Preview of Chapter Three
Where To Live and Invest in Panama City
A Neighborhood By Neighborhood Breakdown
Many expats and retirees loathe the idea of relocating to a large city. The heat, traffic, and pollution may not be conducive for a tranquil, stress-free lifestyle.
However, after three weeks of lying in a hammock, many would-be beach bums long for busy Italian restaurant, live Cuban salsa, or an evening of fine wine and jazz.
Even if Panama City is not your final choice as a place to reside, this is Panama’s primary hub for business and transportation and it is best to become familiar with what the city has to offer.
Panama City is the only place in Panama with true urban zest – the only real city in Panama. Other places in Panama such as David, Bocas Del Toro, Las Tablas, Coronado and Penonome may be called “cities” but they are really more like towns and villages. In many ways, Panama City could be considered the only true city in Central America by many international standards.
Above: The sun sets while the tide washes into the marina at the Intercontinental Miramar Hotel.
The wide range of fine restaurants, theaters, and nightclubs in Panama City can make it an exciting place to be. Panama’s true Latin flare and cosmopolitan traits come alive in the evening and often last until dawn and beyond.
Add shopping centers, tropical parks, recreational facilities, modern hospitals, international schools and universities, and it becomes clear why many expatriates choose to settle here. No other city in Panama offers the same breadth or depth of entertainment and infrastructure, and Panama far outshines the rest of Panama when it comes to cosmopolitan ambiance.
Despite Panama City’s relative size, those who live here soon realize how little of the city they actually use. The central backbone of Panama City is the banking district, which is comprised of eight distinctive neighborhoods: Bella Vista, Obarrio, El Cangrejo, Marbella, Patilla, Punta Pacifica, San Francisco and La Cresta.
There are also a few attractive outlying districts such as Casco Viejo (Panama’s historical district), the Panama Canal Zone (including Amador, Ancon, Clayton and Albrook) and Costa Del Este.
Above: Large tropical trees drape over this district on a pleasant sunny day in Panama City.
Above: Homes in one of the former U.S. military bases provide comfortable living for the new residents.
Above: A child plays in a narrow historical passageway. Modern Panama City looms in the background.
Each neighborhood described in the Panama 101 – E-Book offers its pleasantries and drawbacks:
– One of the neighborhoods is known for it’s wide range of eateries and nightspots.
– Wander this area to enjoy its bohemian air and vibrant student population.
– This neighborhood is so “Miami” you half-expect Don Johnson from Miami Vice to roll up in a white convertible.
– The prize for Most Construction Cranes Within a Ten Block Radius” goes to this neighborhood.
– This part of town blends 1930s architecture with Jewish and Muslim inhabitants.
– One of our favorite neighborhoods is located on a hill top overlooking the city.
– This former U.S. military base projects itself over the Panama Bay offering 270 degree ocean views including a close-up of the Panama Canal.
– Some structures in this part of Panama City date back to the 16th century. Today, funky bistros, hip jazz clubs, and eclectic galleries dot the cobblestone backstreets.
– This part of the Canal Zone is attracting all kinds of international businesses, tech companies, NGOs and training centers and is home to many employees from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
– High fashion and high retail, including a place called the “Snob Shop”, attracts shoppers and desperate
housewives to this district.
– You might spot Donald Trump or one of his Apprentices driving Ferraris and Mercedez SUVs in this part of Panama City.
As diverse and Panama City is, all of the above neighborhoods are crowded into a fairly tight area, which causes all kinds of traffic congestion and noise pollution. Buses and taxis race down the main avenues creating a “Dukes of Hazard meets Monster Truck Rally” show.
For investors, real estate has been selling briskly in Panama City and returns on investment have been staggering… but will the boom continue? We have our opinion, which may be shocking to some. More about the investment side of things to come in future chapters.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this preview of Chapter 3 – Where to Live and Invest in Panama City. As you can see, Chapter Three is designed to present a breakdown of the most important neighborhoods and the lifestyle advantages provided by each.
In the Panama 101 E-Book, you can read a more complete overview of these neighborhoods to get a feel for which one might appeal to you.