Digital Nomad Travel

The complete Panama City digital nomad guide (2024)

Last updated on January 31st, 2024

Panama City Digital Nomad Guide - Casco Viejo buildings

 

This Panama City digital nomad guide is everything you need to work, stay, and play in Central America’s safest and most stylish capital and one of the most vibrant cities in Latin America. While neighboring Costa Rica and Colombia enjoy mass fanfare, Panama sits between the two quietly courting adoration as a brilliant destination with a warm climate for working remotely and living your best paradise life. With year-round sunshine and more than 1,000 islands, this slender isthmus has much to offer sunseekers — and digital nomads. 

 

Remote workers in Panama City enjoy a multicultural ex-pat community, uber-hip hangouts, and sky-high oceanfront workspaces. News of a Panama digital nomad visa is further sweetening the deal. Here is everything you need to know about living and working in Panama’s picturesque capital.

 

 

FAST FACTS ABOUT PANAMA CITY FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

Panama City is majorly developed. You’ll find lots of places reporting to be the first, biggest, or tallest here: the largest mall in the Americas (Albrook) or the highest pool bar in Central America (Panaviera). After New York and Chicago, Panama City has the most skyscrapers in the Western Hemisphere. Panama was the first country in Latin America to adopt the U.S. dollar as its official currency. The national currency, however, is the Balboa, which exists alongside the Dollar in coin format only.

 

Panama is one of few isthmuses in the world, connecting two large expanses of water. 10% of all the world’s butterflies live in Panama and it has over 976 bird species, more than Canada and the U.S. combined.

 

A fact that surprises many people is that the Panama hat isn’t from Panama at all. It originated in Ecuador. Panama’s official language is Spanish, though English is widely spoken in the capital.

 

W Hotel Panama - Panama hats
A wall of Panama hats at W Panama.

 

WHEN TO GO TO PANAMA CITY

There are two basic seasons in Panama: the rainy season from May to November and the dry season, which runs from December to April. You’ll pretty much never be cold in Panama but you might be very wet if you visit during the rainy season when sideways downpours might interfere with your beach time. 

 

Every spring (in February and March) Panama comes alive for this multi-day celebration that’s deeply entrenched in the country’s culture. Nationwide, there are street parties, parades, fireworks, and mojaderas — water balloons, buckets, and even fire hoses spraying you till you’re soaking wet. If you’re around for the mega-holiday that is Panama Carnival, you’re in for a treat.

 

If you live on Panama City’s Avenida Balboa, catch up on all your sleep the week prior to the carnival as Cinta Costera and Balboa are the scenes of all Bacchanalia in the capital. A procession of floats, dancers, and revelers in wacky attire descend upon this picturesque locale for the city’s biggest street party of the year.

 

Panama City Digital Nomad Guide - Panama flag

 

WHERE TO STAY IN PANAMA CITY (NEIGHBOURHOODS)

 

Casco Viejo
Casco Viejo proudly wears the title of the coolest Panama City neighborhood and all but some of the nightlife has moved here. During the day, your time will be spent taking in the beautiful narrow streets, endless viewpoints of the bay, and a ton of attractions. Casco has several names (Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo, and San Felipe) and it was bestowed with UNESCO World Heritage status in 1997. It’s a place of contrasts with new and old juxtapositioned harmonically. Casco is experiencing a lot of regeneration and quaint cafes keep popping up.

 

If you’re working remotely and you’ll be frequenting these said cafes and restaurants, it might make sense to situate yourself here in Casco instead of making the commute from downtown Panamá each day. Casco is also quite safe and has a robust police presence due to the president’s offices being located there.

 

Staying in Casco also means that you’re a stone’s throw from Cinta Costera, the scenic oceanfront walkway and park. A stroll from Casco through the fish market (Mercado de Mariscos) and onto Cinta Costera will bring you face-to-face with the city’s famed skyline as well as a huge Panama sign to commemorate your time in the isthmus.

 

In Casco Antiguo, you have everything (almost) under one roof: yoga studios, hotels, hostels, restaurants, fabulous rooftop bars caressing the sky, gelaterias, cafes, churches, shops, and historical squares.

 

Club Elsewhere - Stories for and by The World Curated by Rosie Bell Travel Writer - what does a travel writer do?

