The Next Great Beach Destination on Panama’s Pacific Coast

Imagine living within a stone’s throw of a range of beaches, all with warm waters and in pristine settings. Both white and dark-sand beaches, and the water ranges from the clear blue of the sky above to a deep cobalt blue. You can go sport fishing, paddleboarding, surfing, snorkeling, or just splash around and enjoy.

Located on the Azuero peninsula on Panama’s Pacific coast, the Pedasi region is a place for ocean lovers.

Most days, there are few if any people on the sands, so you have great stretches to yourself. It feels private and exclusive…and yet costs here are laughably low compared to similar destinations in the U.S. If you own your own home, you can live here on $1,000 a month.

The center of life is Pedasi town, traditionally referred to as a fishing village. It’s lined with neatly painted homes with welcoming terraces. Locals sit in rocking chairs and wave hello to you as you pass.

The closest beach is walking distance, about a mile from the main square. Drive south and you’ll pass a dozen more beaches. They are clean, quiet, and devoid of big-name resorts. Venao, just 40 minutes by car from Pedasi town center, has started to attract a trickle of tourists and more than a few expats with its smooth sands and surfable waves.

In Panama, the busy little hub of Coronado is widely regarded as the most popular beach. It’s just an hour’s drive from the capital, whereas Pedasi is a five-hour drive (or a 45-minute flight). But for many expats and tourists, Coronado is too popular. With its unexplored coastline and world-class fishing, the Pedasi region is still largely untapped.

There are just a few developments in the Pedasi region, with most property consisting of untouched tracts of land and simple, local-style homes. A smaller range of homes are more luxurious, and have sold to a local and international who’s who. (And I’ve heard a few celebrities have quietly snatched up property here, too.)

Stunning beaches aside, this is one of Panama’s driest regions. Rainfall is as little as 40 inches a year, compared to about 120 inches on the Caribbean coast. You wake up to sunny days most of the year. There’s a friendly expat community here, and plenty to do day or night. And the homes cost a fraction of what you’d pay in similar seaside or fishing retreats in North America.

I came across a pretty, little local-style home in the center of town recently listed for sale. This is an area where local neighbors play music on weekends. Crowing roosters and pet dogs add to the sounds of rural Panamanian life. This is simple, local living at its best, and for those who are comfortable with it, the $115,000 price tag is a plus. The fenced lot is approximately 7,200 square feet. The home is just over 1,000 square feet, featuring two bedrooms and—a rarity in older homes—two bathrooms. Three terraces offer plenty of space to entertain and make a bit of noise of your own. The neighbors won’t complain.

There are plenty of homes on offer in quieter areas, as well. A five-minute drive from the town center, a home in a small residential community is available for $155,000. It’s in an area known as Limon, which is sparsely populated and filled with greenery. The home is more than 1,600 square feet in size, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Life in Pedasi is typically lived outdoors, so patios are a big plus. This home has two—plenty of room for rocking chairs, a barbecue, hammocks, or whatever else you desire. The 12,000-square-foot lot also offers plenty of room. You could build a guesthouse or put in a pool.

In a new residential community located in a quiet area just a five-minute walk from the town square, you will find two-bedroom homes with two-and-a-half-bathrooms, available for $175,000. Built to international standards, the energy-efficient home is just over 1,000 square feet and sits on a 5,000-square-foot lot.

Another I came across was an oceanfront villa, recently listed for $247,500. The loft style home is 2,600 square feet of construction on two levels. It features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and there’s even a storage shed outside. The nearly 3,000-square-foot lot features lime, orange, and papaya trees, to name just a few. You’d pay more than three times as much for a similar home in California.

In the outskirts of nearby Las Tablas, you’ll find casitas often listed from $50,000. These are typical Panamanian homes, with terraces, sitting on verdant lots. Most tend to be 700 to 1,000 square feet and offer another option if you’re looking for something a little smaller.

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