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Beach living in Coronado: All Of Your Questions Answered

For this Month’s live Webinar Series we delved into your most asked questions about one of Panama’s top beach communities, Coronado.

Coronado is close to Panama City, offers some of the best weather in the nation, and is a vibrant and growing community. But these are just some of the reasons why expats and retirees from all over the globe choose to make Coronado their home away from home.

If you’ve ever considered a move to Coronado, thought about what life would be like living there or want to learn more about this great beach community, then check out what we had to say on this webinar.

Ps…You can also read along below.

Kent Davis:
Welcome, everybody. We’ve got Matthew Marks here, our beaches agent. Come and slide a little closer here Matthew. So guys, the format today is, I’ve been doing this for 13 years. Matthew has been in Panama for 10 years and has been running our beaches and mountain area since last year and we get a lot of the same questions.

So the idea today is to give you all a sense of what to expect in Coronado. We’re going to answer all of your questions. So let’s go ahead and get started. Again, I’ve got Matthew Marx here to my right. The first question, very general question, is where is Coronado and how do you get there?

Matthew Marx:
Coronado about an hour outside of Panama city just heading West on the Inter- American Highway. It’s very easy to get to. If you rent a car, you can head out there. It’s just a straight shot down the Inter- American Highway. You’ll cross over the Panama Canal and then through a couple of winding roads, through the towns and a couple of mountain passes and you’ll be in Colorado in about 60 minutes.

Kent Davis:
Okay, so about an hour. I mean, you know, I’ve been out to Coronado a hundred times but for the folks that are not familiar with that area, what about traffic? I mean, Friday afternoon it gets a little gnarly. No?

Matthew Marx:
Yes, Friday afternoons do get a little hectic going out there. Mainly just getting outside of the city. You have a lot of the folks that live in Panama city that spend their weekends out on their beach homes in Coronado and some of the surrounding areas. So that’s when there will be primetime traffic so if you can avoid it, avoid it. The same thing goes for during the week actually. If you’re heading out there during rush hour, there are some suburbs outside of Panama city so you’re going to hit some heavier traffic than if you were to leave during midday.

Kent Davis:
And you know, I recall Matthew, they’re doing some projects right now, right? We’ve got the bridge over the Americas. So right now guys, there are two bridges that leave Panama city so what’s the plan there Matthew? How is that traffic going to get fixed?

Matthew Marx:
Well, there’s, there’s actually two bridges that leave Panama city. There’s a third that goes out from the Colon side to cross the canal. So right now they’re building a fourth bridge, a fourth bridge. It’s going to take everyone over the canal, so it’ll help alleviate some of that traffic. Another project that’s going on is they’re building a corridor. That’s what they’re calling their beach corridor. That’s going to pass through some of the suburbs that surround Panama city which will help alleviate the traffic leaving towards the beaches as well.

Kent Davis:
Awesome. Okay, good. So, it sounds like it takes an hour to get there right now. It’s kind of a scenic drive, you know, you drive through the mountains, you’d drive along the ocean. But again, for those folks that have never been here, it’s a pretty easy drive. It’s literally like two turns. You leave the city, you make your turn to get out of the city, you head west and an hour later you’re in Coronado. And you can see on this map here on our presentation that we’ve got a number of other towns in the area. So for the purpose of today, we’re talking about Coronado but really it’s including all the beach areas. So we’ve got Gorgona, San Carlos, Buenaventura is out that way and we’re going to get into the details of each one a little bit today and we’re happy to get into the details in the Q&A if we haven’t covered it. So anything else to add about how you get to Coronado?

Matthew Marx:
Well, you have the option if you don’t feel comfortable driving in a foreign country, to take a bus out there from the national terminal at the Albrook Mall. The trip will cost you about $4 and the bus will take you right out to Coronado or any of those beach communities that you mentioned.

Kent Davis:
Okay, cool. Perfect. So let’s see, you can also hire a driver for example. I mean I’ve taken an Uber about halfway and it costs me about $50 so $100 one way. Alternatively, you can get a driver round trip for the day for around $150 who will take you out there, stop, get lunch, go visit the mountains, etc. So yeah, there’s a bunch of different ways to get out there, but at the end of the day, it’s about an hour from Panama City.

