Singles Moving to Panama, Central America
Trying to determine how many expats live in Panama without current government data is a wild guess at best but net migrations number 29 per day prove Panama is growing. People of all ages are relocating to Panama, families, couples and singles alike have determined the isthmus is the right fit.
One of the best pieces of advice is to visit before you make life changing decisions. Starting in Panama City, there are a few Panama sites to see to provide a solid taste: the Panama Canal and Museum at Miroflores Locks, the old town Casco Viejo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Amador, four small islands linked by a causeway built from rock excavated during the building of the canal, top the list.
Why move to Panama?
Many families seek a different lifestyle from the hectic schedules to devote more time and effort to their kids. Couples, whether working or retired, seek warmer climate and the associated natural beauty.
As future expats, significant research on these topics plus affordable and accessible quality healthcare, residency options, housing availability, purchasing vehicles, should be completed before any decisions.
Singles who select Panama site these reasons too. Additional factors highly considered are safety and security. First time visitors are often surprised at the sight of armed security personnel, police and private, everywhere. In banks, retail stores, they are an obvious presence in daily life. There are many gated communities or condo developments with security.
Most homes are surrounded by tall fences, often cement, topped with razor wire or even electrified. Most homes also have barred windows though often rather decorative and not indicative of being in a cage. Outside the gated communities you can find mini developments usually consisting of six to ten houses in a group sharing common elements as well as a full time on site caretaker so you are never alone even if your neighbors are only sporadic visitors.
Beyond these blatant safety precautions, the standard practices of not walking
alone after dark in shady or unlit areas stands, a little common sense goes a long way no matter where you are. The single women I know do not complain of safety or security concerns.
Many expats communities are located across the country. Many younger single expats seeking a rich, cosmopolitan experience will choose Panama City for its epicurean and cultural options. Nearly all the North American amenities are at your fingertips. Getting around in Panama City is not a problem, taxis and Uber, buses and subway, charter services, tour and sightseeing buses are all readily available. This of course comes with a cost and singles with budget considerations can look to communities beyond the city.
The second largest community of expats in Panama are located in the mountain town of Boquete about 60 km from the Costa Rica border. The community boasts daily activities, festivals and live music nightly. A single women’s group, the CHICAS has a large membership and ROMEO, Retired Old Men Eating Out, is the men’s equivalent.
Coronado, the popular Panamanian beach community, about ninety minutes from the city, hosts an outdoor lifestyle, water sports and exercise activities as well as live music and dancing on the weekends. Coronado has good infrastructure, shopping and amenities and meeting places with coordinated weekly events well patronized by expats and locals. The community is estimated to be 50:50 expats to locals and is a bustling social neighborhood. Living in or near expat communities removes the language barrier from initial social interaction and you can begin networking easily.
Of all the criteria to review to determine the best of Panama, our biggest surprise was the ease of meeting people and making new friends. We are part of several groups of friends and when we look around, we see the most amazing range of people, singles and couples, gays and straight, young and old of all colors and creeds hanging out together in harmony. Perhaps the potential for isolation in a new country opens you up. Whatever it is, it is refreshing to be part of a group with nothing but the fact you are from away that binds you. Inclusiveness is the norm.
As a single, building a new support system is key to success. Building a network of fellow expats and locals doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Joining Facebook pages associated with your new community keeps you up to date on local events and activities, opportunities for volunteering and assistance with almost any request. Even the smallest of expat communities will schedule activities and get togethers with locals, a great opportunity to familiarize newcomers. People tend to be friendly, open and welcoming.
For singles questioning is Panama truly a retirement haven, there are a few key things to consider. The biggest factor is an attitude alignment, things are different here and they will stay that way, it is your responsibility to accept as is and relax. Learning a new language is a challenge. The change in climate can be a big adjustment, though most happily adapt. If you are employed, cultural adaptations can ease stress as you see the Panamanian view of the importance of work life balance.
Panama offers a haven for everyone seeking a warm tropical climate with vibrant and social communities across the country, in the city, mountains or beaches. Both locals and expats are friendly and welcoming and you may just find your right fit.