Veracruz, where I am, is a quaint little town at the very first exit once you go over the Panama Canal bridge, which is referred to as the Bridge of the Americas. Veracruz is only 15 minutes away from Panama City by car and about 45 minutes away from the airport
Veracruz is a resort area that has the Westin Playa Bonita as well as the Intercontinental Hotel. There is a famous restaurant in Vera Cruz called Karimar, which is located outside and on the ocean that has been recognized on all the different food channels and that is what Veracruz is known for in addition to the Westin Playa Bonita.
At The Westin Playa Bonita, you also have Casa Bonita, which is the residential sister building to the Westin building. They are of Greek architectural design and they have magnificent ocean, mountain, and jungle views as well as a view of the Panama Canal, where you can watch the ships coming through, straight from your balcony. It is a 5-star resort with seven swimming pools, seven restaurants, the private Pearl Club, which has our own private swimming pool right on the ocean, as well as its own private restaurant and deli. It has game rooms, ping-pong tables, etc. Casa Bonita has a theater currently in the works. It also has a fitness center and a spa and accessible to the guests of the Westin Hotel.
The Westin Hotel has five pools and two pools that are private to Casa Bonita. One is located at the social area at the top of the building and the other pool is at the Pearl Club. We also have our own private fitness center in the building. We have all kinds of amenities such as kayaks, paddleboards, the beach, the cornhole, etc. There are all kinds of activities going on in the Westin Hotel that one could participate in on a regular basis throughout the day and on into the evening as well. It is basically a community where you never want to leave. You could even have your groceries delivered right to your condo, so it’s self contained. You have the ability to come here to live and relax and you don’t really need to have a car because you are so close to Panama City that you could take a taxi if you just wanted to go shopping at the malls in the city.
Veracruz is just a beautiful and magnificent location with great views of the mountains, the ocean, and the Panama Canal. Veracruz is where people want to come if they want to have that beach environment vacation experience or they also like it for the views and the convenience of Panama City without having to drive an hour and a half to get to the actual “beach areas” or the “Gold Coast” area.
The next location that people are interested in is Gorgona, which is the neighboring area to Coronado. It is just half a kilometer away and you can walk it up the beach in 20 minutes from Gorgona to Coronado. It takes about 40 minutes to get to Gorgona from Veracruz
Gorgona is where the new high-rise buildings are being built on the oceanfront because there is no ocean front property left in Coronado and there has not been for a very long time. The most magnificent high-rise, oceanfront dwellings are being built in the Gorgona area right now, scheduled for completion in the summer of 2017. I personally have a property there and many of my clients have also purchased in that building so we are really excited about its completion.
Gorgona is the “new Coronado” because the Coronado area is running out of space, so between Gorgona and Coronado is where all of the new expansion is taking place for retail, restaurants, and everything else.
Just east of Gorgona, they built a new shopping center that includes a PriceMart, which is similar to Costco or Sam’s Wholesale in the US. It is convenient because it has everything that you could possibly need without having to go all the way to Panama City. PriceMart is located a couple of exits before Westland Mall so it is closer to Gorgona and Coronado than Westland Mall. PriceMart is in the area of Costa Verde, which also has a DoIt center, a lot of restaurants, etc. It’s just a wonderful location. So there is all that, as well as the new area slightly west of Gorgona before you get to Coronado, which has new strip centers and new retail centers coming in left and right.
Coronado is what everybody knows as the expat destination in Panama. It is the largest expat community in the country. Coronado is closer to Panama City than many of the other locations where some of the other well-known expat areas are located like David, Chiriquí, etc. Coronado is more popular because you don’t have to take another puddle jumper flight or drive another 5 hours to get to one of those other areas from Panama City. What you would like depends on what you are looking for. A lot of people are looking at getting up into the mountains, so they prefer cooler areas. Some people are looking for oceanfront, not too far away from Panama City, so for these people, Coronado is the best destination.
Coronado has been established and it has been growing. There are three international schools, which have been bringing a great crowd of younger folks with young children. The schools are doing extremely well and have great reviews. We are starting to see younger families who are moving to the Coronado area. The Coronado area has grown so rapidly that it had begun to spill into the Gorgona area, a trend that started a little over two years ago. The growth moving into the Gorgona area has been exponential because there is nowhere else to go on the Pan-American Highway in the Coronado area. That is why development is moving on up to the Gorgona area. We are just merging together as one big area.
There are not a lot of places of note to the west of Coronado. There are some developments but they are isolated and they are not in an area with huge growth or with big retail coming in. It’s just a more residential economy and houses. It’s not like Coronado and Gorgona as far as being a centralized location for massive retail and commercial growth.
(Westin Playa Bonita and Playa Boniga Village outside of Panama City, Panama, pictured.)