Changing location meant more than just a deeper suntan or active lifestyle for Jessica Ramesch, Panama editor for International Living.
Ramesch had been enjoying the restaurants, art galleries, parks and bayside promenades of Panama City for years. But the low cost of living recently made her consider a lifestyle upgrade: an upscale apartment, perhaps with an ocean view.
A glut of apartments means long-term rental prices are dropping. Ramesch has seen ocean-view two-bedroom, two-bath apartments for $1,300 a month in buildings with pools and gyms. In San Diego, a similar apartment would cost $6,300 a month.
Ramesch likes the city-center zones, with their hip bars and restaurants. In central neighborhoods on the metro line, listings are sometimes as low as $1,100 or $1,200 a month for apartments that are within walking distance from cafes and tapas bars. “In what other world capital can you get this kind of value for so little?” she asked.
She extols the reliable hired help. Her gardener charged just $15 for a full day’s work. Every two weeks he helped clear fallen mangoes, cut grass, weeded and even cared for delicate orchids.
One day’s work from a maid is $20. Back home, Ramesch says, a cleaner would charge upwards of $130 for an afternoon every other week.
A couple can live a First World-quality life in Panama City for $1,765 to $2,890 monthly.