 

Marbella

Everything is within walking distance in Marbella which means “beautiful sea” in Spanish. This modern neighborhood behind Avenida Balboa is also a stone’s throw from Calle Uruguay which used to be the city’s nightlife haven. Now it’s a quiet area to dine on the fancy food you fancy in peace, a bounty of skyscrapers, and Parque Ricardo Galindo. 

 

Punta Paitilla

Paitilla is a beautiful and built-up residential area next door to Punta Paitilla with stunning Panama Bay views. Remote workers who wish to live within walking distance of Cinta Costera and Avenida Balboa will enjoy living in this Panama City neighborhood. 

 

Punta Pacifica

Given its waterfront location, living in Punta Pacifica is lush. This exclusive Panama City neighborhood has an abundance of shops, private schools, and a private hospital, John Hopkins, which has English-speaking doctors. Punta Pacifica is also where you’ll find the Panaviera bar at the Ocean Sun Casino, which is the highest pool bar in Panama and Central America as a whole. 

 

 

San Francisco

If eating out is your bread and butter, you’ll love San Francisco as there’s a truckload of food trucks dotted around the neighborhood. Don’t miss a trip to Esa Flaca Rica which serves up the juiciest meat and veggie burgers.

 

If there’s a major event going on in Panama, it’s most likely to be held at the ATLAPA Convention Center, which is the largest in the country. Park Omar Torrijos is here too, which has free exercise classes every day. San Francisco is also home to Multiplaza Mall, which houses all your favorite brand stores from back home as well as a large supermarket, Riba Smith. 

 

Panama City digital nomads would be wise to situate themselves in San Franciso as it feels quite residential, it’s close to tons of stores and it has lots of wonderful places to eat that you’d only really discover by perusing the area. Remote workers here will also have plenty of opportunities to meet locals due to the plethora of cafes, brew pubs, and open spaces for lingering.

 

El Cangrejo & Via Argentina

“The crab” as it was called due to the way the streets sprawl out, is wholly cosmopolitan, yet tranquil enough to actually live in. El Cangrejo is a former Jewish enclave, though much of the population has since moved to upscale Paitilla and Punta Pacifica. A nod to its past is still evident through the rather large statue of Albert Einstein in the aptly named Plaza Einstein. 

 

Today, El Cangrejo could be perceived to be the most multicultural Panama City neighborhood, judging by the sheer magnitude of restaurants serving international cuisine.

 

For greenery, there is Parque Andres Bello and Recreational Park Omar Torrijos is a 40-minute walk if you’d like to get your heart rate pumping. Like Casco Viejo, it is one of the few neighborhoods that lends itself to walking.

 

Obarrio

Obarrio isn’t the most affordable place to live. Its streets are lined with embassies, shops, restaurants, casinos, and hotels. This is where you’ll find the Sortis Hotel which has one of the most delightful rooftop pools in the city.

 

Avenida Balboa

Balboa Avenue is a tourist attraction in itself, but it might not be the calmest place to live given the estimated 75,000 vehicles, which pass by per day. It is, however, practically smack on the Bay of Panama and many apartments here will leave you drooling at the decadent views though you will probably pay a premium for having the water right on your doorstep.

 

Another benefit of living on Avenida Balboa is that you have a park right in front of you, the ever-photogenic Cinta Costera. It’s also great for its proximity to Casco Viejo — it’s a short walk or bike ride from there to the Old Quarter.

 

some of Rooftop bars in Panama City Panama nightlife guide best luxury experiences in Panama - Rooftop bars

 

WHAT IS THE PANAMA DIGITAL NOMAD VISA?

The Panama digital nomad visa was created by executive decree on May 7th, 2021. The Panamanian government introduced it with remote workers in mind to help anyone working for a foreign company to be able to stay in Panama for up to nine months. This remote worker visa is extendable for the same duration. An immigration lawyer will need to help you with the whole process and this visa for remote workers is open to individuals with an annual income of at least 36,000 USD annually (or a 3,000 USD monthly income).

 

 

WHERE CAN I WORK REMOTELY IN PANAMA CITY?

