(International Living) I’m sad to report that most visitors to Panama never leave the capital city. But if you’re willing to look beyond the city skyline, a world of choice awaits.
This is a country roughly the size of South Carolina, so you needn’t go far to find idyllic mountain, beach, and valley hideaways with a “so close, yet so far away” feel.
Whether you’re looking for: Mild, spring-like weather in the mountains…jaw-dropping beach side villas along the coast…or colonial towns that offer immersion into Panamanian culture…the best thing is, you’re never far from Panama City’s convenience and amenities. That’s one of the perks of living in a tiny country.
The highland town of Boquete is one of the most popular retirement destinations, with a growing and increasingly active community. Temperatures are often in the 70s F—near perfect weather, year-round. And the lush tropical climate keeps everything green and exuberant.
Houses are the norm here, but you will find a few condos. In one of Boquete’s upscale gated developments, I know of this big condo for sale: It’s a two-level, 5,000-square-foot, open-plan home. It has an office/den in the loft area, and a storage unit.
The condo comes with major appliances. Unusual extras include vaulted ceilings, front and back terraces, hand-painted tiles, and granite counter tops. The community has a private social area and gym. Price: $224,000.
You don’t have to limit yourself to luxury property, though. If you’re happy to “live la vida local” in more standard accommodations, you can save 50% or more. Look to neighboring Volcan for the same cool climate and gasp-inducing views…along with excellent local bargains. Here, a sweet little A-frame, one-bedroom cottage with a back terrace sits on a 13,000-square-foot lot…plenty room to build.
Construction costs aren’t very high, about $50 per square foot for your basic building. Just a few blocks from the main strip, this home’s best feature is the price: $50,000.
Coronado beach is a local favorite in Panama. An hour from the city, it’s an easy destination for a weekend of frolicking in the sun. But Coronado is no longer just for weekends. The full-time expat community has grown. Nowadays, you’ll find people from all over and of all ages enjoying all this beach town has to offer…all week long.
Coronado’s popularity and expansive beach have driven prices up a bit, but it’s still easy to find bargains here. One I found is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,300-square-foot house.
It has storage room, a covered terrace, a pool, and ocean view. Price: $225,000.
Look to neighboring areas 15 to 30 minutes from Coronado’s main gate for savings. About 15 minutes east of Coronado a furnished, two-bedroom, three-bathroom country home is on offer for just $75,000.
The recently refurbished home has a mountain view and plenty of fruit trees. At over 2,000 square feet of construction and on a lot about five times that size, this property offers plenty of room to stretch out in… There’s even a gazebo on the property, so you can enjoy views of the hilltops in nearby Campana National Park (for more on this area, see my video about Panama’s Best-Kept Secret Caught on Video).