Living in Panama
The meeting point between two oceans and two continents is where Panama is located. Panama is a small country with a population of over 3,6 million people. There has been a massive influx of investors, business people and fortune-seekers in recent years. They are riding the wave of development in Panama. Its third world image has been shaken off and it has become a haven for expats.
Panama is a country that doesn’t disappoint. The Panama City is one of the most developed first world countries in Latin America. Expats usually move here after retirement. Panama has been voted as the second best global retirement destination. Out of the 4 million people in Panama, 50% are expats.
The cost of living in here is lower than most Western countries. In Panama, it is also not difficult to find something that interests you.
The country is a heaven for nature lovers. If you are a beach person, you shouldn’t even think twice before moving to Panama.
If you’re planning to move to Panama, here’s an interesting article which covers everything you need to become a citizen of Panama.
Politics in Panama
Panama is a presidential representative democratic republic. The president is the head of the state as well as the head of the Government.
Elections are held every five years in Panama. People vote directly for the President.
Anyone who is a citizen of Panama and over 18 years of age is eligible to vote. Voting in the elections is compulsory. However, those who fail to do so aren’t penalized.
The major political parties in Panama are Democratic Revolution Party, Panamenista Party, Democratic Change, Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement and People’s Party.
Economy of Panama
Anyone visiting this country is sure to wonder if Panama is a rich country or a poor country. The answer to this is quite twisted.
Panama has a history of low inflation. The US dollar is the official currency used in Panama, which means, the economy here is a fully dollarized economy.
In Panama, you will see extreme wealth as well as extreme poverty. The problem is, wealth here isn’t spread evenly. There are a few wealthy people who own most of the expensive things. A major portion of the population is either very poor or earns just enough.
Tourism is one of the major sources of income in Panama. Major industries here are – Banking, commerce and tourism. Other industries contributing to the country’s economy are manufacturing of aircraft spare parts, cements, drinks, adhesives and textiles. Panama is also an exporter of bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee and clothing.
Buying or Renting Property in Panama
If you are moving to Panama for a short term, it would be ideal to rent a house. If you intend to settle down in Panama for the long term, buying property makes sense.
Property in Panama is considered to be luxurious as well as affordable. But over the last few years, property prices have gone up considerably. Read more about the property prices in Panama here.
If you are planning to buy or rent a house in Panama, here’s a useful article to guide you.
Visa and Immigration
Schools in Panama
Education in Panama is free. Education is compulsory for children at least for the first seven years. It is a civil right of every child living in this country.
Some schools in Panama offer day care services for children from the age of eight months or one year, for four hours a day. Once children turn five, they start kindergarten.
This is followed by six years of primary education, three years of lower secondary and three years of secondary education.
Once children finish higher secondary education, they may opt for higher studies at a public or a private university.
When moving to a new country, expats usually prefer sending their children to an IB school. While there are several international schools in Panama, they are very expensive.
The quality of education here is quite good. Which is why, many expats are increasingly opting to send their kids to a local school in Panama.
The multi-lingual education system in Panama is actually considered to be very helpful for children. Going to a local school, kids also find it easier to make friends with the locals.
A new trend that expats have brought with them is the concept of homeschooling. This is definitely a new thing for locals in Panama. While they wouldn’t prefer it for their own children, they do not mind expats homeschooling their children.
Weather in Panama
Panama has two major seasons – dry season and the wet season.
The dry season usually last from December to April.
The wet season starts from May and lasts till November. The rainy season is at its peak in November.
The rains don’t usually last too long, just a couple of hours. But it is still advisable that people carry umbrellas and raincoats to avoid being caught in the rains.
The temperature in Panama is ranges between 21 degrees to 34 degrees throughout the year.
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