Chiquita Banana built Puerto Armuelles.
For eighty years Puerto Armuelles was a Chiquita Banana company town.
The only way into town was on Chiquita’s banana train or by boat.
By all accounts, Chiquita’s many managers and their families lived an idyllic tropical life during that time.
Then, in 2003, Chiquita left.
Why they left is a long and complicated story. One major factor was a series of labor strikes.
The town was devastated when Chiquita left.
At the time the population was 40,000. All the foriegners working for Chiquita left. Then most of the buisnesses that supplied Chiquita and its workers failed.
People left in droves to find employment.
Today, the population is about 20,000.
Puerto Armuelles went from a gem of a beach town to a dilapidated, dispirited town with alot of empty storefronts.
However, this resilent town is making a strong comeback.
It is becoming vibrant once again. The diamond is being cut and polished.
It is pretty wonderful to discover a charming beach town before the crowds do.
Puerto Armuelles still has beach front property for under $50,000.
That is a titled beachfront lot for under $50,000.
Where else in the world can you find beach front property for such a low price?
It is especially exciting when you discover such a town in the early stages of its economic recovery.
Thankfully, you’ve discovered it while property is still significantly undervalued.
One of the reasons for Puerto’s recent revitalization are two government initiatives.
The government has fully funded two projects in the area
- Widening the road to Puerto Armuelles from a 2 lane to a 4 lane road.
- Construction of a large port facility near Puerto Armuelles (but not in the town itself)
Wikapedia states the following:
“These two construction projects will create what the Panama government is calling a 4 lane “dry canal” highway connecting Puerto Armulles to Chiriqui Grand on the Caribbean side of Panama. It is anticipated it will have a similar economic effect to the “wet canal” in Panama City.”
Overall there is alot more activity.
- A new shopping mall is being built.
- Fincas (farms) in the outlying areas are being developed by locals and foreign investors
- A number of new expats are building homes here.
- Many more investors and potential retirees are actively investigating the town and surrounding area.
It appears that the town’s revitalization is gaining momentum.
More About Puerto Armuelles
That is a little about the town’s economy and history.
What about the town itself?
In many ways the town is unique.
Chiquita literally built the town. Consequently, Puerto does not look like most other towns in Panama.
The downtown has a city grid you would more often see in small town America.
It has both a central park and a beach front promenade in its downtown.
Chiquita built whole neighborhoods to house different classes of workers. All of the houses have the classic tropical look of wooden houses on stilts.
Houses you would expect to see in an old movie such as The African Queen (That is the movie with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.)
Of course, the town also has the typical cement house you find throughout Central and South America.
Puerto Armuelles is right on the beach.
In a country with so much shoreline you would not think that would make it unque, but it does.
Panama has cities on the beach, like Panama City and Colon. It has resort and vacation home areas on the beach, like Coronado. It has a number of smaller villages on the beach.
However, you’d be surprised how many towns in Panama are near, but not on, the beach.
Pedesi and Tonosi on the Azuero Pennisula come to mind. Nice towns, but it is quite the hike to the beach from those towns.
Puerto Armuelles is the only true beach town in Panama.
Well I guess, San Carlos qualifies as a town on the beach. But San Carlos lacks a downtown center and is a much smaller town.
Many Services in Town and Nearby
Puerto Armuelles used to be accessible only by train or boat.
Now it has a well-maintained paved road connecting it to the rest of Chiriqui and beyond.
It is about a 40 minute drive to the Costa Rica border crossing in Paso Canoas. This makes renewing your visa very convenient. There are some good shopping malls there as well.
It is about an hour or so drive from David. David is the largest city in the Chiriqui Province.
David is significantly larger than Puerto. Although, Puerto Armuelles is the 2nd largest city in Chiriqui.
You can buy pretty much everything you need in Puerto Armuelles. However, there is definately more selection in David.
David is the big shopping mecca in the area. They even have something like a Costco there. It is called PriceSmart.
That is our brief summary of Puerto Armuelles Panama.
We’d love to have the opportunity to show you the town.
Give us a call to arrange a time.
Call 850-725-5144 (USA).
If you are in Panama, call 6815-5196.
If you are in Costa Rica, call 7007-2091.
While you are planning your trip, take a look at Puerto Armuelles affordable beach front today, Click Here.
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