Whether you wish to meet other remote workers and freelancers, or simply want a quiet space to gather your thoughts, there are quite a few options available for Panama City digital nomads — just remember to bring a sweater. Many cafes and public buildings ramp up the air conditioning, so if you’ll be working away all day, you might want to bring something to keep the arctic chills away.

 

Cafes in Casco Viejo (the old town) 

 

Café Unido

Unido is a delightful coffee shop chain with several branches dotted all over Panama City. The fine brews attract people to bring their work here, whatever the nature. It is not uncommon to see people conducting job interviews and transatlantic video calls at the Casco Viejo branch. Unido at Multiplaza is nestled in the rather opulent Luxury Avenue of the mall, neighboured by Dolce & Gabbana, Polo, Hermes, and Michael Kors. It is known for its clean décor, great coffee, and friendly staff and baristas. Panama isn’t generally known for its customer service, making this fact particularly noteworthy. Also worth mentioning are the cookies and impeccable Wi-Fi. Café Unido can be found in Casco Viejo as well as in Multiplaza Mall and Costa del Este.

  

Nomada Eatery

It’s clear that many eat at Nomada purely to work, particularly in the early afternoons. You may find yourself sandwiched between graphic designers and architects working on their blueprints as well as their burgers. Nomada feels very hip, largely due to the funky art dazzlingly on display from literature books glued to the bathroom walls to a painting of a sequin hat-wearing skull. The menu includes a fantastic breakfast and the lunch of the day is always sizeable, varied, and well-priced. 

  

Super Gourmet

Think of Super Gourmet as a Panamanian version of Subway with made-just-for-you sandwiches that are healthier, heartier, and certainly larger. This Casco Viejo establishment is as good a place as any to lose track of time. If you find yourself in Bocas del Toro, there is a small takeaway branch there as well. 

 

Benissimo

Benissimo just beckons you to enter when walking through Casco Viejo’s fabled cobbled streets. Once inside, you will be greeted by a host of tantalizing gelato flavors and the irresistible scent of warm waffles and fresh coffee. This cafe is air-conditioned so bring a sweater, just in case.

  

Lumaca

When you need a spark of inspiration, it’s handy that the coffee shop you’re working at has the most random facts you never knew you needed to know on rotation on the TV screen. This Casco Viejo coffee shop is cozy and has friendly staff members who gift smiles freely.

 

 

Cafes downtown

 

Mentiritas Blancas

The owners of Mentiritas Blancas in Via Argentina are fervent coffee enthusiasts and will take the time to explain all the options available to suit your particular preferences. Mentiritas Blancas is also a great place to try Geisha coffee, which Panama is renowned for. This coffee shop is particularly appealing for Panama City digital nomads and remote workers so you’ll find many of them there. The shop describes itself as an “Artisan bakery and coffee lab”. It’s anyone’s guess, however, why it is called Mentiritas Blancas, which is Spanish for “little white lies”.

  

Juan Valdez Café

Colombian coffee comes to Panama courtesy of Juan Valdez, referred to by some as “the Colombian Starbucks”. Expect a tranquil atmosphere and people chatting, trapping, and tapping away en masse. Juan Valdez Café has locations in Multiplaza Mall and Soho Mall.

 

Paul

Europhiles will know French patisserie Paul Bakery for its delightful desserts and laidback atmosphere. Its menu is laden with hearty meals, pastries, and delicious smoothies to get those brain juices flowing. Come here to get a large table all to yourself to lessen your workload — if the aroma of freshly baked bread doesn’t torment you too excessively. You’ll find Paul at Multiplaza Mall and at Evolution Tower.

 

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

California import The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf keeps remote workers afloat in Punta Pacifica, Balboa Avenue, Costa del Este, and a small branch in Multiplaza. Flying out of Panama City? If you’re flying out from Tocumen International Airport and need fuel to get some work done, there’s a small outpost there too. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has locations in Punta Pacifica, Balboa Avenue, Costa del Este, Tocumen Airport, and Multiplaza Mall.

 

Panama City digital nomad guide

 

Coworking spaces in Casco Viejo for remote workers

 

My Office Panamá

My Office won the Nomad Capitalist Award for best co-working space in 2016. Their newest branch is in Casco Viejo on Avenida B but their original office is in the Credicorp building on Calle 50, and it houses freelancers from Panama and beyond. The space is well-lit with a fabulous skyline view of the city, and the walls are emblazoned with Instagram-ready captions and motivational messaging. You feel instantly comfortable here. The friendly founders are all English-speaking, making it a very convenient place for international visitors. 

