Everyone knows that Panama is a top retirement destination. But, did you know that there are a lot of younger expats living in Panama too? By default, most wind up in the city where there are more job opportunities and easier access to first-world amenities. But I’ve been seeing a big increase in young Panamanians and foreigners (like us) from around the world gravitating out of the city to this little beachy community we call home… Pedasi. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked! Because I’ve been interviewing and listening to some of our friends and acquaintances explain why they made the same decision we did almost three years ago… and I can’t wait to share “our” stories.
Seven Reasons Pedasi, Panama is drawing a Young Crowd in 2019
1 Nature is Calling
Pedasi’s gorgeous beaches, surfing, tropical environment and healthy living
What would motivate young people to move away from the city? Well, it’s the one thing a city-life can’t give… abundant nature. Since the population of Pedasi is small and the coastline is dotted with gorgeous, non-commercialized beaches (many with great surf spots), we’re willing to give up some of today’s modern amenities to have more of what we want on a daily basis. We can always go have our city-fix when we feel like it. Some young people are actively involved in nature conservation, turtle rescue and reforestation projects. A few even go so far as to start their own organic farms! We’re not afraid of a few chickens… Nature is good for the soul!
2 Breaking the Mold
Rebellion against the Status Quo in exchange for Quality of Life
When “Keeping up with the Jones’s” gets old and the daily-grind gets well… GRIND-EY, what do you do? You break the mold! You eschew the rat-race and head out for greener pastures. Many young people here would have loved to do that back “home”, but encounter certain limiting factors like over-regulation, social expectations, taxation, and inflation to be prohibitive. Rather than give up on dreams or whine about it, young people are apt to explore the global horizon. Pedasi gives just enough of a safety-net where we can safely explore and be “different” without being totally crazy. Recently I wrote an article about an Italian couple who quit their high-stress jobs and built a bed and breakfast so they could relax and enjoy quality time together. There are several similar stories if you come and listen.
3 Travel Bug
You Only Live Once, if you wait too long to travel you just might never go!
Pedasi/ Playa Venao area is unique because there is a very diverse background of expats from all over the world mixing nicely with local Panamanians who are proud of their heritage and culture. As a traveler-at-heart who wants to lay some roots, this kind of environment is very appealing because you feel welcomed into society and can enjoy the local culture. Panama’s international airports in David and Panama City also make the country a great base point for international travels. Comparing this area to Panama City, Boquete and Coronado areas, I would say that this are feels more culturally authentic and immersive.
4 You can raise a family in Pedasi
The invaluable gift of an international education in a global economy
One of our top draws was the notion that our kids would have the chance to experience an international education in Pedasi. This isn’t just because there’s now an international school here. It’s also because the kids are experiencing an out-of-the-box way of living just like we are. Panamanians and expats both benefit from each other as we learn about global cultures just by being friends. We appreciate that our kids can live free of bubble wrap in an environment more like what we’re used to growing up in. Since the school opened, we’ve seen several families move to the area. So, the school is definitely a draw! There’s also a homeschool group in Playa Venao and lots of fun activities in that area for kids.
5 Opportunity Knocks
Pedasi presents opportunity for growth and entrepreneurship
There really are not many great employment opportunities in Pedasi, so many young expats are drawn by their desire to build their dream from the ground up. Without large chains to compete with, many feel this up-and-coming area is a good bet to start a business. It’s certainly not easy, as the volume is slow for just about any genre of business. But those who have a solid plan and offer consistent quality even through a slow season, there’s opportunity knocking.
6 The Vibe
It’s the way it makes you feel- you either love it or you don’t.
Pedasi is charming. Venao is fun. Living in either area means you can benefit from both (although the road is abysmal right now). It’s fun to see which people will gravitate to either area as a place to live. In Pedasi we have more traditional mentality, but still very relaxed. Venao is the “beach bum” vibe and a hot spot for Israeli travelers. No matter how you look at it, it’s the people and the atmosphere they create that makes the area appeal to us.
7. The Doors are Open
Immigration policies and modern amenities (high speed internet) mean we CAN.
If you are going to live and work in a foreign country the first thing you have to ask is: Is it even possible? Without legal immigration and high speed internet, it’s a “no-go” for most working-age people. The new fiberoptic high speed internet lines are a game changer for Pedasi and this means that you can earn your income online. Panama has a friendly permanent resident visa program, and a great tax incentive that foreign earned income is not taxed in Panama. So, modern amenities and the ability to work online or start a business means that with careful planning, you can potentially make a decent life here. It’s at least worth a try!