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Trip to Sora

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Brighton, Colorado
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Trip to Sora

I will be arriving in P. City in a few days. If I want to go to Sora to check out apt. rentals, can I take a bus from Albrook and if so, what is the cost? How often do buses run from that area.

I am looking for a place to retire to in in Panama: Sora, Elle Valle Volcan, David, any other inexpensive area (not by the ocean) I only have $1,027 per month to live on.

Any ideas, suggestions would be most helpful.

Thanks, koalagirl13

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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1. Re: Trip to Sora

I don't know about the cost of the busses -- LN is the expert when it comes to bus travel in Panama -- but, I do know that they are frequent and inexpensive.

To get to Sorá, you'll take the bus to Bejuco and get off there. Sorá is another 25 kilometers up into the mountains from Bejuco. There are small, local "busses" that go between Bejuco and Sorá. They are really pickups with canopies and benches in the bed. In the front, over the cab, you'll see hand-lettered signs reading "Sorá-Bejuco."

If you're going to Sorá to look into Altos del Maria, I recommend that you make arrangements for a realtor to meet you in Bejuco and drive you there.

El Valle is not what I would consider inexpensive. Property there has become scarce and costly. You will pay a little more there for groceries and gas, too. But, you can get there on a bus.

You might look over Coronado. There are a number of expats living there and it has banks, good shopping centers and a large clinic.

As I'm sure LN will tell you, you should try living in Panama for a few months just to see if you really like it, and if you can get by on your income. In the meantime, enjoy your visit to Panama.

Brighton, Colorado
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2. Re: Trip to Sora

I just found your reply. Thanks for taking the time to write back. Your information is much appeciated. Isn't Coronado near to or on the beach?

Is Sora truly a small town or is it strictly an area with only real estate? I have been told it is absolutely beautiful! It is only about 30 miles from P.C. from what I understand?

I will be going back to Panama next week if the realtor I have become acquainted with can meet with me. I want to look at areas around David, Vulcan and Sora. Don't know now about El Valle! I plan to make a move (for at least 3-6 months) Feb. or March of 2013.

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
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for Panama City
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3. Re: Trip to Sora

If you want to live cheaply in Panama you need to live outside of a ex-pat gringo area, look around David, but not close to Boquete,

You can survive on your pension but you need to live like a local - that means being able to speak Spanish

If you dont need a gringo area, can speak Spanish and tbe beach is not important, check out Colombia, beautiful areas in the mountains and cheaper than Panma.

Living in either country cheaply means no car - take the bus- cheap in both countries

LN
Panama City, Panama
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4. Re: Trip to Sora

Coronado is a beach community with 24 hour supers, a hospital/clinic, the starting of malls, many restaurants (some of them good - some terrible) and the beach. It is HOT, which is why we like it, but some find it wayyyyy to hot for them.

Sora is just a small town on the side of the mountain and is breathtakingly beautiful up there. Unfortunately everyone I know who builds and moves up there eventually either moves away from Panama totally, or sells and moves below where there are more services. The big supermarkets, pharmacies are down the hill. One thing I don't understand about Altos and Sora is that one is attracted to the beauty of the area; and then build their homes in a "development" with neighbors practically 10 feet away from them. What is the point?

If "the realtor you have become acquainted with" is telling you Sora is only 1/2 hour from PC, get another realtor as he is already proving not truthful.

For the turn off to Sora (if you are not a speeder - and I totally guard you against doing that on the highway) is about an hour from PC. Then the curvy windy ride up to Sora will take about 20 min to 1/2 hour from the highway depending on the rain, amount of other cars going up an down.

You can't really pick up speed because of the danger of not seeing around the curves.

If is pretty much the rain forest, so very green, alot of rain and wind in the windy season. Much cooler temps (that is why the Canadians like it so much). For me it is way tooo cold. I know many people up there and when I go to visit always wear warm slacks and a jacket. ANd yes, to your question, it is just a developing area for "gringos" mainly. There is one chinese restaurant locals tell me is decent and a small chino market. You can get great produce from the locals up there most of the year.

As long as you are in the area of Coronado, do check out El Valle - same thing mountain town, but they do have some very nice restaurants, community market, and semblance of "a town". Further away than Sora, however, it will add on another hour (probably) to your travel as the road to El Valle is longer and more winding than the one to Sora.

I know many people here in Coronado area who are now listing their properties at very high prices for the tourism crowds that will start next month here in the area. Some don't even care to sell, but if they get their ridiculous prices (it only takes ONE person to like the house and think it is worth the money by north american standards) they will sell and either re-build or buy another when season is over here and prices will lower once again.