 

Selina Casco Viejo

What started off as a hostel in the sleepy Panamanian town of Pedasí has turned into a global brand that blends hostel, hotel, nightlife — and coworking. Selina in Casco Viejo has a dedicated coworking station with day passes available for non-residents. Once the workday is done, you can head upstairs to the rooftop bar and restaurant (Tacos la Neta) for sunset with nibbles and tipples. 

 

 

Coworking and workspaces downtown 

 

Workings

Workings has branches in two fabulous skyscrapers in Panama City for your optimum convenience: the prime location in the Tower of the Americas in Punta Pacifica, and one in Costa del Este’s Dream Plaza. Both locations provide terrace access, events, benefits and discounts, phone booths, a branch officer, TV, high-speed Internet, a kitchenette, and mineral water. Within Workings, there is Drinkings, where one can get their hands on all the refreshments the heart desires, including coffee and beer. There are also terrace parties with live music, masseuses, and yoga classes.

 

Panama Coworking Center

Panama Coworking Center has snazzy offices at the Prime Tower in Costa del Este, in Kenex Plaza in Obarrio, and at the Banistmo building in San Francisco. Members benefit from an outdoor terrace with a sea view, high ceilings, and business consulting services, in addition to the usual bells and whistles.

 

Workspace Business Center

Not so much of a coworking space, but an office and meeting room rental venture. Parking is available as well as virtual office services in case one needs a legal address in Panama. Workspace Business Center has locations in Costa del Este and Obarrio.

  

Business Point

Both private offices and co-working spaces are offered at Business Point Panama, which opened in 2015. Meeting rooms are also available for hire and coworking memberships are flexible. 

 

SPACES

If you’re looking to meet other Panama City digital nomads, Spaces is a sure bet. The international coworking space has a home in Panama City and membership grants one access to multiple Regus locations all around town (their parent company). There’s an on-site cafe (that does a mean chai latte), various work areas with comfortable seating and it’s right on Calle 50 with a multitude of lunch options wherever you turn. 

 

Panama City digital nomad guide

 

THINGS TO DO IN PANAMA CITY

The Panama Canal might be the country’s biggest international export, however, there’s much more to Panama City than this feat of engineering.

 

Hike Cerro Ancon (Ancon Hill)
Hikers are in for a treat pretty much anywhere in the country. Panama City, however, is the only capital in the world that has a rainforest within the city limits (Cerro Ancon). The brisk 30-minute hike to the top results in an impeccable 360 view of the city and perhaps, a toucan or two.

 

Panama City digital nomad guide

 

Spend a day on Taboga Island

One of the benefits of being based in Panama City is that a gorgeous beach is often just a hop, skip, and a jump away. The most accessible island to Panama City, Taboga is the perfect day trip on a platter. Affectionately called the “Island of Flowers” by Panamanians, Taboga is a mere 30-minute ferry ride from Panama City’s Amador Causeway. 

 

See the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal opened on August 15, 1914. It generates a third of the country’s economy and all vessels going through have to pay a fee, even if it’s a person swimming through (this happens too). The 14-mile Panama Canal serves more than 140 of the world’s trade routes. Go see the ships pass (and learn about the history of the canal) from the Miraflores Visitor Center.

 

Take a trip to the San Blas Islands

One for every day of the year, San Blas is an archipelago of over 365 breathtaking islands on the Caribbean coast of Panama, which are inhabited by the Indigenous Kuna group. At the San Blas islands, the sea is largely visible from any single spot. What awaits you at this earthly paradise is perfectly powdery white sand and warm, gin-clear waters that essentially render snorkeling gear useless.

 

The San Blas Islands Panama - Wishing on a star - Starfish beaches

 

Go to Isla Contadora

The Pearl Islands are one of Panama’s most glittery archipelagos and Contadora Island is their gem. It’s alleged that Spanish conquistadors escaped to Contadora to take stock of their inventory, granting the island its unique name (“Contadora” is Spanish for a bookkeeper). You’ll find lots of evidence of this period of wealth — and a curious ferry shipwreck. Contadora is also home to Panama’s only legal clothes-optional beach.

