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Living in Panama
Living  in  Panama
Living  in  Panama Living  in  Panama Living  in  Panama Living  in  Panama
LIVING IN PANAMA

Panama is rated one of the top three Latin American countries in terms of quality of life: health, education, and economic well-being. For North Americans and Europeans Panama has become one of the preferred retirement destinations and /or locations for the purchase of a second home.
 
There are many reasons why Panama is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for retirees around the world. Many prospective visitors arrive at their decision to move to Panama through a process of elimination. That is, individuals often go through a process of asking questions (like the ones below) about each and every country that might suit their needs.
Panama has one of the best retiree incentive programs in the world, including discounts on air travel and restaurants, among others. Retirees can also bring their household goods into Panama free of importation duties.
Panama City is often referred to as a “Second Miami” because of its sophisticated business district, modern healthcare facilities, and well developed infrastructure.
Panama enjoys a unique geographical position, and, fortunately, unlike other tropical destinations, is not affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or typhoons.
Panama has a strong, stable democracy and a tradition of democratic electoral process. Most, if not all, of the vestiges of military dictatorship have been eliminated and forgotten.
Panama is a great place to live. In addition to a year-round tropical climate, two oceans, picturesque mountain villages, Panama Canal, jungles, islands, beaches and rivers, Panama has one of the lowest crime rates in this hemisphere.
Panama offers one of the most modern economies in Latin America. In addition to the U.S. dollar as its national currency, Panama enjoys very low inflation and zero foreign exchange risk. There are no controls or restrictions on capital repatriations. Panama has over 140 banks from 35 different countries and is an international center for finance, insurance and shipping. Although Panama’s official, legal currency is the Balboa, the economy is fully dollarized.
Including the Caribbean, Panama boasts Central & South America’s most modern and advanced telephone, fax, internet, and cellular communications infrastructure.
Under the Panamanian Constitution, foreign investors and foreign-owned businesses enjoy the same legal rights and duties as local investors, including the right to participate in commerce and industry, as well as to carry out import and export activities.

GEOGRAPHY
The Republic of Panama straddles the narrowest and southernmost portion of the isthmus linking North and South America.  Located between Costa Rica and Colombia, Panama has an approximate land-surface area of 29,700 square miles (76,900 km2).  Shaped like an elongated letter “S”, it extends 420 miles (676 km2) east to west.  Panama’s width varies between 31 and 115 miles (50 and 185 km.) and its coastline extends approximately 490 miles (784 km) along the Atlantic Ocean and 870 miles (1,400 km) along the Pacific.
The Panama Canal is the country’s best-known and most-valuable asset and its construction continues to be considered one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of all time.  Approximately 50 miles (80 km) in length, the Panama Canal joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

MAIN CITIES
Panama City is the country’s capital and main commercial center. The city lies on the Gulf of Panama in the Pacific Ocean. Colon, the country’s second most important city, is located on the Caribbean Coast. Its economy is dependent on traffic through the Panama Canal and on the volume of commercial activity of Colon’s Free Trade Zone, the Americas’ largest duty-tree zone.

POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
Panama’s population numbers approximately 3 million people, with more or less 52 percent living in its urban centers.
While Spanish is the country’s official language, English is widely spoken as a second language.

MEDICAL SERVICES
Panama’s private healthcare services and infrastructure meet developed-world standards of quality. In addition, medical care in Panama is reasonably priced, in general well below the prices charged for services of the same type and quality in the US or in Europe.
Many of the country’s physicians studied and/or received training abroad.  The University of Panama is also recognized for offering one of the region’s highest-quality medical programs.  In addition, Panama City is home to the Punta Pacifica Hospital, which is affiliated with John Hopkins Medicine International.
Further contributing to the country’s high health levels, tap water available throughout Panama is generally safe to drink, with a few exceptions in some rural areas.

ENVIRONMENT
Panama is one of only a few cities in the world where a protected tropical rainforest is located within the city’s limits.  The country offers a wide variety of outdoor activities ranging from exploring the mountain region of Chiriquí to visiting its beautiful beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

ATTRACTIONS & ENTERTAINMENT
The country’s most famous attraction is without a doubt the Panama Canal.  Panama City, a bustling metropolis, offers modern infrastructure, excellent dining opportunities, and world-class shopping.  Evening entertainment includes live music concerts, the latest movies, discos and dancing.
 
SECURITY
Panama is a peaceful country, with no past history of civil wars or armed conflict. The country’s military forces were disbanded over 18 years ago, and, unlike neighboring countries, Panama is considered generally safe for both residents and visitors.  Personal safety concerns are more or less equal to those you would face in any large US or European city.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Panama is a representative democracy with three government branches: the Executive and Legislative branches are elected by popular vote for 5-year terms, and the Judicial branch is independently appointed. The Executive branch is conformed by a President and  two Vice president, and  the  legislative  branch  consists of a 76- member unicameral National Assembly.