The short answer is No.
Unless you are unusually attached to your car, I would highly recommend buying a vehicle here in Panama.
However, not everyone agrees.
Check out what Sheryl says.
Why Buy A Car Here?
- Shipping your car into Panama is expensive.
- Actually shipping costs will be at least $2000.
- If you don’t qualify for duty fee import, the fee assessed will be between 15% – 25% of the value of the car.
- In addition, everyone must pay a 7% goods and services fee.
- As a pensionado you may be able to import your car duty free. But you will have to pay that duty when you sell the car. You will pay the duty based on the car’s value when you imported in, not when you are selling it.
- You need to have a whole bunch of documents to ship your car to Panama. Also it must be in your name and owned by you free and clear.
- Getting parts & a good mechanic could be difficult and costly if your car is not commonly in Panama
- Even if you are shipping a car commonly found in Panama, the parts could be different.
- This is because some cars are manufactured differently depending upon where they will be sold.
- Japanese cars made for the latin american market are made in Mexico and Guatemala and are slightly different than those same car made for the North American market.
- Cars are approximately the same cost and availability as the States and Canada
- American cars are not popular here. So you will not be able to sell if for as much as you could in the States.
Why Ship Your Car To Panama
- You can avoid the hassle and cost of buying a car in Panama.
Buying A Car In Panama
But it really isn’t that much trouble to buy a car in Panama.
There are things to look out for, but it can be a very pleasant experience.
I describe our experience buying a used car in Panama here.
You might also enjoy reading these tips on driving in Panama.
Keep Your Car For Visits to Your ex-Home
You may not want to sell your car before moving to Panama.
We have always been thankful that we keep one of our cars in the States.
Visits are much cheaper if you don’t have to rent a car.
Of course you must figure out how to store it when you are not there.
But it isn’t very difficult. Usually we found a friend with some extra space in their garage. A much cheaper option than using a car storage facility.
Make sure you reduce your insurance rates to cover a car in storage. I think the cost of insurance on our garaged 1998 Honda Odyssey is $120 a year.