Cost of Living in Panama Compared to the U.S. & Canada

Many Americans & Canadians are interested in moving abroad to find better quality of life for lower cost than they can in their home country. Panama can be an excellent option for anyone relocating to a foreign country for lower cost of living.

Cost of Living in Panama

Panama is a diverse country and costs depend on what part of the country you're in. For example, apartment rentals can vary from $300 per month to over $2000. That's why we've included sample budgets for several different areas in the following pages. Generally, costs are higher in Panama City and more affordable in other cities and towns.

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Groceries are 22% less in David than in Houston, TX

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Eating out is 38% cheaper in Panama City than in Los Angeles, CA

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Rent for a three bedroom apartment in Boquete is 60% than in Orlando, FL

data from numbeo.com

Food - Generally, food is less than what you'd pay in the U.S., although imported and processed goods may have high price tags. Shopping in local markets and buying fresh foods are the best ways to keep costs down. You can easily buy fruits and vegetables for a week with $20. A local lunch (look for menu ejecutivo) will cost $5-7 in Panama City and less elsewhere in the country.

Transport - Transportation is cheap as well - if you are in Panama City you can take advantage of Metrobus and Metro systems, which charge $0.10-1.50 per ride in the city. Uber is available and offers low fares for taxi rides. Buying a car, even a used car, can be expensive, particularly when compared to the U.S. 

Utilities prices fluctuate widely depending primarily on usage of air conditioning. A home without AC may have an electric bill near $30. If you run your AC constantly, you can expect closer to $300. Water everywhere is extremely affordable. 

Another major cost to consider is private health insurance, where costs can vary considerably. Plans covering just Panama may be only $30-40/month, while international plans including U.S. coverage will be well over $300/month, even if you are young and healthy.

Sample Budgets

Sample Budget #1 - Bocas del Toro

Please note that these sample budgets are directional only. The town you live in, changing prices, and your lifestyle will all influence your ultimate budget.

Living in the Bocas del Toro for Two People per Month (USD)

Rent, 2 bed house

$1000

Utilities (electric & water)

$120

Internet & phone

$100

Transportation 

$165

Groceries

$450

Eating out & Entertainment

$183

Cleaning Service 1x/week

$80

Private health insurance for two

$149

Misc. (shopping, beauty, etc.)

$60

Total

$2307

Sample Budget #2 - Panama City

Please note that these sample budgets are directional only. The town you live in, changing prices, and your lifestyle will all influence your ultimate budget.

Living in Panama City for Two People per Month (USD)

Rent, 2 bed apartment

$1800

Utilities (electric & water)

$225

Internet & phone

$50

Transportation (taxis & bus)

$40

Groceries

$450

Eating out & Entertainment

$280

Cleaning Service 1x/week

$80

International health insurance for two

$500

Misc. (shopping, beauty, etc.)

$120

Total

$3545

Sample Budget #3 - Boquete

Please note that these sample budgets are directional only. The town you live in, changing prices, and your lifestyle will all influence your ultimate budget.

Living in Boquete for Two People per Month (USD)

Rent, furnished 2 bed house

$750

Utilities (electric & water)

$60

Internet & phone

$86

Transportation (car insurance + gas)

$90

Groceries

$425

Eating out & Entertainment

$300

International health insurance for two

$580

Misc. (shopping, beauty, etc.)

$100

Total

$2341

Remember, these figures should be considered directional only. Your cost of living will vary significantly depending on how you choose to live. You can get buy on less than  $1000 a month if you live like a local, or live a lavish lifestyle for much more.