Panama City is the business center of the country where the jobs are and where many people live. Its rapid growth has lead to an increase in international businesses, hotel chains and manufacturing companies making Panama city a main hub for many big-name businesses.
Having said that, a lot depends on where you are coming from and where you are looking to live in the city, and if you have the right skills you can get a decent paying job.
Like much of Central America cities, Panama City has its challenges but if take life at a more relaxed pace, you’ll have a great time here.
The best places to eat are located in Panama City itself, some of them with wonderful views. Although it can’t be compared to a major European or North American city for culture, it isn’t a complete cultural desert either. The local beers are good and there are imported beers available everywhere. If you want to eat cheap, you can have a decent meal for 9$.
If you stay away from imported and fast food, you can also get by eating inexpensively as well. You can make rice and lentils and shop tropical fruits and vegetables from local markets – it’s mostly cheap. Supermarket prices have increased quite a bit in the recent years. There’s the El Rey Supermarket and though there aren’t many alternatives, you can always go to Riba Smith which is said to be the best supermarket.
Transportation is one of Panama City’s biggest problems. Still, as the Metro system expands, and there’s another bridge building across the canal, the traffic problem might be somewhat alleviated. Public transport is very scarce with the exception of one functioning metro line (others are being built).
Though utilities aren’t too expensive, you should count in all the malfunctions you’ll experience during the month – which will then make you think of your bills as expensive, given the service you’re getting. Internet gets cut every other week for an hour or so, even in the center, the water is off every other week for half a day or so, (this happens more often outside of Panama City and along the coast). Power is off every other month. Electricity can be very expensive so you need to be careful not to overuse it.
SPORTS & LEISURE
Practicing sports is definitely expensive in Panama City, and this city is well known for many sports opportunities such as biking, running, and many outdoor events. If you want a membership in a gym or a fitness center in the capital of Panama, it will cost you around 50$. As for leisure, it’s relatively cheap – one cinema ticket will cost you 6$.
CLOTHING & SHOES
Shopping malls in Panama City are big – almost as big as the ones in the USA. As for the prices, they are below average, but still not cheap. For example, you can buy Levi’s jeans for around 50$, while a pair of running shoes of brands like Nike cost around 70$. Lighter pieces of clothing like shirts and summer dresses are around 35$.
RENT PER MONTH
Prices of housing can differ greatly depending on where you want to live in and the level of comfort required. Your best option is to come here to live for at least a year and check out the prices before renting long term. An apartment in the city center will cost you around 900$, while a bigger apartment for the whole family, also in the center, costs around 1600$.
Cost of Living Averages Table for Panama City
|Average Restaurant Prices|
|Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)||$ 9.00|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter)||$ 2.75|
|Water (0.33 Liter)||$ 1.08||Average Market Prices|
|Milk (1 Liter)||$ 1.44|
|Loaf Bread (500g)||$ 1.71|
|Eggs (12)||$ 2.01||Average Transport Prices|
|One Way Ticket||$ 0.25|
|Monthly Pass||$ 30.00|
|Gasoline||$ 0.81||Average Utilities Prices|
|Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling)||$ 97.90|
|1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local||$ 0.14|
|Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||$ 53.47||Average Leisure Prices|
|Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult||$ 51.96|
|Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour)||$ 25.00|
|Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release||$ 6.50||Average Clothing Prices|
|1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable)||$ 52.90|
|1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...)||$ 38.67|
|1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range)||$ 73.05||Average Rent Prices|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center||$ 953.45|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center||$ 626.09|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center||$ 1645.00|
How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Panama City?
An average person living in Panama City spends almost the same amount of money (and the biggest parts of their salary) on rent and food.
Rent takes up a bit more of their salaries, but food is definitely a huge toll in a financial sense.
Apart from rent and food, restaurants take up a huge part of overall expenses – which also makes sense because a large portion of the society eats only in restaurants.
Transportation is next, while utilities, sports and clothing draw the least amount of money from residents of Panama City.
Panama City: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages
The cost of living is relatively high in Panama City and anyone coming here shouldn’t assume that living in this city is less expensive than living in a city of a similar size in the USA.
Panama City has also become increasingly expensive over the years, especially where it concerns real estate and food costs.
Minimum wage in Panama City is around 390$ which makes it acceptable to live and be sure that all expenses will be covered.
Average salary in Panama amounts to around 800$, so – considering the prices here – one can live a comfortable life in this city.
Cost of Living by City in Panama
*Click the name of the city for more information.
|City||Cost of Living Index|