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How Safe Is Panama For Expats?

5 min read

How Safe Is Panama For Expats?

Moving abroad might help you achieve multiple goals, such as paying lower taxes, reducing your cost of living and living the life you always wanted. 

Unfortunately, the Western world is on a decline. Many of my clients come from the US, Canada, Australia and Europe, so I’m familiar with what’s going on. Also, as a Canadian expat myself, I know these things firsthand. They all complain about inflation, housing prices, draconian governments, and the list goes on. 

Thankfully, I’ve already helped multiple clients secure their new lives abroad with the assistance of my network and my own experience. 

Now, you might be wondering what’s the best country out there for expats. And also, how safe is that country? You might see that expats opt for destinations in Latin America, such as Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and even my current home, Panama. I cannot remember how often I get asked, “Is Panama a safe country?”  

I understand that you may have doubts, so let me tell you that Panama is an excellent choice for expats. From the tax regime to the excellent infrastructure, Panama has it all. In today’s article, I’ll show you why Panama should be on your radar. Not only is it an exceptionally safe country, but it is also an underrated gem. 

Do you want to explore the safety of Panama for expats and put your mind at ease? If so, let’s jump right in.


Panama Canal serves as a strategic place - Different areas in Panama cater to various preferences. From bustling city neighborhoods with modern amenities to tranquil coastal or mountainous regions, expatriates can choose an environment that aligns with their lifestyle. Researching and selecting the right neighborhood contributes significantly to a safe and enjoyable living experience.

Panama Canal serves as a strategic place


Panama is a small country located in Central America, bordered by Colombia to the south and Costa Rica to the North. It serves as a strategic country that bridges South and North America as well as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Therefore, Panama is a hub for international trade and commerce.

On top of that, it’s a safe, stable, and prosperous country with a pro-business and foreigner-friendly government. But its allure goes way beyond its economic potential. Panama is biodiverse, known for its picturesque beaches, tropical climate and rich history. Whether you like the mountain or the beach, a rural or urban lifestyle, Panama has you covered. Plus, it caters to all kinds of expats, from retirees to digital nomads. 

Another positive aspect of Panama is its organic food. While other countries are inundated with GMO (genetically modified organism) products, Panama works hard to bring the complete opposite to the table at a very reasonable price. Now, let’s look at how safe Panama is for expats. 

While many Panamanians speak English, especially in urban areas, having a basic understanding of Spanish can enhance the expatriate experience. Embracing the local language and culture allows for deeper connections with the community and a more immersive stay.

Panama stands as a safe and inviting destination for expatriates, offering a harmonious blend of community, adventure, and relaxation. Whether you're drawn to the urban allure of Panama City or the natural wonders of the countryside, the country provides a welcoming environment for expats to call home.


Related content: Discover Why Panama Is An Open Door Of Opportunities For Expats


Casco Viejo, Panama - Panama's unique geography offers both coastal and jungle experiences. While coastal areas provide opportunities for water-based activities, including pristine beaches and coral reefs, the jungle regions showcase diverse wildlife and adventurous possibilities. Expats can choose the setting that suits their preferences, whether it's the calming sound of ocean waves or the excitement of exploring the jungle.

Casco Viejo, Panama


I completely understand when expats or expat-hopefuls fear Latin America. This region is considered unsafe due to the cartels, gangs, drug trafficking and the like. Plus, governments here are usually corrupt. 

Panama is known for its inclusive and diverse community. Expats often find a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making it easy to forge connections and build friendships. The sense of community extends beyond nationality, creating a supportive environment for those relocating to the country.

I’m all about facts too, so I took my time to research expat destinations while I was in the UAE. Having lived in nine countries, I finally chose Panama. And let me tell you something: I’ve been living here for over five years and don’t regret my choice. Many expats still wonder how Panama can be different from other Latin American countries. In reality, Panama is one of the safest countries in Latin America, especially compared to Colombia and Venezuela. While other countries face security challenges, Panama is committed to safety. To further illustrate my point, according to World Population Review, Panama’s crime index is 45.15, while the US's is 47.81, and France's is 51.99.

On top of that, Panama boasts a stable political climate. The country has cultivated an environment where political stability and the rule of law are the cornerstone of society, which permeates every aspect of life in Panama. 

Of course, as in any place around the world, you need to take basic precautions such as not going to certain neighbourhoods, being respectful and not showing off valuable possessions. I’m afraid to say that only some countries like the UAE, Qatar, South Korea and Singapore offer this level of safety, where people really respect private property and have exceptionally high moral standards. 

