Panama’s Caribbean coast is known for its crystal-clear waters, calm waves, and white-sand beaches. Hundreds of islands are found on the Caribbean side of Panama, many of which are uninhabited. These islands are a haven for outdoor water activities, including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, spearfishing, and surfing. Those who’d rather stay on land can enjoy rainforest and jungle hikes, ziplines, spas and lounges, or sample the vibrant local cuisine. Whether you’re a water baby or a landlubber, you’re sure to have a great time on the Caribbean coast.
Amid these pristine natural wonders, you can find amazing opportunities for luxury living. Panama’s Caribbean coast features gorgeous upscale homes offering stunning views and a diverse range of recreational options.
Want to have your own slice of this tropical paradise? Here’s everything you need to know.
A brief look at Panama
Panama is located in Central America and is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Lying between Colombia and Costa Rica, it is less than five hours by plane from major US cities like Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. Its currency is currently pegged at parity to the dollar.
If you enjoy balmy weather, you’ll be sure to love Panama’s tropical climate. Temperatures and relative humidity are uniformly high and there is little seasonal variation. Panama has the distinction of being one of only three countries in the world to be carbon negative, meaning that it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it releases into the atmosphere. Its tropical environment supports a plethora of plants and wildlife, making it a great destination for nature-lovers.
Panama was inhabited by indigenous tribes before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. The Caribbean Coast is the first location that the Spanish settled. Since then, many others have been drawn to this area’s vivid natural beauty. Panama’s Caribbean Coast encompasses over 1,000 miles of pristine beaches and includes the islands of San Blas, Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Isla Grande, and Bocas del Toro.
THE CARIBBEAN COAST’S ARCHIPELAGOS AND ISLANDS
Bocas del Toro
There are many outdoor activities to do in this stunning group of islands, such as scuba diving, zip lining, hiking, and sailing. An exploration of the area will reveal unique tropical species, shipwrecks, underwater caverns, and other fascinating finds.
Here’s a closer look at the islands that make up Bocas del Toro.
- Isla Bastimentos
Isla Bastimentos is one of the largest islands in Bocas del Toro. Here, you can find the authentic Afro community of Old Bank, as well as the Bastimento National Marine Park, which has the distinction of being Panama’s first marine park.
Isla Bastimentos is also known for its wildlife and the contrast between its uninhabited beaches and those with villas and resorts. Pro and advanced surfers flock to Isla Bastimentos to experience its unruly waves. Thanks to its rainforests, this island is also a premier hiking destination. Meanwhile, chocolate lovers shouldn’t miss the cacao farms on Isla Bastimentos.
There are three popular beaches on Isla Bastimentos:
- Red Frog Beach
Tourists love this pristine beach where you can do a number of outdoor activities, such as water sports and a zip line. You can also get a day pass to Red Frog’s Beach Club. For those who’d rather stay indoors, there are a number of bars, lounges, and spas for you to enjoy.
- Wizard Beach
You’ll need to trek for thirty minutes through the rainforest to reach this beach, but it’s definitely worth it. There’s practically no development, so all you need to do is sit back, relax, and unwind.
- Polo Beach
If you’re looking for wildlife and calm blue water, you’ll find it at Polo Beach. If you’re lucky, you might meet Old Bank resident Polo, who might just treat you to a special home-cooked meal.
Interested in Isla Bastimentos real estate? Properties for sale here include residential lots, simple one-bedroom and two-bedroom houses, and mansions with up to 15 bedrooms. Prices range from over $100,000 for undeveloped lots to over $3 for multiroom mansions.
- Red Frog Beach
- Isla Carenero
Isla Carenero is only two minutes away by water taxi from the main island of Isla Colon. Although you can walk around this small island in an hour, you’ll find a number of beaches, bars, and hotels to keep you occupied, as well as a number of famous surf spots, such as The Point and Black Rock. There are surfing locations for all levels.
- Isla Colon
Isla Colon is the main island in Bocas del Toro and home to the provincial capital, Bocas Town. It is the only island among the four with paved roads. If you’re looking for a large variety of accommodation, such as luxury hotels, bungalows and hostels, you’ll find them here at Isla Colon, along with a wide range of tours and activities, international food, pharmacies, stores, and ATMS. If you’re looking for happening nightlife, this is also the island to visit.
There are two popular beaches on Isla Colon – Bluff Beach and Starfish Beach. Bluff Beach is perfect for surfers and beachcombers, as well as those looking for fresh seafood. If a refreshing swim is more up your alley and you’re okay with crowds, head to Boca del Drago on Starfish Beach.
If you’re interested in buying real estate on this island, lots and one- and two-bedroom houses here can range from over $70 thousand to over $1 million, depending on their acreage.
- Isla Solarte
If you prefer a quiet beach vibe, visit Isla Solarte, which can be found west of Bastimentos and southeast of Colon. There are vibrant expat communities in the southern and eastern parts of this island. Drop by Hospital Point, a popular snorkeling spot that is also a historic landmark.
San Blas Islands
The San Blas islands are part of the Guna Yala, an indigenous territory governed by the Guna indigenous group. Be ready to go back to the basics: on these islands, you’ll stay in thatched huts without heated water, or pitch a tent. For a unique experience, you can also stay on board a sailboat and sail from one island to another. For amazing snorkeling, head to Isla Perro. Meanwhile, Playa Chichimei is popular with backpackers. Other excellent islands to explore include Bane Dub Island and Robeson Island.
Don’t be fooled by its name. This is a peaceful and beautiful island that is home to around 1,000 residents. As they’re mostly of African descent, you can enjoy local Afro-Caribbean cuisine that uses ingredients like curry, coconut, fresh seafood, and local vegetables.
