The house that this trip was all about was not a disappointment, but the neighborhood and indeed the entire city was. Las Palmas was no doubt an upscale neighborhood at one time. Relatively speaking, I guess it still is.
This place belonged to the guy that used to spray the banana trees and whatever else around here. He just recently closed the doors on the business.
Today, most, but not all, of the houses and properties are in depressing states of disrepair. The rest of the town was even worse. In it’s heydey, Puerto Armuelles had a population of about 40,000. Today it’s more like 20,000. But it is apparently rising. We heard from two different sources that Dole is now considering moving in. That would be a boon for the area and property values. Right now real estate is as cheap as we’ve seen in Panama. I guess the government sees potential because a nice 4-lane divided highway from the PanAmerican is almost finished. In several places they got a bit ahead of themselves on the arrow markers. This caused quite a start at first.
A couple that had another property we wanted to look at, only so the entire trip wouldn’t be spent on a single listing, happily drove us all over and around town. If it had the intent of getting us hooked on the area, it had the opposite effect. But somewhat surprisingly, their property had a tantalizing appeal to me. I saw it as a welcome challenge. The asking price was under $70K. It was a 1400 sq ft house on a small lot very near the beach, so close that grass wouldn’t grow on the lawn. The present tenants made it look like the place was occupied by a bunch of 14 yr olds. Totally trashed.
While we were there only Grandma was in residence tending an infant. It was feeding time and three skinny dogs and a cat were hungrily hoping for some scraps. It’s a sad and pathetic fact that many Panamanians should never have pets. They can’t, or won’t, give them proper care. It was much the same situation on St Croix.
We stopped at the Duty Free Zone on the way back to pick up the liquor on our shopping list. The particular tequila that was described for us as being “two for $12” turned out to be “one for $12” … and 80 cents. But we got the 1.75 liter bottle of Bacardi for only $10! That’s what I paid for Cruzan rum on St Croix 10 years ago.
Except for liquor, nothing we came across in our border shopping was any great value.