Cost of Living - Panama

Costa del Este
Panama City, Panama 




More News - Cost of Living in Panama

Read one full example from Yahoo Forum - Living in Central America

Example #1

These prices are current for the area in western Panama between Boquete, David and Volcan.

Rent: $250 - $2500 month

The low end will get a tipico Panamanian house with maybe a small frig and stove and suicide shower in a Panamanian neighborhood.

The high end is a fully furnished 3 bedroom house built to American standards in a gated community by a golf course.

For about $800 you can get a fully furnished, recently built or remodeled 3 bedroom house in a integrated neighborhood with hot water and laundry.

For $500 you can get a fully furnished 1 bedroom apartment on an American's 5 acre estate.

Utilities may be included but if not, electricity about $35-$50 month. Propane gas bottle $5.65 (may last up to 2 months and is a subsidized price)

Food should run $50-$75 per week. (By the way I had a Tico employee here a few months ago that remarked how cheap the food was in Panama compared to Costa Rica).

You can eat out for $2.50 for a good lunch and $10.00 for filet mignon dinner.

High speed internet may be included in the rent of will run $30-$50

Satellite TV $25-$50 (or do as I do and watch US TV and Netflix streamed on my computer hooked to a 23 " monitor.)

Maids are usually paid about $10-15 a day. Gardeners about the same.

Local live Theater and live bands. Free to $10 per ticket

2nd run Movies in English or with subtitles $2.75- $3.75 a ticket (in David)

Local Bus 35 cents to a $1.25 depending on destination. It costs about $12.00 to ride an express bus to Panama City from David. I think about $15.00 to San Jose.

Local Taxis $1.00- $3.00 depending upon destination

Gasoline currently is about $3.60 gal. Diesel is $3.37

Good used cars/suvs under $10,000 are hard to find but are available. Currently a 2004 Nissan X-trail in good condition (I think) is listed for $6500.

I have friends that live quite comfortably on $1000-$1200 per month but their house and vehicle is paid for.

Hasta luego,

Example #2

I'm living in Puerto Armuelles Panama, a busted banana town just south of the Costa Rican border.
I bought a small wooden house, very cheap, and remodeled it, not so cheap somehow. Ownership of expensive real estate a bad idea for me.
All utilities, power, water, garbage, DSL internet, Claro satellite TV, about $100 per mo.
Air Conditioned bus to the border (Paso Canoas) 1 hour $1.75, to David 2 hours $3. Taxi in town 50 cents. I do almost everything on my bike.
David Panama has a Pricemart with many gringo products otherwise hard to find. Ghirardelli Brownie Mix and Chocolate Chips, Kirkland brand Walnuts, Wisconsin Cheddar and Swiss Cheese and good Tortilla chips are my current addictions.
Fresh tuna head off $1.25#, small shrimp head off $2#, fruit and vegies cheap in season but potatoes and tomatoes have gotten a little spendy. Bananas almost free. Processed and imported foods probably more expensive than the US. But how much can 1 person eat anyway.
Lunch at my local Fonda $1.50 for rice, beans, soup, salad and a very small piece of chicken. Perfect for me.
My very sick puppy visited the Vet twice this week, huge IV antibiotic injection, penicillin injection and some other stuff $14.
He's doing fine now, and the locals told me I over paid.
I'm driving a Skoda (VW/AUDI) diesel that gets maybe 45MPG on the road (the only place I take it) Paid 7K for a 2006 with 50K miles. Servicing any modern,especially European, car is expensive anywhere in the world. But Japanese cars sold here new, not US models, much cheaper to service or repair.
Here is a $4500 car with 24K miles, if it really is just like new, it will probably last 10 years anyway. With light use.
Good used cars are hard to find, but here if your not in a hurry.
Minimum liability car insurance $125-$`175 per year, cost to transfer a used car to your name $20. Diesel $3.38 gas a little more. Annual inspection/tags about $50 if I remember right.
Very easy to get around on public transport, probably easier and more fun than driving and taxis are cheap.
Panamas big advantage is that my income is in dollars, if the dollar continues to weaken, CA banks may lose interest in changing dollars, Mexico has already done so, claiming money laundering as the reason.
The currency here in Panama is the dollar so it should continue to be worth something.
Some expats spend a small fortune on a US style house, shipping containers, new cars etc. Others scrape together an airplane ticket and a few grand and do just fine. Especially if they lost their job were looking at going homeless, on SS, up north with winter coming.

Example #3

The answers relative to La Ceiba, Honduras. We are 2 adults w 1 child and usually 2 or 3 teenage nieces/nephews.

1) What is the cost of a typical rental for a couple in a moderately secure(non-gated community) area?
We spend 3600 lempiras/ US $190.00 for rent 3 bedroom 2 bath house about 5 km from town. It is bigger and nicer than the house we had in the States.

2) Typical utilities for the above rental for a couple.
Electricity about 1500 Lempiras/$80 US for Elext Stove, Washer, Dryer, Large Fridge and too many TVs.
Water 200 Lempiras/ $11.00 US
Bottled water another 200 Lps/Mo

3) Food, entertainment
Food: about 5000 Lempiras/ US $270.00 (Beer Extra) Milk very expensive around a 18 Lps/ 1 dollar a Liter A visit to restautarant/bar for 2 about 600 Lps./$30.00 in a Gringo place and 200 Lps/ $11.00 in a locals bar/rest.

4) Cost of (once-a-week) household help - No idea.

5) Is vehicle ownership feasible on a budget, what type?
Used cars for mechanically inclined from 25,000 lps / $1,300.00 and up for around 1985 model. A good running & looking car about 80,000 Lps/ $4,250.00 and up for c 2000 model.
Gas is expensive 73.00 lps/$3.86 a gallon for regular.

6) Public transportation costs - don't know.

And: My daughters private bilingual school is 2,250 Lps/ $120.00 per month.
That's enough work for today!
Al - back to the hammock in La Ceiba, HN


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