Panamainfo’s Blog


In their Oct. 2  issue, Forbes Magazine rated Panama in the top 10 for retirement.

Below are excerpts from the article.

Panama: If you’re a sun-worshiper determined to protect your assets from overreaching Western governments, consider countries like Panama or Malaysia.


Exotic Panama, that sunny nation in Central America, gateway between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, has adopted the U.S. dollar as its official currency. Move there and your assets and liabilities are matched.

Panama has almost everything: year-round sun, low taxes, massive discounts for seniors, first-world amenities, quality private hospitals, bird-filled rainforests, a dollar economy and easy flights from the U.S. Panama City is considered safest of all Central American cities, with worldly buzz because of the canal, and a World Heritage Site.

Downside: pockets of corruption.


Oct. 13th representing Amcham I was invited to hear Minister Salomon Shamah’s presentation about what Panama’s tourism ministry ( ATP)  accomplished  in the first 100 days. It is quite impressive. These are my unofficial notes:


  1. No one has to pass through migration when you leave Panama! As of mid-November, Panama will be the first country in Latin America to use the same system as the USA and Europe- when you leave Panama you will no longer go through immigration, just a baggage security check.  The extra immigration officers will now all be used to shorten lines for immigration for  incoming passengers.

    2. A tourism hotline has been set up to give info, advise and emergency help.  Tourists call 178 . Operators speak English, Spanish, French and Portuguese If a tourist is in an emergency situation, ATP will send a person from ATP to help the tourist.

    1.  . The tourist card has been eliminated.  It was a hassle for airlines and tourists alike- the $5 will now be charged when a air ticket is bought..


    4. The “Panama 25% Off” low season campaign which brought hundreds of tourist to Panama through a discount program organized with the private sector and promoted by ATP.


    5  The “Casco Viejos” in the provincial cities will be restored and made into tourism attractions beginning with David’s Casco Viejo which includes the church and a museum


    1. A tourism signage project has started beginning with Boquete and Bocas which will help tourists get around town and to the main sights.



    1. With the help of ATP, Google maps of the country are being set up to help tourist find their way around the country. 

    2. Four new charter flights will begin in November from Canada.

    10. A top tourism security expert has been hired by ATP who is holding meeting with hotels and other tourism groups to educate them on how to provide safety to tourists.

    1. ATP is using a new slogan in their ads: “Panama Sorprende”. The great thing is that this slogan translates extremely well into English: A catchy: “Panama Surprises”.Minister Shamah explained that Panama is not branded and that we are not a mature destination where things run smoothly. But Panama does surprise, usually in a  good way but sometimes the surprise won’t be good. But Panama is certainly a surprising country as a tourism destination.

    Nancy Hanna. President and Founder Panama Planner

    Chair of the Tourism Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce

    Business Week on Why Panama is the Next Florida for Retirees

    Business Week recently published an article on Panama for Retirement. It recommends Panama for professionals  on a moderate retirement income. Some years ago, Panama was attracting retirees on low budgets, but Panama today is no longer a low budget retirement destination. and one could argue it never was. Panama also works well for professionals as it takes a certain degree of sophistication to navigate and enjoy the waters of a country like Panama.

    Panama’s new president has declared his intention to make things easier for retirees who plan to move here, but we don’t know yet what that means practically. One thing that is clear,  Pres.  Martinelli, one of the countries foremost businessmen, is on the ball making many long overdue changes in a myriad of areas. Therefore Panama will soon be on the radar not only for retirees but also for investors and businesses looking for a home office in the region.

    It is significant that in this article, Business Week does  not mention neighboring Costa Rica that was the first country to successfully attract foreign retirees.  Panama stands out by itself these days.

    Check it out on the article link:

    Panama- Upcoming Surfing Destination/Surfers Offer from Copa Airlines-Bring Two Surf Boards to Panama for Free!

    Panama’s new tourism minister Salamon Shamah is working to land the World Surf championships in 2012 for Panama. Panama has world-class surfing breaks at Playa Venao, Santa Catalina and on the island of Bocas del Toro.

    Bring Two Surf Boards to Panama for Free

    To get things rolling Minister Shamah did some arm twisting and got Panama’s Copa Airlines to agree that from now surfers can bring two surf boards free to Panama from selected Copa destinations in the USA, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.  Call you national Copa office for details.

    Also, Minister Shamah plans to bring the 5 best surfers in the world to Panama next year and will be inviting international surf journalists to check Panama out.  Truth is many top surfers know Panama, have enjoyed it for years and were secretly hoping Panama would not be discovered.

    We recommend you come to Panama to surf before the rest. Start with Lonely Planet’s Panama guide- they have a great surf map and basic info.

    Panama on a Budget

    Below is a link to an  article from CNN about budget travel in Panama. For budget travel, it is important to avoid the high season- that is January-March. Every Panama destination has bargain hostels and hotels. Buy a Lonely Planet guide which will have listings of inexpensive but nice lodgings. travel between cities by bus is incredibly cheap and taxis in the city are also very cheap. You can have a great time in Panama on a budget