I LOVE the Azuero Peninsula and particularly the little town of Pedasi. The Auzuero Peninsula was heavily colonized by the Spanish conquistadores and as a result there is no Indigenous population remaining. The Spanish ideal was to conquer the jungle and turn it into farm and grazing land for cattle. They were quite successful at that on the Azuero Peninsula and as a result there isn’t much rain forest left. When you destroy the rain forest it becomes arid so today the Azuero Peninsula is the driest area of Panama. There are actually areas where there is a desert, a real California-like desert where there used to be rain forest. There are also areas where you can find petrified wood. While I don’t particularly care for the actual towns of Las Tablas (Carnival Central in Panama) or Chitre, there are some nice beach areas nearby and a number of expats have settled along the beaches.
There are interesting and well-preserved Spanish colonial towns, like the charming old area of Parita with its colonial Spanish church with incredible wood carvings. It is an area where you still find the old clay-tiled roofs (and an area where all the old clay tile hasn’t been removed and taken to Valle Escondido!).
We came very close to buying a beachfront house in need of renovation just outside Pedasi. We finally decided that 4-5 hours from Boquete was just too far and going to Pedasi would be a major trip and that we wouldn’t just hop in the car and drive down to Pedasi for an overnight at the beach. It was a good decision for us because it turned out that the house we were considering buying was build, without concession, close enough to the beach to be on government land and the house was eventually demolished by the government. But while we were considering it we sat in the bohio and watched whales actually breach just like Shamu at Sea World.
I’d say the development at Pedasi is more ordered and upscale than in other more populated beach areas, like Coronado which I, frankly, don’t particularly care for, but then I never was a fan of Coney Island either. There is a wonderful development by a French man that is very upscale and beautiful. It takes a little more searching to find out about what’s happening in Pedasi than say Boquete. Pedasi was home to Mireya Moscoso,the first woman President of Panama, and so benefited from a lot of infrastructure improvement. There is a beautiful, tiny airport that is seldom used. I understand that John Travolta flies his plane in on occasion. And both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are supposed to have purchased big spreads outside Pedasi.