Dedicated to providing you with credible information about living overseas
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroad

Questions & Answers

Q & A Menu Q & A BY TOPIC
To navigate, use menu bar to the left
Bob Jones of Finca Cazador – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Finca Cazador, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI would say yes, Panama is a good place for preppers to have their bugout location.  Why?
  • Abundant water
  • Low energy bills (if located at the right altitude)
  • Good soil (if it has been revitalized or is organic) to grow food
  • Fresh air
  • Close to home country if that is the US
  • Good roads and infrastructure
  • Growing economy
  • Low fiscal debt
  • Happy, friendly people
  • Low crime in rural areas
  • No hurricanes
  • Few earthquakes
  • Welcoming government
  • No central bank
(The clean, organic farmland of Finca Cazador, Panama, pictured.)
RENE GOMEZ of SCUBAPANAMA – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama jungle – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf Americans think of a place to go, they will consider several places. They would not likely choose Canada because it is too close. They would not choose the Far East like Taiwan or Vietnam because it is close to China. Africa is unlikely, too. If you go to the Middle East, it has turmoil, so you would not want to be there. Americans will then think about Europe, but then Europeans are already flocking to Panama because they do not want to be in Europe. Australia is too far. In South America, there is unrest, so it is best to stay away from that. Central America is less developed… but wait, there is Panama.
 If you compare Panama to other places in Central America, it is so much better. Panama is a likely place to go where you can be in the middle of downtown where the skyscrapers are and if you go out just 15 minutes away from Panama City, you will find yourself in the middle of the jungle. So you have the best of everything here. You will still use the US dollar and there are American hospitals. There are people who were educated in America from all walks of life and professions. There are lawyers, insurance people, doctors, etc. So if I were an American, I would probably settle in Panama if something bad happens in the US.
Panama is a better place for preppers than the US because the US has the ISIS threat, which is very clear at present. Because of the threats from the Middle East, the American people are looking for a place away from home because there are nuclear armaments flying around. It could be just a matter of time when something could happen to a major city in the US. The US is more of a target than Panama. For that reason, it would be a good idea to have a bug out location in a place that is less of a target, and Panama is less of a target. 
Panama City Panama Skyscrapers – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe ruling parties of Panama are mostly educated in the US, so they know how Americans think. We use the same currency as the US, so Americans do not have to exchange their money into another denomination when they come to Panama. We have American-based hospitals that expats can go to.
Once you are here, it is not a good idea to hoard foods at home because I believe you have to leave the very next day, if something happens. Let us say that a tsunami like the one that hit the Philippines happens in Panama City. Everybody will be looking for food, hospital care and fuel. Fuel has to be pumped out using electricity, but if there is no electricity on the grid, you can’t get fuel. Then you will decide on the third day to leave Panama City and the comforts of the condominium that you purchased. By the third day, it’s more of a problem to leave, then it would have been on the first day. What I tell everybody is that you have to leave the very next day when something happens.
There are other places in Panama, which are about four or five hours away from Panama City, where you can have a good bug out location. The farther you go away from Panama City, the more secure you will tend to be. You just have to make sure that the place you go to is a place where you have concerned and friendly neighbors. You cannot just go to a bug out location and pretend to be friends with anybody. It has to be a place where you already have friends from the beginning.
RICH Novak of RE/MAX Beaches & City! INC. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I think Coronado is a good place for a survivalist. Many people come to Coronado because they want a place where they can escape. Many of my clients do that. I think it is because the US government is bankrupt and they need money, so the government wants to feed off of the rich. People who still have some money left, try to protect their money and one of their options is to come to Panama and buy real estate.
Roger J. Pentecost of Boquete Valley of Flowers Condos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama could be an excellent place for a survivalist, because if you leave everyone else alone, everyone will leave you alone here. You can keep your children at home and educate them. You could find many pieces of land, which are very private, and put on them what you need to exist, in the sense of water, wells, solar power, wind power; and you can grow your own food.
