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Cerro Azul, Panama

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Cerro Azul, Panama

The Cost Of Living In Cerro Azul, Panama

Apartment Or House Ownership Budget (For A Couple)

 
Expense Monthly Costs Notes
Mortgage Depends on the bank and cost of the property.
HOA Fees N/A
Property Taxes Not included here as too variable.
Transportation US$100 Gas and maintenance for a private car, plus the occasional Uber or public transportation. (An Uber costs about US$12 from 24 de Diciembre to Altos de Cerro Azul. The same route in bus costs US$1.)
Gas US$5 A 25 lb. cooking gas tank costs about US$80, and filling it costs US$5. (A tank usually lasts longer than a month.)
Electricity US$100 Using air conditioning.
Water US$20 Including maintenance costs.
Cell Phone US$60 Basic cell phone plan for two people.
Internet US$55 For a plan with high-speed internet (300 Mbps) and 220 TV channels.
Cable TV Bundled with internet.
Household Help US$240 US$30 per day twice a week.
Entertainment US$353 Eating out twice a week at a mid-range, local restaurant: US$32 (about US$8 per meal per person).
Local drinks twice a week at a nearby watering hole: US$50 (varies greatly: a domestic beer costs US$2.50 to US$4. A cocktail can set you back US$10 or more depending on the establishment. If you drink mostly cocktails, budget around US$100 for drinks twice a week).
Movie theater trip twice a month: US$25 (US$6.25 per ticket for 2D viewing). Doesn’t include food.
Groceries US$600 Monthly grocery haul for a couple.
Gym Membership US$25 Basic plan.
Medical Appointment US$80 Consultation at a private clinic.
TOTAL US$1,638 Doesn’t include mortgage or property taxes.

Apartment Or House Rental Budget (For A Couple)

 
Expense Monthly Costs Notes
Rent US$1,000 Houses in Altos de Cerro Azul rent for US$800 to US$1,200 a month depending on the size.
Transportation US$100 Gas and maintenance for a private car, plus the occasional Uber or public transportation. (An Uber costs about US$12 from 24 de Diciembre to Altos de Cerro Azul. The same route in bus costs US$1.)
Gas US$5 A 25 lb. cooking gas tank costs about US$80, and filling it costs US$5. (A tank usually lasts longer than a month.)
Electricity US$100 Using air conditioning.
Water US$10
Cell Phone US$60 Basic cell phone plan for two people.
Internet US$55 For a plan with high-speed internet (300 Mbps) and 220 TV channels.
Cable TV Bundled with internet.
Household Help US$240 US$30 per day twice a week.
Entertainment US$353 Eating out twice a week at a mid-range, local restaurant: US$32 (about US$8 per meal per person).
Local drinks twice a week at a nearby watering hole: US$50 (varies greatly: a domestic beer costs US$2.50 to US$4. A cocktail can set you back US$10 or more depending on the establishment. If you drink mostly cocktails, budget around US$100 for drinks twice a week).
Movie theater trip twice a month: US$25 (US$6.25 per ticket for 2D viewing). Doesn’t include food.
Groceries US$600 Monthly grocery haul for a couple.
Gym Membership US$25 Basic plan.
Medical Appointment US$80 Consultation at a private clinic.
TOTAL US$2,628

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

 
Expense Monthly Costs Notes
Rent US$500 Rent for a small one-bedroom, one-bathroom house.
Transportation US$50 Using private vehicle sparingly and getting around on foot or public transportation as much as possible.
Gas US$5 A 25 lb. cooking gas tank costs about US$80, and filling it costs US$5. (A tank usually lasts longer than a month.)
Electricity US$30 No air conditioning, only fans.
Water US$10
Cell Phone US$60 Basic cell phone plan for two people.
Internet US$28 A basic plan with internet, cable, and landline telephone service.
Cable TV Bundled with internet.
Entertainment US$128 Eating out twice a week at a mid-range, local restaurant: US$32 (about US$8 per meal per person).
Groceries US$300 All local-brand items only, shopping at markets and local grocery stores.
TOTAL US$1,111

The Best Neighborhood In Cerro Azul, Panama For Expats

View on the way to Altos de Cerro Azul
View on the way to Altos de Cerro Azul

Living in a remote area 45 minutes from Panama City has never looked this appealing. Situated in the rainy Chagres National Park region, you’ll find luscious greenery, fascinating wildlife, and exotic birds in an exclusive gated community called Altos de Cerro Azul.

