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The Insider Guide To Living In Coronado, Panama, As An Expat

Living in Coronado has become popular with expats moving to Panama thanks to its beautiful beaches, low cost of living, and proximity to Panama City.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what life is like living in Coronado, Panama. We’ll explore the town’s amenities and activities and the costs of living and retiring there.

Coronado overview

Coronado is a small beach town located on the Pacific coast of Panama. The town has a population of around 10,000 people. It’s about an hour’s drive from Panama City, making it a popular weekend getaway spot for city dwellers.

The climate in Coronado is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22-32 degrees Celsius. The rainy season runs from May to December, while the dry season lasts from January to April.

The Coronado Golf & Country Club is at the center of this community, and it was the first resort developed in Panama.

It has been a popular weekend getaway for Panamanians, some of who have second homes here, since the 1950s. In the last 20 years, it has become one of Panama’s most popular expat communities. It is about a 10-minute walk to the beach from anywhere in Coronado.

The main residential area of Coronado is a gated community including single-family homes, estates, townhomes, and highrise condos. Outside of the gated community is the Panamanian town of Las Lajas, where also many expats live.

Activities for expats in Coronado

There are plenty of activities to keep you busy in Coronado from golfing, tennis, swimming, pickleball, sunbathing on the beach, and exploring the nearby rainforest.

You can also go fishing, snorkeling, or scuba diving nearby in the clear waters off the coast.

There are many hiking activities available. And, of course, you can always relax and enjoy the scenery. Whatever your interests are, you’re sure to find something to do in Coronado!

Amenities in Coronado

The town is home to several supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, strip malls, and other businesses. There are also several private schools in Coronado, making it a great place to raise a family.

Stores range in size from fruit stands to large North American-style grocery stores. There is a large Do-It Center (Ace Hardware).

A movie theater also shows current North American films in English and Spanish.

There are several doctors’ offices and labs, and the Clinical Hospital San Fernando is a very well-known hospital in the area.

There is no need to go to Panama City for essential amenities for most people living in Coronado.

In addition to the area’s natural beauty, Coronado offers a variety of dining options. From local cafes to upscale restaurants, you will never have a shortage of dining out options.

The cost of living in Coronado

The cost of living in Coronado can be high compared to other parts of Panama outside of Panama City. This is because you live in a resort-like setting, with a lot of tourists.

Within the gated community of Coronado, rents and real estate will be more expensive than just outside it.

However, it’s still possible to find affordable accommodations and activities.

Housing & utilities

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Coronado starts at around $800 per month.

Utilities, including electricity, internet, TV, water, and trash service, can add $100 to your monthly expenses, much more if you use a lot of air conditioning.

For a two-bedroom condo in Coronado, prices start at $250,000 and go up to $500,000.00 for something very nice.

Homes also start at $250,000 and can go up to several million.

Groceries & eating out

Coronado’s food costs are also higher than average, but there are ways to save money by shopping at local markets and from local fish vendors.

A mid-range meal for two people at a restaurant in Coronado will cost around $40.

Imported produce is quite expensive in the grocery stores, so buying local brands will always save you money.

Transport costs

Transportation costs are relatively low in Coronado. You can get around town quickly by taxi, for a couple of bucks to most local places.

If you need to go further, some buses run regularly between Panama City and Coronado, with tickets costing under $10 each way.

The majority of people who permanently reside in Coronado acquire a vehicle to go to Panama City for some purpose or be able to go around more easily.

Healthcare in Coronado

Healthcare in Coronado is good, and there are several private clinics and hospitals in town. However, it’s important to note that if you are living in Coronado, you need to look at getting health insurance that covers you in Panama.

As a foreigner, you will not be eligible for the government health insurance program. The cost of private health insurance in Panama varies based on your age, of course, but for someone 60 years old, you are looking at around $200 a month.

International health insurance is also a valid option. To make sure you get the best value for money, compare international health insurance options from various providers to find the best deal. 

Language barriers in Coronado

Living in Coronado has its perks, one being that the many people living there know how to speak English. This creates less of a language barrier than in more rural areas of Panama.

The estimation is that up to 40% of the population living in Coronado are foreigners, primarily from North America, the UK, and Europe.

Vacation rentals, restaurants, retail stores, and healthcare are some businesses that commonly offer English communication.

How to get to and from Coronado

If you live in Coronado and want to go to Panama City, you can take the bus, which runs frequently and is very affordable.

You can also take a taxi or Uber, which is more expensive but could be more convenient depending on your schedule.

