Virtually everyone who has ever visited Hawaii asks themselves the same question, “How can I live here?”
After what is usually a brief investigation, the brutal answer is: you can’t. That costs too much.
But you don’t have to live on the north coast to enjoy the same lifestyle at an affordable price.
In Panama, near the southeastern tip of the Azuero Peninsula on the Pacific, is the city of Pedasi with around 2,500 inhabitants. Pedasi has a main drag, small square, great fishing, fabulous surfing nearby, laid back, laid back attitude, a growing expat population, and several large and not so large real estate developments.
Cost of Living in Pedasi
Former North Carolinian Jade Wills said you could rent a two-bedroom house in Pedasi for $ 800 and a family of two would spend about $ 400 a month on groceries. Electricity would cost about $ 100 per month, water would cost less than $ 20 per month, and garbage collection would cost about $ 20 per year. “In Pedasi, a couple could definitely live like they do in the US for $ 2,000 a month, and that would be fine,” she said.
The native Panamanian Manuel Baruco said Pedasi is a fishing village where “you can buy freshly caught fish for 2 to 3 dollars a pound and a bottle of beer for 40 cents”.
Wills said it was easy to live frugally. “You could walk to the beach, which is free, and if you want you can bike around town so you don’t have a car or just because it’s nice to ride a bike,” said you .
A native of Britain, Alan Stone said crime is low in Panama, but Pedasi is particularly safe. “It’s the charm and security of the small town of Pedasi that we feel most secure in,” said Stone. “Crime is almost unknown in this area and friendly locals always take care of each other.”
Baruco said, “Many people don’t even lock their doors to their homes or offices when they go out during the day.” He added, “There is essentially no crime here. If anything happens in Pedasi, it is so unusual that it becomes big news.”
Renate Jope was one of the earliest expat residents of the Pedasi region when she moved from Germany to the now famous surfing beach Playa Venao in 1985, about 30 minutes by car from Pedasi. Jope raised her two children there without electricity for the first few years. (There are now two high-end resorts on the beach in front of their house, and running electricity isn’t a problem.)
She said December was the “most beautiful month”. “The rains have stopped, the trade winds are slowly setting in and everything is still lush, green and looks fresh. From December to May there is basically no precipitation at all in Pedasi. The sea temperatures rise steadily when the trade winds bring the deeper water to the surface and sun, sun, sun is what you get. Time to build houses, enjoy the beach and live outside; the climate is perfect. ”
Jope said the rainy season “sets in gently, with much anticipated showers here and there, and the smell of water seeping into the ground. The rains get heavier as the months go by and the heaviest rains are from September to November. Then we’re back in December . ”
Pedasi lifestyle and retirement
The expats in Pedasi are mostly a mix of American and Canadian retirees in their fifties and sixties. But there is a growing group of young entrepreneurs from Europe and Israel, said Isabelle Shahverdian, who is originally from Switzerland, moved to California and now runs a B&B in Pedasi. She says they are “people in their thirties and forties who have left their economically troubled countries to start a small business and lead a more independent and carefree lifestyle here in Pedasi.”
Pedasi offers a proximity to the environment and to the land. Many of the locals follow a modern western trend of eating local food in season. Many expats reported that there are many grocery trucks known as trucks. This is where they do most of their grocery shopping. Wills said, “The veggie truck owners get their produce from where they’re grown in the mountains and sell them in Pedasi. Different veggie trucks appear on different days of the week. All you have to do is find your favorite.”
Wills told us that she regularly goes into town and signs up her favorite seller, or that sometimes they just stop by her house. “You just have to know when they’re coming. It’s great. You can buy a bag full of groceries for a week in the veggie truck in Pedasi for $ 10!”
Pedasi offers top-notch surfing near Playa Venao, where two ISA surfing world championships were held, year-round sport fishing, jungle, several great restaurants, tranquility and many other activities such as diving and snorkeling.
However, Pedasi is not for everyone. There are no high-end shopping or major hospitals nearby, and those craving a more cosmopolitan vibe should head to Panama City, which is about a 5-hour drive away.
Pedasi’s “distractions” are mostly natural, low-intensity, and most likely social or outdoors. “A typical day in Pedasi is catching the vegetable cart in the morning, making smoothies, walking on the beach, and taking a yoga class in the afternoon,” Wills said. “Maybe later on I could meet local friends at Smiley’s (a local restaurant where expats gather).”
Wills also said that someone could ride a bike or “just see the wildlife while sitting on your porch listening to different birds. It’s just a beautiful place.”
Baruco said Pedasi has a welcoming environment. “Whenever you are here in Pedasi, you feel welcome.” Said Baruco. “You feel like you belong in this place. It’s a very special feeling. I know that I may sound overdramatic, but I think it’s a bit magical here.”
This article was commented on by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.