Limones, Panama

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Limones, Panama

Reviewed by Lief Simon

Lief Simon is the managing editor of Global Property Advisor, Simon Letter, and Offshore Living Letter. He has purchased more than 45 properties, investing in 23 different countries around the world.

Limones is a corregimiento—a region or part of a larger district––in the Chiriquí Province. Limones is made up of Melliza, Marbella, Costa del Mar, the town of Limones, Baco, Bella Vista, and Punta Burica. It ends at the Costa Rica border.

The corregimiento is roughly 54 square kilometers and has a population of just over 1,000 people (as of the census in 2010).

The population density is only 19 people per square kilometer, making it one of the least-inhabited areas of the district.

Limones, Panama, was inhabited by Indigenous people before the Spanish conquest began in the 16th century. Due to the deep waterways, fishing was (and continues to be) a main source of income for locals.

The climate was (and still is) well-suited to the production of corn and other agricultural products.

Over time, the town of Limones became the geographic and economic center of the corregimiento.

Before roads were built, the town had a regular market where fishers sold their daily catch and farmers brought cows to be slaughtered and to then sell the meat. As a result, people from the entire region came to trade, sell, and barter.

Limones, Panama, is one of the few places left that offers an unaltered coastline with no commercialization. There are miles of beaches with no inhabitants except for monkeys and sea turtles.

The forests in Limones, Panama, are a lush green, and toucans and parrots sing the day away.

There are no condominiums, just 30-foot palm trees swaying overhead, inviting you to put up a hammock and grab a cool beverage. This is where life slows down, and paradise is found.

Limones, Panama, is secluded and private, yet close enough to larger towns that covering your day-to-day needs won’t be a hassle.

With large swaths of undeveloped land, the lifestyle in Limones, Panama, is ideal for those looking for a slower way of life… a life surrounded by nature and stars twinkling at night.

Most importantly, Limones is a unique, peaceful destination where you can enjoy long strolls on the beach and beautiful views.

The Cost Of Living In Limones, Panama

Apartment Or House Ownership Budget (For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
Mortgage100% is usually paid at the time of sale
HOA FeesNo planned communities in the area.
Property TaxesNot included here as too variable. Property taxes are on a sliding scale from 0% to 0.7%.
TransportationUS$100Fuel. Daily trips around town, and one trip to David per month approximately.
GasUS$525 lbs. Lasts two months or more.
Basic UtilitiesUS$70Electricity and water. Price will depend on use of air conditioning, fans, and electro domestics.
Cell PhoneUS$40Two phone plans with unlimited LTE data.
InternetUS$80Wi-Fi, Cable TV, and landline.
Cable TVBundled with internet.
Household HelpUS$120US$10 to US$20 daily wage, about three times a week.
EntertainmentUS$80This includes the couples’ cost for eating out twice a week at a mid-range, local restaurant; local drinks twice a week at a nearby watering hole.
GroceriesUS$400Basic items for a couple.
Gym MembershipNo gyms in the area.
Medical AppointmentUS$10Without insurance at a public clinic.
TOTALUS$905**Doesn’t include mortgage fee.

Apartment Or House Rental Budget (For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$400Furnished, two-bedroom, comfortable house.
TransportationUS$10Fuel. Daily trips around town, and one trip to David per month approximately.
GasUS$525 pounds (lasts two months or more).
Basic UtilitiesUS$70Electricity and water. Price will depend on use of air conditioning, fans, and electro domestics.

Using air conditioning at night. Many homes in the area also run on generators or solar panels.

Cell PhoneUS$40Unlimited minutes, unlimited data.
InternetUS$80Wi-Fi, Cable TV, and landline.
Cable TVBundled with internet.
Household HelpUS$120US$10 to US$20 daily wage, about three times a week.
EntertainmentUS$80This includes the couples’ cost for eating out twice a week at a mid-range, local restaurant; local drinks twice a week at a nearby watering hole.
GroceriesUS$400Basic items for a couple. Also depends on how many imported goods you buy.
Gym MembershipNo gyms in the area.
Medical AppointmentUS$10Without insurance at a private clinic in Santiago.
TOTALUS$1,305

Penny-Pincher’s Budget (Bare Minimum Costs, For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$200Most basic one-bedroom rental.
TransportationUS$30Trip by bus to David, twice monthly.
GasUS$5A tank of cooking gas (25 pounds) generally lasts two months.
Basic UtilitiesUS$40Electricity and water. Price will depend on use of air conditioning, fans, and electro domestics.
Cell PhoneUS$14Local minutes. No data.
InternetUS40Wi-Fi, basic TV channels.
Cable TVBundled with internet.
EntertainmentUS$50Two lunches and two dinners at cheap local places.
GroceriesUS$300All local-brand items only. Shopping markets and local vendors along with grocery stores.
TOTALUS$680

Panama uses the U.S. dollar.

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Getting To Limones, Panama

There are a couple of ways to get to Limones.

If you’re in Panama City, you’ll first need to make your way to David—the capital of Chiriquí Province—by bus or plane. In David you can either rent a car and save time or hop on the bus and save money.

Firstly, if you’re renting a car, you’ll drive from David to the town of Paso Canoas at the Costa Rica border. Just before crossing the border, you’ll turn left and make your way toward Puerto Armuelles.

David to Puerto Armuelles is roughly an hour-and-a-half drive.

