Why Panama is a digital nomad paradise

Modern connectivity means you can work anywhere. But many of us take that as meaning “in the city” or “at the cafe.” That’s fine, of course – many of us have social, family or professional commitments that limit our geographical reach.

Others take “anywhere” to its conclusion. So-called digital nomads don’t root themselves in one place; they move around their countries, continents or the entire world in search of personal and professional fulfilment. 

You don’t have to take the definition literally, however. Although it’s possible to wander the world logging in at hotels, bars, airports and shared office spaces, living out of a suitcase isn’t to everyone’s taste. There are plenty of digital nomads who might spend six months or two years in a specific location, making connections, learning the language and forging friendships. For these entrepreneurs, choosing a great location is important.

And that brings us to the hottest location for the footloose professional: Panama.

The case for Panama as a nomad destination

In the past decade or so, since people became liberated from the traditional office environment, a few global locations have proved popular. Top destinations have included Berlin, Prague, Bali, Chiang Mai, Buenos Aires and Tallinn. Who wouldn’t want to live and work in one of these beautiful, buzzing places?

But as with any type of business, supply and demand soon kicks in. As soon as a place is considered good for nomads, along they come, and the prices go up. Keeping costs low is one of the drivers of the nomadic lifestyle, especially for start-ups, so it almost defeats the object if your rent, food and connectivity are equivalent to staying at home.

This is probably why Panama has carved itself a nomadic niche. It’s still relatively undiscovered as a digital destination, but has long been a centre of commerce, communications and culture. Everything's coming together now to create an environment for remote working. Here are some of the best reasons.

1. It’s inexpensive to live in

Panama has a relatively low cost of living, particularly for one of Central America’s most advanced economies. Whether it’s in Panama City or the paradise of Bocas del Toro, you can live comfortably on $1300 a month, but even if you’re bringing in less than a thousand a month, which isn’t unusual for a start-up, you can find a decent apartment and enjoy the lifestyle.

2. The tax regime is business-friendly

As far as tax is concerned, if you earn your money in another territory, Panama doesn’t consider it. The only tax you’ll pay is on sales of products and services carried out within Panama’s borders. That’s perfect if you’re on a tight budget.

3. Hundreds of businesses and banks have a presence there

Not entirely unconnected with reason 2 above, many global businesses have offices or headquarters in the nation, mostly around the capital. That’s great for making connections.

4. It has great communications

Panama is a small country but it’s right at the heart of the Americas, and is connected by air to every major city on both continents. Thanks to its importance in business, it’s very well connected globally, too.

5. Internet and mobile speeds are very good

Another by-product of its strong business presence is that its internet and mobile speeds are very fast. That’s helped by the fact that several of the major oceanic cables pass through the country.

6. It’s a beautiful part of the world

Although it’s not a consideration for everyone, Panama’s beauty and climate deserve a mention. A particular favourite is Isla Colón, a delightful tropical island in the Bocas del Toro region bordering Costa Rica. If you like the sand between your toes as you work, here’s your place.

7. It’s vibrant and cosmopolitan

Finally, Panama attracts people from all over the world to do business. That has led to a real fusion of cultures, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants, bars and cafes. But it also lends the metropolitan and tourist hubs a vivacity that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Panama: a paradise with purpose

If you’re a digital nomad, Panama has to be right up there on your 2020 destination list. Perhaps popularity will send it the way of Bali, but it’s nowhere near that yet, and it’s keeping a perfect balance of being affordable yet perfect for working hard. And if the cities and resorts do start going upmarket, well, that’s when you can choose to lap it up or move along – you’re a nomad, after all!

Now that you know why Panama is the new digital nomad paradise, check out our guide to life as a digital nomad in Medellin, Colombia

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Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.