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You may have heard of Panamas hat and canal, but there’s so much in this country for digital nomads.

First off, there are lots of places to see on diverse terrain. Eco-tourism is appealing to tourists, as it is in other parts of central America. Go whale watching, to a turtle sanctuary, visit a coffee plantation or get adventurous with an outdoor activity.

This will get you out of a jam in quite a few Latin American countries, but learning some Spanish will be particularly beneficial in Panama. Only about 14 per cent of the population speak English fluently. Most doctors will speak English, though.

Other than that, life is pretty chilled out in Panama, not least because it’s hurricane-free. The currency being the US dollar makes it much easier to get hold of at your nearest bureau du change. The café culture is a draw for nomads – and you can drink the tap water.

Expect to munch on sancocho de gallina (chicken stew), arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), tamales, hojaldre (fried dough), ropa vieja (shredded beef stew), patacones (plantain chips) and plantain tart.

Co-working spaces, as you’d expect, are found in Panama City, Boquete and Bocas del Toro. Ookla figures show fixed broadband at 124.71mbps, placing it at 26th in the world.

Panama has a lower cost of living than the UK. As always, these figures come from Numbeo.

  • Three-course meal for two in mid-range restaurant – $52.50 (£41.55)
  • 1 litre regular milk – $1.63 (£1.29)
  • 500g loaf fresh white bread – $2.24 (£1.77)
  • One way ticket on public transport – $0.35 (27p)
  • Basics (electricity, heating, water) for 85m squared flat – $92.69 (£73.36)
  • Rent for one-bed flat in the city centre – $802.64 (£635.41)

The digital nomad visa


Name of visa: Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers

Fees: £265 visa cost

Length of stay: Up to nine months

Can I extend my stay? Yes, up to an additional nine months


  • Likely to include criminal record checks

Minimum salary: £31,000 per year

How to apply: Make an appointment with the nearest Panama consulate

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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