Retire early in Pedasi Panama for $1112 Month

In this report, I first share my retire early in Pedasi Panama for $1112 Month estimated cost of living.

Then, I will show you a few places you must see in Pedasi including our Iguana Island Whale Watching Tour, our favorite day at the beach tour, our favorite restaurants, and our grocery stores.

Finally, I will end this video with my early retirement livability factors, such as walkability, food, social considerations, visa information, healthcare, weather, and real estate. But you do not need to take notes. Just click the first link in the notes below this video to get access to all of this content in writing including Google Map links.

I will start with our cost of living estimate for two people, but first I want to answer the question, who would love to live in Pedasi Panama?

Who would love to live in Pedasi Panama?

Over the last few weeks, I showed you a cool mountain town called Boquete, a gorgeous island in the Caribbean called Bocas Del Toro, and the beautiful high-rise skyline of Panama City. But a few of you have asked what life would be like in a quaint village on the Pacific side of Panama.

Well, Pedasi, Panama might just be the place for you.

Here is how you get to the YouTube playlists for all the other towns in Panama and all the towns in 20 other countries we have already filmed for you and created retire early for cheap videos and reports. I have been to 67 countries over the last 14 years so my knowledge is unusual.

Okay, back to discussing Pedasi, Panama. Humans have lived in the Pedasi area for about 11,000 years. But most of the original people perished over about 150 years after the Spanish arrived in the 16th century.

Pedasi receives less rain from January to April than most of Panama. Until the last decade or so, Pedasi was mostly known for cattle grazing, agricultural, and small fishing villages. But it is now known for tourism since Mick Jagger, Sylvester Stallone, Sean Connery, Mel Gibson, Tobey Maguire, and Byron Beckwith put it on the map.

Around 5,000 people live in and around Pedasi. It is well known for scuba diving, whale watching, sport-fishing, surfing, and bird watching. You can grab a bus for $2.50 USD from downtown Pedasi to Playa Venao, home of the 2007 Central American Surfing Championship. That is also the beach where the first and original Selina luxury party-hostel chain was started.

Pedasi is also just a short distance from where you grab a boat to Iguana Island and the best whale watching tours in Panama. Iguana Island is the most beautiful white sand beach that I have seen anywhere in the north-western Pacific Ocean. It is a real white sand beach in this part of the Pacific Ocean which I had never seen before and we saw multiple whales just off Iguana Island.

So, who would love to live in Pedasi? I would say anyone that would like to live in a small town that definitely has a few ex-pats (maybe 350 ex-pats?) but has not been overtaken by ex-pats. The locals still seem to be the predominant cultural influence there, which frankly, I prefer.

Plus, these are happy locals. People greet you with a smile and a nice word when they see you walking down the street. You should endeavor to form relationships with both locals and ex-pats and both will greet you with a smile and welcome you into this world.

So, if you like the feeling of smaller towns where you actually get to know your neighbors and people care about and look out after each other, then Pedasi should feel like home to you.

Cost of Living in Pedasi Panama

Here is my estimated cost of living for two people in Pedasi Panama.

Rents: Pedasi is not as cheap as cities like David, Panama. To rent an unfurnished small 1 bedroom house or apartment, you will have to pay around $400-$500 per month for a one-year lease on local-style accommodations. If you want to live in a more Americanized place, it could easily cost you another $200 per month or more. Since this is my estimate of what it would cost me to live here, and I am comfortable with the local style accommodations, I will use $400 per month for rent which does not include utilities. You will not find local-style apartments advertised online. You will need to walk the neighborhoods to find one and it is not likely to be right in the central part of Pedasi. Here is my report about how to find perfect apartments around the world.

Utilities: This is at sea level so you will need AC many nights of the year to sleep. During the day you may be able to turn off AC and turn on the fans until later afternoon when you will need another blast of AC. So your electric bill will range from about $50 to $100 per month. You may be able to reduce that number after a time once you get acclimated to the climate and use fans more often. So I will use $80 per month average for AC since I would rent a small place, 600 to 700 square feet. My gas will run about $4 per month since I save money by cooking most meals at home. Water will be about $12 per month. So my electric, gas, and water would average around $96 per month.

Groceries: Based upon our time there and the money we spent on groceries, we estimate about $320 USD per month on groceries for two people.

Restaurants: If we went out to eat twice per week, once for date night and once for a lunch somewhere, we would spend about $40 per week or $160 per month in restaurants for the two of us.

Cell Phone Data: We need Internet access from time to time when we are out of the house, for Google Maps and other searches. The cost to recharge prepaid service is about $20 USD per month. My android phone will act as a hotspot so we can both be on the internet at the same time when we are out of the house together.

Laundry: We could send our laundry out once per week for about $8 to wash, dry, and fold, so about $32 per month.

Water: The tap water is fairly clean in Pedasi, so we decided to just use the Culligan water filter on the tap water. The filters would cost about $4 per month.

Internet: The Internet will be about $40 per month depending on how fast you need your service.

