Are you dreaming of a California lifestyle…but think that you’re unable to afford it? If so, you’ll want to consider Coronado, Panama.
Just an hour’s drive from the only First-World city in Central America, at first glance you might notice that Coronado isn’t the cheapest retirement choice in the world…or even in Panama.
A couple would want a total of $2,000 to $3,000 a month to live comfortably within the Coronado gates (including rent). Monthly rentals can be found for $1,000 to $2,000, and homes sell for $175,000 to $300,000 or more. (Mind, you can live on a whole lot less just a 10- to 20-minute drive outside Coronado… Homes there have been known to sell for as little as $100,000 to $175,000 and a couple’s monthly budget could be 40% to 50% lower than it was in North America).
Coronado may not seem like a bargain compared to every city in the U.S. But compare Coronado to that California lifestyle (a more apt comparison) and you’ll start to see what good value it really is. For your money you get sunny weather, laid-back locals, pristine, uncrowded beaches, great food, and lots of activities, like tennis, social clubs, yoga classes, and more.
Then factor in its proximity to Panama’s capital…the cost of real estate…insurance that’s 10 times cheaper than back home…the safety of living behind a gate with security guards…quick access to health care, like affordable dentists and a good hospital…and you’ll see Coronado’s appeal.
For example, how much would you pay for a nice home in coastal California? Say, three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms with over 6,000 square feet of construction, including a pool, covered terrace, and maid’s quarters? And say that home is in an exclusive gated community with an equestrian club, just a few blocks from the beach? In Coronado, just such a home is currently listed for $280,000.
In a comparable community in California, you could easily pay double, triple, or even quadruple that amount. Even in “less expensive” central coast communities, median home prices—I’m talking about homes of around 1,200 square feet and without a pool—are much higher than what you’d pay in Coronado—in the $350,000 to $450,000 range. For that price in California, you’re farther from the beach and in a less exclusive area than Coronado’s Club Ecuestre.
So though Coronado is not Panama’s cheapest retirement destination, you won’t exactly be roughing it. With outstanding growth over the past five years, Coronado has become this Pacific Coast region’s hub. Where before there was a golf club, a beach club, and not a whole lot else, there are new shopping plazas, grocery stores, restaurants, a hospital, and more. There’s high-speed Internet, cable television, and cellular service for calls and data. (And these days, really, what more does a body need?)
Coronado appeals to expats (and locals, who own many of the homes here) now more than ever. The more people commit to Coronado full-time, the more exciting this community becomes.
I’m always impressed when I hear how positive and active Coronado’s residents are. At local restaurant and de facto community center Picasso you can meet them and get a sense of what’s going on. Every week there are new activities: happy hours, blues concerts, carnival celebrations, trivia nights, artsy brunches… And I’m simply quoting from the last mailing sent out by Picasso’s owner, Claire Ross. (By the way, her mailings are always in both English and Spanish…a reflection of Coronado’s integrated community.)
True…you may need a little more than your Social Security to live comfortably in Coronado. But if you’re looking for that California lifestyle…complete with cobalt blue waters, sands the color of weathered pine, storm petrels and frigatebirds soaring overhead…then Coronado may be the best fit. You know, without the California price tag.
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