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Pedasí, Panama

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Enjoy A Simple Life of Beaches and BBQ in Pedasí

In a golden corner of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula sits the district of Pedasí. It’s a town with a village-like atmosphere—large enough to feel like you can live there, yet small enough to make you feel like an active stakeholder in a thriving community.

The Azuero Peninsula constitutes Panama’s southernmost landmass. Jutting into the Pacific, Azuero is an excellent staging post for forays into the ocean and is home to some of Panama’s finest coastline, with idyllic islands lying offshore surrounded by a deep blue and turquoise ocean abundant with rare mammals and marine life.

Idyllic beaches of golden sand and fascinating rocky outcrops hold rock pools full of tropical life. Dense maritime jungles provide a home to a wealth of flora and fauna. Fresh, life-giving water cascades from the mountains in spectacular waterfalls. Gold bearing rivers meander from the foothills down to the golden shore.

Exploring Pedasí

View at the beach and landscape at the Playita beach in Azuero Peninsula, Panama Alamy/Marek

Pedasí is mainly a fishing village and locals make their living through fishing, and this coast is known as the “Tuna Coast”. Pedasí is an authentic traditional town. One of its lures is the ocean waves that crash on the shore, which have been part of worldwide surfing championships. Pedasí is a town that has grown massively since 2008 mostly thanks to tourism, and because of the community. People in Pedasí are cheerful, open, and friendly. They love to welcome expats and visitors into their community who diversify it. Expats and locals belong to the same community and look after one another. In this relaxed small town, you can really feel the unity in the different people that make up this place.

Pedasí has that small town feel, which people really enjoy. People who come here are from all age groups, from recent retirees to young entrepreneurs. The town gets a good amount of tourism, especially during festivals, Panamanians come here to enjoy their country or even to visit for the first time. Most people live here for the lifestyle, to either retire or begin a new life, but with a slow pace to life, and to be close to the ocean. You can live in Pedasí without a car and you can get around by using a cab, walking or even taking your bicycle around town. If you prefer to be able to explore around the mountains and inland, then it would be preferable to have a car.

Your life in Pedasí can start early in the morning, preparing Panama’s world class coffee, then make a pit stop at a local bakery for fresh bread or sweets. Hit the beach, or check out the local artisans selling their unique products. Have lunch or dinner at one of the excellent restaurants open year-round, from BBQ to Italian cuisine, all freshly handmade. Pedasí is great for windsurfing during the summer, while surfing year-round is mostly focused in Playa Venao, one of Pedasí’s beaches. Take a trip to Isla Iguana or a boat trip to go deep spearfishing as it is one of the best activities to do here. Head over to the Friday’s farmers market, filled with locals selling their fresh produce. There’s lots of land to explore, including mountains, rivers, different beaches, and plenty of things to do in this small town.

The Cost Of Living In Pedasí, Panama

Pedasí is cheaper in comparison to most places in Panama because of its distance from the city and it’s rural and tropical areas. This is a wholesome, genuine, and authentic place. It’s the kind of place you might doubt still exists anywhere in the world and an ideal place to embrace a quiet, simple beach lifestyle in retirement, even on a modest budget. Your cost of living in this part of the country and in Panama in general, will depend on the lifestyle you choose, and how well you adapt. You can choose to live in a luxurious mansion by the beach, in a home in town, or further inland with just what you need, it all depends on what you’re looking for. Pedasí is an affordable destination since most produce is local, fresh, and sold at a cheap price. In this part of Panama, on a budget under US$1,397 per month, you can live well.

*Panama uses the U.S. dollar.

Apartment Or House Ownership Budget (For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
MortgageNot included here as too variable.
HOA FeesUS$150Average.
Property Taxes0.06%On properties over US$120,000.
TransportationUS$100You’ll most likely want a car here. About US$25 a week for gas.
GasUS$8Per tank.
ElectricityUS$150On average with air conditioning.
WaterUS$20
Cell PhoneUS$35Using Tigo prepaid minutes.
InternetUS$40Using comes as a bundle with cable TV and landline.
Cable TVUS$36
Household HelpUS$45Cleaning once every two weeks.
EntertainmentUS$152Eating out twice a week at a local, mid-range restaurant, drinks twice a week, movie theatre trip twice a month.
GroceriesUS$400Basic items for a couple. This includes beer, wine, and some imported organic foods.
Gym Membership
Medical AppointmentUS$15Basic checkup in a public hospital.
TOTALUS$1,151

Apartment Or House Rental Budget (For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$500In a desirable part of town. Unfurnished, two-bedroom, comfortable apartment.
TransportationUS$100You’ll most likely want a car here. About US$25 a week for gas.
GasUS$8Per tank.
ElectricityUS$150Average without air conditioning.
WaterUS$20
Cell PhoneUS$35Using Tigo prepaid minutes.
InternetUS$40Usually comes as a bundle with cable TV and landline.
Cable TV
Household HelpUS$45Cleaning once every two weeks.
EntertainmentUS$152Eating out twice a week at a local, mid-range restaurant, drinks twice a week, movie theatre trip twice a month.
GroceriesUS$400Basic items for a couple. This includes wine, beer, and some imported organic foods.
Gym Membership
Medical AppointmentUS$15Basic checkup in a public hospital.
TOTALUS$1,465

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

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$400Cheapest part of town (still desirable), most basic one-bedroom rental.
TransportationUS$10Occasional taxi.
GasUS$8Per tank.
ElectricityUS$40Without air conditioning.
WaterUS$20
Cell phoneUS$20No plan. Just buying pre-paid cards when needed.
InternetUS$22Basic internet.
Cable TVUS$14Most basic cable.
EntertainmentUS$40Eating out once a week at a local restaurant.
GroceriesUS$200All local-brand items only, shopping markets and local vendors along with grocery stores.
TotalUS$774

Eating out:

  • A beer: Can range from US$2 to US$5.
  • Rum & Coke (or other local drink): Can range from US$5 to US$7.
  • A coffee: US$1.50.
  • A sandwich (or equivalent): Approximately US$4.
  • Average cost of a meal out per person: US$15.

Infrastructure In Pedasí

Good roads connect the Pan-American Highway to the principal towns of the gulf coast (Chitre, Las Tablas, and Pedasí), and the infrastructure around Pedasí has improved remarkably in recent years.

Recent improvements to the Pan-American Highway mean the journey to Pedasí by car can be done in four to five hours from Panama City. A comfortable and surprisingly efficient alternative is to take a bus from the terminal in Panama City to Chitre or Las Tablas and then on to Pedasí. If you have a group of about six people, it can be cost effective to charter a plane privately or through Air Panama, the principal domestic carrier at Albrook airport.

The area around Pedasí has been opening up as communication links improve. There is now a regular flight from Panama City’s domestic Albrook airport on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The flight is about 40 minutes.

Climate In Pedasí

With great weather year-round, the gulf coast of Azuero offers some of Panama’s best weather conditions. Pedasí is located in a region known as the Dry Arc, or Arco Seco. This dry arc is a blessing, breezes lower the humidity of this region and allow a welcome respite from the normal heat and humidity. Most days temperature can range between 73°F to 86°F (23° to 30°C). During the rainy season you can expect around 79 inches of rain.

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​Learn more about ​​​PANAMA and other countries in our free, daily Overseas Opportunity Letter​​, as well as our ​In Focus: ​Panama ​newsletter​​​​​​. 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