“Is Costa del Este Panama City or is it something else,”
said the voice over the phone. “I’m being transferred to Panama City, but my office is in Costa del Este and many of the places I’d like to live seem to be there too. When I look on the map it’s not clear.”
I knew exactly what he was telling me. Sometimes Costa del Este appears as part of Panama City and yet it’s not. It’s sort of a suburb, but, very self-contained. When you are coming from Tocumen International Airport you can see and feel the separateness; Panama City here and Costa del Este, off to the east, mainly surrounded by water.
An Upscale Section of Panama City
“Costa del Estes is an upscale section of Panama City,” I began in explanation, “but it is it’s own place too, separate and distinct. I’m not surprised your company’s offices are in Costa del Este as over 130 multinational corporations have offices and headquarters there,” I continued.
“I’m still confused,” he said. “Part of Panama City but separate and distinct?”
“Coste del Este was pretty neglected until around 1995,” I said. “Neglected might be a nice term as it was pretty much a garbage dump with mangroves and jungle before millions of tons of rock and soil was poured filling in the area that is today’s Coste del Este, about 766 acres total. Much of the earth that was extracted to build and widen the Panama Canal was used to fill in the space and now it’s one of the most upscale areas of Panama City,” I continued.
A Garbage Dump?
“Can you tell it once was a garbage dump?” my caller asked. “I don’t want to work in a garbage dump and certainly not live there!”
I had to laugh. “No, no, there are wide streets, a three-mile-long boardwalk where people jog and walk their dogs, bike and stroll along the lush greenery and water fountains. It’s very idyllic.”
“Why is it separate from Panama City?” he continued. “Is that a good thing or a bad thing.”
Limited Ways In and Out
“There is only about four ways in and out of Costa del Este and one of those is a marine bridge. Unlike many of the other neighborhoods in Panama City, where the lines are blurred, they are very distinct for Costa del Este,” I continued.
“In light traffic, it’s about five minutes from the heart of Panama City and 15 minutes from Tocumen International Airport. Really, the best of both worlds. If you wanted, you wouldn’t have to leave Costa del Este for anything. There are se veral grocery stores with wide aisles and inventory that reflect what you’d find in North America. Medical care, great schools, spas and car dealerships, everything.
“Because Costa del Este was pretty much a clean slate when development began, the area is now well planned with underground wiring and lots of green space. It has it’s own water processing plant and any of the single-family residences are in gated communities. Now, the development is explosive with 50-story towers providing every amenity to people from all over the globe. ”
“I’m not sure how long my transfer will be,” said the caller. “I’m not sure I want to buy unless it makes sense in the long term. I’m single and I don’t want a big apartment. I saw some of the condominiums in Costa del Este were like 4,000 square feet with maids’ quarters. That sounds out of my range and way too big!”
A Girl For A Guy From Jersey?
“There is everything in Costa del Este. One bedroom units to rent or buy with every possible amenity from infinity pools to roof top gardens and someone at the front desk 24/7. For people bringing a family, there are children’s play areas and units with bedrooms and baths for everyone. A family can use 4,000 square feet, but probably not you.”
“Just me”, he replied. “Maybe I can find the girl of my dreams in Costa del Este,” he laughed. “You know someone beautiful and just looking for a guy from Jersey.”
“There are lots of great women and men right here,” I continued not wanting to offer things I couldn’t deliver. “Lots of people really enjoy living here because there is so much going on. People jog along the boulevard daily, there are green spaces, a big central park, great retail, restaurants and hip and trendy places for people to meet and enjoy individuals living here from around the globe. There are also local Panamanians. I love the speciality grocery that caters to singles by offering prepared foods for take out along with wines from around the world. And, fresh flowers. That might come in handy if you find that perfect girl!”
I began to think he had a list in front of him and he was checking things off as his next question was about the internet. “Of course—high speed,” I said waiting for a follow-up.
“Can you catch a first run movie in English?” he said. “My Spanish is limited.”
“Movies, hot yoga, bike trails, golf courses, Spanish lessons—you might never leave.”
Even Uber Drivers
“I have to leave and go to the airport,” he said, “but I already know it’s an easy commute from Costa del Este and there are enough Uber drivers,” he laughed. “I thought Panama was third world!”
“Certainly not in Costa del Este,” I said. “We are hipper than Jersey. When will you be coming down,” I said with a smile.