Matthew Marx:
So next question, how often, let’s say I live at the beach, talk to me about these residents and how often they, they end up having to go to the city. Because what I’ve found, and Matthew again is our expert, but folks that choose to live at the beach are kind of 50/50 on the city. Some of them hate the city or hate any city. They say you know what, I don’t even want to deal with it. But for those that appreciate coming to the city or you know, still have some ties to the city, why would they come into the city? And, and how often do you think they’d come in?

Matthew Marx:
Well, if you are asking me this question a few years ago, I’d say you’re coming into the city a couple of times a month. You’re going to go to Pricesmart for your big shopping, which is similar to Costco or a Price Club. You’re going to come in for a doctor’s visit or just for some entertainment. However, nowadays Coronado has a movie theater. The infrastructure has grown tremendously and so you have all the services out there. You have doctors, there are four major supermarkets out in Coronado which are the major chains from Panama city. So really, if you don’t want to come into the city, you don’t have to. I do have some friends that live out in that area that do find themselves coming to back to the city. I’d say around once a week or once every other week. Mainly for entertainment to go to a nice restaurant, to stroll down Cinta Costera and to enjoy a play or anything like that.

Kent Davis:
Okay, cool. So it sounds like you don’t really have to get into the city that often. But you know, it’s there if you need it. And you know, I remember even in Chorrera, which is 25 minutes outside of the city, so 35 minutes from Coronado, it now has Pricesmart, big hospitals, super nice schools. So yeah, I mean, that’s also an option when you’re out there.

Kent Davis:
So what’s the deal? I mean, is it only, as they say, gringos? Only people from the United States in Coronado? What’s the demographic? You know, you’re walking around a supermarket, you’re going to a restaurant in Coronado, you’re out playing a round of golf. Who are you going to see out there? Who lives in Coronado?

Matthew Marx:
Well, it is Panama. So you do have local Panamanians that live out there. And as you mentioned, it’s a very large ex-pat community. But we’re not going to just say the United States, and it’s not just Canada. You’re getting a lot of Europeans going out there right now. From Spain, Germany, even the United Kingdom, people just trying to get out of Brexit.

Kent Davis:
Interesting. Okay. So you’ve got Europeans, you’ve got North Americans, US, and Canadian. Do they have kind of like little neighborhoods where it’s like, this is the Americans, this is the Italians or do they kind of all just mix?

Matthew Marx:
It’s like a melting pot.

Kent Davis:
And you know, I mean, that’s what’s kinda nice about Panama in general. What I’ve found is that Panamanians tend to accept foreigners. I mean, from day one when Panama existed. You already had a ton of French, a ton of Americans and obviously former Colombians living there. So it’s like this country was started on immigration. It started with a huge mix of foreigners. The day it became Panama. And it’s nice and it’s extremely accepting. So yeah, I think that’s one of the reasons it’s such an expat destination. You know you don’t get any pushback.

Kent Davis:
What about lifestyle Coronado in terms of what they do? Are these people all working, do they work remote or are they all retirees?

Matthew Marx:
Well, it’s really a case by case scenario. You have some people that come down here and say, “I’ve worked my entire life. I’m ready to relax, enjoy the fruits of my labor and just retire, play golf, swim.” Then you have some other people that came down here and they start to get the itch after a while, and they see opportunity and they decide to jump into that and they start their own business where they see a niche that they can fill.

Kent Davis:
Sure. Yeah. Maybe something that’s worked in their home country that they say, you know what, I’m going to bring, you know, electric scooters or, you know, the little frozen ice cream dots. Yeah, I can’t tell you in the city how many retirees folks came down here thinking they were going to retire and ended up opening up a little boutique or restaurant. Just getting into something.

Kent Davis:
What about fun things? I mean on a Saturday morning or if you’re a retiree on a Tuesday morning, what are these guys going to go out and get into? How do they fill their days?

Matthew Marx:
Well, that picture is a perfect example. You have the beach right there. So a lot of people, they like you know a nice long stroll on the beach. Dip your toes in the ocean every day. Swimming pools are very common here as well. So if you don’t enjoy the ocean, you have the option of the swimming pool. Golf courses! Coronado has its own semi-private golf course. Tennis is big here and even Pickleball.

Kent Davis:
Pickleball, what is that?

Matthew Marx:
Pickleball is if you were to combine tennis and ping pong. So it’s a smaller court than tennis, but similar to ping-pong where the ball has to bounce and you hit it over. And it’s huge in the beaches area and there are groups of people playing every day.

