Panama: Retirement Haven? Part 1 of 5

 

George wrote about our adventures in Panama in a five part series for the Huffington Post.

Panama City 2013 WSGTPart One: Panama City

Over the last 10 years, countless periodicals, blogs and websites have claimed that Panama is an ideal retirement destination for a variety of reasons. The cost of living is low. Quality health care and government sponsored retiree benefits can save expats money and provide solid investment opportunities to either start up an entrepreneurial business or purchase real estate.

There is no doubt that Panama has serious pluses for potential retires who desire to relocate abroad to a country with a cheaper standard of living than the United States and Europe. The country of Panama is blessed with beautiful islands, ample coastline beaches, mountain retreats, and colonial towns. The people are friendly and outside of Panama City, the atmosphere is generally quite laid back and easy going. With a population of only three million, the country does not feel overly crowded.

 

We Said Go Travel (WSGT) delved into the county of Panama and investigated various locales that have been written about and praised in the media to determine if we agree that abundant fantastic retirement options exist in Panama for those considering the possibility of living abroad. In part one of this five section series, we will inspect the first stop that travelers will likely make when arriving to Panama, the metropolis of the country, Panama City.

With an eclectic mixture of modern high-rise buildings and Casco Antiguo’s refurbished old town, Panama City has aspects that are appealing. Accruing substantial daily revenue from the fascinating Panama Canal, the government has pumped major dollars into the city infrastructure, constructing a respectable skyline and a rejuvenated old town. The best healthcare in the country can be had here and there is no shortage of nightclubs for those who desire an active nightlife. A variety of budget to quality international restaurants are available.

Despite these positives, Panama City has some serious drawbacks. First of all, crime can be a serious issue in many of the barrios that are meshed within the city. The so-called red zones are notorious for robbing tourists; even in the daytime, one should exercise precaution. Another drawback is the heinous traffic that is especially noticeable from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m..

During these hours, the streets of vast portions of Panama City become filled with idle vehicles pumping pollutants into the air. Even though the city is near the water and pretty views can be had from locations such as the Causeway de Amadores, there are no beachesper se located within the city that would be recommended for swimming. Outlying beaches such as Punta Chame are within striking distance but at least an hour outside of the city depending upon traffic conditions.

All in all, WSGT deems Panama City a nice place to spend a few days enjoying the city skyline, the old colonial Casco Antiguo and, of course, the amazing Panama Canal. However, after a few days, we were ready to move on to more secure and less congested locales laden across the country. As for Panama City, we enjoyed what the city has to offer, but would not recommended it as a potential retirement destination in itself.

Look for Part 2-5 for more on Panama from George Rajna.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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