 

Taste the local cuisine

Dishes local to the region include sancocho, carimañola, and el centenario, which is made of fried bread (hojaldre) topped with eggs and a criolla sauce of tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, cheese, and fried pork rinds (chicharrones). You better like your food fried. A fantastic place to try delectable updates of traditional Panamanian dishes is Fonda lo Que Hay in Casco Viejo.

 

Visit the biodiversity museum

The Frank Gehry-designed BioMuseo is a celebration of architecture and nature on the Amador Causeway, a stretch of land made with sand from the Panama Canal. This kaleidoscopic daydream of a museum is Gehry’s first project in Latin America.

 

Flowers bloom outside Amador Causeway’s Biomuseo.

 

PANAMA CITY ROOFTOPS

What better place to feel the wind in your hair than on a fabulous, cloud-caressing rooftop? There are so many rooftop bars in Panama City. In the old town of Casco Viejo, one is particularly spoilt for choice. The scope of rooftop bars means that if you aren’t content where you are, you can essentially peer over your shoulder and peek at how things are going at the other nearby rooftops, which you can either see directly or hear the music playing from.

 

Tantalo

Take your Panama City experience to new heights with a visit to Tantalo. This is one of the most popular rooftop bars in Panama City and has been the pulsating heartbeat of Casco Viejo’s nightlife scene for many years. Tantalo is actually a ten-room boutique hotel with a bar and restaurant on the ground floor, however, the rooftop terrace is the jewel in its crown. The sunset lovers start arriving in the late afternoon to wine and dine on well-dressed culinary creations. 

 

Lazotea

Lazotea was one of the first rooftop bars in Panama City to have a swimming pool that you could actually swim in. It’s a fabulous place for parties and celebrations under twinkling lights.

 

Casa Casco

Casa Casco feels utterly elegant, but the staff members aren’t too fancy to play dress up. On special occasions, the terrace bartenders will don whatever props they can get their hands on to spruce up your experience. Casa Casco is the name of the entire building and the first three floors house three independently run restaurants. The fourth floor is the nightclub, Casco Club, and finally, the fifth floor is the site of the decadent terrace bar with panoramic vistas. Upon arrival at the roof terrace, you will be asked if you would prefer the city or sea view. What a laborious choice that is.

 

Panaviera

Experience the envy-inducing view at Panaviera at least once in your life. When next will you be able to say that you enjoyed sunset at the highest pool bar in Panama and Central America as a whole? Panaviera sits pretty on the 66th floor of the Ocean Sun Casino next door to the iconic, sail-shaped JW Marriott Hotel. Lamentably, you can’t actually enter the pool, but you probably wouldn’t want to anyway given how spectacularly you dressed for the occasion (hint).

 

W Panama

Celebrate that year-round warm weather that Panama City is blessed with by taking a dip at the W hotel’s WET Deck, a welcome addition to the Panama City rooftop bar scene. 

 

Panama City digital nomad guide - W hotel Panama - The Wet Deck - Rooftop pools in Panama

 

PANAMA CITY BUDGET AND MID-RANGE HOTELS

 

Selina Casco Viejo

The aforementioned Selina Casco Viejo is a one-stop shop for inexpensive beds, coworking, tacos galore, and a happening rooftop pool in the heart of the action in the old town. 

 

Panama Hat

Panama Hat Hostel is connected to La Milonga which is the place to be during any major football/ soccer game. This is important information even if you’re not a football fan as the atmosphere is glorious. The location is safe, there are often live music events, ample outdoor seating (for the Panamanian heat) and the food is just delectable. The owners are Brazillian, Argentinian, and Uruguayan so expect to find flavors from your travels if you’ve come from down south. 

 

Magnolia Inn

Magnolia Inn is a classy Casco Viejo mainstay in a 150-year-old French mansion. This boutique hotel and hostel welcomes travelers in charming, unique rooms with air-conditioning and orthopedic beds.

