Penonome: A Town on the Rise

April 24, 2007

Penonome is the capital city of the Province of Cocle, which begins with the Pacific salt flats and slopes though cane fields to stunning waterfalls framed with tropical orchids and the lush, virgin mountain peaks of the continental divide.

In total, the Province of Cocle encompasses nearly 12,000 square kilometers, and has a population of over 200,000. The province is a huge agricultural center for Panama and a major producer of sugar, salt, tomatoes, coffee and oranges. Cocle is also a favorite tourist destination and includes Panama's largest beach resorts among its over 100 kilometers of coastal areas.

Penonome is a booming town based around an immaculately maintained Spanish Colonial Church Plaza. It has a small banking center consisting of about 7 banks, a number of hotels and restaurants, a hospital, and even a Machetazo which is, in essence, Panama’s equivalent to "Wallmart".

Penonome is a quaint Spanish Colonial town seeped with history. It was founded in 1581 by the Spaniards, and served as a very important center during the colonial times as a main stop for merchants along the historical Las Cruses Trail. In 1671, after Panama City (the capital then was Old Panama) was destroyed by the pirate Henry Morgan, Penonome served as the capital city of Panama until the new capital (now known as Casco Viejo) was founded.

Penonome has a standard Spanish urban plan known as a Traza in which the church, government offices and police station are based around a rectangular park. From the rectangular central park are parallel streets, which break the down up into blocks or grids.

There is also a rich indian history in Penonome and its surrounding areas, specifically the colonial town of La Pintada which is abounding with petroglyphs and huacas (indian burial sites often filled with ancient clay pots and gold). Some of the important archeological findings suggest that the area has about 600 years of prehistory.

Cocle is a land of beautiful people, and stunning natural attractions coupled with incredibly diverse culture, history and folklore. The people of Cocle are proud and festive, and celebrate a number of celebrations including the Tomato, Orange Festivals and the Aquatic Carnival, in which floats are paraded down the Zarati River.

One of the most beautiful things about Cocle, aside from its natural beauty and wonderful people, is its cost of living, and cost of real estate. Beautiful land and unique properties at great values are still very obtainable here, and the quality of life exceptional.