Cambutal, Is Nature At Her Best

How Long To Drive To Cambutal?

“We moved to Panama from the UK three years ago. It was a big step. But now that we’ve been living in Panama, we think about things that we’ve never thought about before. We went to see Medellin, Colombia, earlier this year, just to take a look. That’s a place that we never would have considered before making the move to Panama. I don’t know that we’d ever more to Colombia. We’re very happy with the life we’re building in Panama. But the point is that now, suddenly, we find ourselves completely open to new ideas and new opportunities…”

Speaking was Nancy Wills. Nancy and her husband Mike are American. They shared the story of their journey from the UK, where they were stationed while Mike was with the U.S. armed forces, to Panama this morning with attendees at this week’s Live and Invest in Panama Conference. Nancy and Mike started their Panama adventures in Panama City but now live in Coronado, about an hour outside the city on the Pacific coast.

“Coronado is nothing like the big city,” Nancy explained. “Coronado is still a beach town. They roll up the sidewalks by 9 p.m. And that suits us fine.”

“This is a different world. I’m a different man when I’m here. My kids are different kids when they’re here. This place changes your perspective. You don’t have to be here very long before your whole approach changes…”

Speaking this time was Sander, another expat, this one Dutch.

Like Nancy and Mike, Sander started out in Panama City, and, also like Nancy and Mike, Sander knew quickly that Panama City wasn’t what he was looking for. That was ok. Panama City had never been Sander’s intended destination. Sander was on his way to Cambutal, out on the coast of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula, where he intended to meet up with some friends.

“How long to drive to Cambutal?” he asked someone he met in Panama City.

“About three hours.”

This was some years ago, before the roads out to this part of Panama had been paved…or even cut all the way through.

Sander set out driving. Two hours outside Panama City, he was lost. Four hours later, he was in Chitre, more lost. After 10 hours more, he found himself in another town.

“Where am I?” he asked a man he passed on the side of the road.


Another hour on, maybe 17 hours after he’d left Panama City, after having driven through the night and into the next day, Sander arrived in Cambutal.

“Sander!” his friends greeted him. Seventeen hours road weary, Sander climbed out of his SUV, looked around, and, all at once, was no longer bothered by the agony of the journey to get out to this place…because this place was special.

“In Cambutal, you’re in Nature,” Sander told the group this morning. “It’s all around. Untouched. Perfect. Pristine. Arriving for the first time years ago, I felt like I had discovered something very special, very private.

“Today Cambutal is still all Nature, but it’s much, much easier to get to. Today, the drive from Panama City is maybe five hours (assuming you don’t get lost like I did that first time). Five hours to one of this country’s final frontiers.”

To help put things into perspective, Cambutal is about an hour-and-a-half south along the coast from Pedasi, which I’ve reported on recently. Pedasi is one of the most appealingly developed coastal towns in all Panama, home to a growing, eclectic, and welcoming community of expats and artists. Cambutal, again, is pure Nature…beach and rain forest.

In Pedasi, you can buy a turn-key, luxury-level condo in a full-amenity community for about US$200,000. In Cambutal, you can buy a lot in a planned community for about US$25,000 and maybe build a house of your own.

Kathleen Peddicord

Continuing Reading: Best Ways To Learn A Foreign Language

Discover The World's Most Affordable And Exotic Places