As an expat, living in Pedasi, Panama, can be a wonderful experience. The town is located on the Azuero Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean on three sides, and is known for its beautiful beaches and friendly people. There are plenty of things to do in Pedasi, from going to the beach to exploring the nearby national parks.
If you're looking for a relaxed place to call home, Pedasi is definitely worth considering. There are several restaurants and bars and a couple of small grocery stores. The towns of Playa Venao and Las Tablas are also nearby, so there's no shortage of things to see and do.
Retire in Pedasi – the pros and cons
I suppose that retiring in Pedasi has its pros and cons like any place. Some of the pros and cons are subjective depending on the person. Because of this, you will notice that sometimes the same things are on the pro and the con list.
1. Perfect climate
The climate is perfect for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. With an average daily high temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, Pedasi is a great place to stay active all year round.
From December to May there's hardly any rain in Pedasi. It's perpetual sunshine and perfect beach weather all the time. By the time the rainy season comes, everyone is looking forward to some showers. The heaviest rainfalls are from September to November.
2. Laid-back atmosphere and remote location
The town is located on the Azuero Peninsula and is about a 4-hour drive from Panama City. It is a small town with a population of about 5,000 people. Life here is slow, relaxing and laid-back. Living here changes how you feel about the world and life in general: there's less stress and people around are genuinely happy. This naturally brings us to the next pro.
3. Friendly people
People here are very friendly and open. As an expat you will feel welcome. Both locals and expats live as one community here and neighbors look after one another.
4. Affordable cost of living
You will find living in Pedasi is very affordable both in terms of housing and daily expenses.
5. Low crime rate
Pedasi is safe. It's actually one of the safest places in Panama. As I have mentioned already, the community is very strong here and everyone takes pride in their safe neighborhoods.
6. Lots of activities on offer
There are many things to do in Pedasi, such as surfing, fishing, hiking, and exploring the nearby national parks.
All the cons of living in Pedasi come from the fact that the town is quite remote. Therefore you need to bear in mind the following:
- It's a small town with fewer amenities
- It's a 4-hour drive from Panama City
- 2-hour drive to private medical facilities
- 1-hour drive to big-box shopping stores, movie theaters, and high-end dining
Another thing to remember is that the climate may be too hot for some, with 365 days a year of 30-degree Celcius weather.
Lifestyle in Pedasi
Lifestyle for those living in Pedasi is all about enjoying the laid-back pace of life in a beautiful setting. Expats who move here quickly learn to appreciate the slower way of doing things and often find that they have more time for leisure activities and pursuits.
While there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, there is also a strong sense of community in Pedasi. People here are very friendly and welcoming, making it easy to feel at home in this charming town. Many residents enjoy spending time socializing with friends and neighbors.
Real estate and rentals in Pedasi
There are many rentals and real estate options, including apartments, houses, villas, and beachfront homes. There is also a lot of property available for sale in Pedasi, even beachfront, for those looking to build your dream home.
The prices for real estate and rentals vary depending on the location and type of property. A Panamanian-style home near town can rent for as little as $500 a month for those on a budget. A custom 2,500 sq feet home can rent upwards of $2,000 a month on the other end of the spectrum.
Because of the increased popularity of Pedasi, developers have started to take notice and produce housing for all budgets. For example, the new Blue Marlin project currently under construction, halfway between town and the beach, offers 2-bedroom condos, starting at just over $100,000. I am sure many of these condos will be bought by investors, creating some good rentals.
To buy a newer 2-bedroom home in Pedasi, you can spend between $150,000 and $250,000
Building your own home is also very popular in Pedasi now because of the availability of land. The town is in a growth phase, and there are still many lots available. Depending on quality and tastes, you can currently build in Panama from as little as $90 sq/ft up to $135 sq/ft.
The cost of living in Pedasi
The cost of living in Pedasi can be very reasonable, depending on how you live. I personally know couples living in the community on budgets of between $1500 and $2000 a month.
Most basic expenses such as food, transportation, and housing cost significantly less than in other areas of Panama like Panama City or Coronado. For example, a meal at a local restaurant can cost $5 – $7, and a ride on the bus or taxi costs under a dollar in town. Rent for a one-bedroom home starts at around $500 per month.
