Chitre is probably not the first place many would move to when choosing where to live in Panama. However, that could be a large part of its allure. Its non-touristic and charming small-city Panamanian vibe calls to those looking to truly integrate into Panamanian culture and lifestyle.
So, what exactly would life be like in Chitre? Let’s dive into all you need to know about moving to Chitre, Panama.
Where is Chitre Located?
This unassuming city is actually the capital of the Herrera province. And, Chitre is the largest city located on the Azuero Peninsula. Probably one of the most well-known areas of Panama, the Azuero Peninsula is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. There are plenty of green hills and beautiful beaches located in this area.
And, those living in Chitre can take full advantage of the proximity. In fact, the closest beach is just a few kilometers away from Chitre.
Getting to Chitre
There is no international airport located in Chitre. However, a small domestic airport in Chitre offers Air Panama flights to and from Panama City. You can also drive to Chitre as the Pan-American highway passes just twenty minutes north of the city.
The most economical way to get to Chitre from abroad is by flying into Panama City. From there, you can take a bus (which will cost less than ten dollars) or rent a car to get to Chitre. It’s only about a 3.5 hours drive from Panama City.
Chitre is also a good stopping-off or resting point while exploring the Azuero Peninsula. So, if you’re making a scouting trip, you could easily visit while also seeing Las Tablas and Pedasi–two popular cities for ex-pats on the Azuero Peninsula.
Amenities in Chitre
Those who settle down in Chitre will have access to the city’s many conveniences. However, the best part about living here is that even though you’ll have “city luxuries,” the pace of living is still slow, so you won’t have city stress.
When living in Chitre, you can enjoy a wide variety of restaurants. From high-end to fast-food chains, you can find it all! And, if you’re looking for the most affordable, delicious, and local options for dining, you’ll find many fondas. These are roadside restaurants where you can find plenty of Panamanian dishes. This is probably the least expensive and most delicious dining option.
Local markets have fresh fruits and vegetables, Chitre also offers its residents and visitors many options for large supermarkets. So, if you’re craving some one-stop, grocery shopping convenience, you can easily find it in Chitre. My favorite grocery store in Panama, Riba Smith, has a store in Chitre. Super 99 is also very popular.
There are also plenty of pharmacies, hardware stores, and other shops all around town. Basically, living in Chitre will allow you to have what you need at your fingertips. There will be no need to take a trip to the next nearest city as you might need to when living more remotely.
Chitre even has a small mall with many shops. But a popular and affordable place to shop for clothes in Chitre is “I Love Cheaper.”
There is no Walmart in Panama. But El Machetazo is very similar and has even more affordable prices. There is a Machentazo in Chitre.
GOLF! Chitre even has a golf course, and it’s only $80 a month for unlimited golf after you join their membership!
Healthcare in Chitre
If you’re retiring in Panama, then it’s likely that affordable and quality healthcare is at the top of your priority list. Well, Chitre does not disappoint in that area. Since it is a city, plenty of public and private hospitals, various clinics, and other doctor’s offices exist.
There wasn’t a large ex-pat population in Chitre for a long time. However, now that the benefits of living in Chitre are being discovered, the rising demand for English medical professionals is starting to be met. That means you’ll be able to find most healthcare in Chitre in English if needed.
When looking for where to go for treatment, consider your health insurance plans. Do you need to go to a private or public institution? What kind of treatment will you need? This will determine the best hospital or clinic that can meet your needs. The good news is that in Chitre, you’ll have many options.
Many expats who live in Chitre prefer to use the public healthcare system, which has no monthly fee. It’s about $2 to see a doctor or $5 for a specialist. Carol has emergency surgery in Chitre for $150 including 6 days in the hospital.
Cost of Living in Chitre
Chitre is one of the most affordable places to live in Panama as an expat. A couple can live well on as little as $1500 a month while also enjoying a great lifestyle. Since it’s still “semi” undiscovered, prices are quite affordable still. And, one of the many benefits of living in Panama is the lower cost of living.
Here are estimates of some general costs in Chitre:
● Monthly rent for a modest two-bedroom home (outside of the city center): $350-$500 USD
● High-speed internet: $35 USD
● Meal at an inexpensive local restaurant: $5 USD
● A taxi ride within city limits: $3 USD
Your monthly budget will vary greatly depending on your lifestyle type, as you can find luxury homes for much higher prices. However, your budget will go further in Chitre if you want to spend less. Look at these Chitre rentals I found in Encuentra24 and other websites.
This three-bedroom, two-bath house is $525 in Chitre
Or, how about this cute two-bedroom, one-bath for only $220 near Chitre
Or, how about their furnished three-bedroom, two-bath for only $695
This furnished two-bedroom, two-bath house is about 10 minutes outside of Chitre, in La Villa. It rents for $400!
Weather in Chitre
Daytime temperatures are mid to upper 80F (28C) and drop to mid-70F after sunset. Most people are comfortable with windows open and ceiling fans. But you may want to find a house that has a split air conditioner in at least the bedrooms.
The Azuero gets less rain than any other area in Panama. Chitre averages only 40 inches of rain yearly ( compared to 120 inches in Boquete). It’s less humid too!
Things to Do in Chitre
Chitre is a city that is rich in culture. You’ll find some of the best artisanal goods in the country here. The inhabitants of the Azuero peninsula proudly display their culture. That’s why this Panama area is sometimes called the “heartland of Panama.” And, with beautiful beaches nearby and rolling green mountains in the surrounding area, there’s certainly no lack of nature to enjoy either.
Here are 5 things to do in Chitre:
● Visit La Arena. This town is located just one mile outside of Chitre. This is an excellent place to check out some beautiful artisanal goods, especially clay pottery.
● Head to the beach. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Azuero Peninsula is known for its beautiful beaches. The nearest beach is just twenty minutes away but there are plenty more to explore in the area.
● Go to the museum. The Museo de Herrera is Chitre’s museum where you can learn more about the history of the area. It’s also located in an area that’s preserved the Spanish architecture of the city. In fact, the museum is a Spanish Colonial building.
● See the cathedral. The quaint, colorful, and historical town can be explored on foot. Make a stop at the cathedral, La Catedral de San Juan Batista, which was finished in 1910. The architecture is stunning with stained glass and wooden beams. It’s also a good place to find refuge from the bustling city.
● Visit Sarigua National Park. Not necessarily one of the most breathtaking parks in the nation, Sarigua does provide visitors with some beautiful sights of a desert area. Chitre is known for having an arid climate which is interesting when so close to the water. This park is also just a short drive from the city. There are other national parks slightly farther away but still on the Azuero Peninsula as well.
Chitre, and surrounding areas, have many festivals and parades.
Places to Stay
Make Chitre Home
Chitre is a wonderful option for those looking for an affordable, charming place to live. If you want to be in the city, you’ll enjoy all its conveniences, such as movie theaters, 24-hour supermarkets, and many doctors’ offices. You’ll also enjoy a place that is rich in culture. And, after all, when moving to a new country, leaning into the new culture is a big part of the fun.
Chitre is close to several beaches!
If you’re interested in moving to Chitre, sign up for a Private Panama Relocation Tour of Chitre to learn more about living in this charming town. Private Tours are fully customized to see and do what interests you most. Private Tours cost just $250 a day for up to two people.