A friend of mine rents a house in Las Tablas, Panama for $100 per month. The house is about 10 minutes to the nearest beach and 5 minutes to the town center.
Las Tablas, a mid-sized town near the coast of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula, has apparently been named a “top place to retire” by one promoter or another… or so I was told by a gringo real estate agent pushing pricey properties for sale in the area.
I’d suggest the idea that Las Tablas offers a decent standard of living, depending on how you define the terms “living” and “decent”. Certainly I’ve seen worse communities to call home, and Las Tablas, in terms of affordability, is hard to beat. You can drink the water right from the tap and you can eat lunch that’s healthier than any fast food chain for about $4.00.
The nearby beaches aren’t the nicest I’ve seen, but you can generally get what you need to live a decent life without too many hassles. A small but growing expat community has started to take form, a trend I expect will continue in coming years.
It’s not a big house, granted. It’s not in a fancy neighborhood either, but it seems safe enough and the neighbors appear friendly. The house has three decent sized bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, a rather small kitchen that’s been expanded into the rear patio for extra counter space. The spacious front patio offers enough room for a dining table, chairs, and hammocks. The back yard includes fruit trees and plenty of open space. The lot size is maybe 3000 sq. ft. It’s not a McMansion, but what more do you really need? Parking is kinda tight, you have to parallel park between two palm trees.
Add high speed internet for $50/month, Cable TV for $50/month, water for $10/month and electric at maybe $50/month (if you use A/C at night). So all in, we’re up to $260/month, or about $9/day. It costs more than that to park a car in a major city in North America. All in, one could probably live pretty well here on under $500 per month.
I imagine with some fresh paint, newer furniture, and modern era appliances, this place would do just fine for a lot of people on a limited budget…