The Azuero Peninsula is located in the center, south part of Panama is is often refereed to by Panamanians as as the heartland of this country. This area has a long tradition of farming, ranching, fishing and partying (Carnival celebrations). Traveling through this area you will see the history of Panama culture with it’s celebrations and architecture. There are three main towns in this area, Chitré, Las Tablas, and Pedasí, and we will talk about the uniqueness of each.
Expats had started to discover these town, for several reasons. Some of the lowest cost of living in Panama and close to beach access. The weather here is hot, but this is the driest area of Panama. The red tile roofs and elaborate iron work, decorate the Spanish colonial houses. The clean streets with their central plazas shaded by old trees, always lead to an 18th century Cathedral. This is colonial Panama, with a rich history. These three towns come alive with the annual Carnival celebrations, with Las Tablas Carnival being one of the largest celebrations in the country.
Let’s start with Chitré, the largest of theses three towns. Although it is not next to a full beach, like the other two, nice beaches are only a 30 minute drive away.
Chitré is the capital city of the Province of Herrera. It has a population of around 10,000, with a metropolitan area of around 80,000 people. It is located 7 km inland from the gulf of Panama on the Azuero Peninsula. Chitré was founded in 1848 and a parochial district, 70 years before Herrera become a Province. The natural vegetation in the area is tropical dry forest, although most of the forest has been cut down to make way for agriculture and ranching.
It has a very unique low tide beach, Playa El Agallito, when at low tide, many crabs come out, and thousands of birds arrive to eat, making it a great bird watchers area.
Chitré as virtually all the amenities of a big city, including local and international restaurants, hotels, banks, stores, strip malls, medical facilities, and a good internet and telecommunications network. This makes it an excellent choice for expats to settle there, as they have all the amenities of home, yet the laid back affordable lifestyle there are looking for. Chitré serves the Peninsula as it’s hub for services. It has a regional bus terminal with destinations across the country and a small airport with flights to Panama City.
Chitreans are cheerful and friendly people, who like to have fun with their friends, and even out of towners. Good dealing and cooperation are the norm for people of this town, and the result of that is a very peaceful and secure city, that is becoming home to even more expats that want to enjoy their retirement years away from the big cities.
Las Tablas, Panama
The capital city of the Province of Los Santos, has a population of around 9,000 people. It is located only a couple kilometers from the gulf of Panama, making it is must see for expat beach lovers. It is know as a national center of Panamanian folklore with art, music, gastronomy, architecture and culture.
It is known also in Panama for its lively annual Carnival, as the city splits into to competing factions, “Calle Arriba” (Uptown, Street Above) and “Calle Abajo” (Downtown, Street Below). Each day during Carnival celebrations, each faction names a Carnival Queen, has music, parades, fireworks, and a decorated plaza, and basically competes with the other faction to put on a better Carnival. This is one of the largest Carnival celebrations in the country every year.
Las Tablas, similar to Chitré, is very friendly to expats, and becoming more popular moving destination from expats every year. Its couple minutes proximity to the beach, and very affordable housing are two of its best traits for living here. Although much smaller in size to Chitré, it has lots of the amenities you need, and everything else is only a 30 minute drive away in Chitré.
You could rent a nice panama style house in Los Tablas for a little as $350 a month, and you you are looking to buy something, you will find some of the best values in Panama in the area. You will not find a large expat community here, but you will find a close knit one, but I would recommend learning some Spanish if you plan to live here.
Pedasí, is a small town located on the south eastern tip of the Azuero Peninsula, on the Pacific Ocean. It has some of the best beaches around, and for those looking for small town life, you need to visit Pedasí. With a population of around 3,000 people, and only a few hundred expats living there, if you are looking for the quiet laid back retirement life, you want the hot and drier weather all year around, with cooling Pacific breezes and access to nice beaches, this may be the place to consider.
The town itself, consist of a main road, Avendia Central, a plaza, several nicely maintained civic buildings, all surrounded by residential streets. The basic amenities are here, with a large grocery store, doctors office, and a public hospital, with Los Tablas being 45 minutes away and Chitré just over an hour drive away for your major shopping trips.
Pedasí is also know for surfing, with the beach of Playa Venao just 30 minutes away, which hosted the World Junior Surfing Championships in 2012.
The Safety of this town is one of the main reasons it is chosen by expats, with very little crime in the area. The locals and expats seem to look after each other and the locals are very welcoming to expats and expat businesses.
When we started our Retire in Panama Tours, Pedasí was not on our agenda, now we go there every tour, and is one of our favorite spots in Panama, and our guests love it also. Housing in very affordable, and there are some new beach front communities available and currently being built for some great value in laid back beach living.
Yes, expats are moving to the Azuero Peninsula in Panama, and for some great reasons. Come on one of our Retire in Panama Tours to visit Chitré, Las Tablas and Pedasí, with an overnight in Pedasí to see for yourself. This entire area has warm weather, Pacific breezes, driest climate in Panama. It is safe and secure with some of the most affordable rentals and real estate in the country. The amenities are all here or close by whether you are looking for a laid back lifestyle, or a lifestyle with more activities.
The infrastructure is strong with top notch roads, great internet and good power grid, and excellent cell service. Come check out Chitré, Las Tablas and Pedasí with Retire in Panama Tours, and see if this is the right destination for you.
Retire in Panama Tours
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