The Ruta Sur Highway has long been awaiting its final bit over canyon Quisiga, finally linking Boquete to the rest of Chiriqui’s lush highlands where the majority of the nation’s food is produced. Of course this road goes in two directions! And so, the quaint towns of the hills are also now linked to the tourist/retiree hotspot, Boquete. What will this new found accessibility mean we wonder, for the small towns and the value of their properties?
The road was first green lit back in 2010, in response to a large public opposition to a proposed road through the Amistad National Park. The purpose of this rejected road was to connect the agricultural communities of Northern Panama, and to offer a glimpse into an ecological wonderland on the border of Panama and Costa Rica. By the time the UNESCO heritage committee had threatened to revoke the title of the park, the park’s road plans had already been cancelled and Ruta Sur plans were in place.
In 2017, after the state had invested 22.7 million USD, final destination Boquete was only a few kilometers away. As governments change in Panama, projects are often put on hold and the Ruta Sur was subjected to its circumstance. Recently, the new Panamanian government initiative to improve the entire Volcan area, has sparked up the project again. The result is quite impressive!
Now tourists and commuters alike are able to drive 3/4s of the circumference of Volcan Baru visiting all the towns the Highway strings together: Boquete, Palmira, Potrerillos Arriba, Potrerillos Abajo, Palma Real, Cuesta de Piedra, Cordillera, Volcan, Cerro Punta, to name a few.
Expect to see diverse landscapes and microclimates as you slalome the valleys and ridges of the great Baru. Throughout the different altitudes the new highway crosses a multitude of crystal clear rivers, virgin cloud forests, canyons (Quisiga, Macho de Monte), Picturesque Farm Land and Pacific Ocean views. The new government also plans to open up a route to the top of Volcan, the only place in Latin America where you can see the Pacific and the Caribbean. Up until now, this privilege has been reserved for the more intrepid hiker, willing to give up his biorhythm, starting at midnight to arrive up top at 5am. Its a mission to be admired, however we are happy to indulge the suspense until that project is completed too.
Sure, maybe over the years the enthusiasm surrounding Ruta Sur has lost momentum, but to our surprise, it seems hardly anyone is talking about this exciting event! As far as we know, there will be no ribbon cutting, no grand opening ceremony or wrap party for the decade long project. What we are most excited about is what this road will do for the real estate market. Behind every hill, around every turn, and with every shoulder check you encounter a new view, and more land with enormous potential.
We have been investigating prices for you via local Chircanos and we are perplexed. With all due respect for the Boquete area and what it has become… how is it possible that once you cross the border to Palmira ( barely 10 minutes away from Boquete ) prices suddenly drop 60 to 80%?
There are a few answers for this: Boquete is an established settlement with economic and touristic activity, “eternal spring” climate, a vibrant expat life, restaurants, Farmer’s markets, and B&B’s… yes, it’s lovely. But the dark side is that through ex-pat gentrification, prices have been manipulated and controlled and are no longer accessible to the majority of Panamanians. Panamanians with land in Boquete are no longer deciding what their property is worth.
We’ve also met a lot of Panamanians from the surrounding Boquete areas (Palmira,Potrerillos, Palma Real), that have tried to sell property via real estate agents. Some of them had magnificent properties listed with similarly qualitative attributes to Boquete, views, temperate climate, and quality of life at a fraction of the Boquete prices. For years not even one prospect had been sent to them. When it comes to getting the attention of the expat market, Boquete has surely found a way to monopolize. Perhaps to the great relief of a smaller expat community who can see beyond the bubble, blending in with the loving Panamanian culture and their customs… for cheaper, and without strangling the locals of their purchasing power.
Through our exploring we have come to know several pearls in the area for very diverse budgets. From small pieces of land of 10.000 USD, to great investment opportunities for developers, B&B’s or small to huge farming operations. Would you love to live in a climate with forever spring, clean air and water, endless outdoor activities, great farming potential and meanwhile be guaranteed to have a great return on investment? Contact us, we are happy to scout a specific property to fit your wish list.
Put the following destinations on your Panama scouting list :Palmira, Potrerillos, Palma Real, Cuesta de Piedra, Cordillera, Volcan. Check also closer to David, Algarrobos, Anastasiou, Dolega, San Pablo Viejo!
Plant your roots in Panama.