Kent Davis:
There you go. Pickleballers unite in Coronado. And again, guys, when we say Coronado we’re talking about the whole region. From Gorgona or even Punta Chame which is the Easternmost beach town, i.e the closest to the city from Coronado. From Coronado to Chame is what, 15 minutes, something like that. And from Coronado out to Buenaventura is 25 minutes.

Matthew Marx:
Yeah, I’d put it closer to 30 minutes.

Kent Davis:
30 minutes. Okay. So we’ve got like a 40-minute radius. And sorry Matthew, I don’t know if you mentioned it, but you know, you’ve got these mountain communities and mountain towns that you can pop up to that will take you a 30-minute drive or 40-minute drive. You go up to El Valle, you go up the Chica. Which is really cool. Not to mention a road trip out to Chiriqui, Boquete, the rivers out there and the waterfalls. It’s very eco-friendly. People are into the outdoors, but by the same token, you get such a big community of folks. You know, you have book clubs, you have volunteer clubs, you have exercise and fitness groups. It’s kind of like what you would do in whatever Florida, Majorca, Portugal. You’re going to find like-minded people.

Kent Davis:
So talk to us about Coronado in terms of the weather, the locals, the crime, what do they have out there? It’s a big question. But first, let’s talk about the weather. Does it rain a lot in Coronado? Are there hurricanes?

Matthew Marx:
No hurricanes. Coronado is one of the driest areas we have in the country. So right now we’re in the middle of our dry season. You’re not going to see any rain right now. But even during the rainy season, it’s not like the Pacific Northwest where it’s going to rain all day, every day. Sure, it’s going to rain for 30 minutes, maybe an hour. And then people just go on with their day.

Kent Davis:
Yes, that’s absolutely right Matt. And you know, they actually call it ‘El Arco Seco’ which is the dry belt. And that’s one of the more dry areas in Panama. But hey, it rains enough to stay green. You’ve also got no hurricanes ever anywhere in Panama. And we talked a little bit about locals. So what about crime in Coronado? I mean, is crime an issue out there?

Matthew Marx:
I would say no. You can’t say there’s no crime, but crime is very low. It’s not a major city. Everyone knows each other. It’s like an old town where, you know, everyone knows their neighbor.

Kent Davis:
Yeah, no, that’s true. But, you know, to be totally honest, where we’ve seen crime is with people who leave their homes for weeks or months at a time. And the guy who’s driving by, maybe he’s a contractor working on the project next door and he starts to get a sense that this house is kind of empty. You will get some break-ins if you leave your place unattended for a month or two at a time. It’s not going to happen automatically. So what we recommend to our clients is have a house sitter, have somebody to pop by, you know, leave the lights on. That kinda thing, just like you would do in any sort of foreign beach community. Now there are gated communities within Coronado where that’s completely non-issue. You know you don’t have to worry about that at all. And obviously condos, no issue. I’m talking more about remote beach houses where there’s nobody around you; that kind of thing. Every year you do hear about the occasional, like an armed robbery but it really doesn’t happen that often and it always makes the press. But it’s not a utopia. I mean, you don’t want to say have stacks of $100 in jewels on the, on the kitchen table. But anyway, it’s still very considered safe. Same in the city. It’s almost a non-issue, but you know, you’ve got to keep your wits about you because it’s still Latin America.

Kent Davis:
So What about Convenience. We talked about supermarkets. Are these American, or sort of European style supermarkets? Are these like little tiny supermarkets with only processed cheese and eggs and milk or what’s, what’s the deal?

Matthew Marx:
Sure. Well, the four major supermarkets are similar to what you would have in the United States. They are large chains that carry just about every product. There is Riba Smith that is a little more specialized, where they bring in a lot of the American brands that we’re used to seeing. You have another one called Machetazo which I would compare to a Walmart. The one in Coronado specifically is three stories. The whole bottom floor is entirely supermarket. And then the second and third floors are the other items you may need for your house. You know, home goods, television, stereos, even clothing.

Kent Davis:
The works! And, you know, as Matt alluded to earlier in the presentation, we’ve both been here for quite some time. And man, when I got here, it was so hard to, for example, find craft beer, like good stouts and porters. It was hard to find a big selection of wine, imported cheese, Thai food, And all of that you have now. The economy has filled in the gaps. Expats and also Panamanians have been traveling so much in these last 10 years that they get a taste and they test the market and it works.

