Upon the suggestion of a relative, I made the trip out to Bala Beach Resort the other day to see just what it had going on. I have heard that in the preconstruction sales phase back in 2006 - 2008, there were many North Americans snapping up the nicely sized units on the Caribbean side of the ithsmus.
This is true. The first phase, consisting of two buildings, is almost completely sold out, and titles are finally being legalized, and deals are being closed. More on that later.
First, I want to say that the experience of being on that side Panama is pleasant. There was a nice breeze and the sun was shining. The surf is a little rough, but there are several beaches nearby, including Isla Grande, which is always an nice get-away. The beach has very nice white sand and is shaded by perfectly spaced palm trees, of course one doesn't need to get ones feet sandy to enjoy the water. Although only one pool is complete, there are plans for several more.
Driving onto the property, you still get the feeling of construction, and incompletion, but that will come. I got the feeling of confidence in the developer after speaking with them, that they truly care about the project and want it to be one of the nicest in Panama. The buildings and the units themselves show that in the quality. I could see and feel that quality on my tour. Quality and unique finishes right down to the floor, with a beautiful light brown bamboo. Open glass views over the grounds, pool, and ocean put me in awe for a moment, and I see a lot of views from a lot of buildings in Panama.
To play devil's advocate, there were a couple things I noticed that may serve to work against sales in the developments though. The drive from the city is great, quick and easy. It's when you enter Nuevo Colon and some of the towns heading to the resort along the coast, that you see the extreme poverty of the area, which can bother some people obviously. Especially after reading all of the government website warnings for tourists to avoid Colon for it's crime. I haven't mapped the route from the airport, but I would guess a 2 hour drive. It is exactly one hour from my office in the city.
There has been chatter of a new international airport in Colon as well, so that would cut travel time to about 45 minutes and lend to increasing property values in the area for anyone that cares.
Also, the white sand is trucked in, so it will have to be replenished from time to time as the ocean will most certainly carry it away. The surf is large, the water fairly rough, but shallow. All in all, a decent beach.
The finishing touches are being completed on phase one right now as excited owners get ready to take possesion of their vacation spaces in paradise. Here's the thing though. The economy took quite a hit after the presales frenzy on this complex. The developer has informed me that there are deals to be had, as not everyone was able to close, and with the second phase selling, there are deals to be had there as well.
The bottom line is, I am a believer in this project, and now is going to be the very best time to buy here, as there are deals to be had from people unable to close. The area is only beginning to see an influx of developers eager to exploit the area's beauty, and the government is only too happy to help by providing the improved ifrastructure necesary to sustain such rapid growth.
You can see pictures, prices, and floor plans in my property listings section.