If you pick the right place with the things that you will need to survive, such as water, access to the sun, decent soil, and the right elevation (very much like the Boquete area, but there are others), you could do everything for yourself to live and you will be left alone.
Bill Brunner of abc realty panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
One thing about Panama is that you are never going to starve because food is just growing wild, like mangoes, citrus fruits, and coconuts. There is hunting in Panama but I wouldn’t say that it is a hunter’s paradise. Fishing is abundant too. In fact the word “Panama” came from an Indian word meaning “plenty of fish.” There is both salt water and fresh water fishing here. So I would say, a survivalist, (if he spoke Spanish) would probably thrive in Panama because of the climate and the abundance of naturally growing food.
There are plenty of places where a survivalist can get water.
Panama is a fairly hilly country so you can go to high ground and you can set yourself up to defend yourself. There are places that you can go to.  Especially if you have a native Panamanian as part of your group, there are national lands that you could just go in and claim. You have to pay a certain amount but not much. Conceivably, a group that came here with money, let’s say similar to the Mennonites or the Quakers of Central America, could negotiate with the government to buy a large piece of land which is relatively unpopulated.
They could go into the Darien, which is an area set aside for the indigenous people, sparsely populated and largely undeveloped, to the east of Panama City, running to the border of Colombia. In fact if you really want to go into a remote place, you could go to the river where the inter-American highway ends, and you will end up in the real jungle just right cross the river from a small town. You don’t have to drive down there. Your best course is to go by boat. You can go to the town on the Columbian border and go inland from there.
In the Arien up until that point, most of the jungle has been cut down from coast to coast. If you go down across the river there are areas that are sparsely populated. There are Columbian guerillas there, too. So you have to go to a place that either the guerillas wouldn’t bother you or to a place where they aren’t and then you can set up your defensible position in case they show up.
There have been attempts at colonizing down there. There used to be a Scottish colony down there but they didn’t prosper. And as a matter of fact, where the Spanish started was in the Darien. 
Sieg Pedde of Helix Courier Limited – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I think that Panama would be an ideal choice Panama river with boat on it for fishing – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingfor preppers and survivalists to have their bugout location.  Here are some of the reasons why.
Panama is not a very large country geographically, but even in this small country with very few people (let’s say 3 million), there is a lot of land in Panama that can be purchased cheaply and where you can set up a little farm.  An example of a good area for survivalists would be around our development, which is equidistant from Boquete (up in the mountains) and the city of David, a little over an hour from the Costa Rican border. 
Although there are lots of firearm ownership laws in Panama, they are not as bad as it is in some parts of the United States, Canada and Europe.
You can do very nicely here if there’s a need for a bugout location. If you get hungry, you can go to the nearest orange or banana tree which, chances are, will be right in your property. There are rivers everywhere where you can go fishing. The ocean is close to either the north coast of Panama which would be the Caribbean or the southwest which would be the Pacific, and where you can go deep fishing.
Frank Stegmeier of Rio Encantado – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Since I have 100 acres in a mini river valley in the Boquete area, I do get preppers and survivalists looking to rent and buy property. Well, I have the ideal if one is thinking in those directions: water, fruit trees, garden, and the property is very defensible.
Frankly, I know the mentally well: conspiracy, fear, age mortality and the times all combine to produce the prepper and survivalist mentality.  I have turned down several who wanted to buy some of my property.
A big plus for those with that mentality to move here to Boquete is climate.  It is easy to live and survive in Boquete because you need no heat, you have plenty of water, everything grows, and yes, I do have arms, legal here if you go through the process.
But, as I tell my survivalist friends, use your gold, silver, and guns and buy a ticket and come on down to get ready, BUT, they always have some excuse. Few walk the talk.
Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I would think that Panama would be one of the top rated places for preppers and survivalists for a bug out location.  Here’s why:
  • Panama has four growing seasons a year, so you can grow your own fresh fruit and produce all the time (by the way, in rich, volcanic soil).
  • There’s very abundant water in Panama.  There are rivers everywhere.
