10 Tips For Expats to Adjust to Life in Panama

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Panama lies below the hurricane belt and boasts a temperate climate. Expats generally find that learning some Spanish helps in their daily lives, though this is not essential.

Panamanian lifestyles tend to be healthier than in the United States. Residents consume more fresh fruits and vegetables while eating fewer fast foods; honking horns is often seen as an informal form of communication rather than rude gesture.

1. Understand the Metric System

Panama is expanding at an extraordinary rate, with new airports opening, roads and buses being constructed, skyscrapers springing up across the cityscape and grocery stores, hospitals, restaurants and communities for expats springing up everywhere. Don’t worry too much about employment; skilled labor is in high demand with competitive salaries being offered to skilled employees.

Popular expat areas include Panama City, Boquete and Coronado – known for their established networking groups, community events and amenities – are great ways to make transitioning easier. By becoming familiar with these neighborhoods ahead of time it will make moving much smoother.

2. Get Used to Short Days and Long Nights

Panama is a tropical country with warm temperatures year-round, though the dry season runs from mid-December to mid-April.

Couples can comfortably live comfortably in Panama on less than $2,600 monthly including rent. It may take some adjustment time before becoming familiar with Panamanians’ slower way of life.

Plan your day so that all errands are completed by 2 pm; statistics have revealed an increase in car accidents during rainy seasons. Also, wool clothing is recommended; it regulates body temperature without holding onto odors and doesn’t retain body heat either. Furthermore, get used to hearing honks as this form of communication in Panama.

3. Learn to Eat Local Foods

Panama offers expats an amazing Latin American experience: beautiful beaches, charming villages and exquisite food. Indulging in local village restaurants or street food counters offers great opportunities for exploring culture through traditional dishes like Sancocho de Gallina soup made up of chicken meatballs with plantains potatoes and cassava root as part of its national identity.

Renting in popular expat areas is another viable solution for those wishing to explore Panama without making a long-term commitment. Many expats live on a Friendly Nations visa while working remotely from home.

4. Beware the Sidewalks

Panama is an exciting and modern nation, and many expats find that there is little culture shock when moving here. This is particularly true for Panama City itself which features both modern skyscrapers and 17th century colonial architecture that makes navigating life in Panama unique.

New expats should keep several things in mind before departing on an expat journey, including how sidewalks may not be kept up-to-date and how drivers tend to believe that only they have right of way on the streets. Therefore, expats should always carry their passport with them for safety.

5. Beware of Dog Poop

Panama is perhaps best-known for the canal that connects its two oceans, yet also boasts lush forests, mountain hamlets and thousands of islands.

Panama was historically used as a land bridge between North and South America for millennia, creating an abundance of plant and animal life that spans both sides of its isthmus. Today it serves as an outdoor adventure paradise and beachgoers flock here; furthermore it features modern infrastructure, easy US access and special services such as Pensionado which offer residence and benefits specifically to retirees – making Panama one of Latin America’s top retirement spots.

6. Beware of Traffic

Panama is a diverse and bustling nation, which can come as quite a shock to expats expecting third world conditions.

Driving in Panama can be quite an adventure if you are unfamiliar with driving on the left-hand side of the road. Additionally, protests often disrupt travel plans around the capital city.

Panama drivers frequently sound their horns to signal they are near you or passing you; or to indicate something has annoyed them. Try not to be offended by their behavior – simply remain patient with them.

7. Beware of the Metric System

Panama is a popular expat destination due to its beautiful weather and cost-effective living costs, but take care before packing up and moving to this tropical paradise.

First and foremost, ensure that you have an employment contract secured before moving to Panama. Hire an attorney who will apply for a work permit on your behalf with the Ministry of Labor; otherwise they’ll require proof of an assured job and can refuse your visa application altogether. They’ll also check whether or not you possess a medical certificate and negative HIV test result as necessary.

8. Beware of Property Taxes

Not everyone who relocates to Panama comes with significant savings or pension, and those without large sums should find ways to generate an income in Panama.

Expats often open accounts with local banks for convenience and ease of use; however, it’s crucial that their home bank account remain open in order to avoid having to pay taxes on income earned within their home country.

Living expenses in Panama tend to be far lower than in their home countries; for instance, health and car insurance often come much more affordably here than they could in their original locations.

9. Beware of Border Checkpoints

Panama ranks high on political and civic freedom indexes, and expats generally report feeling safe living here. Still, it is wise to exercise extra caution after dark in cities as well as when travelling on public transit to avoid pickpocketing and other forms of petty crime.

Before heading off to Panama, it’s also worth consulting your bank regarding international ATM fees or credit card charges – this could save a substantial amount over time! A personal WiFi hotspot is also an ideal way of staying connected while traveling abroad.

10. Beware of the Metric System

Panama utilizes the metric system, so be prepared to learn some conversions. Furthermore, Panama does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

Living in Panama can be both exciting and daunting; its warm climate, affordable living costs, vibrant city lifestyle in Panama City as well as mountain surroundings can provide plenty of challenges and adventures. Before moving, however, it’s essential that your goals are carefully considered – for instance whether or not Boquete would suit better, or the more tranquil mountain lifestyle?

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