THE AZUERO IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES IN PANAMA and one that I list as a “must see, must do” for visitors and investors. It is accessible from Panama City by car in about four and a half hours and twice weekly plane service in about 45 minutes. It has some of the prettiest beaches and towns in Panama.

Panama lies at the crossroads of the Western Hemisphere, where North and South America meet and the Caribbean almost reaches to the Pacific Ocean, connected by the Panama Canal. In the middle of the country is a peninsula that faces south, jutting into the Pacific like a green wedge, and caressed by the Trade Winds. This is a mountainous region given over to cattle raising, with small towns dotting the coast and villages in the interior. This is Azuero.

One of my favorite destinations is Pedasi. Here old times have not been spoiled by the influx of tourists as the people pretty much live the same as they have for years. A friend of mine by the name of Jose Goldner tells the story of life in Pedasi and he describes it perfectly. “There is slowness to Pedasi, a rhythm in the way people live day to day. It is inevitable that in a few days you will slow down. Your hurry will turn into a cold beer (for 50 cents), waiting for a local taxi to pick you up and take you to visit Isla Iguana, an island that everybody talks about with good reason. When you get to the beach, the fisherman that has been waiting for you doesn’t question why you are late. There is no need for an explanation, everybody is late. He starts the engine and somewhere on the way the hum of the engine becomes hypnotic, the ocean slaps against the side of the boat, a light occasional spray covers you. The water is warm, salty, rich and inviting. The ocean translucent, in a nutshell this is Pedasi.