The sound of rolling waves soothes me as I lie on the warm, glittering white and black volcanic sand. Bursts of green palm trees ring the beach, which is dotted with bits of driftwood, coral, and shells. White marine birds complete the scene, standing on spindly legs, looking out towards the sky-blue sea.

Spending the afternoon here is absolute bliss. But when I’m ready to get back to the real world, I don’t have to go far. I just shake out my towel and walk the five minutes back to the little apartment I’m renting. There I can have a hot shower and get online for a bit, thanks to the high-speed internet. In fact, everything I need is readily available here, from gourmet food to medical care.

That’s the beauty of life in Coronado, just an hour’s drive from Panama City. When you’re on the beach, you feel a thousand miles away. I’ve often gone for long walks and encountered just one or two people. No crowds, no hawkers to disturb those in need of some R&R, no noisy bars blaring “Caribbean music” for tourists.

Located on the Pacific coast, in what’s known as Panama’s “Dry Arc,” Coronado gets about half as much rain as the Caribbean. Daytime temperatures average 88 F, while mornings and evenings can be 10 degrees cooler. It’s one of the many benefits of being on the water. Most every day here starts with bright sunshine. If it does rain, it’s usually an hour or two in the afternoon. It’s hard to be anything but cheerful when the sun is your constant companion.


A large group of expats live here full time and it continues to grow and thrive. These are people who came in search of more than just a beautiful setting. They also wanted reliable power and water…a friendly, active expat community…and great weather. Those expats have also started businesses and clubs…share their music and art…and contribute to the local community.

Coronado has grocery stores, shops, restaurants, banks, a clinic, and much more. Though Panama City’s theaters, museums, gourmet restaurants and casinos are just an hour away, Coronado residents have plenty to keep them busy right in town.

It sounds like the kind of California lifestyle we all dream of…but that is increasingly out of reach. But in Coronado, expats regularly report spending 30% to 40% less per month than they did back in the U.S. or Canada.

Beach property in Coronado will cost you much less than it would in California. You’ll find apartments and houses for sale from $190,000. If you’re willing to be farther from the center of Coronado, you could pay as much as $50,000 less.

Monthly expenses here may surprise you…water bills are as little as $20 a month, gas for cooking runs most people about $2 a month, and high-speed internet starts at $25 a month. And then there’s the healthcare…prices as much as 50% lower than in the U.S.

There are clinics where you can see a doctor for a few dollars. Even at upscale facilities in Panama, you’ll pay $20 to $40 for a visit. Often you can just show up…no appointment needed.

Coronado isn’t the cheapest place in Panama…most singles and couples budget about $2,500 for monthly spending, including rent. But Coronado offers a truly high-value lifestyle. When it comes to ease and comfort…it’s hard to beat.

Courtesy of International Living