Quite simply, Panama offers the best deal for tax residency on the planet. Panama is unique in that it has a territorial tax system. This means that they do not tax incomes that are not sourced from Panama. Beyond that, it's a breathtakingly beautiful, relatively wealthy and safe country that is on the cusp of a digital transformation. It's the perfect place to be as a programmer.
While we are planning on offering accommodations in other locations, including Panama City, we currently operate from a single property in Boquete, Panama, Casa Ejecutiva.
Casa Ejecutiva is located on the slopes of the highest peak in Panama, Volcan Baru, overlooking the town of Boquete from a cliff. The closest city is David, where you can catch regular daily flights to Panama City. We are approximately an hour and a half from the Costa Rican border.
Volcan Baru is technically an active volcano, and the US Geological Survey has produced several risk assessment documents, the most recent in 2007. While disruption of lifestyle and infrastructure is possible at some point in the future, an eruptive event would last years and come with plenty of warning, and would not likely result in great loss of life.
We've had programmers and hackers from all backgrounds and skill levels - from beginning Python programmers to machine learning researchers, developers from well known tech companies, and especially freelancers.
In Boquete - fantastic. Even during the rainiest months there is sunshine nearly every day, and during the 'high season' there is very little rain for around four months. Temperatures generally range from 12-28C (53.6-82.4F), with cool nights and warm days. There are many micro climates in the Boquete area, ranging from more humid to dryer, and windier.
The elevation of the town is roughly 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) above sea level, and is surrounded by lush jungle. These factors contribute to Boquete's excellent weather.
Boquete is an international expat community with dozens of fine dining options and dozens of other options as well. You can find a cheap local meal for around $3, and you can find world class plates for $30-40.
Not non existent, but it's definitely not a party town. There are a few party nights during the year but generally it is a quiet mountain resort town. There are around half a dozen proper pubs or taverns, many local bars, a brewing company and a single night club.
By central American standards - very safe. Boquete especially has a very large expat population and a strong police presence. It is where many of the Panamanian ex-presidents retire and have coffee investments.
While violent crime does occur, it is very infrequent and mostly opportunistic. Our property has gates, every door has its own lock, and there are security cameras all over the exterior of the property.
Panama City and Colon especially have much more crime, but even Panama City is generally very safe at night. Like any large city, there are simply a few places you shouldn't go after dark.
Malaria risk is low throughout the entire country, and malaria is not present in Boquete. You'll only need to take precautions if you're exploring the jungles of eastern Panama.
Panama has many cheap flights daily from all over the world. Florida, New York, and Spain are especially low cost departures. Once in Panama City you may fly or bus to David (though flying is always recommended), and then take local busses or taxis to Boquete. We can arrange a pickup for you as well.
Uber exists in the city. Cabs are plentiful in Boquete and while more expensive than many other parts of the country still cheap by developed world standards (a taxi to Casa Ejecutiva costs $5 from the town center). A hiking trail also exists to the town which takes a person of average fitness around 20 minutes to complete.
There are several clinics in Boquete as well as several pharmacies. The closest emergency room is about 20 minutes away by car and the closest quality, private hospital is around 40 minutes away by car.
We are actually building an entire business around this! The short answer is that the residency process takes several months and some documentation from your home country regarding your financial and criminal history. To qualify for residency you'll need a clean history, around $10,000 in available cash (to cover living and legal fees as well as a solvency deposit), and a few months to complete the process. We can help!