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Coronado-Guide

Coronado Neighborhood Guide: All You Need To Know

What is the Coronado Buzz All About?

In the 1940s, Coronado was a handful of sleepy ranches along an unspoiled stretch of the Pacific. Coronado is a picture-perfect location and is the least rainy spot in Panama. It’s safe to say those pirates picked the right spot for their principal trade route. Even in 2005, Coronado was mostly a weekend-only destination. Coronado did not have many full-time residents or restaurants.
 
Today, Coronado is the epicenter of beach life in Panama with great amenities. It boasts three shopping malls, restaurants, a clinic hospital, and several international schools. It’s no wonder that expats in the know from the U.S., Canada, and Europe have decided to make Coronado home. Some even run their businesses from this town — or on the beach.

Getting To Coronado

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Coronado is the closest beach town from Panama City. Hop on the Pan-American Highway and you’re there in an hour and fifteen minutes. Weekend visitors can escape the city Friday afternoon and head back on Monday morning on three dedicated lanes. Although, we always recommend jumping out of the city before 3 pm. For $3 a bus will also get you there from the city’s Albrook mall.
 
After the roadworks are complete on the new Chorrera, San Carlos highway, road capacity will expand. As a result, traffic will ease. That means weekenders can leave the city at 5 pm and get to their beach houses in time for cocktails on the beach.
 
Metro Line 3 will also be a game-changer. So in four years, we should see a new route out of the city and a huge reduction in car volume. So hold your breath, because it’s coming!

Living an Outdoorsy Lifestyle… Year-Round in Coronado

We know. This is the reason you’re actually here. We can’t think of what Coronado doesn’t offer expats by way of an active, outdoor lifestyle. Think of great surfing, deep-sea fishing, stand-up paddling, kite-boarding, golfing and more. You can even enjoy hiking at Bosque Seco Park!

Surf it up

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If you’re into surfing, you’re in for a treat in Coronado. Last year, a new road was built to Playa Tetas in Punta Barco. This made Coronado just a 5-minute drive to one of Panama’s best surf spots. You will find surf schools, camps and shops abound in El Palmar and near San Carlos.

What’s your calling: deep sea fishing or dolphin spotting?

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Charter a boat out from the Vistamar Marina for some serious deep-sea fishing. Or head to one of the villages nearby and have real local fishermen take you out for $20/hr. Try your hand at reeling in a tuna, dorado, wahoo or sea bass to grill for dinner. Alternatively, sip on a cocktail as the sun goes down and watch dolphins, sea turtles or humpback whales.

Coronado is for golf aficionados

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Coronado takes Panamanian golfing to another level. It has four prime 18-hole, par-72 courses. All which are set within luxury communities with clubhouses and amenities to match. Picking the course really just comes down to your style.
 
The Buenaventura is a Jack Nicklaus designed championship golf course. And allows for many tee placements to accommodate various skill levels. Pricing is reasonable too and favorable to residents and seniors.
 
The Decameron’s Mantarraya Golf Club is another landscaped course next to the Royal Decameron. Designed by Randall Thompson and the American Golf Course Design firm. Next, the Vistamar’s J. Michael Poellot-designed course boasts ocean views at every hole. With good winds for those up for the challenge. Their prices are a bit steeper but might be worth it for that star hole.
 
And finally, BlueBay, a historic club, which, given its narrow fairways, forests and winds, is not one to be taken lightly. For lighter days, it has a less challenging par-3 9-hole executive course on the same grounds.
 
Alternatively, head to Vistamar’s driving range and practice while looking out to the mountains.

Head to the mountains

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Had enough of the beach? Coronado is a great launchpad for day trips to nearby mountain retreats nestled amidst Panama’s forests. You might not even have to get into your car. Right next to the main gate to Coronado, the government has set aside 45 hectares of forest for preservation. Its walking paths are loved by walking-enthusiasts and bird-watchers alike.
 
50 minutes away, the Altos de Campana National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Its trails open up to incredible views from lookouts if you’re less avian-enthused than your hiking partner.
 
Or, explore everything that Altos de Maria and El Valle de Anton, have to offer just 30 minutes away. The options are endless. For hiking, head to the Sleeping Indian Girl trail or the hot springs. You also have El Chorro Macho waterfall. This is a spectacular 35-meter waterfall which has a natural lagoon at its base. It’s truly a perfect spot for a swim.
Walk amidst hundreds of jewel-colored butterflies in the tropical forest. Or, rev the engines and hop on an ATV or buggy and head deep into the mountains, crossing streams until you bump up to the Tavida waterfall, ready for a dip.

