I wanted to keep you informed about areas that will surely develop in Panama in the next ten years.

The plans for a new 4 lane Pan- America highway will greatly impact Chiriqui, ( the Pacific coast around David and mountains above that) specifically the coastal markets serviced by it.  From Boquete, it would take 3 hours to get to Santiago, with the highway probably only 2.  More importantly, if I want to go to Santa Catalina and the coast most remote, it now takes 5.  With the expanded PanAmerican Highway and the new roadway running from Guabala (where you pass a checkpoint) to Santa Catalina, it will take 3 hours. Santa Fe, also in this area is being called the next Boquete.

This opens up the Boca Chica Market for further development as well as Las Lajas Beach, Remedios and Quebrada de Piedra, the last two of which most people do not know exist.  They also are home to some of the most dramatic coastlines in Panama.

The Martinelli(current Panamanian President) administration is proposing a “turnkey” tender for the expansion of the InterAmerican Highway to four lanes between Santiago and David, before the end of his term.

As outlined in an article in Prensa.com, “The Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima, announced yesterday at the seventh National Competitiveness Forum that before the end of the current administration there will be a tender for the expansion to four lanes of the Inter-American Highway between the cities of Santiago de Veraguas, and David, Chiriquí. Speaking earlier, the Minister of Public Works, James Ford, said they are working on the basis that it would be a ‘turnkey’ project. ”

Although officials said they were studying other financing options, they stated that “There is a high probability that the company will have to provide 100% of the funding.”

Minister Ford said the studies were in the early stages and expected the tender to be launched in the first quarter of 2013. This work has been announced on several occasions, by various administrations, but has never taken shape.

Source: Prensa and Thomas Brymer