 

Panama City digital nomad guide

 

PANAMA CITY LUXURY HOTELS

 

American Trade Hotel

American Trade Hotel is a charming building restored to perfection while maintaining its Old-Word feel. The 50-room boutique property in Plaza Herrera has a grand reading room where guests may enjoy Hemingway in the afternoon and a glass of wine in the evening. Up a picturesque set of stairs is the rooftop pool which invokes St. Tropez-like elegance in the middle of the old town. This is one of the finest hotels in the city.

 

Panama City digital nomad guide - American Trade Hotel
The American Trade hotel in Casco Viejo’s Plaza Herrera.

 

Hotel la Compañia

Arguably the most majestic hotel in Panama City, Hotel la Compañia is the first Unbound by Hyatt property in Central America. This living museum honors Panama’s timeless history with exquisite rooms in three themed wings that are American, French, and Spanish. A selection of dining venues and bars will ensure you’ll never be hungry or bored and vintage posters, portraits, and paintings throughout will keep you entertained and informed.

The rooftop at Hotel la Compañia. Photo courtesy of Booking.com.

 

Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo

Introducing the latest addition to Sofitel’s prestigious lineup of legendary properties, gracing the world with its presence in early 2022. The brand is known for preserving historical locations and transforming them into luxury cultural getaways that reflect the character of the region. A former social club, this particular property has been renovated to incorporate the country’s Spanish and French past, maintaining the original French architecture.

Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo’s outdoor pool. Photo courtesy of Booking.com.

 

Central Hotel

A stone’s throw from the presidential palace, Central Hotel is steeped in history as the oldest hotel in the city. It’s elegantly decorated and has a spa, a 24-hour gym, and a rooftop pool. Count Ferdinand de Lesseps and Theodore Roosevelt are among the previous guests.

 

InterContinental Miramar Hotel

To ascertain the luxurious quality of the InterContinental Miramar Hotel, bear in mind that Panama’s former president Juan Carlos Varela opted not to have a residence of his own and rather chose to reside in a suite there. The appropriately named Bay View restaurant is on the same floor as the swimming pool where expansive views of the Bay of Panama are up for grabs. The hotel is situated on bustling Avenida Balboa right along Cinta Costera, the city’s prized outdoor park and waterfront promenade.

 

Bristol Panama

Besides obligatory 24-hour room service, Bristol Panama boasts a pool with a view and a peaceful open-air relaxation area alongside it. The gym is well equipped and spacious with complimentary water, fruit, and magazines for your reading pleasure post-workout. Yoga classes are also coordinated in the mornings depending on the number of sign-ups. There are 125 rooms in both towers of the hotel, each with impeccable city views or partial ocean vistas, and Egyptian cotton sheets are standard.

 

W Panama

Central America’s first W Hotel, W Panama draws on the Isthmus of Panama for design inspiration. The integration of local aspects is intricate and calculated; most of the furniture is sourced from Panamanian craftsmen (and women) and the chandeliers are impeccably styled bamboo fishing baskets. At the ground floor entrance, a wall of 70 Panama hats greets guests. Among the hotel’s amenities are the AWAY spa, two restaurants, eight sunlit meeting rooms, four bars, and the sky-high FIT fitness center. Let’s face it, hitting the gym is that much sweeter when towering views of Panama Bay and the canal are on the cards. 

 

Panama City digital nomad guide - The skyscrapers of new Panama from the W Hotel

 

IS PANAMA GOOD FOR DIGITAL NOMADS?

 

 

The cons of living in Panama City

 

Receiving deliveries is long-winded

There aren’t postcodes in Panama nor is there a consistent mail delivery system. Most people have things sent through a mailbox service like Mailboxes Etc or Miami Express where your package is posted to their depot in Miami and then brought to Panama where you pay for it by weight. Others rely on traceable courier services like FedEx and DHL, which aren’t wholly reliable either.

 

Reset your expectations about punctuality and timing

Panama time exists. When someone says “tomorrow”, this means any day but today and not necessarily tomorrow at all.

 

Pedestrians be warned

There are genuine holes in the ground in some parts so mind the gap. Besides Cinta Costera, the extended walkway along the Bay of Panama, the capital city isn’t too pedestrian-friendly.

