Cost of Living in Panama: A Comprehensive Guide

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The country Panama is located on a narrow strip of land connecting Central and South America. Its Panama Canal is a very famous feat of human engineering. The average cost of living in Panama is around 1700.7$ per month for a single person. It can vary depending on certain circumstances, such as living standards, average salaries, and lifestyle choices.


Panama has various prestigious universities, such as the Latin University of Panama, Santa Maria La Antigua Catholic University, and the Autonomous University of Chiriqui. This Vibrant city attracts expats from around the world. In this blog post, we will show the cost of living in Panama in various parameters, such as education, rent, food, transportation, utilities, healthcare, and many others. So, let’s begin our discussion without any further delay. 

Cost of Living in Panama for International Students

Studying abroad in Panama City is affordable. Living costs in Panama are relatively low, and public universities are free for local and international students. However, private institutions charge, with fees varying depending on the course.

Here, we have given the general breakdown of the average cost of living in Panama in various categories for the immigrants who wish to move here. They can get an idea of how much they have to keep with them before moving to Panama:

Cost of Rent in Panama: 

The average cost of rent in Panama for a single person or student is around $950. Depending on the budget and lifestyle of expats, various accommodation options with affordable costs are available. The costs of living in Panama concerning apartment rent are as follows:

Apartment LocationMonthly Rent
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre940.00 $
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre4603.95 $
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre2,019.23 $
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre1,166.67 $

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Cost of Grocery in Panama:

The average cost of groceries in Panama is around $90.02 per month, including meals, milk, water, vegetables, fruits and other items. Groceries costs can impact the cost of living in Panama as it is a daily expense. So here below is the list of a few grocery items with their prices available in Panama: 

Grocery ItemPrice
Milk (regular), (1 litre)1.73 $
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)2.46 $
Rice (white), (1kg)2.07 $
Eggs (regular) (12)2.47$
Local Cheese (1kg)11.00 $
Apples (1kg)3.13$
Banana (1kg)1.42$
Oranges (1kg)2.94$
Tomato (1kg)3.10$
Potato (1kg)2.12 $
Onion (1kg)1.99$
Lettuce (1 head)2.17$
Water (1.5 litre bottle)1.44$
meat, egg, drinks and Other items40.00$

Cost of Utilities in Panama

The Basic Utility Cost in Panama is around $190 per month for a single person, which is relatively low compared to the cost of living in Panama. This utility cost in Panama includes electricity, heating, gas, a mobile plan, and internet access. For your reference, Here’ we have given the costs for essential Cost of Utilities in Panama for immigrant students in the country:

Utility TypeMonthly Cost
Basic Utility for 85m2 Apartment (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage)110.95 $
Monthly Plan of Mobile Phone (with Calls & 10GB+ Data)29.62 $
Internet (60+ Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)0.21 $

Cost of Transportation in Panama

Panama’s transportation system consists of a vast network of routes primarily used by cargo trucks and buses. Its railway system, known as the Panama Canal Railway, facilitates passenger and goods transport.

Transportation contributes around  $30.08 per month for local city transport in the overall cost of living in Panama. Here are various modes of transportation with their fare costs:

Mode of TransportMonthly Cost
One-way Ticket(Local Transport)0.35 $
Monthly Pass(Regular Price)25.00 $
Taxi Start(Normal Tariff)2.25 $
Taxi 1km(Normal Tariff)1.50 $
Taxi 1 hour Waiting(Normal Tariff)20.00 $

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Average Tuition Fees in Panama 

International students’ cost of living in Panama also includes their university average tuition fees. If you decide to move to Panama for your studies, the essential thing for you is the average tuition fees of the Universities. 

Tuition fees between public and private institutions in Panama can vary significantly, depending on the programs and standards. Public universities are generally free or have lower average tuition fees than private universities, while private universities have higher fees.

  • In Public universities, Undergraduate programs can range from $1,000 to $4,000 annually for international students. 
  • In private universities, Undergraduate programs may range from $5,000 to $10,000 annually.

