A Visit to Coronado

Our first stop in our current travels has been Coronado. This is a well known beach front community with many expats, located about an hour southwest of Panama City.

I can see why expats would want to live here. It feels more like Florida than Panama to me. The homes are quite upscale, and there are large, modern condos right on the beach. Many of the locals speak at least some English so it would be much easier to manage if you don’t speak Spanish. The town itself is “private” and you have to pass the scrutiny of the guard at the gate to even enter the town. Once inside it’s fairly quiet with little traffic. We saw people using golf carts and small ATV’s to get around town. The roads are good and we haven’t heard complaints about infrastructure (reliable water, power, etc)

Nearby, on the Pan-American Highway, is a large shopping area with supermarkets, home improvements stores, banks, and probably everything you would need within a short drive. (We will be heading out to catch a bus soon so I’ll try and take a few photos of this area)

We spent quite a bit of time walking around town yesterday, and here are a few of the photos.

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I’m very glad we could spend some time in Coronado because I’ve been curious about it for a long time. It’s not for me though, even if we could afford it. I really enjoy the typical, low key Panamanian life and you won’t find that in Coronado very much.

I spoke with one expat who has lived here with her family for 6 months and hasn’t learned any Spanish. She thought she would but found she rarely talks with anyone but other English speaking expats. She did tell me though that the expat community seems fairly peaceful and everyone seems to get along well. That isn’t always the case in expat communities so that was nice to hear.

So, this is just my impressions. As with anything, if it sounds interesting you have to come check it out for yourself and see how it feels to you before making any decisions!

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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15 Responses to A Visit to Coronado

  1. allison says:

    When we stayed in a high rise in Coronado on our first exploratory trip to Panama, those security guards at the “guarded gate” were more miss than hit. At first, we had to stop and then we would just roll on through right behind everyone else. Didn’t seem super secure to me, but it is an added measure in hopes of detouring the “bad guys”. I still found when traveling around Coronado that I would want to know the language (they don’t speak English in the McDs there, the casino (!) or the grocery stores–if they do, it is muy poco! Or they weren’t trying with me haha! Thanks for sharing your trip!


    • We must look shady 😀 We had to show our hotel reservation and the gal sharing the taxi almost didn’t get in at all. It was her 3rd day working at the hotel and she didn’t have an ID card yet. But, the next day we discovered we could walk along the beach from Gorgona to Coronado and not encounter as much as a fence.


  2. allig565 says:

    Oh, and the condo high rise picture you show is where we stayed (The Solarium) AND the pink house that has the “Se Vende” sign on it was for sale when we were there on our first trip OCTOBER, 2012!! I have read the reason the roads aren’t in great shape is that the Panamanian vacationers don’t want people being able to drive easily up and down the streets in front of their homes.


  3. 4sarge says:

    Thanks Kris for another informative entertaining article. Looks lovely and I enjoyed the quote ‘the expat community seems fairly peaceful and everyone seems to get along well. That isn’t always the case in expat communities so that was nice to hear. I’m beginning to think the altitude in Panama has an affect on manners and sensibility.


  4. Michelle says:

    Coronado has always been a bit of an “island” for those who want to “get away from it all,” without actually getting away from modern conveniences and technology. As someone who grew up visiting friends who had beach houses there, it was too upscale for me. I preferred so many small communities in the Interior with access to as many modern conveniences as one wanted, but that retained their “Panamanianess.”

    Coronado could be any gated community in Central or South Florida…which is what many ex pats are actually looking for, without the drama. I would have chosen Chiriqui, Bocas del Toro or Los Santos for a retirement home. Less “cosmopolitan,” but still lovely places to live.


    • It did remind me of Florida a lot, upscale houses, tile (looking) roofs, manicured lawns, if you need something more familiar that might be very attractive. I’m with you though. I like this Panamanian life, and I don’t think you could do that as easily in Coronado.


  5. Lori Wilkerson says:

    Hello! I have been following your blog for a little while and would love to interview you via Skype or in person. I just recently moved to Panama City, Panama from Houston, Texas. I go to school at the University of Houston online this semester and need to interview someone in the media (internet, blogs, tv, etc.) and I love your blog so much I think it would be great to feature you in my project! Please let me know! Have a nice day.


    • I’m actually in Panama City right now. I’ll email you and if we can’t work something out while I’m here, we can certainly talk on line.
      Thanks for your kind words, and glad you enjoy the blog 🙂


  6. 1906 says:

    I looked at living in Coronado and got to know many of the expats there. It is a beautiful place! However the lack of interest in learning Spanish or adapting to the Panamanian culture worried me. It only promotes the separation mentality that adds to the rumors and ill-will of Panamanians who tell me they hold a general belief that we are the “rejects” of our societies and that is why we live in isolation. While living in and around local Panamanians on their own terms, I have found they learn that North Americans and Europeans are not as “bad” as they once believed. There is a whole lexicon of colorful words to describe their negative view of us that our isolation only promotes. Hopefully, more expats will live outside these “closed” communities and share the world around them. While this is a rather blunt message, I think it is important for us expats to be aware of our surroundings.


    • Oh yes, I understand what you are saying. We hear similar things from the locals about the expat community in Boquete. But, unfortunately, many expats make no attempt to learn the language and culture, or form relationships with the Panamanians. Often expats also want to come in and “improve” things, which is seen by the Panamanians as forcing our culture and ways upon them. Panamanians are like anyone else and appreciate respect and kindness. I’m sure if things were the other way around we wouldn’t appreciate foreigners coming into our neighborhood and imposing their ways on us. Thankfully though, the Panamanians are very willing to judge a person on their own merits once they are given a chance to know them.


      • 1906 says:

        You are so, so right! That is why I thoroughly enjoy your blog articles! They are the REAL Panama, not the falsely advertised Panama that convention marketers or Non-Panamanian developers promote. Until I became a “minority” within Panama, I did not realize the rampant “know-it-all” atmosphere that expats exude to the locals… just observing from a distance. It’s so embarrassing! I understand why Panamanians feel the way they do. I am also very impressed that they are strong enough to be “willing to judge a person on their own merits once they are given a chance to know them.” Every expat needs to shed the attitude and consider blending in. This is indeed a great country to live and I am honored to be among its people!


  7. Carole says:

    Love reading your stories about the cities you visit in Panama, your are real informative. Coronado was one of the cities we wanted to visit on our last trip in Nov. to Panama. We never got to visit it, I am glad we didn’t. Doesn’t sound like our kind of life, even though we love the beach. We also believe in living with the locals and learning to speak with them. We live in an area now that is habited with local Crucians (St Croix). But a lot of People that moved here from the states live in an area were they are not next to the locals, they do not mingle.
    I think David sounds like a good place to live, we can’t wait for our June trip to visit it.


    • Thank you so much 🙂
      I can see why people like Coronado if you want something more familiar. I wouldn’t though. David has a much more Panamanian feel, and also has everything you need close at hand so we like it. It will be interesting to see how it feels to you. June will be here soon!


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