Our 4-week trip to Panama wasn’t just about taking a holiday. We’ve read many of the reports about Panama being a great place to live: It’s also one of the top destinations in the world in which to retire. We were therefore interested to find out more about property opportunities and costs throughout the country. What we weren’t expecting was to discover that you can actually buy your own fully-equipped Panamanian island – and this for less than the cost of a city apartment.
Where would you want to live in Panama?
Panama offers a variety of lifestyle options.
At first, we were attracted to the idea of living in one of the many luxury flats in Panama City. Here, you can rent an elevated 3-bedroom apartment with stunning sea views for around $1,800 per month. To buy, it will cost around $400,000
However, after spending some time in the country, our ideas moved away from city-life and more towards the rural settings of Boquete, 500 kms to the west of Panama City. Boquete is a popular area with expatriates, and you can rent a house for around $1,000 per month, or pay around $150,000 to own one.
So it was during our property searches that we came upon what has to be the ultimate dream – the option of buying your own Panamanian island, complete with house and all facilities, in the Bocas Del Toro region.
Would you like to own your own Panamanian island?
Isla Paloma is located in a quiet tranquil bay, located in the Bocas Del Toro region of the Caribbean. The 10,000-square-foot island is listed for sale for just US$380,000 by Private Islands Online.
This price includes the 3/4 acre island and a fully equipped house, ready to move in.
What can you get for $380,000?
Surprisingly, quite a lot, starting with the island itself.
The island boasts a white sandy beach, and the 3/4 acre area is landscaped and home to many exotic tropical plants including coconut, pineapple, banana, coffee, avocado, mango, cashew, almond, lemon, lime, and more.
The island is surrounded by a shallow lagoon with a circle of mangroves 100 foot out protecting the island from waves and erosion. There is a shallow tide fluctuation of around 12-17 inches.
The island has no snakes, spiders or mammals, but there is a variety of birds and geckos.
The house is built with local hardwood and is fully furnished, equipped with new appliances, and stocked with kitchenware, bedding & bath linens. There are 2 bedrooms plus a loft space, walk-in closet, 1 bath, kitchen, dining, pantry, laundry room, garden, workshop, party-shack, beach, BBQ, boathouse and swim dock.
The boat house has covered parking for 2 boats and space for 5 boats. The swim dock has a retractable ladder, solar lighting, security alarm, motion lights, and a variety of water sport toys including skiis, boards, snorkel gear and floats, buoy, ropes, cleats, life vests, and a 16-foot wooden canoe.
Power & Water
The property is fully self-powered with energy and water. The Energy system includes a 5200 watt solar system and a back-up Honda 7500 watt generator. The Water system includes two 1250 gallon storage tanks, one 600 gallon storage tank, on-demand water heater, and in-ground septic system.
Access to the rest of the world
The property is located 25 minutes to the nearest local airport, with a 45-minute flight to the international airport. The nearby village of Loma Partida provides groceries, fuel, hardware and supplies, markets and restaurants.
Think of the lifestyle…
There are beautiful views of the mountain range and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The annual average temperature is 80 degrees, and no hurricanes or tornados have been recorded in this region.
So what’s the downside?
With all this on offer there has to be a catch, doesn’t there?
Well, probably more than just one. Here are a few that occurred to us, and for most people these would likely be deal-breakers.
Home & Personal Security
You’re on a small island in an isolated spot in the southern Caribbean. There is no security, as such. Anyone with a small boat could pay a visit, at any time – whether you are home or not. Also consider that you would be living in a country where they have signs in bus stations telling people that guns are not allowed on the buses.
Let’s face it, the world isn’t getting any safer.
Exposed to the Elements
They claim that no hurricanes or tornados have been recorded in the region (…yet).
However, it wouldn’t take much to swamp an island of this size. The stress and anticipation every time the weather turns south might become too much to bear.
Though this is also one of the selling points, how many of us would really want to cut ourselves off on a tiny island in the middle of (an admittedly beautiful) nowhere? If you’re a couple, this could quickly lead to divorce. If you’re alone, you’re going to end up a little strange…
You’ll need to be handy…
The real clincher for me would be the maintenance work. How often is something going to need fixing? Where do I get the parts, how often will I need additional assistance – and how easy will it be to get it?
Maybe it’s not so surprising that this fully-equipped island has been on the market for quite some time.
At first glance, Isla Paloma seems to be an incredible deal. For a very special type of person – prepared to live there full-time – perhaps it is.
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