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Living in the Largest Expat Area of Panamá Oeste – Welcome to Coronado!

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Living in the Largest Expat Area of Panamá Oeste – Welcome to Coronado!

When it’s time to research information to initiate the process to retire in Panamá, personal requirements dictate how and where you will settle into your new life. 

One of the many draws for Panamá was the cost of living. If you are coming from a big city, your expat retirement planning may have been significantly influenced by getting the most value for your hard earned pension.

How much to live in Panamá is dependent largely on where you live. The city is expensive which is why many choose to retire elsewhere. The larger expat communities tend to come with more infrastructure and their associated costs. Lifestyle factors in big time. Food basics tend to be cheaper. Rent is similar, again heavily dependent on what you need.  Cellular service, WiFi and cable, electric and water are significantly less expensive. Restaurants and services are similar in pricing to North America. 

If you are moving to Panamá from Canada, you have to factor in the exchange rate from Canadian to US dollars. Health insurance is now out of pocket and can be expensive. Even taking all this into account, you can live for less in paradise. 

How many expats live in Panamá? A census count takes place every ten years in Panamá, the next one in 2020. Anticipated growth is significant, from 3.3 million to 4 million influenced by immigration and increased quality of life for Panamánians. The net migration rate, the number of immigrants minus the number emigrants increased at an average annual rate of 28.4% since 1970 so the new census data will provide a more accurate expat population count. 

Where do most expats live in Panamá? Boquete, El Valle and Coronado top the list of destinations. 

If you are done with big city life, the decision on where to live in Panamá for expats will split between beach and mountain options. If you are leaving northern climates, the cooler mountain air may not be to your liking.

If the beach lifestyle beckons, where to live in Panamá Central America is simplified further to gated community or not, and finally, house or condo. 

Beach life is extremely popular with the expat community. Over the years, Coronado has morphed from a weekend retreat into a thriving expat community with people from United States, Canada, and Europe. Infrastructure and conveniences have made international living simpler. Internet, medical and dental services, restaurants, shopping, are right there. 

Much of the beach community still consists of weekenders from Panamá City. 

Expat life in Coronado is vibrant and active. Social life at the beaches is what you want it to be. 

While there is also a large group of permanent residents, a significant upsurge begins in November as the national holidays kick off the season and snow birds arrive from the North American winter. The pace increases a bit, places are busier and reservations suggested.  

If so inclined, the best place to meet the community is Picasso’s famous happy hour, each Wednesday from 5:00-7:00. This cornerstone of the community, a restaurant and bar is the meeting place for expats. Wednesday to Saturday evenings host weekly events like open mic night, trivia, and live music. 

Recently, Monday salsa dance classes at Malibu restaurant lead into a happy hour. Sandbar, Café 507, and many more restaurants are open along the main road into Coronado ending with Lunarossa near the Coronado Bay Towers. 

Even the golf course opens to the public for happy hour on Tuesdays. The beach bar hosts a public brunch Sunday’s. 

Time to burn off all those calories?  A variety of yoga and Pilates classes are scheduled weekly. Looking to volunteer?  Local and international groups offer opportunities to give back to the community and beyond. 

Many discover or develop new found artistic talents in their leisure time. Suddenly creativity blossoms and it is amazing what people are creating. 

Day trips to every direction yield new and interesting finds, take any road off the Interamericana Highway and explore the surrounding neighborhoods. Try the fonda’s for a taste of local foods. Take a day trip on a catamaran or into the city or jungle with the Coronado Concierge folks for a great time. 

Closer to home is the beach. Peaceful morning walks, fun times in sand and surf, bonfires are all within minutes reach. Waking up to the sound of the waves beats city noise any day. Health benefits abound from deeper sleep to reduced cortisol levels from stress. 

The community of Coronado is open, friendly, and welcoming and you can decide for yourself exactly how much or little you want to be part of the social fabric. It is up to you to define and then build your own personal version of paradise. 

These are some of the reasons many expats never want to leave the beaches of Coronado!

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