Kent Davis:
Is Coronado expensive? Matthew, you’re from South Florida. Do you have to spend a hundred to be able to eat a full dinner? What’s the deal with food?

Matthew Marx:
Just like anywhere else in the world, it’s what you do. It’s your lifestyle, what you make of it. A couple could go out to dinner and you could eat for under $30. If you’re going to throw in a couple of glasses of wine that’s going to bring it up to $35, maybe even $40, depending on how many glasses.

Kent Davis:
Fair. Yeah. And is that sort of like a mid-range restaurant? Is that a cheap restaurant? High end?

Matthew Marx:
I’d say that’s on the higher end of things. If you’re going to go to a normal restaurant you’re going to see about $8 to $10 a plate. And so a couple would eat for about $20 to $25. That would be mid-range.

Kent Davis:
And if you want to save money, eat where the locals eat. You know they have these things called Fondas which are sort of mom and pop restaurants that have a menu of like five things. For lunch, you can get something around $6 and if they’re open for dinner, $8. Sometimes you can bring your own beer and sometimes they’ll sell canned beer for $1 and you can get a glass of wine for $3. But then again, you can also go to a white tablecloth restaurant and spend $100. Have a couple of appetizers, a bottle of wine, get an entree for $15. You know, it’s a range for everyone.

Kent Davis:
So let’s stop and go down some questions here. We’ve still got quite a few slides left but I want to make sure to attend everybody’s question. So someone has asked for an update on Coronavirus. So it’s here. I’m of course watching the media like everyone is these days. It’s not chaos here. It’s not panic here. People definitely went out and bought a bunch of gel and a bunch of hand sanitizers and stuff like that, but the supermarkets are not empty.

Kent Davis:
That’s the advantage of living on the canal and in a free trade zone where you’ve got goods for days like literally, these inventory levels are stocked here because we are the main distribution point for a lot of other Central American countries. Right now there are 24 confirmed cases and our first death happened a couple of days ago. So naturally, we have not avoided it. But everybody is being very thoughtful. Panama Equity is working from home. We’re trying to be socially responsible by not spreading.

Kent Davis:
Ok, so Sarah said Coronado has a reputation for blocking the beach access. I mean, you have houses, private houses. Technically the beach has to be public access. You cannot as a developer, close off the beach. And that’s kind of nice about Coronado, and Matthew can attest to this. You can go to the beach sometimes and be the only person there. You can walk for a kilometer on a Wednesday afternoon and maybe see a couple more couples strolling. But the coastline is so spread out.

Kent Davis:
What is the property market like in Coronado?

Matthew Marx:
I mean, that depends on what market you’re in. You know, are you looking for an investment where you’re going to be renting it out like an Airbnb? Are you looking for a place where you’re going to retire? A luxury property or something mid-range. That really all just depends. Right now it is a buyer’s market. But we’re seeing some movement on there lately.

Kent Davis:
Okay. So it’s kind of what you need if you’re an investor or if you’re an end-user. So to fill in some gaps here we’ve got beach houses, right? I mean, what would I pay for a 2000 square foot home on a lot of a thousand meters. So that’s a quarter of an acre lot in a gated community. It’s maybe 10 years old with a swimming pool and 5 minutes walk from the beach. What’s that going to cost me? More or less?

Matthew Marx:
I mean that really depends but you’re looking around $300,000 to $350,000. And then something that’s been completely remodeled. Obviously, will be a little more.

Kent Davis:
Ok great so in terms of the market, if I’m looking at properties online for $350,000, what do you think would be a good offer? Just very general terms. You know, you said it’s a buyer’s market, so somebody is asking for $350,000 but what, in a general sense, would you say would be a good offer on something like that?

Matthew Marx:
Again this is very general. You have to gauge how motivated someone is to sell. If they’re asking $350,000 I’d say you come in around $320,000 and open up the doors to negotiation.

Kent Davis:
Yeah and everybody on this webinar I’m sure has bought and sold a property before. It’s also a function of how aggressive is that $350,000 to begin with? You know, like if all the other houses are $400,000 and this one’s at $350,000 then great go in at $320,000. However, if all the other houses are at $350,0000 in Coronado are I would even think of coming in at $300,000. And then close at something like what you said Matthe at $320,000. So come in about 10% or more below the asking price. But with Matt, you’re in good hands with this guy. He knows what he’s doing.

