What are the Most Popular Places to Live in the Republic of Panama? A Comprehensive Guide

The Republic of Panama is known for its beautiful landscapes, cultural diversity, and vibrant city life.

The Republic of Panama is known for its beautiful landscapes, cultural diversity, and vibrant city life. Its strategic location, connecting North and South America, has made it an attractive spot for businesses and tourists alike. However, it’s not just these factors that draw people to Panama, but the relatively low cost of living also adds to its appeal, making it a popular destination for expats and retirees.

One of the most appealing aspects of living in Panama is the wide range of lifestyle options it offers. From bustling urban centers to laid-back beach towns, there’s a little something for everyone. Some of the most popular places to live include Panama City, known for its modern skyline and rich cultural scene, and Coronado, a coastal suburb with an array of amenities and activities to enjoy.

Other favored destinations in Panama include Boquete, a charming highland town with cooler temperatures, and Bocas del Toro, an archipelago known for its stunning Caribbean beaches and relaxed island vibes. Each of these locales offers a unique and memorable experience, catering to various preferences and needs of those looking to call the Republic of Panama their home.

Panama City

The view of Casco Viejo with Panama City, Panama in the background.

Panama City, the capital of the Republic of Panama, is known for its modern metro, towering skyscrapers, vibrant nightlife, and diverse expat community. It offers a range of opportunities for people looking to move to this lively city.

Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo, a historic district in Panama City, features a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. The area boasts a variety of restaurants, cafes, and art galleries, attracting both tourists and long-term residents alike. The cost of living in Panama varies between the different neighborhoods, with Casco Viejo being a popular and relatively affordable destination.

The expat community in Casco Viejo is strong and welcoming, providing an excellent network for newcomers to the city. The neighborhood is easily accessible through the city’s efficient metro system, connecting those living in Casco Viejo to other essential areas for shopping, healthcare, and entertainment.

Washing our truck in a very modern carwash in the San Francisco neighborhood of Panama City.

El Cangrejo

El Cangrejo is another popular choice among expats for its energetic atmosphere and abundance of amenities. The neighborhood is home to a variety of shopping centers, supermarkets, and restaurants, catering to diverse tastes and budgets.

In terms of nightlife, El Cangrejo has an impressive selection of bars and clubs, making it an ideal place for those looking to unwind after a day at work or explore the city’s vibrant social scene. Additionally, the expat community in this area is well-established, and new residents will find plenty of resources and support upon arrival.

The cost of living in El Cangrejo is generally higher than in Casco Viejo, with real estate prices reflecting the demand for its prime location and modern conveniences. However, the investment in this neighborhood promises a dynamic and comfortable lifestyle within the bustling heart of Panama City.

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Beach Communities


Coronado is a popular beach town on Panama’s Pacific coast, which attracts expats for its impressive infrastructure. With its beautiful beaches, it offers excellent swimming conditions and various water sports, such as paddleboarding. Many bars and restaurants in Coronado cater to English-speaking visitors, creating a welcoming environment for expats. The town’s location near Panama City provides easy access to modern amenities.


Pedasi is a charming coastal town on the Pacific coast known for its stunning beaches and world-class surf conditions. It is a perfect destination for those who enjoy fishing and spending time in nature, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. The area’s laid-back atmosphere makes it an excellent choice for a relaxed lifestyle. Pedasi has a tight-knit expat community, who appreciate the town’s low cost of living and the local cultural experiences.

Pacifica Beach

Pacifica Beach is another popular destination on Panama’s Pacific coast, boasting breathtaking views and pristine beaches. The coastal community offers various water activities, including surfing and swimming. Its proximity to Panama City ensures that residents can enjoy city amenities, while experiencing a tranquil beach lifestyle. The growing expat community in Pacifica Beach appreciates the high quality of life it offers, paired with the affordable cost of living in the region.

Mountain Cities

El Valle

El Valle is a popular destination for those seeking a cooler climate with a charming, small-town feel. Surrounded by mountains, this area is known for its lush forests, colorful gardens, and natural beauty, including waterfalls and hiking trails. The close-knit expat community brings together locals and foreigners alike, fostering a welcoming atmosphere. With its rich biodiversity, exploring El Valle can feel like immersing oneself in a nature lover’s paradise.


Boquete is perhaps the most famous mountain town in Panama and has attracted expats, particularly retirees, for decades. It boasts a cooler climate and stunning natural surroundings, complete with forests, hiking trails, and a variety of flora and fauna. The vibrant community in Boquete offers a mix of cultural experiences, activities, and opportunities to connect with other expats and locals. The town is also known for its substantial rainfall, which contributes to the lush green landscape.


Nestled at the foot of the Baru Volcano, Volcan is another idyllic mountain town in Panama known for its cooler temperatures and breathtaking landscapes. Its proximity to mountains, forests, and hiking trails makes it a perfect destination for those seeking an outdoor-oriented lifestyle. The tight-knit community enjoys access to fresh produce, making it a delight for food enthusiasts. Nature lovers will also appreciate the abundance of waterfalls in the area. Despite being a smaller town, Volcan still offers a range of amenities and conveniences, making it an attractive option for those looking to live in a more serene environment.

