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One of the most common questions I get – “Is Panama a safe country?”
Yes, definitely. In fact, Panama has been classified as one of the safest tourist destinations in the world along with Canada and the United States.
some personal experiences
Let me give you some personal examples and then let me give you some additional reasons why I think Panama is so safe.
For some time we lived near the town of Boquete Panama in the region of Los Altos de Chiriquí. It was an everyday scene: little children and young women walking many miles to get to work or school. My wife and I are exercise addicts and you may remember from my ‘Letters from Panama’ that we were in the gym business. At that time there were no gyms in Boquete Panama so I bought a used mountain bike. I just found one so my wife and I had to share. Every morning I would leave around 6am and then around 7am my wife would leave. She cycled through town and out of the city of Boquete along the quiet, winding country roads for about 10 km. She never once did she feel unsafe. Another example, at that time my children were only 11 and 9 years old. They would go out into the street and take one of the local taxis, pay 25 cents each and they would be taken to Boquete where they would buy ice cream for 25 cents. Honestly, I would not have been as comfortable and confident in our hometown in Ontario, Canada. In fact, I wouldn’t have done it there.
So what makes Panama so safe?
First, I think we need to look back at the history of Panama. Panama is a peaceful republic and for most of the last century it has been under the watchful eye of the United States. The Panama of today was born from a multicultural mix of people from all over the world thanks to the Panama Canal. To this day people debate “Who is the real Panamanian?” Most agree that the 7 Indian tribes probably have the best claim. Otherwise, they are all immigrants of one kind or another. As a result, it is difficult to distinguish Panamanians from visitors. You might see someone who looks a lot like an American, a Canadian, maybe from India or China; the reality is that they could all be second or third generation Panamanians who speak Spanish. Because of the country’s multicultural mix, it’s easy to blend in, to make sure you don’t stand out as a foreigner, or be different. So when you or I arrive in Panama, we are immediately accepted, we tend to mix.
Panama adopted the US dollar as its currency many years ago. This also contributes to safety. Often when we travel to foreign countries, we are taught to keep our dollars out of sight; It’s too tempting for the locals. In a country where the local currency may be undervalued, the US dollar has a certain appeal. But in Panama everyone is using the same money, be it a farmer, a banker or a tourist.
Weather in Panama
Another security issue that many investors do not consider is the climate of Panama. In recent years, hurricanes in the southern US and most of Latin America have brought this issue to the fore. As you saw in my last ‘Security Letter’, Panama is in a unique region where violent weather is almost unheard of and it is the only Latin American country that is free of hurricanes; That’s right, records dating back to 1851 show that Panama is in a safe zone where hurricanes never hit. As investors from Florida to Texas can attest, rising insurance rates can drastically affect your return. In Panama, your vacation and your investment will never fade!
It is also very safe to buy Real Estate in Panama
Foreigners, whether residents or non-residents, enjoy the same rights and privileges in the purchase and sale of real estate as Panamanian citizens. Foreign investors are granted a 10-year stability guarantee that all legal, tax, customs, municipal and labor regulations will remain identical to those in force at the time of registration of the investment. Law #54: Foreign Investor Protection Law provides these guarantees The US Embassy publishes the US Government Report on the Purchase of Real Estate in Panama and says: “Titled land, and the process of purchase of these, is similar in concept to that of the USA and the deeds are duly registered in the Public Registry”.
Buying real estate in Panama is so safe that major US title insurance companies, like Land America Title, offer low-cost Panama policies.