The Shocking Truth About Living in a Vacation Town

By Alice Beth in Coronado alice@preinfo.com

When friends and family see pictures of where I live, they always seem to think I’m on vacation.

“Gorgeous!” they write (or, less commonly, say): “Lucky you! Where did you go?”

I can’t help but smile when I reply, “My backyard.”

Truth: I live in a vacation town. Playa Coronado, Panama, is about as close to desktop-background-perfect as most of us can hope to get (millionaires, exclude yourselves). It’s no wonder that people travel from around the world to spend their precious getaway days in the soft, sparkling sands of Panama.

It’s even less surprising that many of us choose to never leave.

Why don’t we all live in vacation towns? The obvious answer is, of course, money. Vacation towns are expensive, aren’t they? If that’s where people go to visit, surely the average Jane-n-Joe can’t afford to reside there.

panama usa europe real estate vacation

Home, sweet home

panama usa europe real estate vacation

False.

Panama is one of the last places in the world where the middle class live like there’s a few extra zeros at the end of their bank statements. I’m not saying it’s cheap, which is good, because dirt cheap means there’s going to be some, well, dirt. I’m saying it’s affordable — shockingly affordable, and shockingly luxurious given the cost.

How about a real life example: When I lived in North Central Florida (and this is RURAL Florida, people, not postcard Florida!) I shared a three-bedroom house for a monthly total of $1,400. Nice enough house, minus the fact that each room was the size of a large closet (NOT an exaggeration).

Today, I live in a three-bedroom PALACE in a vacation town. Okay, maybe not a palace by royal standards, but it is huge and GORGEOUS. There’s a pool, a veranda, granite countertops, hammocks EVERYWHERE, and a lush tropical yard I haven’t even been to the end of yet. You know what we pay?

$1,200 a month.

Oh, did I mention the beach is literally two streets away?

This house also happens to be located in the most sought-after neighborhood in the Pacific coast area. If I were to travel, say, 15 minutes outside of town, the rent would easily be cut in half.

As for the day-to-day costs of living? I keep myself well fed, margarita’d, and entertained for under $500 a month. It all depends on what you eat and do, of course, and if you only consume meat imported directly from Spain that won’t be the case.

But for a gal who thrives on a whole-foods diet and enjoys the occasional round of margaritas at the beachfront bar, I couldn’t ask for a better lifestyle.

panama usa europe real estate vacation

Typical post-work treat, justified by the inclusion of fruits. (Sangria’s healthy…right?)

panama usa europe real estate vacation

The not-so-shocking truth about living in a vacation town? The people here are incredible. Most of my time in the U.S was spent around people who were, for whatever reason, grumpy, ill-mannered, dissatisfied, or just plain mean. I actually thought it was the norm, that that’s just what humans were like. Can you imagine?

Then, I came here. It turns out, when you live in a vacation town, your life is like a vacation, too — and you act like it. Don’t get me wrong- people here work, as do I, but boy do we cherish every moment that comes before, during, and after.

After all, how could we not? We live in a vacation town.

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