In 2006, when we first arrived in Puerto Armuelles, we were offered the beautiful beachfront just north of the mouth of the Palo Blanco River.
This land is now the home of the CocoBeach Development.
Our History with CocoBeach
At the time it was offered to us, we elected not to buy the property. For us, this area seemed to be too far from Puerto Armuelles to fit our lifestyle.
Over the past decade, or so, I (Reyn) have occasionally gone to surf in front of what is now the CocoBeach Development.
The waves are often better at CocoBeach than here in Puerto Armuelles. The CocoBeach area is farther from the surf shadow cast by the Punta Burica peninsula. Punta Burica blocks much of the prevailing southwest swell from hitting Puerto Armuelles.
For years, there was no sign of any development at CocoBeach, whatsoever.
Over the past 3 or 4 years, there have been little improvements to the property.
In the last couple of years, there has been significant investment in road construction and surface water runoff control on the property. Now there is even an attractive new building being used as an office and tool storage area.
When we have visited most recently, there have been as many as a dozen laborers and a crew boss doing various projects on the roadway and maintaining the lots.
Many of the lots have been platted and marked. The lots now have grass lawns.
The development is at the very beginning stages of feeling like a “neighborhood”.
According to CocoBeach’s website, a significant number of lots have already sold. They are supposed to be starting to build their first home within a few months. Currently, when you buy a lot you must start construction of your home within 5 years.
With the recent expansion to the highway from Puerto to Paso Canoas, and other recent investments in Puerto Armuelles, there is a strong sense that our area is growing fast.
We are beginning to think that the CocoBeach Development could be a huge success.
For some expats, a secure, gated community, 20 minutes from town could be just what they are looking for.
(Note: This drive is likely to be reduced to 15 minutes, maybe less, once the road to CocoBeach is improved)
The parent company for CocoBeach is Panama Portfolio. They have 3 projects under development in Panama.
As we mentioned, the big selling point (for some) of CocoBeach is that it will be a gated and secure community, 24/7. Another selling point is their amenities.
It is our understanding that the CocoBeach development proposes to include a boutique hotel and restaurant, beach club house, tennis court, a pool, boat ramp and storage, equestrian center, and a secure entrance gate with full time security guard.
Lots for Sale
CocoBeach is a 98 acre development which will be sold in 2 phases. Currently there are 106 lots for sale.
According to their masterplan there are 15 beachfront properties.
You can select one of their houses to be built by them on your lot, or build your own house.
They require that you start construction of your house (or have them do it for you) within 5 years of buying a lot.
We don’t know what happens if someone does not build a house within 5 years, per their contract.
CocoBeach is imposing what city planners refer to as design guidelines for the community. These guidelines require that your house conform to a certain look and quality.
As a designer, myself, I think this is a big plus for the community, since it ensures architectural cohesion and an attractive looking community. This will add future value of the development.
This is why we also encourage buyers of our Corazon de Oro lots to build one of our Living in Panama Houses. Having a cohesive look to a neighborhood makes it a much more pleasant place to hang out. And definitely, increases its resale value.
Who Likes CocoBeach vs. Puerto Armuelles
Most of our visitors have responded positively to Puerto Armuelles and to our own Living in Panama House.
Of course, the people who appreciate our philosophy and style are most likely to come to visit us vs. CocoBeach.
As we stated already, CocoBeach is too far from town for our family’s lifestyle, since we like to walk, bike, or just “be” right in town. We don’t enjoy spending time in the car, so driving 10 -20 minutes to pick up some milk is not for us.
Also, living in town and not in a gated community allows us to mix more naturally with our Panamanian neighbors.
However, there is another group. A group that seeks a more luxurious and exclusive enclave, further away from town. If that fits you, you may be interested in CocoBeach. CocoBeach is a very attractive place.
As a matter of fact, we recently gave a tour to a client who took advantage of her visit to Puerto Armuelles to visit all of our properties as well as CocoBeach.
This client’s conclusion was that she, herself, wants to live on the beach, right in Puerto Armuelles, or at Corazon de Oro. However she is certain that her mother, who is planning to move to Puerto Armuelles with her, would prefer to live in the gated community at CocoBeach. She plans on coming back in the near future with her mom.
We look forward to seeing her on her return trip, and we wish her good luck selling the idea to her mom.
One size definitely does not fit all, as the saying goes.
Benefit of Puerto Armuelles
However, one thing is clear. CocoBeach clearly benefits by its proximity to Puerto Armuelles.
The beach at CocoBeach is truly excellent.
But, if CocoBeach were located in the middle of nowhere, it would just be another pretty vacation destination. Not a real place to buy a home and to live a functional lifestyle (Our opinion).
Unlike other gated communities, say on the distant shores of Paradise (i.e., in the middle of nowhere), CocoBeach is close enough to Puerto Armuelles to be an easy drive to town.
Puerto is clearly growing and developing fast. So, the amenities here that are available to residents at CocoBeach are likely to increase in number, and quality, as time goes by.
Benefit to Puerto Armuelles
CocoBeach Development is destined to be a multi-year project. This means that CocoBeach community is likely to employ many residents of Puerto Armuelles in construction, maintenance, gardening, cleaning, and other laboring jobs for years to come.
As such, CocoBeach will continue to provide basic employment in a region that has been sorely lacking in stable employment. And, of course, the new residents of CocoBeach are going to need to shop for groceries, gas, hardware, furniture, gardening tools, cell phones, sun screen, etc…
The logical place for them to do their shopping will be right here in Puerto Armuelles. It is clear to me that the ongoing success of CocoBeach is going to be beneficial to our Panamanian neighbors here, and for the ongoing success of Puerto Armuelles.
This, of course, makes Betsy and me very happy. Those of you who are regular readers, all know by now that we love our little beach town, Puerto Armuelles: The only true beach town in Panama. We want to see Puerto prosper and continue to be a happy place to live for all of us.
Overall their information seems pretty good, if you ignore the usual sales-pitch hyperbole. They seem to have a good track record of making plans on paper become successful projects.
(Note: We do not receive any compensation from CocoBeach for our review or otherwise. In fact, the CocoBeach folk don’t yet know we wrote about their development. We hope they agree it is a positive review.)
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Thanks for reading
Betsy & Reyn