When I first came to Panama nearly 10 years ago, I was drawn by the friendly people, the laid-back lifestyle, the variety of activities and exciting destinations to explore. Since then, many of Panama’s most attractive areas for lifestyle have become much more expensive, with housing and land prices rivaling or even exceeding the prices for similar properties in the U.S.
Rock Bottom Prices
There is one exception however, sitting right under everyone’s nose and minding its own business: Penonome. Penonome is the folklore capital of Panama and currently offers some of the most attractive real estate investment opportunities in the country. Penonome affords a peaceful country lifestyle at rock bottom prices. If you thought you missed the boat on Panama and can no longer afford a good life here, think again, Penonome might be your ticket.
Close To Everything Yet a World Away
Penonome is close to everything yet a world away. A medium sized city by Panamanian standards, Penonome is a comfortable 90 minute drive along the Pan-American Highway from Panama City. Penonome is about 25 minutes from the most exclusive white sand beach resorts in Panama, including Playa Blanca (with one of the world’s largest swimming pools), Decameron Resort (complete with an 18 hole golf course), Nikki Beach, Vista Mar, Buenaventura, and several more in various stages of planning and construction.
Yet, if living in a high rise tower in a beach resort compound is not your thing, Penonome offers a quaint and affordable alternative. In Penonome, you can buy 40 acres of rolling hills with spectacular 360 degree mountain views for $80,000. A 25 acre river front estate with fixer upper house is currently on offer for $110,000, and a tastefully finished, centrally located four bedroom home is available for $100,000.
What I liked most about Penonome is the warmth of the people and the heritage and folkloric elements of the community. Hat salesmen are not pesky, and do not target tourists – they intend to sell their hats to the local farmers who need a new hat. The town is bustling with activity – shops, banks, supermarkets, and a hospital offer everything you need for a convenient and comfortable lifestyle without the tourist traps.
For an authentic folkloric experience we took the meandering paved road north of Penonome and in 10 minutes we arrived in La Pintada, a quaint village dotted with neatly landscaped country homes, proud shopkeepers, and homey restaurants. La Pintada feels like it belongs in a story book – we spotted a hand-made cigar factory, hand-made hats, and hand-made ice cream… just about everything in La Pintada is still hand-made it seems. Real people offering real services, just the way it used to be.
Penonome is the place to actualize your gentleman’s ranch, your garden oasis, your organic farm project, or your river front spa. And you can do it economically. New construction in this area is still only about $40 – $50 per square foot complete with high quality marble, granite, and tropical hardwood finishes. A brand new 2000 square foot estate home with a pool on a couple of acres with fruit trees, mountain views, and river frontage will set you back less than $175,000 – home and land included.
But it gets even better. Daily expenses like water, electricity, property taxes, insurance, landscaping and domestic help are so cheap you won’t even notice they are there – any old social security or pension check will do. High speed internet is also available at reasonable rates.
To spice up your lifestyle even more, hire a boat over at Juan Hombron, a fishing village about 20 minutes away, complete with a nice white sand swimming beach. If you don’t catch anything, don’t worry, you can buy fresh fish from the locals for a couple of dollars and bring one home to your ranch estate to dine in privacy. How about a hand-made cigar at the end of your meal to round out the evening?
For those of you interested in more information on Penonome, we are preparing a special report. Send your email using the submission form below to be added to the waiting list for this report.
Michael is the author of the Panama 101 – E-Book Guide to Living and Investing in Panama