Kent Davis:
Let’s see, what else can we talk about property market-wise? Um, is there new inventory? Is there used inventory? What’s, what’s the deal?

Matthew Marx:
Yes, there’s new inventory and there’s old inventory, there’s resale value and then there are new projects that are constantly coming online.

Kent Davis:
Okay. And in terms of getting a better deal, would you say look at a project or look at a resale?

Matthew Marx:
Again, that comes on a case by case scenario on what you plan on purchasing the property for. If you’re going to be looking for an Airbnb, look at one of the new projects that are coming online that’s right on the water. But you can also find some great deals on something that has been around for 5-10 years.

Kent Davis:
And those would be resales then?

Matthew Marx:
That’s correct.

Matthew Marx:
Okay, cool. And you know, is it a range? Like, you know, we talked about Buenaventura, we’ve talked about Chame. So how is Buenaventura compared to the likes of Gorgona in terms of properties?

Matthew Marx:
Sure. Well, Buenaventura is a luxury golf resort. It’s on the high end of the property in the beach areas. So that’s going to be considerably more expensive as far as price goes. Compared to what you’re going to see in Gorgona which is not the super-luxury that you see with Buenaventura, but still very nice property.

Kent Davis:
I agree. Gorgona is right next to Coronado so you can get better value living just outside of town than versus just in town.

Kent Davis:
So we didn’t talk about golf in case we got any golfers on here. Matthew, you mentioned Buenaventura has a golf course. You also mentioned Coronado has some Gold. Fill us in with what golf there is out there?

Matthew Marx:
Most of the beach communities have their own golf courses. So Coronado has a semi-private golf course where you can be invited by a member or can join. You also have one Buenaventura which is an extremely, extremely nice golf course. Something like Bijao, which we haven’t mentioned yet, has a nine-hole golf course. Same thing with Casamar, which is a nine-hole golf course that has lights. It’s the only golf course in Panama where you can play at night. As far as greens fees go, you’re going to spend around $50/$55 and up. O.

Kent Davis:
Awesome thank you! So we’re getting a couple of questions here about financing a property. Financing is doable but it’s a little tricky. It’s not something you’re going to be able to do online. You’ve got to come out here, meet with the bankers, state your income, etc. They like if if you are a resident or if you are in your process of getting residency. Now, if you attended our last webinar, we also talked about some properties that are offering developer financing, which is really cool. The Burn group is doing that and we’ve got some nice inventory out there and some condos right on the beach in Gorgona. But you can get mortgages but like everything in Panama, it can be a bit tricky.

Kent Davis:
Another question from Sue. In terms of comps, obviously you’ve got some classified websites that show the asking price of the property. So in that sense, the market is fairly transparent because you can see, we’ll call it 95% of what’s for sale at any given moment. As far as closed sales, it’s a bit tricky. We have our ways to check the history in buildings apartment by apartment to see what’s sold in those apartments. But it’s not as easy to like a Zillow where you can hop online and look at the history of the property and comparable sales. And we have an MLS but Matthew, what do you think? We have probably about 10% of the listings on there?

Matthew Marx:
Yes, it’s still in its infancy right now so 10% or 15% of the listings are on the MLS and that’s a bit more transparent, but it’s still a bit tricky.

Kent Davis:
You know we’ve been out here and doing business for the last 12 years, so we have a pretty good sense of what things are selling for, but we also have ways to research a bit deeper. Calling colleagues, getting information from developers, etc.

Kent Davis:
So another question that has come in is “What other costs do you have besides the price of a property?

Kent Davis:
Great question. So let’s see. On the buyer’s side, let’s say I’m buying a condo, a brand new condo. You’re going to have to contribute to the initial homeowners association fund and you’re going to have to register the deed. Registering the deed is the more expensive side of that and you’ll need an attorney to do that. It’s around 3/4 of a percent more or less. The seller’s side is the one who bears most of the cost of the transaction. Sellers pay the commission, which is anywhere from 3% to 6%, and they also pay the taxes on the conveyance. Then you’ve got transferring capital gains tax, which ends up being about 5%. So roughly 10% of the sales price for the transaction itself is born by the seller and less than 1%, is born by the buyer.

