Cost of living in Panama, prices and what it is like to live for an Expat, quality of life / hardship, and compare cost of living for Expatriates as at April 2020. What is it like to live in Panama?
Panama is in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica.
The climate is tropical maritime, hot, humid and cloudy with a prolonged rainy season (May to January), and a short dry season (January to May).
The official language is Spanish. In Panama City and Colón, most Panamanians speak English, which is widely used in business circles. The country's indigenous languages such as Kuna and Ngöbe-Buglé are well preserved and mainly spoken in rural areas.
The main religion is Christianity.
The Economy of Panama is free market economy with a history of low inflation. It is based mainly on the services industry, heavily weighted toward banking, commerce, and tourism.
North American business practices heavily influence the business culture. Expatriate dress code is conservative in the form of a suit for meetings. The safety risk for expatriates in Panama is low, but medium for Colón and high for Darién. Risks include petty, street, and violent crime, with kidnapping being a high risk in Darién.
The currency of Panama is the Panamanian Balboa (PAB). ATMs are widely available and most international cards are accepted.
Health care facilities in Panama City are generally good, but elsewhere are limited. Cases of Zika virus and Chikungunya virus have been reported. Malaria and dengue fever are common.
The population is 4 Million (2019 est.), and the inflation rate (CPI) is 0% for Panama as at February 2020.
The Xpatulator Hypothetical Tax for Panama is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 25%.
Within Panama we also cover
Cost Of Living
What is the cost of living in Panama?
The cost of living for expatriates in Panama as at April 2020 is high in comparison to other places in the world. We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in Panama is as follows:
1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$520. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$12.03, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$1.14, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$3.16 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$6.50. 2) Clothing: for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$840. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$45, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$65, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$80 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$35. 3) Communication: for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$248. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$45, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.13 per minute. 4) Education: for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30000 in New York costs USD$28500. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$18,606 for Primary School, and USD$20,705 for High School. 5) Furniture & Appliances: for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2500 in New York costs USD$2475. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$759, and USD$651 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV. 6) Groceries: for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$760. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$4.26, 1 kg oranges USD$3.43, 1 head lettuce USD$2.41, 1 kg potatos USD$2.15, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$8.78, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$12.75, 1 dozen large eggs USD$2.70, 500g loaf white bread USD$2.48, 1 L full cream milk USD$1.94, and 1.5 L water USD$2.03. 7) Healthcare: for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$660. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$53, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,642. 8) Household Accommodation: for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5000 in New York costs USD$2700. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$3,249 in a central location, and USD$2,007 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities. 9) Miscellaneous: for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$615. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$12.03, while an international newspaper is USD$3.70. 10) Personal Care: for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$340. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$27, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$136. 11) Recreation & Culture: for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$385. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$7.80, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$56 per month. 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$830. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$3.46, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$1.66, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$9.10, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$45.50. 13) Transport: for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$610. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$0.80, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$17,000. How does the cost of living in Panama compare?
Panama is 1.5% more expensive than USA for groceries, -4.7% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 28.7% more expensive for transport costs than India.
What is the quality of life / hardship in Panama?
Panama is ranked as a some hardship location.The hardship premium for Panama for an expat from Australia, is for example 10%, i.e. host location (Panama) premium of 20% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%.
Want to know more about cost of living, hardship (quality of living) or expat salary in Panama? Register subscribe to your home location and Panama and run your personalised reports.