Your Own Homestead in Panama—Lots from $47,000

When I think of country living in Panama, I think of Volcan in Chiriqui Province. To me, it offers the ideal blend of rural lifestyle in a small-town setting. It’s also a good place to look for well-priced homes and lots to build your own home or do a little farming.

The town is named for Panama’s only volcano, Volcan Barú, in the center of the western-most province of the country. While the summit of the mountain reaches 11,400 feet, you can see it from in the town. The town rests at about 4,600 feet in a sloping valley facing toward the Costa Rica border.

This is a working agricultural area and around the town you’ll see feed stores and farm supplies, hardware stores and saddle makers. You’ll also find all the necessities—pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, bakeries and small department stores. The road through town forks about mid-way, with one route heading to the Costa Rican border, and the other to the mountain of Cerro Punta, around which much of Panama’s produce is grown.

You’ll find plenty of expats attracted to Volcan by the low cost of living and the cool highland climate. Thanks to Volcan’s elevation, it is blessed with comfortable days at 75 F to 85 F and nights can be sometimes chilly at 60 F to 70 F. You won’t need to pay A/C or heating bills. The area gets adequate rainfall, but usually in the afternoon or evening, so you can get your chores done in the morning.

The surrounding countryside offers plenty of outdoor activities, and residents often get together for bird-watching, hiking, or horseback riding.

In addition to a farmer’s market, there are stands along the road selling all varieties of vegetables and fruits grown nearby. A large bag of mixed veggies, enough for a week, will cost you $5, and the red, ripe strawberries with fresh cream from a local dairy are a specialty.

Around Volcan you’ll find a nice range of lots on the market. One I particularly like has the perfect building spot, close in to town and all its conveniences. It’s a flat hilltop of over half-an-acre with gorgeous views for $49,000.

And if you’d like more room to grow, how about 1.9 acres outside of town with a stream running through it. This is great value, on a paved road, with a home-site already leveled off, surrounded by trees and fertile soil. Buy it for just $47,000 and create your own country estate or develop it as a tourism business.

If you’re interested in farming, you find 3.4 acres of countryside located about 10 minutes from Volcan. The property, selling for $60,000, slopes down to a stream and would be perfect for a coffee plantation, a plant nursery or botanical garden.

As for resale homes, one I came across was a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home with a large fenced yard, fruit trees and a view of the volcano for $185,000. With a bit of sprucing up, it would make a very comfortable retirement home.

A little outside of town there’s a nice property for a family or even a small B&B. It’s a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home which can be yours for $125,000. The fenced and gated yard is spacious and dotted with fruit trees.

In Volcán you can spend a little more and get a lot more. I found a custom-built two-bedroom, two-bathroom home that packs plenty of features for $249,000. The hilltop property has spectacular all-around vistas, an indoor pool, open floor plan and tons of living space in two stories. It also includes an outdoor patio and barbecue for fabulous highland living.

If you do buy a place in Volcan, I recommend you stop in and visit Jose Cruz, a master woodworker who has his workshop at the edge of town. You’ll find his beautiful crafted furniture, art works and architectural pieces made from local hardwoods. And in the center of town there’s an artisan’s market, too.

Whether you’re interested in a nice lot or a family home, Volcan offers you a good deal on real estate and the space to build your own dream home.


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