Don’t miss Isla Grande’s remote beaches, which have palm trees, stunning turquoise water, and fine white sand. Surfers should head to the northern and western sides of the island in order to catch waves. For snorkeling, diving, and spearfishing, head to the southern coast. You can buy a day pass for the more popular beaches or find a remote beach that you can have all to yourself.
Isla Mamey is part of the Portobelo district, a historic port in the province of Colon and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Like much of Panama’s Caribbean, it is a pristine island lined with palm trees filled with a number of beaches and warm blue water.
Isla Mamey is a popular snorkeling and diving destination, as well as a great place for overnight camping. For excellent surfing, head to the western side of the island.
REAL ESTATE FOR SALE IN PANAMA’S CARIBBEAN COAST
Panama is the perfect place to search Caribbean homes for sale. Work with a trusted Caribbean realtor to help you find your dream home or investment property and navigate your many options.
Real estate properties in Panama include:
- Residential lots
If you’re looking to build your future Panamanian home, check out Caribbean land for sale. You can choose from beachfront or hillside lots with an ocean view. In Bocas del Toro, you’ll find lot sizes ranging from 0.46-square foot to over 37 acres, priced from around $200,000 to over $1 million.
- Cliff condos
An excellent option for relatively more affordable Caribbean homes for sale in Panama is a cliff condo. If you don’t mind not having a beachfront property but would still like an ocean view, a cliff condo in Bocas del Toro may be the perfect choice. You can buy a 646-square-foot, one-bedroom condo for over $200 thousand, or a fully furnished 1982-square-foot two-bedroom condo for around $500,000 to over $600,000.
- Studios and one- to two-bedroom condos
You can get a 375-square foot studio in Bocas del Toro for over $100 thousand. Expect to pay over $200,000 for a 764-square-foot one-bedroom suite and over $300,000 for a 1,291-square-foot two-bedroom suite.
Tropical lodges offer the ultimate in luxurious jungle living. In Bocas del Toro’s Red Frog Beach Resort, you’ll find charming lodges made of natural materials that blend perfectly with the unspoiled environment. A 600-square-foot one-bedroom with a loft and one bathroom may cost you around $275,000 or more. Expect to pay over $400 thousand for a 1,490-square-foot two-bedroom lodge with a loft.
If you prefer a larger property, ask your Caribbean realtor about villas. These deluxe digs are the epitome of luxury. Villas that range from over one thousand to three thousand square feet with two to three bedrooms can cost over $500,000. Expect to pay from around $700,000 to over $800,000 for a three- and four-bedroom villa that spans over two thousand to three thousand square feet. Villas with around four thousand square feet or more with four to six bedrooms can cost well over $1 million.
Make sure to be upfront with your realtor regarding your needs and budget so that they can guide you to the perfect property. With such a wide variety of real estate to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the best property for you. Just make sure to do a thorough survey and don’t forget to do your research.
WHY INVEST IN PANAMA’S CARIBBEAN COAST?
To many, the Caribbean Coast’s beautiful beaches and natural surroundings are enough reasons to own a home in the area. But you get even more benefits when you invest in real estate in Panama.
- Favorable tax system
Panama’s Law No. 8 provides tax benefits and financial incentives to investors who put in as little as $50,000 in a tourism project, such as cabins for rent, restaurants, and beds and breakfasts. These perks include:
- Import tax exemptions on capital goods for 20 years
- Tax exemptions on real estate assets for 20 years
- Exemption on airport and pier tax use
- Accelerated depreciation of 10% per year for real estate assets
In addition, Panama’s property taxes are among the lowest in the Caribbean. Investors and property owners can also take advantage of transfer tax and capital gains tax incentives provided they meet certain requirements.
- Political stability
Panama is one of the safest countries in Central America & the Caribbean according to the Global Peace Index and the World Bank. It has had a stable, democratic government since 1989 and remains a prime tourist destination.
- Economic growth
Panama has a solid banking system and a dollarized economy. Its average GDP growth from 2020 to 2022 was 5.88%, and the World Bank forecasts growth of nearly 6% in the medium term. The country has experienced consistent growth since 2005 and ranks as the 66th most competitive country out of 140 countries assessed by the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Report. Moreover, in the past 30 years, the annual inflation rate in the country averaged only 1.4%.
- Excellent quality of life
Living in Panama, you can enjoy a luxurious tropical beachfront lifestyle all year round – and you get all that for an affordable price. Real estate prices in Panama are highly competitive with similar countries in Central America and the Caribbean. The cost of living in the country is also much lower compared to the US, Canada, and many others. In addition, seniors and foreigners receiving a pension from their home countries enjoy special discounts and exemptions.
- High-Quality healthcare
Panama is known for its high-quality healthcare at costs that are much lower compared to North America. Expect larger cities to have excellent hospitals and specialists. Another bonus is that most doctors in Panama speak English.
- Language convenience
Although Panama’s main language is Spanish, many locals speak English, so talking with them won’t be a problem.
Enjoy the best of living in Panama at Red Frog Beach Resort
Red Frog Beach Resort offers the perfect luxury island living in Panama, offering stunning condos and other beachfront properties in the highly coveted Bocas Del Toro Archipelago.
Red Frog Beach Resort has been recognized by travel and international real estate experts for its beauty, convenience, and wealth of activities, as well as for its efforts in sustainability. It has also been featured in numerous shows and publications including HGTV House E! News, Forbes, World Property Journal, and The Washington Post.
Choose the best property for you in this award-winning resort and enjoy the luxury Caribbean coast lifestyle all year round.