Uber/Taxi/Buses: We just walked everywhere in town so we wouldn’t need a car if we live here. But we would use the local buses about 3-5 times a month to go to the beach or other excursions. I estimate we would average about $40 per month for transportation if we lived here.

Alcohol: Local beers called Panama and Balboa were about $0.80 USD each. In bars and restaurants, those prices are easily double or triple. So for two people, we estimate about $90 per month for alcohol since we would drink more at home.


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The above cost of living is for 2 people but is just an estimate on the low end. For a full understanding of what it would cost you to live here, visit Numbeo David (there is no data yet for Pedasi) and add anything you spend money on in your home country that is not mentioned in the table. Our costs of living are generally much lower than a new traveler’s because we are great bargain hunters but there are a few people that live much cheaper than we do.

Never move anywhere until you have visited first personally to verify the living costs for your lifestyle and needs. I am not guaranteeing these prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different depending on your lifestyle and the time since this post.

Most ex-pats report spending more money per month than the low-end estimate we are reporting here. You will hear more typical living costs in the range of $1500 to $2000 per month. But people spending that much also have higher incomes or pensions. They often report spending more on eating out and drinking more alcohol in local bars and restaurants. Many also have cars and more expensive apartments.

If you are going to try to retire cheap offshore, make sure to have emergency funds available should you have some unexpected large expenses. To learn more about that, read my report called, the Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Early for Cheap Offshore.

Okay, now I will share a few things you must see in Pedasi.

Plaza Mayor de Pedasí

No matter where you are in Latin America, you need to find your way to the central park in town and do some people-watching. Pedasi is such a small town that you may be the only people there but you still need to see the central park. You also need to walk a few blocks around the central park in all directions to really get the feel for a town. Click here or the Google Map below to get started.

Iguana Island & Whale Watching Tour

The whale watching season officially runs from June through November, but the next time is June 15th to August followed by a gradual drop-off in whale sightings, but some sightings continue until October or so. Towards the end of October, many whales begin their migration out of the area and they are all gone by late November.

You can go just to Iguana island for $60 or you can do both whale watching and Iguana Island (Google Map) for $90 USD. Our Airbnb landlord gave us the name of a boat Captain and we were happy with him. We saw about 3 whales on our half-day trip which was in the first week of October. That included a few hours spent at Iguana Island one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches that I have seen anywhere in the world.

Call Captain Negro (WhatsApp) +507 6695-5356 to take this tour. Captain Negro picked us up at the Pedasi City Sign and dropped us back there at the end of the day.

Our Favorite (Do It Yourself) Beach Tour

Jump on the large minivan in Pedasi on the street in front of the bank at the spot shown on this Google Map. Look for the words Playa Venao on the front of the bus. Tell the driver to drop you off at Selina Playa Venao. If he doesn’t understand you just tell him you want to jump off when your location dot reaches Selina Playa Venao on the below Google Map.

If you are not familiar with Selina, it is a chain of about 80 luxury hostel locations all over the world. This particular location is the original Selina. This is the first Selina location anywhere in the world.

We were feeling like a relaxing beach day so we showed up at about 9:30 am and spent the entire day there. There was no entry fee, but we decided to pay $20 each for the brunch they had there.

If you are familiar with our typical travel patterns, we almost never pay $20 per person for food, but this was a brunch from 10 AM to 3 PM and it gave us a place to just relax for the day so we decided it was worth the money. We had a really great time. From time to time we like to splurge.

But next time, we would probably bring our own food and beverages along with a beach umbrella. That would only have run us about $10 to $15 USD plus the bus fare.

Pedasi’s Best Restaurants and Grocery Stores

Here are our favorite restaurants in Pedasi. Our favorites are on top. There were another few restaurants we tried that are not on the list below. We are only listing the ones below that we liked enough to go back again.

Bohemia Pizza: This place has great pizza. It is run buy ex-pats so it costs more than local food. A pizza, a beer, and a glass of wine all added up to about $23 USD. It was delicious though.

Le Panier French Bakery: Qiang was loving this french bakery so we went back several times.

Restaurante Mama Fefa: They serve a great local breakfast and lunch here for about $3 to $5 USD per meal. We went back again it was so nice. I has a nice Potatoe salad for lunch and then the next morning I had a cheese omelet. Qiang had a chicken for lunch and local bread for breakfast the next morning.

Restaurante El Chichemito: I had rice and lentils for dinner. Qiang had fish and chips. Qiang really enjoyed her fish and chips. Meals are about $5 USD here.

Donde Navarro: The french fries here are amazing. Qiang really enjoyed their chicken dishes too. This isn’t on Google maps but it is on C. Mayor (the street that runs along the south side of the central park), located just west of the Park. It is a good place to try out various local traditional dishes. Dishes start at around $5 USD and beers start at about $2 USD.

Here is where we shopped in Pedasi for groceries.

Ana’s Supermarket: Ana’s seemed slightly more expensive but it also seemed to have a better selection of some items.