 

Community

The community of remote working English speakers is not as robust as it is in Medellin, for instance. The majority of foreign nationals and ex-pats are not autonomous business owners or location-independent digital nomads. They are predominantly employed by the many resident multinational corporations or embassies.

 

The cost of living

You will have higher costs if you choose to live in Panama City instead of the capital of another country in Central America. The US dollar is used, tipping is prevalent and you may be surprised by the cost of certain food items (like avocados for example).

 

 

The pros of living in Panama City

 

No hurricanes

Panama is outside the hurricane belt so there is really no bad time to visit to avoid natural disasters.

  

Infrastructure

Internet speed is great in the major cities as well as many of the popular islands. Panama has the fastest broadband speed in Central America.

 

It’s always summer

There are powdery-white sand beaches and spellbinding archipelagos on both coasts and the weather is warm enough to enjoy them. Welcome to paradise.

 

Epic getaways

One of the benefits of being based in Panama City is that a gorgeous beach is often just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Bocas del Toro is a 50-minute flight away; the surf breaks of Coronado are an hour from Panama City driving and the island of Contadora in the Pearl Archipelago can be explored after a 90-minute ferry ride from the city.

 

MUSIC TO LISTEN TO IN PANAMA 

 

We curated this playlist of songs from and about Panama for you to dive deeper into the destination. 

 

 

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO PANAMA CITY

 

What currency do you need in Panama City?

Bring U.S. dollars for your stay in Panama. You can also withdraw cash from any ATM upon arrival. Note that there are high ATM fees for foreign bank cards throughout Panama City. You will also see the Balboa which is the national currency that exists alongside the Dollar in coin format only.

 

What language is spoken in Panama City?

Panama’s official language is Spanish but you’ll hear a lot of English, especially in the old town (Casco Viejo) which sees a lot of tourists. If you need to freshen up your Spanish schools while you’re in the capital, book a short course with Casco Antiguo Spanish School.

 

Is Panama City safe?

Panama is the safest country in Central America. It is notably safer than neighboring Costa Rica and Colombia but not without its dangers. Your level of safety naturally depends on where you go. In Panama City, the Calidonia, El Chorillo, and San Miguelito neighborhoods have the most reports of crime. Like anywhere, you should keep your wits about you in Panama City but for the most part, your trip should be smooth sailing.

 

What is the best travel insurance for Panama City?

Safety Wing is the ultimate made-for-nomads-by-nomads travel insurance provider. Protect yourself while in Panama with their flexible nomad insurance.

 

Can you drink the tap water in Panama City?

Panama City is the only place in Panama where it is genuinely safe to drink water from the tap. Some say that Playa Venao also has drinkable water but it’s best to stick to filtered water anywhere outside the capital city.

 

How can I get a SIM card in Panama City?

It’s very straightforward and easy to get a local SIM card and data plan in Panama. The main networks are Más Movil, Digicel, and Movistar. You can also get a digital sim card from Airalo that covers Panama (or any country in the world) before you arrive in the country so you never have to bother going into a shop. With the Airalo app, you can keep track of your data usage at all times and top up easily. 

 

How can I travel around Panama from Panama City?

From Albrook Bus Station in Panama City, you can get a bus to many outlying destinations around the country. There are also ferries to nearby islands on the Amador Causeway. If you’d like to rent a car and drive around the country, use Discover Cars to compare different car rental companies. You can check ratings for different factors like efficiency, pick-up procedure, and overall value. Be aware of bumpy and incomplete roads in some rural areas. If you wish to drive to the San Blas Islands, you will need a 4×4.

 

What are the best tours to book in Panama City?

Use Viator to plan ahead and search for highly-rated tours all around Panama. You can find tours with various price points and the site has a stellar 24-hour cancellation policy.

 

Do I need a visa for Panama?

Nationals of the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, and European Union countries can enter Panama without a visa. The maximum amount of time that you can stay in Panama is three months.

 

How can I search for a hotel in Panama City?

There are great deals to be found for short and longer stays (of up to 30 days) in Panama on Booking.com. You can search for accommodations and filter according to criteria like desks, air conditioning, private bathrooms, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

 

 

Hi, I'm Rosie Bell, a location-independent writer, editor and lifestyle entrepreneur. If you want inspiration and support to live, travel and work anywhere, look no further. Let's talk right here.