With temperatures ranging from 16ºC (61ºF) to 28ºC (83ºF) and “a peace that passeth all understanding,” this is an ideal place to live, offering you the chance to disconnect and relax while still having the excitement of city life nearby.

Altos de Cerro Azul is in the 24 de Diciembre municipality, so you’ll commute along the Vía Tocumen highway. Once in 24 de Diciembre, you’ll veer left and when you see the Fucer water park, the next turn on the left is the road to Cerro Azul. As you make your way up the mountain, you’ll see stones marked with the remaining distance to the right. When you get to the 1km mark, the entrance will be after the hardware store COMASA on the left.

An exclusive property in Altos de Cerro Azul
An exclusive property in Altos de Cerro Azul

When I visited this area 12 years ago, there were mostly plots of land being sold and very few houses. So when I was invited by friends to visit recently, I was stunned by how much the area has been developed.

Enviable homes and gorgeous landscaping on each property caught my attention.

What I most enjoyed were the restaurants, which serve a variety of foods.

Hacienda Mi Montañita has spectacular views and is a nice place to stay if you want to scout out the area. There are many other options for accommodation as well.

Visitors can rent a cabin at Hacienda Mi Montañita and grab a bite to eat at Ida's Cooking
Visitors can rent a cabin at Hacienda Mi Montañita and
grab a bite to eat at Ida’s Cooking

Once you’ve become an owner, you’ll have access to other amenities in the area. Residents have created a network of businesspeople who offer a range of services from plumbing and electrical to medical and veterinary.

There’s a police station at the entrance to Altos de Cerro Azul if security is one of your concerns. The guards are always available and can be called when needed.

If you need medical care, you can either send a message to your neighbors to find out if there’s a doctor in the area or go to the nearest health center that’s about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the entrance.

The area offers a wide range of activities for the adventurer with lots of hiking trails to explore and rivers and waterfalls to dip in afterwards. Las Cascadas de Romeo y Julieta are the most famous waterfalls in the area, but there are plenty of others that you can visit, too.

On Saturdays, the community opens up their mercadito at the Casa del Lago where small businessowners showcase their products for sale and entertain future business investors.

Mercadito San Miguel takes place every Saturday in Altos de Cerro Azul
Mercadito San Miguel takes place every Saturday
in Altos de Cerro Azul

There’s also a small mini supermarket where you can buy fruits and vegetables.

After browsing the market, you can enjoy views of the lake and ducks while sipping on juice or your favorite drink from the always-present food trucks.

Other entertainment options for adults include yoga events and professional and personal development talks. There are also activities for children.

Casa del Lago, where the weekly Saturday market is held
Casa del Lago, where the weekly Saturday market is held

Altos de Cerro Azul is a family oriented community, and hikes and picnics are occasionally planned for people of all ages. They usually happen on early Sunday mornings so attendees can watch the sun rise over the pristine mountains.

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can sign up for other group activities such as Scouts Panama, which focuses on the preservation and prosperity of the Chagres National Park region. They also work towards creating a circular economy among community members.

Consider joining Scouts Panama if you're passionate about sustainability and protecting the environment
Consider joining Scouts Panama if you’re passionate
about sustainability and protecting the environment

As the economy gets back on its feet, the real estate market in Cerro Azul is growing. Those moving to Cerro Azul want a break from city life and a place to roam free in case of future lockdowns. They don’t want to risk being stuck inside again for months on end, and Cerro Azul promises autonomy and freedom from such restrictions.

Prices range from US$70,000 for simple bungalow-style houses to up to US$800,000 for luxury chalets.

To find the best deals you should check out local listings online (the website Encuentra 24 is a solid starting point) and visit the area in person to scout out unposted properties. Now is the best time to buy property in Cerro Azul as it’s still selling below market price.

A country house (left) and a modern, spacious abode (right) for sale on Encuentra 24
A country house (left) and a modern, spacious abode (right)
for sale on Encuentra 24

Altos de Cerro Azul is an ideal place for expats looking for peace and tranquility in a family friendly setting close to the city. The air is clean and the weather, though rainier because of its location in the rainforest, is crisp and refreshingly cool.

There are so many housing options that it might be difficult to make up your mind. One thing is certain—it’s a prime area for investment, so don’t get left behind.

Shaunette Bailey
Panama Insider

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Learn more about PANAMA and other countries in our free, daily Overseas Opportunity Letter. Simply enter your email address below and we’ll send you our FREE REPORT - Panama 101: 101 Things You'll Wish Someone Had Told You About Panama

 

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