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about panama

Panama , a country where the concept of exotic begins in its name, which means "abundance of fish and butterflies" in our indigenous language.

Panama has coasts on two oceans: the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea . These coasts, although different, are suited for all sorts of activities with the different beaches and islands found in them. Panama has over 1500 exotic islands and world famous beautiful beaches with top class sailing, diving and fishing free from natural disasters such as Hurricanes and earthquakes.

The prestigious “ Pinkerton Global Intelligence Services” has recently awarded Panama it's highest rating in terms of tourist safety.

The Panama Canal expansion project which is due to begin in 2007 is expected to last 10 years and will require about 10,000 workers, many of whom will be foreign generating a demand for real estate services over the 10 year period.

Over 80 banks have full service branches here including HSBC, Scotiabank, Dresdner, BNP/Paribas. Panama is a growing international financial center with 1 st class telecommunications and amities.

In Latin America, Panama ranks as one of the best places to live, according to a business survey of 192 cities worldwide by the Corporate Resources Group.

Panama is a peaceful country with no military and a stable government with the economy growing 6% in 2005 and inflation rate of mere 2.3%. The country has maintained an annual inflation rate of under two percent for the last 40 years. Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its legal tender.

Health care is both excellent and reasonably priced in Panama including a newly opened world renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital . Many of the country's bilingual physicians earn their degrees in the U.S.

There are five golf courses in or near the city and beach areas. Dining is excellent in Panama City , and there are numerous bars, discos, cafes and movies in English. English is widely spoken

Panama is fast becoming one of the world's top retirement destinations and also a world class tourist location - particularly for adventure and ecotourism. With an US style infrastructure. Panama offers an easy transition particularly for US retirees. 75-80 million Baby Boomers will reach retirement age in the next 10 years in the US alone. US Government statistics show that most of them will not be able to sustain their current standard of living by relying on savings, assets or pensions. Living and retiring overseas was once an option available only for the wealthy, it is now an affordable trend.

Panama is beautiful. From cool mountain retreats like Boquete, to affordable beachfront property, or cosmopolitan city apartments overlooking a stunning harbor. With real estate prices beginning to rise, an opportunity exists to make a considerable return on your investment if you buy now. Rental property is in high demand particularly in the highland areas, so even if you are not looking to retire for a while this is an opportunity to get into the market and earn a return on your investment in the meantime

Panama currently has an undervalued real estate market; however as has happened in countries like Costa Rica , Mexico and Ireland , prices are beginning to rise as more people discover the advantages Panama has to offer. As a potential real estate investor there are several areas to consider where you will find maximum growth opportunities.

Panama Statistics

Official Name:
Republic of Panama
Panama City
Area, Population and Density:
75,990 square km. Pop: 2,839,177 . 81 persons/square mi.
Age Distribution (%):
0-14 years 37.0%, 15-59 years 56.3%, 60+ years 6.7%
Political Division:
9 provinces and 1 comarca
Constitutional Democracy, Centralized Republic
Legal System:
Based on the civilian legal system, judicial revision of legislative acts in the Supreme Court. Accepting international tribunal jurisdiction, except in some instances.
The official language is Spanish. However, many panamanians speak both Spanish and English
Panamanian weather is pleasantly tropical, and uniform throughout the year. Nights are usually cool. The average temperature is 27 degrees C. Panama has two weather seasons: rainy and dry. The former stretches from March to December.
There is an absolute freedom of Religion in Panama . Most panamanians are Roman Catholic. However, due to the diversity in our country, you can find all kinds of temples of worship throughout the country.
Time Zone:
The time in Panama all year long is the same as the EST (GMT -5). We do not observe Daylight Savings Time.

More About Panama

  • Panama is politically sound. Political Risk Services (PRS) placed Panama in the top three countries of the hemisphere with the best risk-investment qualifications. Moody's and Standard & Poors have both granted high ranking to Panamanian financial instruments
  • Low Cost of Living. Panama has been ranked first in the region for low cost of living, operational cost and index of labor by the Tripartite Committee, which consists of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
  • A high percentage of Panama 's labor force is bilingual. About 8 out of 10 Panamanians living within the banking sector of Panama City are bi-lingual in English and Spanish.
  • Panama is at the top of the list of the world's freest economies. According to Canada 's Fraser Institute (Economic Freedom of the World), Panama ranked eighth with Australia , Ireland , the Netherlands and Luxembourg , Panama represents an environment conducive for the creation of companies, jobs and prosperity. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation's annual Index of Economic Freedom found Panama second in the region.
  • Panama 's open economy offers the lowest tariffs in the region, which has helped increase foreign investment in both the public and private sectors. There are more than 40 laws and decrees that offer investors special import, tax, and operational incentives. Sectors enjoying these incentives include tourism, export processing zones, mining, reforestation, insurance and re-insurance, agro-industry, petroleum free zones, infrastructure and construction.
  • Panama is a 100% Tax Haven: Non-resident Panamanian International Business Corporations (IBC's) and Private Interest Foundations do not pay tax on any of their income derived from abroad nor do they have any reporting requirements on income derived abroad to the Panamanian government.
  • Panama 's circulating currency is the US Dollar, and Panama has no currency exchange controls or currency restrictions so funds can flow in and out of the country freely. Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its legal tender currency), instilling tremendous fiscal and monetary discipline while keeping inflation very low - under two percent for the last 40 years.
  • Low inflation and zero foreign exchange risk. Panama 's economic performance is, almost every year, better than that of just about every other country in Latin America . In fact, over the past 40 years, the country's inflation rate has averaged less than 2% per year...that's simply unheard of south of the United States according to Kathleen Peddicord of International Living.
  • The Panama Stock Exchange is the fastest growing in the region with an average total trading volume of US$900 million.
  • Panama is home to the second largest international distribution and trade center (free trade zone) in the world. Panama 's Colon Free Zone has over 1500 international import/export businesses operating within it, receives more than 250,000 visitors yearly, and generates exports and re-exports valued at more than US$11 billion annually.
  • Panama has bilateral trade agreements with over 20 countries and Investment Protection Agreements with about a dozen countries including the United States , Canada , the United Kingdom , Spain , Germany and France . Additionally, Panama is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in the process of becoming a member of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).
  • The newsletter of International Living (September 2001) names Panama as the best place to live outside the United States . Modern Maturity (June 2001) newsletter of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) ranks Panama as one of the top four "best places to live abroad".
  • Panama is one of the safest countries in the world. Panama has a modern, American style infrastructure due to the near 100 year presence of the Americans in Panama . Panama 's cost of living is a fraction (approximately 1/5th) of the United States .
  • CBS's Pearl Island Survivor and All Star Survivor reality shows were filmed back to back in Panama 's Pearl Islands . Additionally, several international Survivor Reality Shows have also been filmed in the Pearl Islands , including French and German Versions.
  • The expatriate trend is booming. It is estimated that there are 3.5 million US expatriates world wide, and in the next 3 years it is estimated that the number of US expat's will grow to over 10 million. Panama is a very hot expatriate destination due to its incredibl retirement incentives, residency programs, weather, infrastructure and business opportunity.
  • Real Estate in Values in Panama are soaring. In recent years, property values have doubled in much of the reverted areas, and in the Pearl Islands , property owners have seen an increase of 60% in their property values.
  • Over 200 International Game and Fishing Records have been broken in the waters surrounding the Pearl Islands .
  • Tourism in Panama is expected to climb almost 20 percent this year.