Staying fit

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You don’t have to leave town to stay in shape. Coronado has a bunch of gyms, studios, and classes for all ages. Check out Lift Studio for weight training, Zumba, yoga, children’s gymnastics, and more.
 
Head to El Litoral for every type of yoga you can imagine, fly yoga even. And, if you’re ready for a serious beach-butt Bootcamp, Sano Fitness is ready for you.
 
The community events are even more fun. There’s beach volleyball at the Bahia Tower Thursday through Sundays. A group running club on Sundays and local marathons of all distances every few months too.

Chillin in Coronado

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There’s something for every taste along the string of beautiful beaches in and around Coronado.
 
It’s no wonder that Coronado was built where it was. The beach is wide and a perfect spot for swimming. Here the sand morphs from black-to-white-to-grey. This is due to the quartz and magnetite from El Valle’s now dormant volcano. Jet-skiing and kayaking are popular. Plus horseback riding and kids soccer games abound on the sand. And, although the coast is lined by million-dollar mansions, it’s still relatively uncrowded.
 
Beaches in Coronado and resort-central Playa Farallon are the most popular. However, El Palmar, a short walk from San Carlos, is a favorite among surfers and locals. The waves are perfect for both beginners and the more experienced crowd. Panama Surf School also rents boards and give great lessons.
 
The white sands of Santa Clara and Playa Blanca are prime sunbathing and swimming spots.
 
Lastly, Gorgona’s beaches stretch over 4km of turquoise waters. One of our favorites is Malibu Beach where you can walk for miles to reach more virgin territory.

Going extreme in Coronado

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For adrenaline-junkies, Punta Chame is popular for windsurfing. This is due to Punta Chame being at the end of a long, thin peninsula lined by shrimp farms and mangroves. It’s a get-away-from-it-all type of destination, as there is little at land’s end.
 
Hop over to Nitro City where you can switch up the jet-skiing and stand-up paddling with some land-based fun. Here you will find a flatland skate park, a paintball and archery field, race tracks and more. The “City” also hosts some of the biggest events along Panama’s Pacific coast. From sports and big-name concerts (Justin Bieber!) to Summer Live, where DJs and bands play
 
24/7 every weekend, all summer long.
 
At the other extreme, Buenaventura, an upscale gated community, is home to Panama’s well-heeled elite. A growing number of expat families have also made it their permanent or seasonal home. Its surroundings are rich in lush landscaping, mature trees, and all the modern comforts. A five star JW Marriott hotel is a recent addition, with its own beach, golf, and equestrian clubs.

All-inclusive resorts & spas in Coronado

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From affordable to luxurious, all-inclusive resorts in the Coronado area cater to all tastes. Perfect for those seeking a quiet getaway to those in need of a family-friendly spot. Panama’s beach resorts pretty much have it all so you don’t need to venture outside the gates. They’re also a great way to get to know Coronado on a weekend trip.
 
Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort, the RIU in Playa Blanca and Decameron next door are great places to start. And you can often find all-inclusive discounts at ofertasimple.com.
 
You can get day access at the Decameron, Playa Blanca, and Blue Bay Coronado to try it out too. It really all just comes down to how many pools you think you’ll need.
 
And, for the best spas in town, you won’t have to venture far from the golf either. Buenaventura, Riomar, Bahia and Bluebay are your best and most relaxing bets.

Be a Part of the Coronado Community — Group Activities & Volunteering

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Coronado has a busy social scene with book clubs, Spanish lessons, bocce ball clubs and more.
 
Due to its large retired and semi-retired expat community, there are many opportunities to volunteer. Spay stray dogs and local orphanages are the most popular options. You can also find beach clean-up groups and a volunteer-run hospice care foundation.
 
The rotary club is always a good way to get into new projects. They recently organized a fundraiser to buy 120 wheelchairs for locals lacking access.

Dining & Entertainment in Coronado

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After a day at the beach, Coronado’s buzzing dining, nightlife, and shopping scene await.
 
Coronado is Panama’s happy hour capital. Check out a local favorite, Picasso’s! Here they host live music Wednesday and Saturday.
 
