What is it about the seaside that we find so irresistible?
Maybe it’s the sound of sapphire waves lapping peacefully against the shore.
Or maybe it’s that feeling of sand beneath our feet, softening our soles as we comb the coastline for sand dollars and starfish.
Whatever the appeal may be, it’s clear that it’s not going away anytime soon. Beachfront property is the fad that never fades, and in Panama, it’s a fad that’s just started to catch on.
What Makes Panama Different?
Panama poses a unique opportunity for beachfront real estate, with miles of unspoiled beauty wrapped around two different coasts. The tropical isthmus offers big beauty and small population- leaving much of the seaside virtually untouched.
Certain beaches in Panama even manage to sidestep the usual drawbacks of being underdeveloped. While a walk on the beach makes you feel like you’re the only one around for miles- the quick drive back to town will immerse you once again into all the luxuries of modernity.
Notice, I did say “certain beaches.”
So, Which Beach is Best?
That, of course, depends on who you are, what you want, and what your priorities are.
But I’ll do my best to help arm you with the facts.
I’ve specialized in Panama beachfront property since the early 2000’s, back before the real estate market really started taking off. I’ve seen thousands of beach buyers come and go, and I’ve learned to discern what type of property will work best for an individual.
And, as is so often the case in real estate, it all begins with Location, Location, Location.
Panama has beaches running along two coasts: the Pacific, towards the South, and the Caribbean sometimes referred to as the Atlantic, in the North.
Make no mistake; both coasts are breathtakingly beautiful. But they couldn’t be more different.
Pacific Beachfront Real Estate
The overwhelming majority of people buying beach real estate in Panama buy on the Pacific. Why? Because that’s, for the most part, where the developments are.
It all started with Panama City, which is located on the Pacific coast. Given the essentialness of this “Crossroads of the Americas,” it was only natural for development to expand directly around it. Wealthy Panamanians wanted weekend homes, and they wanted them on the beach.
So they built them.
Today, the Pacific coast is, no contest, the more developed of the two. This is particularly true on the Gold Coast, which covers the stretch of Pacific beaches between 60 and 90 minutes from Panama City. Gold Coast communities, particularly Playa Coronado and Playa Gorgona, represent some of the most coveted real estate in the country.
Heck, I’d go so far as to say in Central America.
While real estate prices are higher on the Gold Coast than some of the more isolated regions, what you’re paying for is the unprecedented lifestyle. Nowhere else in Panama are you going to find the same quality of luxury or life.
Caribbean Beachfront Real Estate
So what does that mean for the Caribbean?
First off, credit where credit is due: The Caribbean is phenomenally gorgeous. With turquoise waters and soft white powder sand, it’s the kind of coastal backdrop you see in the movies.
The problem (as well as the beauty of it) is that there’s virtually nothing out there.
Infrastructure is either unreliable or nonexistent. Housing options are slim to none; there are no residential condominiums as of yet and the typical house is little more than a concrete block. You’re not going to find any grocery stores or shopping centers, and I hope you’re not a fan of Internet!
Really, nobody lives on the Caribbean other than locals who demonstrate a very simple way of life. This makes the Caribbean one of the most marvelous places you’ll ever visit. But if you enjoy hot showers as much as I do, you might not want to park yourself for too long.
There is an exception that is worth mentioning: Bocas del Toro, in the far northwestern corner of Panama, is the one somewhat developed chunk of the Caribbean. This tourist and surfer magnet represents a more humble lifestyle than most of us are used to, but that some expats have become enamored with.
Real estate in Bocas quite the bargain it once was- but if you can afford it and are the quirky, outdoorsy type, it may be for you.
All in all, Panama represents the best of two very different worlds with its beachfront real estate. Whether you’re looking to spend your days immersed in luxury or living off a beautifully beaten path, there’s a good chance Panama will suit you.
When you’re ready to see Panama’s beaches for yourself, feel free to get in touch for a boots-on-the-ground tour of the Pacific.