The Story


“Undiscovered Country” The story behind Las Lajas Panama

The first time I went to Panama was on a fishing trip in December of 2002.  While there, I was approached by the typical real estate person that all Latin America countries have.  I had a day to kill so I though “what the heck”.  I’d been looking for a piece of retirement property for five years, and knew I was going to buy a parcel somewhere in Central America.  The agent and I drove into the mountains, through some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen.  Little towns like Boquete, Volcan, and Potrerillos were filled with flowers and fresh air.  I was so impressed that I found a lot and bought it on the spot.

Some months later, on another trip to Panama, I attended a seminar on investment opportunities in Panama.  It was at this seminar that I learned about the Playa Las Lajas as a potential investment property.  Since Las Lajas was on my way back to David, I decided to stop and take a look.  I turned off the highway and bounced along a potholed road through the pueblo of Las Lajas.  The road ended right at the ocean.  As I stepped out onto the beach, I knew that the Playa Las Lajas could be the greatest investment opportunity of my life.

Since then I have spent thousands of hours and dollars determining whether investing in Las Lajas would be worthwhile (research is tough in a tropical paradise, but someone had to do it!!!).  It is my conclusion that Las Lajas has a fantastic potential for becoming an exclusive beachfront resort and retirement community.

The inception of Las Lajas Panama, Inc. “L.L.P.”

I have drafted this letter to describe to potential investors L.L.P.” plans for an exclusive resort and residential development at Playa Las Lajas and as yet “undiscovered” beach on the Pacific coast of Panama.

Las Lajas Panama Inc. was established in July 2004 to deal in tourism and real estate in Panama.  Its primary function is to purchase beachfront property at Playa Las Lajas, and obtain free and clear title to said properties in the corporation’s name.  Develop said land into a gated community with access to an 18 hole golf course, a 6,000 ft. paved runway, a 350 room Hotel/Casino, and a protected harbor/marina.  Additionally, to implement this mission, a real-estate company, a maintenance company, a utilities company and a security company will be created as subsidiaries of LLP.  It is the intent of LLP to take advantage of all profitable financial opportunities that arise out of this project.

Through extensive research, it has been determined that Playa Las Lajas has the potential to be a profitable enterprise.  L.L.P. has looked at the market in the United States, Europe, and Panama to see if the project was marketable and sellable.  The outcome of all of our research points to an international highly marketable product.  A few of these points are as follows:  Panamanian law makes it a sellable product because of the incentives given to the retiree and businesses (see attached).  The potential profitability of this project is extremely attractive, mainly because of the low cost of the land, tax incentives, and the low labor cost. A major selling point to all investors is that the currency used in Panama is the US dollar, making it very safe and stable economy.

Real Estate laws in Panama are similar to those in the United States; one needs a real estate license and a $10,000.00 bond.  An attorney usually handles the bond and the license for a fee.  LLP has such services available at this time for transferring titles to land at the Las Lajas project.

The Beauty of Las Lajas, Panama

Fronting two oceans, Panama offers a connoisseur’s choice of beaches, both on the mainland and on islands just offshore. Residents of Las Lajas can wade in the tide of the Pacific Ocean, travel less than half a day across the narrow country, and find themselves splashing in the waters of the Caribbean. In between the two great seas, the mountainous interior holds an entirely different kind of natural beauty.

Located 62km east of David (1 1/2 hour), Playa Las Lajas is the beginning of several beautiful sandy beaches.  Although popular during the weekend, many of them are virtually deserted during the week.  Current activities to enjoy at Las Lajas include: Canoeing through jungle rivers, Viewing ancient ruins and rock carvings, wildlife viewing, body surfing, surfing, snorkeling, and SCUBA diving.

Our proposed Las Lajas project is located on this palm-lined strip of sand that stretches straight along the Pacific as far as the eye can see.  It is truly, like nothing you have seen before.


Land Opportunities for Expats Through Las Lajas Panama, inc.

