If it has ever crossed your mind to emigrate to a country famous for its channel and its contrasts, don’t miss this interview where we’ll tell you pros and cons of living in Panama.

A Venezuelan girl living in Panama

  • Basic information: my name is Laura Cirac, I am 29 years old. I have a degree in Social Communication and a certificate of education. Currently I’m a teacher at an international school in Panama. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela.
  • Where do you live? Why did you choose this country to live in? For the past three years I’ve been in Panama City, Panama. I came to live in this country in 2017 as my boyfriend got a very good job opportunity. Previously I’ve been living in Spain for three years. And, being Spanish as well as Venezuelan, it was very easy for me to get the papers to be able to reside in Panama.

What are the procedures for working and living in Panama?

Thanks to the Spanish passport, I was able to process my permanent residence and obtain my certificate as a foreigner. However, depending on the country each process is different. By having these two things, I can automatically apply to any job, as long as the law is respected (for example is required a specific number of Panamanian workers for each foreigner in the company). I know that as a Venezuelan everything gets a little more complicated. The cost of these papers can be quite high, reaching $4,000.00.

Lifestyle: pros and cons of living in Panama

I think Panamanians and Venezuelans are very similar, as we both are Latinos. We are sociable, we like the beach, we love to talk to strangers, tell our life and problems to strangers on the street and we like partying. On the other hand, I think Panamanians take life more calmly. The Venezuelan is always in a hurry, wants to have everything ready fast and does several things at once. Ever since I live in Panama, I feel like my pace of life has dropped quite a bit.

Working habits: Venezuelan vs Panamanian

Speaking of work, as I said, I think Panamanians are calmer. They take their time to get things done and don’t get stressed so much. Venezuelans, as I mentioned earlier, usually run. We do a lot of things at once and it’s very important to be productive. Sometimes I feel like I’m not productive enough, but that’s the rhythm in this country.

Life and work: the pros and cons of living in Panama

  • What is the search for work like in Panama?

Since I arrived in Panama I’ve had 3 different jobs and to obtain them I have applied directly on their official websites. I think it is not a country where it is easy to find a job, the weather can be quite humid and hot to distribute CVs so it is more comfortable to do it through emails. Also it can take several weeks for selection processes.

Where to look for a job in Panama?

On websites like: Indeed Panama, Konzerta, Estascontratando, Empleospanama, Find24 (jobs section).

How are the rental prices in Panama?

Rental prices in Panama can vary a lot depending on the area you’re looking for, but I think the average range could be between $700 – $1500 dollars (obviously there are cheaper and more expensive).

Where to look for apartment rentals in Panama?

On the same page Encuentra24.com: Classified Ads you can find many apartments and house, fully furnished or not, to rent or buy. Here I found the two apartments where I have lived.

Pros and cons of living in Panama

  • Cons: I think it would start with the weather. For me, after living in Madrid with winter and summer, it was a shock to be in a place where during almost the whole year there are around 38 degrees and a 90% humidity. The seasons are summer (where the days are clear, from December to March) and winter (where it rains almost every day, from April to November). Even if it’s winter, the temperature and humidity are still the same, thing that I found very strange.
  • Pros: One thing I love about Panama is visiting the interior of the country. It has numerous beautiful islands and beaches and many hiking routes. It’s a country that offers you many outdoor activities.

Pros and cons of living in Panama

Another disadvantage of living in Panama is that the cost of living is expensive. For the country’s minimum salary ($528 in 2020), it seems to me that things are very expensive, especially in markets. The basic food basket is around $250 per month, although personally I don’t think that food would be enough for a month. In my case, I can spend up to $300 a month for one-person food only. Access to private health is also very expensive, and public health does not work very well.

Tips before moving to Panama

  • Do you plan to live there for a long period? For now I have a steady job that I really like. However, I would like to live somewhere else like Asia. I think it depends a lot on the quality of life.
  • Do you recommend this country to live in? I think Panama is an excellent country to live in if you have economic stability and a salary that allows you to live comfortably, also because for circumstances, such as weather and public transport, it’s more comfortable to move by car than to walk around the city. However I think there are friendlier options in Latin America in terms of quality of life and stability.
  • Any advice for those who want to move Panama? My recommendation is to have a job before your arrival, as savings can go away fast in this country, and plan your life here before you move (where you will live, possibility to buy a car, etc.) It’s not a country where it’s easy to grow professionally or economically.

Upcoming projects and next trips

I want to continue posting more content on my Instagarm account @lalauraviajera, especially contents from the amazing places I get to know in Panama. I would love to visit Asia for the first time and get to know some countries in Europe that I have on my to-do list, such as Czech Republic and Hungary.

In short, if for you advantages are more important than disadvantages, if you like the tropical climate and want to live an experience in a country of wonderful beaches, write Panama down for your next adventure.

Interview conducted in January 2021 with @lalauraviajera

living in Panama

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