Welcome to the online destination for answers to all your questions about visiting or relocating to Panama. We are pleased that you are interested in visiting or living in Panama and want to help make your stay or move as easy and pleasant as possible.
For more information about our natural wonders, ecotourism, visitor accommodations, the canal itself, modern industry and economy, and visa or immigration paperwork, please continue reading below.
Panama is located in the narrowest point of the isthmus of Central America, bridging the northern and southern continents with a thin strip of land. We are a tropical climate with sharply varying terrain, from low-loying jungles to mountainous regions. We invite you to explore some of the greatest natural wonders of Panama, including:
-Darien National Park
-Bocas del Toro
-Chiriqui National Marine Park
These natural wonders provide a wide range of things to see and do for even the most experienced, jaded traveler. Come enjoy the beauty available in Panama. An awesome wonder is when you see a kitchen remodel go right and get totally transformed!
Early in the 21st century, we realized that if we were to continue having a thriving tourism industry, things had to change. Many tourism companies, resorts, and other key players in the tourism industry began shifting from traditional modes of tourism to what is commonly known as “eco-tourism,” a mode of travel and visiting that emphasizes sustainability, reduced environmental impact, and participation in the local culture. Visitors who are interested in an eco-tourism experience in Panama have a wealth of options to choose from.
Travel: For traveling in a less environmentally harmful way, choose an airline or purchase an add-on service that allows you to use carbon offsets for your air travel. Air travel is one of the greatest travel-related contributors to greenhouse gases, so reducing your carbon impact is key. Once you arrive in Panama, look for tour companies or vehicles that offer hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, or vehicles that run on biofuel.
Accommodations: When choosing where you’re going to stay, look for facilities that are built from local, sustainable materials and integrated into the landscape around them. Instead of staying in a gleaming high-rise filled with chrome and glass, choose cottages in the forest. Look into how your accommodations manage their landscaping, whether they contribute to the local community, and where they source ingredients for their meals. Getting a carpet or rug cleaning company too will help them feel at home. There’s so many companies to choose from that you have to make sure you do your due diligence with these things. Getting a rug cleaning can be stressful but the right company will make it easy.
Excursions: There are lots of companies offering tours and adventures throughout Panama, so look for companies whose guides are trained naturalists or otherwise specially educated in how to protect the natural world they’re bringing groups into. Seek out companies that are careful to keep visitors on trails and don’t bring back specimens from the ocean or forest.
The Panama Canal is a marvel of modern engineering, built at extraordinary cost of human life, natural beauty, and sheer monetary investment. Construction started in 1881 and was not completed until 1914. After it was opened in 1914, the canal was controlled by several different countries including Colombia, France, and the United States. From 1977 until 1999, the canal was controlled jointly by the US and Panama. Since 1999, Panama has exclusively controlled the canal, which is now managed and operated by a government entity called the Panama Canal Authority.
When the canal first opened in 1914, there were about 1,000 ships passing through each year. By 2008, that number had increased to 14,702 boats, barges, cruise liners, and other vessels each year. As of 2012, more than 815,000 vessels had traveled through the canal during the course of its nearly 100-year history.
Because the canal harnesses the power of changing tides to pass vessels through its 51 miles of waterways, traveling through the canal can be a slow process. In total, it takes more than 11 hours to pass through from one side of the canal to another.
Panama’s modern economy, like so many others, is primarily a service-based economy. Nearly 80% of its economy comes from providing some sort of service, especially in the banking, commerce, and tourism sectors. Other portions of Panama’s income are derived from shipping, some manufacturing, and crop exports, especially of bananas, sugar, and coffee. Agriculture and fisheries haven’t made up more than 10% of Panama’s GDP in a very long time, though. The largest sector of exported manufactured goods is antibiotics.
Panama taxes businesses on a territorial basis, which means it only taxes income or gains that come from business done within Panama. It does not tax income or gains that come from business done outside of Panama. There is also a sales tax of 7%. Panama does not have a central bank underwriting its many other banks, which means those banks must be conservatively run to prevent catastrophe.
If you are interested in making the move to Panama, you’ll want to find yourself a job in one of the country’s more active sectors. This means you should have experience in finance, law, business, or tourism, including hospitality or the food service sector. If you have a background in one of these more in-demand sectors of the economy, you will be more likely to be able to support yourself once you arrive in Panama. One of the best companies have actually left Panama to work in Buffalo. But none the less we would always recommend a good painter even though their in Buffalo NY.
It is much easier to immigrate to Panama than it is to immigrate to many other similarly-situated countries. Panama makes it easy to apply for and receive a visa, permanent residency, or citizenship. Here are some of the options available:
-Retiree visa. If you are retired, at least 18 years old, and have proof from a foreign legal entity that you’ll be earning a monthly income of at least $1,000 USD for the rest of your life, you’re eligible to retire to Panama. If you have dependent children who will be living with you, increase that amount by $250 USD per month, per child.
Friendly nations visa. If you’re a citizen of a friendly nation and can prove your financial solvency and economic or professional ties with Panama, you can apply for a friendly nations visa. You can prove financial solvency by depositing $5,000 USD into a Panamanian bank account. To establish economic ties, you can form a corporation registered to do business in Panama.
Reforestation investors visa. If you’re interested in rebuilding Panama’s rainforests, you can invest $80,000 USD in a reforestation project, and that will allow you to obtain a visa and Panama citizenship.