Panama's Pedasi Setting Stage for Affordable Beach Real Estate in Central America
The once-sleepy village of Pedasi in Panama's Los Santos province is a microcosm of its nation's current success as well as future potential. It's a remote region teeming with natural beauty and established on strong infrastructure; a combination that's proving ultra-successful for both lifestyle and investment hawks looking for the newest place in Panama to land.
Pedasi is located in the Azuero Peninsula; said to be Panama's nucleus of culture and tradition correlating to its direct Spanish descent; it's people some of the most friendly and photogenic in the isthmus and the small town feel that of Steamboat Springs or Sun Valley, Idaho. It's the Mayberry of Panama, where everyone knows your name.
Geographically, Pedasi is in the southern-most part of the country bordered by the Tuna Coast, a shelf of the Pacific Ocean "infamous for schools of Yellowfin Tuna" says Brian Piantadosi, manager of Panama Fishing "The fish are swept inshore by the Humboldt Current making for virgin fishing grounds that attract a very select crowd."
Views of Pedasi's jagged and island-studded coast are afforded by its wave-like hills, many of which go on for miles void of any development. It is also home to perhaps the best beginners surf break in the country, the famous Playa Venao. Part of Pedasi's allure, not unlike that of Panama as a whole, is in the fact that it's so unknown. Even when simply passing through, visitors get a special feeling for the area: a hush-hush code of secrecy meant not to spoil Pedasi's riches.
The birthplace of Panama's former President Mireya Moscoso, Pedasi also echoes its country's infrastructural achievements, with access to water, electricity, and perhaps the best road in the country reaching deeply into its undiscovered hills. Pedasi lies around four hours by car from Panama City and only a short puddle-jumping flight (yes, Pedasi already has incoming flights from the nation's capital) so access, compared to similar beach towns in Costa Rica or Mexico is relatively painless.
Pedasi's main driving force these days, similar to Panama as a whole, is not its hugely budding tourism sector but rather it's real estate boom which has seen prices for raw land (as most of what's available in Pedasi is large hunks of property) jump double and triple over the recent years. Aesthetically, it's a region nearly identical to Costa Rica's famous province of Guanacaste and according to market experts, Pedasi real estate development is historically mimicking that of Tamarindo, now an ultra-developed and exceedingly over-priced travel destination.
"Buying land in Pedasi will make investors money, no doubt" cites the most recent Panama Real Estate Report (released early last year. "Similar to Panama in general, getting into a market this early, whether you want to live there or not, will have seriously rewarding effects. The trends and the similarities simply don't lie."
The region of Pedasi made the reports list of "Up and Coming Investment Hotspots" though the report forewarned buyers to be prepared for the baggage in buying large hunks of raw land: baggage such as construction costs, labor shortages, and titling issues.
Recently though, smaller parcels of ready-to-build land are starting to arrive on the market; a sure sign of progress in an otherwise ground level real estate boom. The newly released Rio Oria Estates, an ocean-view development of large-residential lots just outside the main town of Pedasi, advertises prices from $8-$15/m2, only a drastic portion of similar comparables in Costa Rica.
At the moment, Pedasi does indeed lack several amenities such as a local hospital (the closest being in neighboring Las Tablas) and large commercial outlets which result in its discrediting by some buyers. But for those who are able to do without these necessities in close proximity, or perhaps for those who can afford to wait for such necessities to come to them, Pedasi could shape up as Panama's most valuable coastal investment to date.
It’s a coastal region that embodies much of what Panama as a country is all about: untapped beauty, strong infrastructure, and comparatively inexpensive real estate. The hoards will soon find Pedasi as a blip on their investment and travel radars, but for the time being, the ones who know about it are keeping the secret to themselves.