  • There are all kinds of edible plants in the jungle in Panama that are good for you.
  • In Boquete, which is where I live, if you wanted to go to the ocean to catch fish, we’re an hour and a half drive to the Pacific and three and a half hours to the Atlantic.
  • Relative to wanting low density in a bug out or survivalist location, the entire country of Panama has fewer people in it than Houston, Texas.
In contrast, it would be more difficult to have a bug out place for a survivalist in Texas (where I’m from) or Oklahoma than in Panama.  The reason is the growing season is not as good in Texas and Oklahoma as it is in Panama and you don’t have access to as many plants in Texas and Oklahoma as we do here in Panama.  (For example, we have bananas here in Panama year round.)
David Whittington of Tucan Golf Club and Resort – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama is a good place for preppers and River in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingsurvivalists to have their bug out location.  For example, up in Boquete, you can be fairly easily self-sufficient.  There are enough streams where you can utilize some hydroelectric generation, and if you’re up in the mountains, you could probably utilize windmills for electricity generation.  You would probably have to have both, because in the dry season, you wouldn’t have enough water in the steams for hydroelectric generation, and in the rainy season, there’s not enough wind.  However, this would create the perfect combination.  To generate electricity in the dry season, you can use wind power and in the rainy season, you could use the streams.
Solar power, of course, would be most effective only in the dry season, which is more than half the year.
Paul McBride – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Abundant water, good soil, lots of available land, a system of clear title and ownership are all essential ingredients for the prepper mentality.  Panama has all of these things readily available.   Because of the consistent amount of sunlight we receive, a variety of streams and rivers to harness hydroelectric power and areas with good wind conditions, with a lot of research and preparation it is realistic to create a fully sustainable lifestyle while living completely off the grid.  If you have the money to spend, are inclined to live in relative isolation, have the energy it takes to maintain a farm that produces a sufficient amount of food for you and your family and are prepared to follow the local laws and regulations, then Panama can be a viable bug out location for the serious prepper.
Dennis Dean Smith of DennisDeanSmith – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I don't know what your definition of survivalist is. But, in Bocas, the program Survivor has been filmed several times. Every time it happens the locals love it. 
Randy Hilarski of High Impact Media Group Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I would have to say that Panama is a great place for Survivalists and Preppers. Over the last week was a great example. We lost water due to damage to a larger feeder pipe for our region. Thanks to our 1,000 gallon water tank we barely even noticed that there was a water issue.
Some things to know about Panama for Survivalists:
  1. Weather is great all year round.
  2. It is easy to grow your own food.
  3. Panama is self sufficient with its food supply.
  4. You can operate without electricity for long periods if you have to.
  5. You can use the plentiful rain during the rainy season as a water supply.
  6. Gold is a widely accepted in Panama. Silver is popular among expats but not Panamanians.
  7. You can legally raise chickens in Panama, which means lots of eggs.
  8. There are many savvy expats in Panama who you can network with.
John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The short answer to is Panama a good place for preppers to have their bugout location and for survivalists in general is a resounding “Yes” for many different reasons.  Panama is a country blessed with abundant natural resources, a year-round, mild climate for a good part of the country’s geography, and a decent infrastructure with reasonable access to good roads, water, and healthcare.  However, before I answer the question in full, I would like to establish some concrete definitions for the terms “prepper”, “bugout location”, and “survivalist” as far as the way that I understand them, so that you know where I’m coming from. 
Prepper:  An individual or a family unit who has made it their lifestyle to live as independently as possible.  People identified under this term are happy to take advantage of modern amenities when they are available, such as public water, electricity, and grocery stores.  However, preppers are hesitant to put themselves in a situation where they have to rely or be dependent on others for their basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter.  Preppers hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  You will find this group actively engaged in homesteading land, planting crops, raising chickens, goats, and dairy cattle if possible.  They will be canning food.  They will convert cash assets into tangible resources necessary for eventually living off of the public utility grid, such as water filtration systems, electricity generators that can be powered by bottled gas or even wood, hand tools necessary for butchering livestock and processing meat, textiles for clothes making, necessary toiletry items, soap, emergency long term food storage, medical supplies, etc.  They are also interested in basic self defense items such as a few handguns and long guns, and adequate ammunition to maintain their firearm skills and protect them in the event of an emergency situation.