Matthew Marx:
Ok Kent, so what have we not covered? We’ve discussed entertainment, we’ve discussed some of the fees which is something that I always advise people to look into. Find out what your HOA fees are going to be which we call maintenance here.

Kent Davis:
What are typical maintenance fees like for a hundred-meter condo? What are my holding costs going to be? Let’s say the condo is three years old. So you’ve got some tax exoneration still.

Matthew Marx:
Right! So that was actually something else I was going to mention was your tax exoneration. A lot of the properties here will still qualify for tax exoneration. That’s something you want to ask every home you go into, does this house or does this apartment qualify for tax exoneration?

Kent Davis:
And if it’s not exonerated, what are the taxes?

Matthew Marx:
Again, that’s going to vary according to the property.

Kent Davis:
Yeah. I mean, ballpark figure if it’s $200,000, you know, you’re going to have your standard exoneration, which now is like $180,000 as they just changed the law. So then depending on how you’re using the property, if it’s personal use, then you’ve got 0.06%, so not even 1%! So $200,000 minus $180,000 leaves you with $20,000 on 0.06%. So property taxes are very very low in Panama, even when they’re not exonerated. And that’s new. That’s like a year old if that.

Matthew Marx:
Ok so back to homeowners association again. What am I going to pay for a 100m2 apartment?

Matthew Marx:
Sure, typically we see that around a $1.75, $2 ballpark figure per meter. So you’re going to pay about $2 per meter which is around $200 a month.

Kent Davis:
Any other costs? Let’s say I’m an investor and I want to rent my apartment out or maybe Airbnb which a lot of people do out there. To talk to me about property management for example?

Matthew Marx:
Yeah. If you have a property manager, the standard charge or fee is 10% of the monthly rental income.

Kent Davis:
Okay, cool. So let’s do that real quick. So you buy that $200,000 property, Airbnb, it, what do they think? $80 night, with around 60% occupancy is fair. You can really tweak it, though, as there are ways to get a lot more occupancy out of Airbnb. Seek to their algorithms in terms of, you know, you give the property a name, you upload the floor plan, you solicit reviews, etc. But anyway, let’s do 60% so that’s around 20 nights a month which can make$1600 gross. Out of that $1600 gross, you would be pulling out homeowner’s association, which is $200, for Airbnb property managers, we would charge a bit more at 15%. So we have $440 for costs of your $1600 for maintenance, repairs, et cetera. So you’d probably clear, let’s call it $1200 a month. And after all your costs, not bad, you know, not bad at all actually. But Matthew can give you a sense of every property we have got.

Kent Davis:
Ok so back to Coronado life, what’s up with schools out in the Coronado area?

Matthew Marx:
Well, now there are quite a few international schools that are accredited and very popular with the young families that are moving out there. Again, if this question were asked to me eight or nine years ago, it’d be a different story. But as Coronado has grown, the population has grown. Obviously they saw a need. That’s one of those niches. And now you have quite a few private schools out there.

Kent Davis:
Yeah, you really do. I’ve seen it too. I mean, we both have school-aged kids. We both would love to live at the beach and Matthew spends a lot of time out there of course. But I mean schools, you got the range. Public schools not so much. You don’t want to do public schools out there if you can help it. But there are some great smaller private schools and some larger private schools. And then you get into like areas like la Chorrera which would be half an hour drive. Then you’ve got exceptional private schools, including some new ones out in Costa Verde. You know, English or French, multi-lingual, classy brand new facilities.

Matthew Marx:
So water quality. Joe, great question. Do you want to answer that one Matthew? And we’re talking about drinking water and swimming water.

Matthew Marx:
Sure let’s focus on drinking water right away. I drink straight from the tap. I think the water quality is just fine. And as far as swimming, the Pacific side is the black volcanic sand. It’s very fine. And again, the water is very nice. It was actually surprising to me when I first moved here to find how out how warm the Pacific waters were.

Kent Davis:
Yeah. I just got back from Hawaii which is where I’m from and it was a lot colder ocean water than the Coronado area. I mean like swimming wise, it’s fine. Currents non-issue, fishing, surfing, stand up, paddle boarding, open water, swimming, all of that is fine. And clean. I mean, you don’t have the issue that we have in the city, which is we used to dump sewage into the water. So we’ve got a few years before you can start swimming in that ocean here in Panama City. Closest swimming beach to Panama city is Veracruz, but it’s a little shallow out there. You know, Gorgona and Chame are going to be your closest swimming beach if you live in the city. And that’s 45 minutes.