Individuals that are on a fixed income and citizens from countries that have high tax rates are the main market we seek for this project.  The “Baby Boomers” we see as a tremendous market to tap into.  Beachfront property in the United States is extremely expensive, while in Panama land is still affordable.  Panama has been noted as one of the safest and best countries to retire in by several publications and organizations.  Recent laws have been past to increase tourism and incentives for “pensionados” (retirees) to invest and retire in Panama.  Europeans are flocking to Panama and buying up land like a feeding frenzy.

The following comparison was compiled by the Wall Street Journal.  It shows soon straights and weaknesses comparing others countries; country, where expats live in the country, house shopping, perks, and the downside:

 Panama: They live in Boquete.  A three-bedroom house overlooking the golf course cost $175,000.00.  Good medical care, American-style malls, and great bird watching.  The downside is no direct flights.

Honduras:  Roatan Island is where they live:  A 1500 square foot, beachfront, two-bedroom house, $229,000.00, they have gorgeous beaches.  Direct flights to Miami and Houston.  The downside is the bugs:  Biting sand fleas and mosquitoes’ that can carry malaria.

Nicaragua:  Most live in Granada “Las Isles”.  A 15-acre island with two houses, electricity and water, $498,000.00.  Perks are bragging rights that you own your own island, deserted beaches.  The downside is crime, doggy telephone service and poor medical care.

Mexico:  Most live in San Miguel de Allende, Lake Chapala area.  A three-bedroom house, three bath, and a pool runs about $369,000.00.  Mexico has great restaurants, lively expat scene and beautiful colonial architecture.  The downside is all the other Americans and the high prices.

 Costa Rica:  Expats live all over.  A three-bedroom house with swimming pool near lake area, $212,000.00.  Perks are; English spoken, solid infrastructure; stable government; lush landscape and lovely beaches.  The downside is higher prices and fewer financial incentives.

Through our own research we have compiled a modest list of attractive selling points for investors:

  •  The economy is stable and uses American Dollar as its currency.  The dollar is legal tender and not effected by currency exchange rates.  Inflation in the U.S. does not affect the cost of living index in Panama.
  •  Panama is the banking center of Central America, with approximately seventy world banks located here.
  • Over 300,000 corporations are registered in Panama, making it second only to Hong Kong in registered offshore corporations.
  •  Certain investments are non-taxable for up to twenty years, including investment in tourism.
  •   Interest earned from personal savings accounts is non-taxable (however, deposits are not covered by FDIC insurance in Panama).
  • The cost of living is low.
  •  Panama offers great discounts for the retired person, giving discounts on everything from airline tickets to groceries.
  • Land is affordable, and non-residents can own it free and clear (no Leases).
  •   Panama is one of the safest countries in the world, ranking equal to the United States.
  •   Health care is reputable and affordable
  •  Modern hospitals and clinics are distributed throughout the country, baking health care accessible to everyone.
  • Health insurances costs approximately $600.00 a year.
  •  Panama has been the crossroads for global travel for centuries, and is perfect for the retired person who wants to travel.  Travel time from the United States is only about three and a half hours from Houston, Miami and Atlanta.  Several flights are offered at affordable rates.
  • Torrijos Elected:  Martin Torrijos was elected as president on May 1, 2004 as the new President of the Republic of Panama.  This is positive for business.  Torrijos wants to extend all tax benefits for business and including the incentives for foreign investors.
  • Panama because of the new free trade agreement that was entered into
  •    Panama’s economy grew 4% last quarter with 1.9% inflation rate, the lowest in the Central American countries.
  • In all fairness it is important to list the weaknesses that were realized during the research phase:
  •   The local market is very weak.  Typical Panamians will not be able to afford this type of development.  However, there are Panamians that are interested in this venture.  The marketing plan will have to focus on mostly Europeans and Americans.
  •  Transportation to Las Lajas is cumbersome.  Air travel from Panama City to David is an overnight stay in Panama City.  The beach is fifty miles from David.
  •  The rainy season!  The rainy season starts in May and goes to December.  That doesn’t mean that it rains all daylong for six or seven months, it just means that it rains mostly in the afternoon.

From the above listed strengths and weaknesses, one can draw their own conclusion about investing in real estate at Las Lajas, Panama.  We feel that this project has great potential with very few drawbacks if any.


By Larry Traw – Las Lajas Panama CEO