Utilities such as water, gas, cell phone, and internet are very affordable, like under $100 a month total, excluding electricity. Electricity will be relative to how much air conditioning you use so it can be between $25 to $200 a month. Some expats in Pedasi do not even have air conditioning, just ceiling fans, and the breeze they feel is all they need.
Healthcare in Pedasi
Healthcare in rural Panama is a developing field with many new initiatives underway to improve access and quality of care. The public health system is the primary provider of healthcare services in Pedasi, with several private doctor offices also operating in the area.
There is Minsa-Capsi healthcare facility just outside of Pedasi. It's not a full hospital, but there's 24-hour urgent care with lab, pharmacy, and ambulance services. It also houses the Centro de Salud (a public clinic).
If you need a doctor, you can either visit the Centro de Salud or drive half an hour to the public hospital in Las Tablas.
There are more extensive facilities available in the city of Los Tablas and Chitre, so in the case of a severe situation, you will typically be stabilized in Pedasi and transferred by ambulance to one of the larger facilities.
As far as more extensive medical labs and dental and eye services, Las Tablas and Chitre have lots to offer. With only 45 minutes to Las Tablas and 1.5 hours to Chitre, it's not that bad.
If you consider living in Pedasi, make sure you are comfortable with the quality of healthcare available to you.
Shopping facilities in Pedasi
Shopping in Pedasi can be a challenge for expats, as the town doesn't have any major grocery stores, shopping centers, or malls. However, a few small shops and stores sell basic necessities like food, personal care products, and clothing.
Fruits and vegetables are readily available from local breeders in Pedasi and cost much less than in supermarkets. Since I have lived in Panama for the last ten years, I do not think I have ever bought fruit or vegetables in a supermarket. Local growers have fresher products and better prices.
Lately, I have seen expat groups get together to coordinate buying fish, chicken, and meat from local producers, which is a great way to get fresh products.
So for day-to-day living, you can get by shopping in Pedasi, but many expats take monthly shopping trips to Chitre or even Santiago, where you will find a large shopping mall and a Pricemart (Costco).
Transport and connectivity
Pedasi is located 4 hours from an International airport. There is, however, a shuttle bus that runs daily from Pedasi to Panama City for about $30.
Up until 2022, air transit out of Pedasy was unavailable, but Air Panama, Panama's national airline, recently started testing two flights a week from Pedasi to Panama City. There is also a private charter company selling seats on the same route.
This quick 30-minute flight to Panama City is a game-changer for some people considering living in Pedasi that need to travel internationally often.
Things to do in Pedasi
Pedasi is known for its surfing, fishing, and diving. However, there are also many other activities to enjoy in Pedasi. Here are just a few of the things that you can do during your stay:
Take a surf lesson
Pedasi is one of the best places in Panama to catch a wave. There are various ways to catch some waves, whether you're an expert or a newbie surfer.
The waters around Pedasi are teeming with fish. You can head out on a charter boat for a deep-sea fishing adventure or try your hand at catching fish from the shore.
Explore the mangroves
The mangroves around Pedasi are home to an abundance of wildlife. Take a kayak or stand-up paddleboard into the mangroves and keep your eyes peeled for birds, iguanas, and monkeys.
Visit Isla Iguana
Just off the coast of Pedasi lies Isla Iguana, a small island known for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Panama.
Expat community in Pedasi
The expat community in Pedasi is a growing and thriving community. Expats from all over the world have made Pedasi their home, and the community is growing every day. It is a close-knit and supportive group.
Expats in Pedasi come from various backgrounds, and each brings their own unique set of skills and talents to the community. Expats share information and support each other through the challenges of living in a new country.
The beaches of Pedasi
The town of Pedasi is a couple of kilometers from the beaches. The waters are calm and swimmable, and the beaches are sandy and white. Playa El Arenal is the largest, and Playa Toro is the closest.
There are several other smaller beaches in the vicinity also. Unlike most commercial beaches, Pedasi is so remote that you can at times walk the beaches for kilometers and not see a soul.
Playa Venao is a beautiful beach located just 30 km from Pedasi. The name Playa Venao literally means “beach of the winds.” The beach is well-known for its strong waves and is popular with surfers worldwide.
Final thoughts on living in Pedasi
If you are looking for a quiet and remote location to live in Panama, Pedasi is a great option. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy in Pedasi. You will find a vibrant and thriving community here that offers its fellow expat members a supportive network in tranquil and beautiful surroundings.