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, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 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. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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