Head to one of several restaurants offering all sorts of dishes, from Mediterranean to seafood.
 
Loco’s Bar & Grill never fails to bring out the big screens to cheer on your home teams.
 
Bahia’s BluWater Bistro also show the town’s beach volleyball games. Then enjoy post-game margaritas and appetizers at George’s poolside on Thursdays. If you’re coming from the beach in Gorgona, check out the Tiki bar at Bahia Tower before heading back to Coronado.
 
For the best food in the area, don’t miss beautiful Luna Rossa. Enjoy Tuscan cuisine cooked up by a Florence native. Make sure to try their lobster crepes and finish off with the pannacotta.
 
Or sit tight right on the beach in El Palmar by the Surf Camp and watch the sunset. They literally have the best fresh fried fish or ceviche paired with a good cold beer.

Who wouldn’t want their kids to grow up in Coronado

Raising Kids in Coronado

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Three excellent international options stand out for parents looking into Coronado area schools.
 
The Coronado International School, right at the entrance to town, is the newest bilingual school in the area. It caters to kids from preschool through to high school.
 
Besides the core academics, the school is strong in sports. Located on beautiful grounds spread across 5 hectares, swimming, tennis, golf and horseback riding are all on offer. This makes it as good as a country club. Tuition starts at $3K/year and goes up to $4K in 7th grade and up.
 
The Panama Coast International School in neighboring Gorgona was the first international school to open in the area. They take kids from kindergarten through to Grade 12. High-school students receive a North-American diploma. Academic activities are often project-based, and students are expected to take part in extracurricular activities. Including community service, the Science Fair, musical and theatrical performances, and journalism.
 
Lastly, Five Star Academy is 20 minutes away in Santa Clara. It attracts families from Coronado and Buenaventura with its personal, hands-on, academic program. They take Pre-K to Grade 12. Tuition goes from $3.3K/year from Pre-K3 to $4000 Grade 9 and up. And, the school offers surfing, yoga, wood-working, archery, horseback riding, swimming and more.

Shopping in Coronado

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These days, you can find anything and everything you’d need in Coronado. It’s a welcome change from when you’d have to head to Panama City in search of basic goods.
 
Two major new malls opened up over the last two years in the area.
Terrazas Plaza lies a mile from the main entrance to Coronado. Then you have Ocean Mall in Rio Hato as you drive into Playa Blanca and Decameron.
 
Terrazas Plaza is a shopper’s haven, with furniture and hardware stores and more. Ocean Mall features many popular store chains such as Super99, Arrocha, and Novey.
 
But there’s more – and much more than we’ll venture into here.
 
Coronado Mall houses various fashion labels, sporting goods, spas, and salons. Village Mall has an AC center, electronics, a party store and more. 
 
El Machetazo is a real U.S.-style department store and sits on the mountain-side of the Pan-American highway. But don’t let the name fool you–it doesn’t sell machetes. Above the supermarket on the first floor, you’ll find everything home and garden related. And kids’ toys and sporting equipment on the top floor.
 
For grocery shopping, El Rey is the go-to for fresh produce 24/7. Or head out across the street for fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers.
 
At the high end, Las Pergolas Mall is home to various specialty wine and meats stores. And the Riba Smith grocery chain stocks fresh meats and fish and has a great in-house bakery. Super99 also stocks lower-priced goods.
 
And, don’t leave town before checking out the fantastic fish markets in Gorgona and San Carlos.

Healthcare in Coronado

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Coronado is home to the private clinic Clinica Hospital San Fernando.
 
It is one of the most recommended in Panama and is an extension of it’s Panama City’s location. It offers comprehensive care and has a lab, ICU, radiology and even a maternity ward on-site.
 
Various other options exist in nearby San Carlos. And you’ll find plenty of pharmacies around in and around Coronado.

Real Estate in Coronado

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Prices in Coronado and the surrounding area have been pushed down with some brand new options hitting the market, so it might just be an auspicious time to buy – or rent, if you haven’t visited or made up your mind yet that Coronado is the right spot for you.

Panama Equity Real Estate

Panama Equity was founded on a commitment to deliver a professional real estate experience to all of our clients. Our real estate agents understand the concept of working hard, working smart, and always doing what’s right. We appreciate the trust that our clients put in us, and are always looking to improve the way we deliver the Panama Equity experience.

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