You want an "expert" opinion???
I lived all over Mexico while working for a large American Corporation for 10 years.
I also just moved from Panama back to Florida after living there for over 1 year.
My recommendation is "stay in the USA"!
Mexico would be my 2nd choice, Panama being my 3rd choice!
PANAMA is NOT CHEAP as some people report, especially the retirees with limited/fixed incomes.
NOTHING is cheap about PANAMA. I paid $300, 000.00 for a new high rise condo in Panama City that would have cost $200, 000 in MIAMI!
The traffic and the way Panamanians drive is totally reckless......I've been hit by vehicles/motorcycles several times, mostly while stoped....they usually just drive away after they damage your vehicle.
And a note about PANAMA being "cheap"............
1. Rental apartments are higher than MIAMI
2 Purchase prices are higher than MIAMI (and MIAMI still has some of the highest real estate prices in North America!)
3. Gasoline cost about $1.00/gal more than the USA
4. Insurance cost twice what I was paying in MIAMI
5. Cars cost 30% to 50% more than in the USA
6. Restaurants are a little cheaper, but food quality does not compare, even in the BEST restaurants in PANAMA
7. Roads are absolutely terrible, not maintained, at all.
8. The Pacific beaches are not as nice as the USA.
9. The Caribbean side is very nice water as expected, but no cities, just very poor people and very small villages.
The Panamanian people are very friendly, they like Americans but it is dangerous. As somebody previously stated "promoters" and real estate people are "pumping" Panama's image.
CRIME is not usually reported, if it is, it's not put out to the public.
DO NOT count on the police for any assistance! 90% of the police are either on foot (as traffic signals) and the remaining 10% ride small scooters.
An attorney must be hired for ANY legal document or transaction.
It took 2 months to open a personal checking account trying to satisfy their "due-diligence" at the bank, even though I tried to give them a $100, 000.00 (US) check just to open the account and clear the check....they didn't want it.
And the bottom line???????
My partner was murdered in Panama City 2 months ago in our new high-rise!
Security? SURE, cameras and security guards, but the guards were no help, just as the camera was no help, people coming and going all day long!
Then there's the police...........The Police Investigator could not get to the apartment for 2 days because she could not locate a police car to get her to the crime scene.
"Oh, he's biased" you're saying..........what I've said about PANAMA is true, so true that we had already decided to move BACK to Florida, unfortunately, we waited too long!
And what do the Police say when I call them to ask about the investigation..."oh, we don't discuss investigations!"
So I made a crime report to the FBI in Miami because they do have agents in Panama.......
when I call them they can't even find the report................
Good Luck if you decide to move to Panama..............
but I'm warning all of you, PANAMA IS NOT SAFE.....and I'm basing that fact from living in Panama and seeing what goes on in that country.
Personally, I will NEVER live anyplace other than the USA, SHEIK OBAMA, or not!