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Central America

Panama named the best place to retire overseas

The magazine International Living has announced Panama as the top place in the world to retire to. Their annual Global Retirement Index evaluates value for money in various different expat retirement locations.

The main advantages of retiring in Panama according to International Living are the scope of benefits available to retired people, infrastructure and visas which make it easier to obtain residence in the country.


Retirees moving to Panama can expect a tropical climate. The biodiversity in the region is also unique and inspiring – it is well protected via many environmental schemes and bio-tourism structures in place.

Panama’s ‘pensionado’ program means that retirees are welcomed and under this programme, receive discounts on transportation, flights, healthcare and hotels among other things. It is popular country for US expats in particular due to the use of the US dollar currency.

The official language is Spanish but English is widely spoken and expats are generally welcomed. There are plenty of travel options in this region, Miami is only a short flight away and neighbouring Costa Rica is a perfect holiday destination.

The capital Panama City is a popular place to retire to as is Boquete, a town situated on the Caldera River, surrounded by green hills and valleys. Boquete is a great place for anyone looking to live somewhere a little cooler as the temperatures are generally more moderate than on the coast. Approximately 3000 expats are currently living here. There are also cultural events held here every year such as the annual jazz festival.

Coronado is for retirees looking for a beach lifestyle in Panama. It is also near to Panama city so residents can benefit from the best of both worlds.

A trend which can be seen in the Retirement Index is the increasing popularity of Latin American countries as a place to retire, with 50% of the countries listed being from this region of the world. This trend looks set to continue as the focus on Latin America during the World Cup in Brazil seems to bringing a feel good factor and inspiring confidence in not just Brazil but other Latin American countries also.

International Living lists ten countries on their website as the main retirement destinations and those include: Brazil, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Panama.

Last year’s number one country to retire to in the index was Ecuador which was praised for its affordability for retirees with Quito and Cuenca being named as popular retirement havens. Healthcare in the country was also rated highly. Cuenca may also be popular place to retire as it is an easily walkable city, meaning less need to own a car or other vehicle and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage city with well preserved Spanish colonial architecture, providing cultural riches for both visitors and residents.

Further information on the International Living Global Retirement Index can be found here:

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