Why Live and Study in Panama?

Now that you understand the various costs of living in Panama let us explain why you should live and study there. Panama is a lively and cosmopolitan city that offers students a high-quality life experience, including beautiful architecture, green spaces, an education system, vibrant streets, and lots of history. Here are some reasons why a student should live and study in Panama.

Education System in Panama

Panama ensures a conducive learning environment for international students because it values education and invests in quality infrastructure and resources. Panama has developed its education system, and its universities and institutions offer many excellent academic programs.

Campus Facilities

Panama’s universities have well-equipped facilities, such as libraries, computer labs, student lounges, and sports complexes. These facilities provide students with opportunities to study, socialise, and engage. These campus facilities make the cost of living in Panama easy.

Bilingual Environment at Panam

Spanish is the official language, and English is widely spoken in Panama, which makes Panama a bilingual region. Studying in Panama can help you improve your language skills in both languages, making it fruitful in today’s globalised job market.

Strategic Location in Panama 

The crossroads of North and South America makes Panama a gateway for business and trade. Both continents are easily accessible from here, which is valuable for networking opportunities and future career possibilities. With the affordable cost of living in Panama it is the best thing to live.

Environmental and Outdoor Activities

Panama is well-known for its stunning natural beauty, such as The famous Panama Canal, Pristine Beaches, and dense Rainforests. Visiting these stunning sites will make the cost of living in Panama enjoyable.

Studying in Panama allows you to explore these fantastic places and appreciate its rich biodiversity. It also offers various unique outdoor activities, such as hiking, diving and surfing, where you can explore your talents and experience a unique blend of metropolitan and naturalistic environments.

Things to Consider Before Moving to Panama

Before finalising the cost of living in the Panama budget, a student should consider a few other notable things while moving to Panama for higher studies. There are ample opportunities to excel academically with plenty of fun in Panama for international students, which are given below:

Social Activities at Panama Universities

To enhance the student experience, universities in Panama often organise different social and extracurricular activities such as sports events, music concerts, cultural festivals, theatre performances, and student clubs.

Travel Opportunities in Panama for International Students

Panama is a gateway to explore its nearby countries because of its central location in Central America. As an international student in Panama, you can travel and discover the rich history, amazing landscapes, and cultures. The travel cost for international students may increase the cost of living in Panama, but it will make for a fantastic experience.

Career Opportunities in Panama

Many job opportunities have been created in various sectors of Panama because it is a growing economy and a strategic location for work. Students of Panama can access various internships, networking events, and resources for career development that can help kickstart their professional journey.

Work Opportunities in Panama

Work opportunities in Panama will help international students manage their cost of living in Panama, but they must obtain a work permit to work legally in Panama. The work permit is separate from the student visa and requires a separate application process. During the academic year, you can work a maximum of 4 hours per day and 20 hours/week. 

Cultural Diversity in Panama

Due to its historical influences and strategic location, Panama is a melting pot of cultures. Studying in Panama allows students to interact with people from various backgrounds and gain a comprehensive perspective on multiple languages, traditions, and customs.

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Q1. Is it expensive to live in Panama?

Answer: The cost of living in Panama is generally 1700.7$ per month for a single person. It is lower than countries like the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. Moreover, the cost of living in Panama for an expat can vary according to where you choose to live, your university selection, and your lifestyle.

Q.2. How much is rent in Panama City?

Answer: The average cost of rent in Panama per month for a single person or student is around $950. For a family of 4 members, it is around $4600 per month, which makes the cost of living in Panama affordable.

Q3. What’s a good salary in Panama?

Answer: The gross salary range in Panama is typically from 10,236 $ to 30,192 $. It can be higher. It depends on the type of work and the working sector. The salary in Panama is good, suitable for living a good life, and it is quite high compared to the cost of living in Panama.

So, this was all about the cost of living in Panama. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad

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