The International Airport in Panama City is 1.5 hours from Coronado, so you need to consider this if you plan on living in Coronado. The cost of an Uber or taxi will be over $100 one way.

Some shuttles are running back and forth but not on a perfect schedule.

If you are not comfortable on a bus, which is very affordable, then purchasing a car and using the Airport’s long-term parking facilities may be the solution.

If you are Canadian, the Rio Hato Airport, just 30 kilometers away, has a deal with direct flights with charter companies from certain Canadian cities. The airport is just a short taxi ride to Coronado.

These flights are an excellent option for Canadians and probably explain why many Canadians have chosen Coronado as their home or second “winter” home.

Expats in Coronado

According to recent estimates, there are approximately 4,000 expats living in Coronado. Many of them are retirees who enjoy the sunny weather and laid-back lifestyle. However, many young professionals work remotely or run their businesses. 

Also, families are moving to Coronado because of its access to private international schools in the area.

There are various places where expats like to hang out in Coronado.

The Beach Club is a popular spot for socializing, sunbathing, and swimming.

The Coronado Country Club is another popular gathering spot, especially for those who enjoy golfing and tennis.

And of course, the town’s many restaurants and bars are always popular places to meet friends. Like The Sandbar Gastro Pub, Luna Rossa, Don Chacho, and others.

The beach towns near Coronado

While living in Coronado, Panama, you’ll be close to several different beach towns worth exploring.

Playa Blanca is a great place to relax on the white sand beaches and swim in the clear blue waters. There’s also a good selection of restaurants and cafes to choose from when you need a break from the sun.

Vista Mar Marina is just a short drive from Coronado. The marina offers boat owners a wide range of services, including slips for boats up to 85 feet long, dry storage, and a fuel dock. In addition, the marina has a shipyard and a full-service haul-out facility.

Vista Mar Marina is also home to several businesses, including a chandlery, a dive shop, and a restaurant.

Nueva Gorgona is also a trendy beach town for expats to live in and just 5 minutes from all the amenities of Coronado.

Living in coronado panama - nueva gorgona
Nueva Gorgona

The beaches of Nueva Gorgona and Coronado connect during low tide, and you can walk from Coronado to Nueva Gorgona. I would not advise it, as when the tide comes in, you will be looking for a ride to go the 10 kilometers around to get you home.

If you’re looking for something more nature-like, El Valle de Anton is a popular destination for people looking for a mountain experience. The town is home to several ancient ruins and a variety of shops and restaurants.

El Valle de Anton also offers several activities for visitors, including hiking, birdwatching, and horseback riding. Located just a short drive from the Coronado, El Valle de Anton is an ideal living destination for those seeking a weekend out of the heat.

Final thoughts on living in Coronado

People worldwide are increasingly looking to Panama as a place to move to or retire in. The country is known for its friendly people, stunning scenery, and relaxed lifestyle.

If you are wondering where in Panama you should settle down, come live the retirement life in Coronado.

The town has everything you need and more! With many expats living here already, there’s no shortage of people who will share your interests with you and the ability to communicate in English in most places as you settle into your new country and learn some Spanish.

Living in Coronado is excellent. The weather is fantastic, and the people are friendly. There’s always something to do, whether going to the beach or exploring the shops downtown. You feel so lucky to call this place home.

So, what are you waiting for? Come check out Coronado, Panama, today!

You might find useful:

Sheryl

Monday 25th of July 2022

The Friendly Nations Visa has now been disbanded. Aside from investing in forestry or $500,000 in real estate are there other options? Can you still open a bank account with $5000 and create a business as a path toward residency? I have the minimal retirement, but am asking on behalf of other family that may wish to relocate.

Rod Larrivee

Monday 25th of July 2022

Hello Sheryl. The friendly nations is still around, it changed though in August of 2022, where the opening a corporation with $5000 options is off the table. There are 3 ways now to qualify for the friendly nations visa.

The other difference is that it is now a 2 step process over 2 years, first the temporary 2 year visa, then a permanent visa application in 2 years.

a. Employment contract to work in Panama, with an existing panama company, also with approval of working permit or b. By an investment in a real estate property under your personal name with a minimum value of $200,000.00 which could be financed by a bank in Panama. c. depositing $200,000.00 as a CD in an Panama bank.

The only other non investment type visa is the Short Stay Visa (digital nomad visa) for remote workers, but it is only a temporary visa for 18 months,

Thanks, Rod