Why Should I consider Living in Panama?
Panama is one of the fastest growing international destinations for foreign residents, snowbirds, active retirees, and real estate investors. The lifestyle advantages and investment opportunities are incomparable, including a dynamic real estate market, Panama's famous retirement visas, lower medical care expenses, numerous tax advantages, world class restaurants and natural resources.
Where Is Panama?
Panama is located in Central America, bordered to the north by the Caribbean Sea, to the west by Costa Rica, to the south by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by Colombia.
Where is Altos Escondidos?
The Property is located near the town of Sora, in the Chame province of Panama. It is 69 miles from Panama City and can be reached within 90 minutes by car. The property is at 1,600 feet above sea level and sits between the Altos del Maria mountain range and the Bay of Chame.
Why Should I Live in a "Green" Home?
A "Green" home is designed to minimize your environmental "footprint" by using the earth's natural resources, including wind, water, trees & other forestation, and the sun to meet your home's energy needs. Due to recent strides in photovolic (solar) production, this year (2007) marked the first year in history whereby it has become just as economically efficient to build an ecologically and environmentally friendly home as it is to build a conventional albeit more damaging one (footnote and link to stats on our site). Over the life-cycle of a "green or sustainable" home, proper energy efficiency can not only reduce homeowner expenses but also leave mother nature in good health for future generations to enjoy.
What are the Tax Rates in Panama?
At the moment Panama offers a real estate tax exemption period of 15 years. Panama will not tax you on income made abroad, however there is a 5% tax applied to all goods and services that you purchase. This tax will only be exempt on things you bring from abroad the first time. Food bought at supermarkets or grocery stores has no taxes. Some of these taxes will be reduced or canceled with the benefits you obtain with a retiree or "pensionado" visa. While staying in Panama the hotel tax is 10%. The added value tax to products and services, with the exception of food and medicines is 5%. The information above is subject to change.
Where are the Nearest Hospitals?
All major hospitals are in the city. Paitilla, San Fernando, Nacional, Punta Pacifica (soon to be open), Royal Center, all these hospitals have trained doctors of all specialties and speak English. Most doctors are trained in renowned universities and American hospitals. For medications you may go to the supermarket pharmacy and get your medications. As a retiree or "pensionado" you get 15% discount on your medicines, just show your retiree or "pensionado" card.
What is Customary Tipping Etiquette?
Tipping, which only applies to restaurants and cafes in Panama, is 10%, but be advised that some restaurants already include gratuity in your bill. You do not have to tip anywhere or anyone else.
What is the Local Currency?
Panama has its own Balboa currency; however the US dollar has been the legal currency in Panama since 1904. The US Greenback is the only paper currency used while US coins or Panamanian coins (which are identical in size and weight) are interchangeable. Traveler checks and credit cards are widely accepted.
What is the Climate in Panama?
The country's tropical climate average temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime, and 75 F in the evenings. The average humidity is 82%. The rainy season is from May to December. Throughout the dry season, trade winds keep the air continuously cool. You can expect the average temperature at Altos Escondidos to be between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity at about 70%.
What Clothing Should I Wear?
Light clothes are recommended. Business clothing is considered formal. A light jacket for men and a tailored suit or a two-piece pants suit for women is recommended. Of course if you intend to do some hiking along the nature trails, you should wear breathable and flexible clothing and it is advisable to bring a good bug spray.
Should I Have Any Health Concerns About the Airor Water?
No vaccines or pills are necessary prior to visiting Panama. Panama is the only country in Latin America where you can drink water straight from the tap. The tropical sun can be strong, so we advise you to wear a high Pf sunscreen, light & loose clothing, and protective sunglasses or a hat.
Just How Safe is Panama?
Panama is considered one of the safest places in the Americas. But as with any foreign destination, you should use common sense and your intuition to protect yourself. It is not advisable to walk around the streets flashing your money or valuable belongings. Reports of people being pick-pocketed in Panama are rare, but it's best to assume that pickpockets are around. According to a recent study by the Corporate Resources Group, Panama is considered one of the top 3 best places to live in Latin America according to factors such as transportation, crime, art and entertainment.