You’ll pass through Puerto Armuelles and then P.T.P. So, you might need to stop and ask directions from a local to get through town and find the road that leads to Limones, Panama.

After P.T.P you’ll enter the corregimiento of Limones. The first beach you’ll come across is Melliza, then Costa del Mar, the town of Limones, Puerto Balsa, Baco, Bella Vista, and finally Punta Burica.

Expat Community In Limones, Panama

The expat community in Limones is small, yet steadily growing. In the last few years, new businesses have been started by entrepreneurial-minded expats, including two hotels.

The corregimiento is spread out, and part of the area’s intrigue is its seclusion. Unless you live in one of the small towns, the likelihood of close neighbors is slim. This doesn’t make for a close-knit expat community.

That said, small groups of friends get together at local establishments for happy hour or group dinners. As the area continues to grow, the expat community will get bigger and more well-connected.

Most importantly, if you find that your new home is lacking the activities you enjoy, you can start a club or organize events, and invite other expats and locals.

Knowing Spanish will make your life easier, but it isn’t a requirement to live well in Limones, Panama. With no large towns in the area, life can feel isolated.

This gives you the chance to practice Spanish on your own time, but it also means that you won’t necessarily need it on a daily basis.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn at least the basics. There will be times when you’ll need to communicate with non-English speaking locals.

Whether it be explaining to your gardener which plants not to cut, or simply buying a cold soda at the local tiendita (corner store), your Spanish skills will come in handy.

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Things To Do In Limones, Panama

Though Limones is off the beaten path, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do here.

The Chiriquí coast is a popular destination for the city dwellers of David and Panama City.

During Christmas, New Years, and carnaval, the beaches are crowded with people celebrating, cooking, swimming, and even camping overnight. In short, this means it’s a fun time to mingle with locals and people-watch.

Limones has annual traditions. For example, there’s a fishing tournament where boats from all over Chiriquí compete in different categories, including the most fish (by pound) and the largest catch of the day.

Día de La Virgen del Carmen is an annual festival celebrated with a boat parade where decorated boats escort a statue of the Virgin del Carmen—the patron saint of fishers and protector of the water—out to sea before returning her to land.

Each town takes part with different levels of involvement, and Limones has one of the biggest celebrations.

For expats interested in volunteering, you’ll find options available. For example, two groups that research and protect monkeys are Proyecto Primates Panama and Refugio Ecológico Mono Feliz Punta Burica.

Proyecto Primates has been working to install monkey bridges across the newly paved main road.

Other events in the area include trash clean-up days, weekend recreational sports games at the local stadium, and school fairs.

Safety In Limones, Panama

Life in Limones can be quite secluded. It’s not the typical small town where people wander around on foot everywhere and pass dark alleyways and streets.

Still, caution should be practiced. Firstly, lock your home when you’re out, front door, back door, and windows. Secondly, lock your car when you get out and keep all valuables out of sight. Carry all your belongings with you and keep flashy items out of sight.

There isn’t a whole lot of news on crime happening in this area, however, the less you attract attention, the less likely you’ll be victim to theft or crime of any kind.

Climate In Limones, Panama

The climate in Limones, Panama, is tropical.

Like most beach towns in Panama, temperatures usually stay at about 80°F (26°C). Though the temperature may not vary significantly throughout the year, it does have an evident dry season and rainy season.

The dry season in Limones, Panama, typically starts in December and lasts to April and the rainy season starts sometime in early to mid-May and lasts until November.

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Health Care In Limones, Panama

Health care in Limones, Panama, is limited to one public health center (centro de salud) in the town of Limones. This is a good option if you have a minor health concern like the flu, or if you need stitches or a prescription. If you need more serious care, go to Hospital Dionisio Arrocha in Puerto Armuelles, about 30 minutes away.

And, if your condition is life threatening, they will most likely send you by ambulance to one of the world-class hospitals in David, which is about an hour and 20 minutes away from Puerto Armuelles.

Taking all this into consideration, if you have serious health issues or need regular medical care, Limones isn’t a suitable destination for you.

Visa And Residency Information

U.S. citizens may enterPanamawithout a visa and remain in the country as a tourist for a maximum of 180 days per trip. As a result, if you wish to stay longer than 180 days, you need to seek permission to remain in the country.

The Specific Countries visa program is available to citizens of 50 specifically named countries, including the United States.

This is the best Panamanian residency option after Panama’s pensionado visa.

Most imnportantly, Panama’s pensionado program offers special benefits and discounts for foreign retirees. To sum up, it’s the current Gold Standard.

Retiring in Panama, you can save as much as 50% on everything from restaurant meals to in-country airfares, and from prescription medicines to closing costs on your new beach house.

For further information such as requirements, documents needed, and help with your visa application, we recommend contacting a Panamanian lawyer.

Limones, Panama - FAQs

Where Is Limones, Panama, Located?

Limones is located in the Province of Chiriquí. It’s rather close to the Costa Rican border. Many who live in this area choose to venture to Costa Rica more frequently than head to other parts of Panama.

Is There An Expat Community In Limones?

Yes. Limones has a small expat community, but it is growing.

Do People Speak English In Limones, Panama?

You may find people who speak English in Limones. However, most will not. If you choose to settle here, you’ll need to learn enough Spanish to at least give instructions to your gardener, maid, and local store owner/worker.

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