Kent Davis:
Great questions you guys. Let’s keep going. Suzanne wants to know about the Pensionado Program. I mean, the Pensionado Program is awesome and we need to do a webinar on that alone. You get some great deals. You get discounts on your power bill, you get discounts at restaurants and discounts on travel. Medical is cheaper and I mean, I’ve had two babies here and multiple surgeries. We got to Hospital Nacional but there is a Johns Hopkins Hospital here as well. I mean, really like specifically Hospital Nacional’s insurance is very inexpensive. I just turned 40. I pay $400 a month for great coverage for my wife and two kids. And it’s not a litigious society down here. People are not suing people. So you don’t have all these, you know, buffers in your insurance and all this fat in there. You can definitely find English speaking doctors as most of them are trained overseas.

Kent Davis:
Ok, so Ralph asked which is better, living inside a gated community versus outside of the gated community? Great question. Matthew. Talk to us about that.

Matthew Marx:
Those differences. Again, that’s a matter of personal preference. Some people are used to the security of being behind a gated community. Probably 70% of the inventory in the beaches communities is not gated. And I’m talking about houses. You know, inherently condos are essentially gated because you pass through security, you have keyed access and etc. I mean crime is not really a factor although it’s always a concern.

Kent Davis:
Brian asks, how fluent does your Spanish need to be to communicate in Panama? I mean, people are cool. People love when you try to practice your Spanish with them. Both Matthew and I are very comfortable in Spanish. And it helps, but you’re not going to be judged if you don’t speak Spanish. We both know expats that have been here for years and don’t speak any Spanish. People also like to practice their English on you as well. So that’s kinda fun.

Kent Davis:
Ron is asking about flights and airports. Right on. So there is a regional airport out in the Coronado area. It’s in Rio Alto. So closer to Buenaventura and an hour and 20 minutes from Panama City.

Matthew Marx:
They have charters there and then they also have direct flights from Toronto. So it’s actually more of an international airport and continues to grow. And then you also have Tocumen International, which is the main airport here in Panama City. And from there you could be out in Coronado and a little under 90 minutes.

Kent Davis:
Yes, because you’ve got to drive across the city there. I don’t know where you’re checking in from, but we’ve got flights galore, hundreds of daily, nonstop flights. But yeah, I mean Panama is a hub, so you’ve got direct nonstop to Florida, Texas, California Seattle, Los Vegas, New York, D.C nothing in London yet, but Madrid, Amsterdam, Germany Toronto not sure if we have Vancouver yet.

Kent Davis:
Is Panama pet-friendly? Yes, I would say it’s pet-friendly.

Matthew Marx:
And even more recently as you see restaurants and cafes with water outside for your dogs.

Kent Davis:
Especially at the beach, but even in the city. In some of the hardware stores, you see people walking around with their little dog and there’s no stigma here. People are not, you know fussy about that.

Kent Davis:
Why should you buy versus renting? Well, Ralph, it depends on your situation. You know, some people would ask the question reverse, why should you rent before buying?

Kent Davis:
Yeah, I mean that’s an interesting one. I think obviously it’s a cashflow consideration for someone who maybe doesn’t have the money yet. It’s a comfort level as try before you buy is never a bad idea. You know, you could stay in an Airbnb for a month or two. The nice thing about Panama is you’ve sort of got a safety net in that we still have a rental market. You know, if you end up buying, maybe there’s the grandkids get older or started getting born, 10 years later, you move back to where you came from. Either you can sell, in which case you are beholden to the market or you can rent it out and have a cash-flowing investment. So I would say there’s no difference between the buy or rent decision in Panama versus other markets.

Kent Davis:
I’m just scrolling through here on the other screen to make sure that we’ve gotten to everyone. I think that we’ve covered everyone and you guys have been great. I love that everyone’s asking so many questions.

Kent Davis:
Golly, it’s already been an hour. Thank you, guys. Thank you for joining us. We hope to meet all of you in person and I hope you found this insightful. You know how to find us on email and on panamaequity.com.

Kent Davis:
Take care. 

Matthew Marx:
Thanks see you next time.

 

 

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