If you need some practical advice on where not to go, here are some examples. In Panama City, my current home, the city is, for the most part, safe, but I’d never go to barrios such as El Chorrillo and Santa Ana. Another city that is often considered unsafe is Colon. 

All in all, as long as you’re cautious, you can walk down the streets of Panama with peace of mind, knowing that your safety is a priority. Panama is a beacon of safety that stands tall in Latin America. This is a place where you can live, work and enjoy yourself without compromising your well-being. 

Now that we’ve shown how safe Panama is compared to other countries in the region and even some Western ones let’s look at some of the numerous benefits that make Panama an attractive destination for expats. 


Related content: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency


Panama is a place where you can live, work and enjoy - Panama offers a vibrant nightlife scene with a variety of entertainment options. From lively bars to sophisticated restaurants, expatriates can indulge in diverse culinary experiences and enjoy the lively atmosphere that extends into the night.

Panama City, the capital, is a dynamic hub known for its modern skyline and thriving economy. 


Panama has positioned itself as an enticing destination for expats thanks to its tax regime. While other Latin American countries went down the route of socialism, Panama has embraced economic openness and freedom, making good use of its strategic location and attracting talent from all over the world.   

Panama offers a range of tax benefits, including deductions, exemptions and favourable rates that can significantly reduce your tax bill. Whether you’re a retiree, business owner, or investor, Panama welcomes you with open arms to optimize your financial situation and retain more of your hard-earned money. 

For example, Panama does not tax foreign-earned income, which means that if you generate income outside of the country, you may be able to enjoy it tax-free. This provision alone can provide immense financial flexibility and freedom for expats. Additionally, these tax advantages are completely legal to use, so you can rest assured that your financial resources are employed most efficiently.


Related content: Why Getting Your Panama Permanent Residence Is So Important



Panama’s infrastructure is proof of its forward-thinking approach and good use of its resources. The Panama Canal is a masterpiece of engineering that has revolutionized global trade, and the country boasts modern highways, airports, and telecommunication networks. All this rivals any major metropolis. 

The skyline of Panama City is adorned with glamorous skyscrapers that host offices, hotels and shopping malls. Beyond the city, a well-connected transportation network makes exploring the country's diverse landscapes a breeze. Whether you want to explore lush rainforests or relax on pristine beaches, Panama's infrastructure ensures easy access to these natural wonders.

Overall, Panama's exceptional infrastructure improves the quality of life for residents and expats alike. It fosters an environment of opportunities and dreams come true. 



Other destinations like the UAE and Singapore are expensive, but Panama stands out as an oasis of affordability in the expat world. 

Housing, groceries, healthcare and entertainment are notably cheaper than in other countries. Paired with a favourable tax regime and potentially tax-free income, your hard-earned money goes a long way here. You’ll be able to savour the luxuries of life without breaking the bank. 

In other words, Panama is a country where a luxurious lifestyle is a feasible reality for many. Why settle for the exorbitant costs and financial constraints of other expat destinations? In Panama, you can have the best of both worlds. 


Related content: Top Notch Health Care In Panama For Pennies On The Dollar


Las Americas Bridge, Panama - Panama stands as a safe and inviting destination for expatriates, offering a harmonious blend of community, adventure, and relaxation. Whether you're drawn to the urban allure of Panama City or the natural wonders of the countryside, the country provides a welcoming environment for expats to call home.

Las Americas Bridge, Panama


Panama is an ideal destination for expats seeking a safe and prosperous haven. While Latin America might be regarded as a place of crime and corruption, Panama defies those stereotypes. Indeed, it’s one of the safest countries in the region, with a crime rate lower than even some Western countries and a stable political climate. Although Panama is not perfect and surely not a zero-crime country, just by taking basic precautions, you’re good to go.

Moreover, Panama offers numerous benefits beyond safety. The favourable tax regime will help you optimize your financial situation and keep more of the money you work so hard for. The country’s top-tier infrastructure will help you move around easily, and to top it all off, you can do all this for a very accessible price. By choosing Panama, you open yourself to a world of possibilities, allowing you to live a vibrant, fulfilling lifestyle.



I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.



If you want the best intel from the expat world, including profitable offshore opportunities, little-known tax-saving strategies, and hard-won insights on immigration, passports, and Plan-B residencies, all delivered to your inbox every single week, then join our daily correspondence, EMS Pulse. Currently enjoyed by over 37,000 expats and expat-hopefuls worldwide. Fill in the form below to join our newsletter free:


Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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