Survivalist:  An individual or family unit who is preparing for the end of the world as we know it, commonly referred to by this group as TEOTWAWKI.  People identified under this term believe that society as we know it is destabilizing and is on a one way road to completely breaking down.  Survivalists believe that a dog-eat-dog world will prevail and will spread out from the inner cities at first into rural communities as famine sets in and food resources become scarce. Survivalists resemble preppers in all respects, with the added belief that they fully expect to have to defend what is theirs for their very survival.  As such, they are a bit more militant.  They focus more on combat and self-defense skills than do the common preppers, who tend to choose their lifestyle as much for the benefits of fostering good character and work ethic in their children, and eating healthier and tastier food, as they do for preparing for the end of the world.
Bug-out Shelter:  The vast majority of people in the United States live fairly close to large population groups.  People that pay attention to how dependent Americans are to grocery supply chains and public utilities realize that there is a certain level of security to be found in obscurity.  For example, if the electricity is out for an extended period of time, let’s use the timeframe of a month, how long would it take to be noticed if you’re the only house in your neighborhood with its lights on, the only house with steam coming out of the dryer vents, and the only house with the constant hum of a power generator?  If people become hungry they will become scared, and they will become more likely to help themselves to things that aren’t their own.  In this scenario, the comfortable living situation that you have taken the time to build for yourself has just become a threat to your own survival, in that you have lost your obscurity and have gained notoriety as the only house in your neighborhood with abundant heat and energy.  For this reason, people consider purchasing land in remote places and building houses, barns, or other types of shelters on them in which they can escape to in the event of a crisis.  Usually, the land is either tillable or even more remote, such as being surrounded by timber.  It is common for people to store water filtration systems, long-term food storage items, emergency medical supplies, guns and ammunition, heavy equipment, and large quantities of fuel and water.  These places are generally made to be hard to access easily in order to discourage squatters and thieves.  They have been affixed with the adoring label bug-out shelter.    
Now that we’re all familiar with the context I’m coming from, let’s talk about Panama.  I believe that Panama makes not only an excellent location for people to live as independently as they choose, but also a superior choice to many places people choose in the US.  Here are my top 3 reasons:
#1.  Water
In real estate, you always hear the saying “location, location, location”.  Well, when it comes to preparing for a time when things aren’t the way they are now, the saying is “water, water, water”.  Without clean, abundant water, all the rest of your preparation is useless.  You simply must have a readily available water source, and it must be clean water fit for human consumption or you must have the resources available to make it so.  We are blessed with abundant water in Panama.  Water is right under your feet most everywhere here.  People routinely drill water wells at shallow depths with enough supply to meet your every need.  There are many properties available for sale that feature freshwater streams, creeks, rivers, waterfalls, etc.  Several companies in both Panama City and David offer a variety of pumps, storage tanks, water filtration equipment, and plumbing supplies.
#2.  Climate
The climate in Panama is ideal for homesteading a small farm.  You can choose your climate literally by elevation here.  In the highlands, many people choose not to have heat or air conditioning because the temperature only varies by a few degrees year-round.  If you like it hot, choose a lower elevation.  If you like it cool, choose a higher elevation.  You will find that energy consumption will be a fraction of what it is today if you don’t have to control your temperature.  For example, there are a plethora of farms available in western Panama, in the Boquete/Volcan/Cerro Punta region, that require no air conditioning at all and the temperature will stay in the low to mid 70s year round, where your livestock will flourish and your soil will produce year-round.
#3.  Local Produce