Caribbean Spots

Panama, located in Central America, offers various beautiful locations on its Caribbean coast. Two popular destinations for those looking to enjoy the Caribbean lifestyle in the Republic of Panama are Bocas Del Toro and Colon. These regions provide stunning beach views, rich cultural experiences, and a variety of water activities.

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Bocas Del Toro

Bocas Del Toro is an enchanting archipelago situated on the Caribbean Sea, boasting pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and a vibrant expat community. The laid-back atmosphere and picturesque landscapes make it an ideal location for those seeking a serene Caribbean lifestyle.

One of the main attractions in Bocas Del Toro is its abundant marine life, providing exceptional opportunities for scuba diving and snorkeling. The crystal-clear waters and diverse underwater ecosystem make it a popular destination for both beginners and experienced divers alike.

The cost of living in Bocas Del Toro is relatively affordable compared to other Caribbean destinations. Due to its popularity among expats, there are various accommodation options, ranging from charming beachfront bungalows to modern condos.


Colon, located on the northern coast of Panama, is an important port city and commercial hub. It offers a mix of urban development and stunning natural landscapes, providing residents with a unique Caribbean experience.

The city is situated along the Caribbean Sea, with easy access to beautiful beaches and various water activities such as fishing, sailing, and exploring the nearby islands. Colon is also known for its rich history and cultural events, offering a diverse array of experiences for residents and visitors.

Despite being a bustling city, the cost of living in Colon remains relatively affordable, especially when compared to other Caribbean metropolitan areas. There are diverse housing options available, from luxury apartments to more modest residences, catering to various budgets and preferences.

In summary, both Bocas Del Toro and Colon offer unique Caribbean experiences, combining stunning natural beauty with a range of leisure activities and affordable living options.

Living Cost in Panama

The cost of living in Panama is generally affordable, particularly when compared to the United States and European countries. However, the expenses can vary depending on the area and one’s lifestyle. For those living on a budget, it’s essential to know where and how to manage their cash efficiently.

In Panama City, where expats and retirees tend to flock, housing costs can be significantly higher. The popular areas, such as Balboa, Costa del Este, and Punta Paitilla, may require a higher budget for housing. But there are more affordable places available in Panama, like the city of Volcán, where a compact, regionally inspired house may be rented for as low as $350 to $750 per month1.

One significant factor affecting the cost of living is transportation. Public transportation in Panama is relatively inexpensive; however, owning a car might have additional expenses like fuel, maintenance, and insurance. The prices for groceries vary too. Local produce, like fruits and vegetables, can be much cheaper than imported goods.

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When it comes to entertainment and dining, one can find options for any budget. Panama offers a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and bars, where prices may vary depending on their location and the type of cuisine2. Going out to eat and socialize now and then won’t have a significant impact on one’s overall budget if planned right.

In conclusion, the cost of living in Panama is generally affordable and can be adjusted to accommodate any individual’s budget. By managing cash wisely, choosing the right location, and prioritizing expenses, one can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.


  1. https://smartxpat.com/best-places-to-live-and-retire-in-panama/
  2. https://nopermissions.com/what-is-the-cost-of-living-in-panama-2/

Relevant Information

The Republic of Panama has become an attractive destination for people looking to move, particularly for retirees and expats. With its warm climate, affordable cost of living, and decent healthcare system, Panama offers a comfortable lifestyle that appeals to many individuals.

One of the most popular places to live in Panama is its vibrant capital, Panama City. Areas such as Balboa, Costa del Este, Punta Paitilla, El Cangrejo, and San Francisco offer high-rise condos with stunning ocean or city views. These neighborhoods provide access to all the amenities one could ever need, making them ideal for younger couples, singles, or active retirees.

If you prefer a more laid-back lifestyle, Boquete is a great option. This charming town is nestled in the mountains and surrounded by lush green forests. Boquete is popular among expats due to its pleasant climate, mid-range cost of living, low crime rates, and stunning views. Additionally, a strong expat community can be found here, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a sense of familiarity.

Panama’s official language is Spanish, so learning the language can be helpful for those looking to move or retire there. However, many Panamanians are bilingual, easing the transition for English-speaking expats. Furthermore, Panama’s government encourages foreigners to move to the country by offering generous tax breaks and other incentives.

The healthcare system in Panama is a mix of public and private options. Both nationals and expats have access to quality healthcare services at relatively low costs. Private hospitals in urban areas, such as Panama City, tend to be more modern and better equipped. Expats living in these areas may opt for private health insurance to ensure access to the best medical care available.

In conclusion, Panama offers a variety of living options for those looking to move or retire there. From bustling city neighborhoods to quaint mountain towns, there is something for everyone. Its affordable cost of living, appealing incentives, and strong expat communities make it an attractive destination for a wide range of individuals.

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