Panama: Tropical Ambiance and First-World Amenities
There's much to be said for living in Panama. Health care is excellent and affordable, with many doctors trained in the U.S. The abundance of modern medical facilities is in keeping with Panama's generally excellent infrastructure, which includes good roads, reliable transportation, speedy internet connections, and drinkable tap water. Panamanians in general are friendly towards foreigners: their country has been an international crossroads for over a century, and native Panamanians are used to welcoming travelers and immigrants from all over the world. Official currency is the U.S. dollar, and, although prices have risen in recent years, residents still find that their dollar goes farther here than it does in the states.
The government's incentives for retirees are worth special mention here. Panama's pensionado program was created in 1987, and confers an appealing set of benefits. Pensionados receive half off of entertainment, including movie theaters, sports events, concerts, and theater performances. There is not only a 30% discount on transportation, but a 25% discount on airfare that increases the preexisting appeal of Panama's easy connections to the U.S. Pensionados also get discounts on medical services, dental exams, and other technical services. Perhaps best of all for those purchasing real estate is a 50% deduction from closing costs on home loans, making it very affordable to purchase a home or land for sale in Panama. Other countries have since imitated Panama's program, but it remains a unique draw to the country.