This is what a sleepy fishing village that hasn’t been completely raided by tourism looks like. There are a fair number of expats but the integrity of the small towns authenticity is very much in tact with expats and locals weaved together in balance. It is rare to find a cozy little place like this that has been so gently integrated with instead of torn apart like a free pile left out for the taking.
Perhaps the fact that you still have to drive a mile or two to the beaches and that they are not the best, but still pretty darn amazing that spares this fare place. It takes a bit of effort to get here as well. Panama is a tiny country with exceptionally good roads, yet getting anywhere takes half a lifetime. Getting to Pedasi from Panama city takes a whole day, so it’s not exactly ideal for a weekend getaway.
I’m certain my enthusiasm for this little fishing village has to do with timing. I happened to be in Pedasi during a period of renovation and creation. I watched as the entire community came together with whole hearted effort to improve and strengthen. Everyone seemed to be pitching in. Volunteers used donated paints and took to anyone’s home that needed a boost. Murals started to spread like wildfire, creating a brighter Pedasi each day. I even found myself involved helping paint chairs for a new restaurant. Almost every person contributed to the first farmers market and it was an impressive success. A final hooray for the town, the cherry on the cake was receiving a fancy new sign and celebration from the big city cats of the tourism board. The spirit and pride of this place was palpable for that week and sure to vibrate on for a long time.
But don’t let these descriptions of a sleepy and quiet town fool you. While many residents lie dormant in hammocks, Pedasi is always on the verge of a party like an active volcano is on watch for explosion. It can happen anytime, any hour and is sure to be accompanied by the worlds largest secret stash of fireworks. The famous Catholic celebration of Carnival I hear is what Pedasi lives for, waits for all year. I think this is what they are practicing for the rest of the time. Honing in those fireworks lighting skills and playing loud music till the wee hours of the night. No sleep for the restless. They don’t even bother to properly store the floats and decorations. They are left out in open lots, readily accessible at all times. Ain’t no party like a Pedasi party.
So for now, Pedasi remains the safest, sweetest little town in Panama where the locals take pride and take care of each other. This place has left me with all the feels of a thriving community.