (like Johns Hopkins International-affiliated Hospital Punta Pacifica), and all legal residents are entitled to 20 percent off prescription medications if they’re of pensioner age—55 years for women, 60 for men.”
Options Currently Available
In addition to all the reasons we know Panama is one of the best places to retire and/or invest, here are several property opportunities currently available. The price, location and personality of each project is different, even if many overlap. There are absolute beach-front units starting at under $160,000 to over $1 million family homes with stunning views, with interesting physical aspects, investment potential and a list of best-in-class amenities.
Consider these options:
Nogal–Costa del Este–Under Construction–Delivery 2026
Offering one-, two- and three-bedroom options this 43-story tower is designed as a permanent residence or long-term rental for international business executives and trailing families. Rent is expected to start around $2,300 to $2,500 a month and will join completed sister projects, Parkside and Riverside, both of whom currently enjoy 98% occupancy. Starting at $337,000, Nogal is the perfect price point for Panama’s Fast Track Residency program. Thirty percent down is required during construction. The most stunning feature of Nogal however, is the architecture that seamlessly combines urban living with the lush greenery of its surroundings. Floor-to-ceiling windows, an open floor plan and the highest construction standards provide residents with tranquility while being just steps from everything Costa del Este has to offer including outstanding restaurants, schools, retail and entertainment options.
Generation Tower–Costa del Este–Pre-construction–Delivery 2026
- As one of only three buildings in Costa del Este with a license for short-term rentals, including those managed and serviced by Airbnb. Generation Tower will operate as a condotel, providing investors with the option for long-term rental income of around $1,500/month or short-term, $2,200/month. These units are smaller and attractive to the approximately 20,000 international nationals working and living in Panama’s business hub, Costa del Este. The price point begins at $215,000 and comes fully furnished. Ocean views, conveniently located across from Town Center Mall, the residents in Generation Tower will enjoy an impressive list of amenities including on-site retail, pools, social areas, a business center and on-site management.
Casa Bonita–Panama City–Delivery Ready
- This well-established residential tower shares all the amenities of the adjacent five-star Playa Bonita Westin resort and is located just 15 minutes from downtown Panama City. There are only a handful of properties remaining and a few are being close-out discounted by the developer. Most of the remaining available residences are one-bedroom with two full baths, but there are a few two-bedrooms and even a penthouse with three bedrooms, a den and 5.5 bathrooms. Balconies offer stunning sunrise and sunset views while overlooking the Panama Canal. The property will remain tax-free for nine years and the beginning price point is $275,000. The penthouse is priced at $1.2 million. These units are perfect for ex-pats, families and investment rental units. All residences come with membership at the exclusive Pearl Club with its private beach, restaurant, social area and Sensory spa.
Royal Palm–Coronado/Gorgona–Delivery Ready
- If you are looking for an absolute beachfront property overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with multiple pools, a restaurant, social areas and sports courts, then Royal Palm is your location. Situated an hours drive outside Panama City, these units are in high demand for rental, both short- and long-term as well as residences. High season property will average $1,500 monthly rates with 95% occupancy and low season provides $1,100 a month with 60% occupancy. This dual tower property is shaped like the hull of an ocean liner and provides balconies with ocean or mountain views. Unit prices begin at $159,000 for the smaller one-bedroom units and $290,000 for the two-bedroom, two-bath homes. These units were designed for individuals looking to retire on the beach, investment seekers who are comfortable renting while building equity and families seeking a vacation home.
Arcadia–Costa del Este–Delivery Late 2023/Early 2024
- This multi-story residential building, located on the green corridor in the highly desired Costa del Este, appeals to a wide market as it has both a short- and long-term lease license, and will be managed by Panama’s largest operator of hotels and resorts, the Bern Corporation. Offering upscale living quarters with hotel-style amenities, the units are small enough to appeal to the transferred international employee, comfortable for retirees with immediate access to the Johns Hopkins International affiliated hospital Pacifica Salud, appealing to digital nomads with high-speed internet and co-working areas and perfect for the investor seeking to diversify a portfolio. Price points begin at $276,000 which includes delivery of fully-furnished units. Larger two-bedroom homes start at $370,000. Rents, with an on-site property manager, will be from $2,000 to $2,300 monthly for long term. Arcadia has only a few units available.
- Located 4,000 feet above sea level and only 37 miles from the Costa Rican border in the ex-pat haven of Boquete, the Pinoalto project appeals to investors and residents alike with its open-air, units offering two- and three-bedroom residences. The amenities within the Boquete Country Club include access to an equestrian center, tennis, swimming, golf, hiking and a health spa. This unique to Boquete project fills the gap in the area for new market residences and rental units, including those listed on Airbnb, with on-site social areas, private gathering spaces and even a medical facility. Boquete offers near, but not adjacent to beach living, the coolest temperatures in Panama and the highly prized food and art scene. Price points begin at $332,500 for fully furnished units.
Matisse–Costa del Este–Delivery Ready
- This stunning residential tower, which offers exclusivity and luxury with homes with under 4,000 square feet is almost completely sold-out; only a four-bedroom penthouse is available for $1.8 million. This residence offers sweeping views of Panama Bay with a one-of-a-kind open-air terrace.
I’d love to chat with you about any or all of these projects as well as why Panama remains at the top of the “Best Of” lists!