Local produce can still be purchased at bargain prices throughout Panama.  If you want to get a head start on your food preps, the easiest way is by canning the local produce.  Most every fruit and vegetable that you can think of is available here at prices that you won’t believe.  In fact, the only thing that I can think of that I’ve not seen grown here is large, white onions.  I’m not sure why.  If you’re buying produce in the supermarkets, you’re missing out on both quality and huge savings.  The best pineapples that I’ve ever had are purchased directly from local farmers for $1 each, flavorful bananas are bought for 15 cents a bunch and grow year-round.  Tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, corn, all canning staples, are found here in abundance.
There are many other reasons why Panama is an attractive option for preppers, such as an abundance of tillable land, timber, and livestock.  The one reservation that I’ll point out for newcomers is the availability of guns and ammunition, or lack thereof.  For the first few years you will be limited in the quantity of firearms that you’re allowed to own or bring into the country.  The government will take possession of your firearms before you get them and submit them to ballistics testing.  You will provide a DNA sample via a cheek swab.  I see this as a minor inconvenience, and ultimately a small price to pay for owning firearms in a country in which you’re not a citizen.  Other than that, you will be free to live pretty much as you please and prepare for whatever eventuality you see fit, all while enjoying the abundant natural beauty that Panama has to offer.
Al Mulaire of Planet Telecom Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
If what you're looking for is living independently, Panama is wonderful. You can buy a small plot of land and live comfortably, as the growing season is essentially all year round. Please note that the legal system and its enforcement in Panama is not the same as in North America. Furthermore, Americans will find that their Second Amendment rights end at the Rio Grande. Panama has fairly rigid gun laws and strict penalties.
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
GREAT QUESTION...... What it makes this question very interesting is that Panamanians are very laid back on this issue, due we never have major disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms; instead we enjoy enviable weather all year round.
Yes, Panamá receives many inches of rain at times, especially in the rainforest areas, but even the rain is extremely benevolent, with few exceptions, of course, especially in the month of October, when it rains the most.   With very few exceptions, rain comes and goes in less than an hour, after which you can enjoy magnificent sunshine.  Few times does it remain raining all day long; and in those days....Panamanians say it is a "cold day", which of course elicits laughs from people up north, where temperatures could easily go down below 0.
But going back to the question, currently Panamá is beginning to pay attention to environmental disasters, as the world is changing so much, and globalization is in full swing.  The government agency that takes care of these subjects is called  Protección Civil ( Civilian Protection), and they make great efforts to train their staff and volunteers, and be prepared for any eventuality.
Locals use public schools if it would be the case that people have to go to some type of shelter... for example, when old, poor wooden houses catch fire...for some electric problems or stoves, then these families are taken to hostels or designated shelters.
The most important cases where shelters have been necessary have traditionally been because of fires and floods.  People, especially natives who live by the river, are the most likely to be affected by this, mainly when the tides are very high.
As to survival.... Panamá is a very well known destination for outdoors adventure....and scientists, writers, students, and other similar types of people.  One TV channel produced a "Survival" show a couple of years ago in Panamá, taking into consideration the exceptional prime forest, general rainforest, unique fauna and animals, mountains and rivers across the country.   The US army used to train their military  personnel in the jungle in Darién and between Colón and Panamá City, because of the exuberant vegetation and reptiles in the area.
Overall, Panamá offers a unique and stable environmental situation.  Panamanians say that God is above the country regarding weather and disasters.  The most that locals get uneasy about is quickly approaching light winds and thunderstorms.
God bless Panamá.

Go Here Next

Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.

Our Pledge To You

Best Places will present information from the Community in a transparent way, unedited, except to conform with our Conditions of Use.

You can trust that Best Places does not manipulate content to sell you anything. All opinions in the Community Q & A and Expat Stories are those of its authors, not Best Places.

Get Known To The Community

Those who contribute to the Best Places Community are our heroes! And being a Best Places hero is fast, fun, and easy. Just go to Questions & Answers, find your first question to answer, click on it, and then click the Contribute Your Answer To This Question Button. If you’d rather enter a Story, go to Expat Stories and click the Contribute Your Story Button".


Please contact us. We would love to hear from you! Customer Service
Technical Support
Business Development
Phone: (US) 520-940-0481