I know several honest realtors, and some very slimey ones. I will only say "Buyer beware". YOu may be "wined and dined" by realtors showing you parties of expats and "how it is to live here", when in fact that may not be your realty at all. It is a seller's market here now until about May. This is our "summer" coming up and the weather will be dry soon and very very hot -cooler in the highlands. Alot of north americals coming here to search out homes. I am sure the entire economic situation in the states attributes to that. I have seen many more Americans coming than Canadians in the last months to live here. Always used to be many more Canadians over Americans.

My husband and I love the ocean and the beaches, so we live down here

and try to get into the ocean at least four times a week. Be warned, however, the ocean here on Pacific beaches is very very rough - and ri times, You really have to know how to swim and have knowledge of how to react in a rip tide to even attempt getting in.

As far as Volcan and that area, up and coming - lots of progress as it is a big expat community now and prices have escalated like crazy. My problem with those areas is that if you want to fly out of the country to go back to visit north america, you will travel first a day to get to PC which adds on to a very long travel trip. For now, PC is the only place to fly out of internationally from Panama.

When the airport is completed near Rio Hato - 2014, I think that area will build up quickly. Lots to see and do here in Panama. I suggest you rent first, long term, in a couple of areas in Panama to see how you like those areas.

Some neighbors look great in the day and then at night there are 20 dogs barking continuously nearby. Panamanians are know for NOT hearing their dogs bark and will do nothing to stop them. Thank God we live in a quiet area in Coronado. Many who do not had terrible weekends here (there was a national holiday Monday). Their areas were filled with the locals with fireworks, loud parties with booming music all night, kids going crazy on ATV's, generally partying. I like to tell the truth about the areas near me; exposing warts and all along with all the good things that Panama is. We love it here and my husband won't even go back to visit North America !

I still travel (long trips) back to the states whenever I can to visit the grans and my children.

Panama is NOT for everyone.....don't invest alot until you know if you will like it here............Again, I say Buyer Beware.

In any event, be sure to post back to help other travelers, won't you? That is what it is all about.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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5. Re: Trip to Sora

I have to "ditto" what LN wrote -- especially about realtors and Coronado. I would add that having a good, Panamanian real estate attorney is at least as important as having a good realtor. The legal issues involved with buying property or a house are far more complicated in Panama than they are in the U.S. (Since my wife and I bought our property directly from its owner, we did not use a realtor -- only the attorney.)

My wife and I have a good friend who has a home in Coronado. We spend time there whenever we visit Panama. For us, Coronado is too hot, unless you want to be on the beach. We prefer the mountains where it is cooler -- especially at night.

For that reason, we looked at Altos del Maria ... which is nowhere close to being 30 miles ouf of Panama. It will take you about 90 minutes to get to Altos del Maria from Panama City. Altos is certainly less expensive than El Valle, where prices have gone way out of sight, if you can find a decent lot. But, like LN, we didn't care to spend that much money in Altos for a small lot with neighbors surrounding us in very close proximity. We also didn't care for the long drive up and down the mountain to get to shopping, banks and our friends in Coronado and Panama.

We found a much larger parcel at much less cost half-way between Bejuco (the turn-off to Sorá/Altos) and Altos del Maria. High enough to offer magnificient views of the mountains and the Pacific, low enough that it's only 20 minutes to Coronado and 1 hour to Panama City. When it's 92° in Coronado, it's 84° in Buena Vista. We also like being able to hike in the forest.

Like LN says, you need to know Spanish if you're going to live in places outside the expat communities. Especially if you want to get along with your neighbors. We have made good friends in Buena Vista, we love the culture and we look forward to moving there full time within the next couple of years.

You mentioned Volcán as an option. I haven't been there in a few years, but in my opinion, Cerro Punta (nearby) is one of the most beautiful places in all of Panama. It also rains a lot, and it's downright chilly at night. One advantage is that Volcán and Cerro Punta are within an hour of David. You can fly from David to Panama City or from David to San Jose, Costa Rica. While the flights are expensive, they can save a full day driving each way.

Brighton, Colorado
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6. Re: Trip to Sora

Thanks to all of you for your advice and help.

I don't intend to buy any property at this time (I still own my small house in Colo). Want to rent for 3-6 months and make certain I like where I am.

Hope to meet some of you once I settle in.

Thanks again for the help. Any other thoughts feel free to pass them on.

LN
Panama City, Panama
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7. Re: Trip to Sora

Yes, do PM me when you are in the beaches area, when you visit if you have time. We can meet for lunch maybe....

A great place to stay in Coronado is El Litoral B & B. See my recent review under my profile: tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1022784-d15…

Edited: 07 November 2012, 15:28
8. Re: Trip to Sora

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