Re-visiting the Cost of Living in David, Panama

My wife Kris tells me that she gets inquiries concerning the prices and cost of living here in David every day from her blog, The Panama Adventure. I sometimes read on other blogs that someone says that it is as expensive in Panama as in the U.S.  That may be so for where they lived, but compared to Sarasota, Florida we are paying SO much less for food and housing. Granted, our house in Sarasota was bigger, nicer and had whole house a/c but I sure paid much more for it. The mortgage was $1100 @ month, PITI, electricity ran about $150, water $100, cable/internet $115, total of somewhere around $1500+-.023

Our rental house here is smaller, no A/C and not quite as nice, but quite acceptable for us. $385 pays the rent. Landlord pays the water (8 bucks a month). Electric runs $45+-, cable/internet is $54, gas $5. The total is somewhere around $450+-.

Sooooo, for starters it’s Sarasota $1500 vs Panama $450 for housing/basics. I think you can see why we feel like Panama is cheaper than Sarasota. And I haven’t even included car insurance, cell phone, or food.

In Sarasota we spent about $600-800 for food, car insurance was $125, cell phone $150. In David food is around $400+-, car insurance is $xx, cell phones and Skype about $20.  I’m not going to get specific, it’s broken down in more detail here Cost of Living.

Sarasota living was costing us about $100 a day, or $3000 a month.

David living costs us $38 a day, or $1100 a month.  Much more affordable!

I like that my monthly Social Security check pretty much covers the bills. Savings and investments provide a safety net. Kris will be eligible for Social Security next year.

Both Kris and I have been fortunate to have been brought up by parents who experienced the Great Depression and taught us the value of thriftiness and self sufficiency. But for us the great kicker is that we are eating so well, with  fresh fruit and veggies available YEAR ROUND, all while paying FAR less than we did in Sarasota or in Santa Rosa, California. The veggies were great as was the rest of the food but MUCH more expensive.

I don’t know what food costs are where you live, but if you are in the USA and are wondering if you can stretch your housing and food dollar here in Panama, you may just be right!



PS Kris and I say Hi to the folks from Denham Springs LA who will come to our area in August to see for themselves what it’s like here. Don’t take my word or anyone else’s, come here and see for yourself.

*Cheap drugs in David- (to fight cold symptoms:)*

I’m talking about legal drugs, that is, the kind you can buy over the counter here at Arrocha in the Terronal Mall. When the total for the 3 items came to $8.06 it was a lot cheaper that I had expected. When I got home I went online to see the prices of the same or comparable medicines.

The Aleve was 12 tablets for $3.25 with a jubilado discount of .65 it came to $2.60. Online the same drug was $6.00.

The Sinutab Plus NS D was $2.96 , with discount of .57 it came to  $2.39.

The last item was similar to Robotussin called Alicol Jarabe, at $3.96, .79 discount brought it down to $3.17.ImageMy total here in David came to $8.06, the online total was around $18, less than half the online price which I guess would be pretty close to what I would have paid at CVS in Florida where I used to live.

With the $10 I saved I could buy a couple of big Macs, or better yet, a lot of fresh fruit at the local fruit stand.M2840001

Ok, you’ve seen this photo before and know that I could only get about !/2 for $10, the hard part would be WHAT NOT to get!

But, since we’re finishing off the last of the watermelon, you know where I’m headed….:)



*Un-met Expectations? Not many for me in David,Panama…*

I knew I would like David, Panama, heck, I’d been here 2 times before, I just didn’t know how much.

I like it here a lot, I’ll admit I like all the typical things that are mentioned on the internet, cheap housing, food and liquor. I expected to enjoy the natural beauty but I found that with my camera I found even MORE beauty than expected, even some of the BUGS were pretty!

But the best part is about David for me is… the people. I see happy, smiling, KIND people every day here. If the people here are stressed, they sure hide it well.M2170006

I don’t hear raised voices except when folks are celebrating. We always get smiles and waves from strangers, sometimes we smile first, sometimes they do. “Buena” is used ALL THE TIME, kind of like Aloha, a general greeting, goodbye, what have you. From the young to the old.

There’s a good vibe here in Panama. I feel it even more when I speak to nearly everyone, from the guy pumping my gas to ALL the doctors we’ve met (6) and just about everyone in between.

Smilin'! My dentist Dr Spiegel

Smilin’! My dentist Dr Spiegel

These are many folks who go out of their way to provide not just good, but excellent service-service with a smile.M2200006

So I guess I’ve given up stress and low-level anxiety for a life among happy people and beautiful surroundings. I live cheaper, eat better and enjoy each and every day.M2520005

I have more than I need and want for little more.



*Fresh Fruit and Veggies in David, Delicious and Cheap!*

Kris has found a place downtown not far from the Cervantes Parque where we like to go for our veggies and fruit. It’s further from our house than the fruit stand near El Rey but the produce and selection is good and we have struck up a friendship with the proprietor. Back in Sarasota, Florida we bought a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, these here are as good, sometimes MUCH better, and always cheaper.

Kris sees something good!

Kris sees something good!

When we got home I put the food on the table after weighing it. As you can see, there is quite a lot of food, it came weighed in at 43 lbs and cost us all of $12.70! The watermelon alone weighed 14 lbs and was 20 cents a pound. We bought: Papaya, grapefruit, pineapple, watermelon, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and bananas, The half of a melon was a gift!

Lots of good eating here!

Lots of good eating here!

Great food, great service, great price –  what more could we ask for? One more reason for us to love David, Panama!