With real estate prices ranging from less than $20,000 for zoned residential lots, to $120,000 for constructed homes and estates, the Panama mountain community of Cerro Azul offers affordable options for real estate investors seeking a quiet and peaceful nature retreat. Located within easy driving distance of the international airport and Panama City, Cerro Azul offers all the tranquility of a mountain retreat, while remaining close to Panama’s cosmopolitan center. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
My friend Paul lives in a mountain community that used to be reserved for the Panamanian elite. I was surprised to find out that his twenty-something son lives there, too. Ever the city girl, I don’t understand. “Doesn’t he get bored? Wouldn’t he rather live in Panama City?” Paul shrugs: “We’re only 30 minutes from the city, so we come into town regularly. We don’t feel isolated.” A cool mountain location with easy access to the buzzing capital? The real estate must be sky-high…
Not so. The town of Cerro Azul, where Paul lives, was one of the trendiest places to have a home until the late 1980s or early 1990s. Then, for no apparent reason, the elite turned its attention to beach locations like Coronado, making Cerro Azul feel like something of a ghost town. From 2004 to 2008, when real estate prices all over Panama were steadily rising, Cerro Azul stayed surprisingly affordable. This was probably because expats flooding the country didn’t know about it. They were too busy in trendy locations like Boquete and Bocas del Toro.
But little Cerro Azul couldn’t remain a secret forever. Word got out, little by little, and a small expat community began to grow here. Today, Paul says at least 70 expats live in Cerro Azul. The effect has been a revitalization of sorts. Members of the Panamanian elite have rediscovered Cerro Azul as a weekend destination—just 30 minutes by car and you’ve left the city and its madness behind. And the full-time population continues to grow…
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I went recently to check it out. The drive out of Panama City was easy, thanks to the excellent road. As we ascended, it seemed we were driving up, up, up into the clouds. Passing dairy farms and ranches, we came upon a colorful Chinese arch—an exotic accent amid the greenery and a signal that we were there.
Some people say that Cerro Azul is an “energy center,” and that in certain areas you can watch your compass go haywire. Perhaps this is why local groups come here for yoga and other spiritual retreats. Or perhaps they come simply because the pines and mountain peaks are an uplifting sight, complimented by jewel-toned hummingbirds and ginger flowers as tall as a ten-year-old.
You will find plenty of property for sale here, and if you get here now, you’re sure to uncover some real bargains. One lot for sale here is just off an unpaved road and has water and energy service already installed. The lot is in a residential zone and is well over a half acre. Asking price: $17,600. For $40,000 you can get a half-acre lot in a gated community. A creek runs through the lot, which is in a cul-de-sac and has a distant ocean view.
If you prefer to buy a house and move right in, you’ll find even more options, from inexpensive cottages to big mountain mansions. One home is on offer for $80,000 and comes furnished. The four-bedroom, two-bath home comes with maid’s quarters with separate bath and a covered terrace. Another four-bedroom home is on offer for $90,000. It sits on a lot of nearly half an acre and comes with a pool, storage locker, and two covered terraces.
If your budget is in the $100,000 to $150,000 range, you will have even more options to choose from. One Swiss-style chalet is on offer for $120,000 features four bedrooms and two baths, a balcony, and a patio.
Almost anything grows in abundance, from orchids to bromeliads that pop up wherever you look. It’s close to Panama City and to the international airport, but quiet and peaceful. Far from the city’s light pollution, you can actually see the stars…and there’s no noise to keep you from hearing the nightly symphony of frogs and crickets.
Most importantly, Cerro Azul may be right for you if you want breathtaking views but don’t want to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for property.
This article has been republished from International Living.