Super Centro el pueblo: This one seemed to have more nonperishable groceries and was just a little cheaper. It was closer to the house so we ended up going here more often.

Pedasi Livability Factors and Overall Retirement Desirability Score

Here are some of the factors I think about when I consider a place for retirement potential. After I discuss each factor I will assign an overall retirement desirability score to Pedasi.

Walkability: High Desirability. Pedasi is so small you can easily walk everywhere. So we wouldn’t need a car if we moved here. We could also take buses to nearby towns and the beach. There are also taxis available if you have a bunch of groceries to get home and you don’t want to walk. Panama also has an excellent private busing system to get you all over the country without having a car. We would use the buses to get to Bocas Del Toro, David, Boquete, Panama City, and other favorite places around Panama. We even rode a bus up into Costa Rica when we left Panama.

Internet: Medium. The Att Speed Test in our apartment wifi was 40Mbps download speeds and 10 Mbps upload speeds. So the Internet speeds are great fine for our purposes. If you need a certain Internet speed for your business, I suggest reading my process for finding the perfect apartment which fulfills all of your needs. Just make sure to speed test the Internet before you sign on the dotted line when you are renting an apartment long-term.

Food: Medium desirability, if you like smaller towns like this then you may already be used to having fewer international restaurants choices. But if you are from a larger city with more food choices, but think you will like living in a smaller city like this, the choices may get boring for you after a time, so low. But a few of the restaurants were closed while we were in town so maybe things will get better when the pandemic is over.

Weather: Medium. We couldn’t find much information on the weather here. But we did read that this area is dryer than many other parts of Panama from January to April. Also, there is very little variance in temperature with average temperatures year-round ranging from about 25 C to 27 C, or 77 F to 81 F. But my sense is that it is actually much warmer than that.

Things to Do: Fishing, scuba, surfing, biking, cooking, quads, gym, yoga, restaurants, live music, running, and coffee shops. Trips to beaches and islands such as Playa Venao, Playa El Iguana Island, Arenal, Bocas Del Toro, Boquete, Coronado, San Blas Islands, and nearby Costa Rica.

Healthcare: Medium. There is a small hospital on the north side of town that can handle basic common ailments. For the more serious problems, they will stabilize you and then transport you to Anita Morena or Panama City. Medical care is much cheaper in Panama than in the USA. If you are curious about what care we got in Panama city and what it costs, read my Panama City report.

Social Considerations: Medium. If you decide to retire in Pedasi, you will want to learn some Spanish. You will find many people in day-to-day life that speak English in Pedasi, but your life will be more full if you are able to communicate meaningfully with everyone around you.

Expats: Medium. There are around 350 ex-pats living in the Pedasi area which has around 5000 people living there. There is an active Facebook page for ex-pats living anywhere in Panama with 10,000 members and 32 posts on average per day. This group seems to have both ex-pats and locals, but it is in English, so there is a good chance that people will see your questions and help provide a soft landing in Panama. I suggest people go to these kinds of resources to find answers to questions that only an ex-pat would know. But make sure to make friends with both locals and ex-pats for a richer experience living here. I explain why in my report, The Top 10 Mistakes International Retirees Make.

Real Estate: High. At the time I wrote this report, I was curious how much a house would cost in Pedasi. So, I checked Craigslist for Panama and found this 2 Bedroom remodeled house for sale in Pedasi for $139k USD.

It may be gone by the time you read this but it will give you an idea of the low-end today. But I never recommend buying until you have lived somewhere for at least 2 to 3 years. In fact, I have a report explaining Why Retired Expats Should not Buy Real Estate Overseas for the first 2 to 3 years of living somewhere new overseas. Make sure to read that before deciding to buy real estate overseas.

Visa: High. Citizens of many countries are given a 90-day visa-free tourist stamp upon arrival in Panama. Citizens of the USA and Canada are still getting 180 days. Source. If you fall in love with Panama and decide to retire here, you can apply for a retirement visa. The retiree residence status requires that an applicant demonstrates an income or pension of only $1,000.00 USD per month and $250.00 USD for each dependent. You can certainly travel to Panama on a tourist visa and later change your status in Panama. We have provided a link to all of the other requirements such as a health certificate and police report. Source.

Safety: High. Panama is generally one of the safer countries to live or travel in Central and South America. But do read the US State Department’s travel advisory just to hear the worst-case scenario. But I judge safety at the neighborhood level rather than the country level. We felt safe in Pedasi. But make sure to read my report on how to travel the world safely, including in your home country. I provide all of my tips and tricks that have kept me safe for 14+ years traveling the world.

Retirement Desirability Score: Medium. If you would like to live in a smaller town in Panama that has a few hundred ex-pats but is primarily a Panamanian town with very friendly people and a very simple easy-going life, then Pedasi might be right for you. Pedasi will be right for you if you want to live near the ocean but where life is quieter and less congested.

Thanks for reviewing our report, retire early in Pedasi Panama for $1112 Month.

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