I’m surrounded by pines and the birds are singing. Snow White. I can’t help it: All I can think about is that fairy tale. I’ve been driving since dawn, enjoying the views as the sun rose. But now the bright disc is overhead in the sky. As I step out of the car, a whoosh of cool air reminds me I don’t need the air conditioner anymore.
I take it all in through the dissipating mist: Flowers emerge in tropical hues and, little by little, I can make out the mountains, carpeted velvety-green. This place is so picture-perfect it really does look as though it came off an illustrator’s pen.
This is Sora (pronounced with an emphasis on the final syllable: so-RAH). It’s a little-known haven that gets my vote for the best location in Panama. Go ahead, try and find a better spot. Even my city-loving self is hard-pressed. Sora is just 60 miles from Panama City and about half that from the beach.
So you can kick back in the comfort of the cool mountain breeze, dine at a gourmet restaurant in the capital, and take a dip in an isolated swimming hole…all in the same day.
Of the nearby beaches, the best by far is Coronado. Here you’ll find every convenience and one of Panama’s largest expat communities. There is a big upscale grocery store and a string of fun restaurants (my favorite is Luna Rossa, an authentic Italian eatery). Of course, there’s also the Hotel Coronado Golf & Beach Resort. The beach here is part of the Arco Seco or “dry arch,” so dubbed because the region is among the nation’s driest.
On any given day, showers are short, and soon enough the sun comes out to warm the glittering volcanic sands—white swirled with starry black.
(NuwireInvestor)When you’re done baking in Coronado—don’t forget the sunscreen—head back up to Sora. Here you can literally chill out as the sun goes down along with the thermostat. While daytime temperatures average in the low 80s, nighttime can bring dips into the 60s.
Sora’s climate is perfect in every way. The area is rich in natural appeal, with rivers, waterfalls and walking trails dotting the landscape. At certain points on a clear day, you can see both the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. The rich volcanic soil is legendary—your thumb need not be green to garden here. And expats rave about the fresh mountain air.
You can buy lots (at least a quarter-acre) in a large well-established development here for $50,000…and home/lot packages start at $182,140.
Outside a gated community, you can buy half-acre lots for $50,000…and have a three-bedroom home built for $45,000.