The Best Neighborhoods For Expats in Panama City

The Best Neighborhoods For Expats in Panama City

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Panama City is a vibrant, eclectic hub that has something for everyone – textile art enthusiasts, dine-in gourmet cuisine lovers and dancing enthusiasts can all find what they are looking for here! This city offers it all.

These neighborhoods are popular among expats due to their convenience, safety, amenities and upscale lifestyle. These vibrant communities attract young expats seeking more vibrant experiences!

Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo is one of the most desirable areas in Panama City for expats looking to relocate. Offering historic charm, vibrant nightlife, and growing culture – Casco Viejo makes the ideal location for anyone who wishes to relocate in Panama.

This neighborhood features renovated Spanish colonial buildings which now serve as boutique hotels, restaurants, shops and rooftop bars. Many of these old structures feature mural-lacquered walls created by Rolando de Sedas – a Panamanian artist known for creating patriotic artwork that transforms urban spaces.

Daytime tourist numbers fill the streets and museums of Panama City’s Historic District; after sundown locals come out for drinks and dinner at bars and restaurants. If you want to avoid crowds, try to visit in early morning or after 5 PM when temperatures are cooler; remember to wear sunscreen as Panama City can get very hot!

San Francisco is an up-and-coming neighborhood offering both affordable housing and access to some of the city’s top restaurants and shops, such as Parque Omar Park which serves as an oasis from city life.

Punta Pacifica

Punta Pacifica, Panama City’s most exclusive neighborhood, features eye-wateringly expensive high-rise condos that sit atop a petite peninsula overlooking the sea. You’ll also find top-tier shopping and international dining, not to mention an affiliated hospital with Johns Hopkins Medicine International.

The neighborhood boasts an active arts and culture scene. You’ll find textile art at Museo de la Mola, handicrafts at Karavan Gallery and vegan-friendly Geisha coffee from Sisu Coffee Studio; plus rooftop bars offering happy hour cocktails as well as creative Panamanian fusion cuisine!

Back behind Punta Pacifica are the lively barrios of San Francisco and Obarrio, which provide more wallet-friendly accommodation. Plus, with Cinta Costera just five minutes away by car, taking in local scenery is always easy.

San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most desirable neighborhoods for expats living in Panama City and attracts many of them, especially expats with families. It offers some of the city’s best nightlife and dining scenes; as well as large parks where residents can relax or simply enjoy being outside. Furthermore, this part of town is easily accessible from other parts of town; therefore making this an easily walkable area.

This area offers residents who want to experience city living without paying exorbitant prices a great variety of housing options such as condos and single-family homes, close proximity to an airport and provides convenient business locations.

Pedasi is an idyllic small town that attracts families and expats alike. Boasting an inviting community, Pedasi lies only an hour outside Panama City. While Pedasi may not offer as many amenities than other expat communities in Panama City, its quiet living spaces make Pedasi ideal for anyone wanting a peaceful life close to city amenities.

Balboa Avenue

Panama City serves as Panama’s financial, cultural, and tourism center – so it comes as no surprise that this vibrant metropolis attracts an eclectic group of expats. Boasting neighborhoods to suit different lifestyles – from young transplants looking for vibrant social scenes like Casco Viejo to luxurious retirees seeking peace and security in Punta Pacifica.

Balboa Avenue, situated within Panama City’s Bella Vista district, is one of its most beloved spots for expats. Known for its stylish apartments and high-rise buildings with breathtaking views, plus shopping and dining opportunities. Home to two of Panama City’s major malls – Multiplaza and Megapolis – which feature stores, Lenos y Carbon Gourmet (Panamanian cuisine) Tacontento as well as an IMAX cinema and Hard Rock Hotel; Balboa Avenue also provides stylish apartments!

Although not as established as other expat neighborhoods, Balboa remains a top choice among families due to its affordable properties and central location. Furthermore, Tocumen International Airport is only minutes away, making Balboa ideal for commuters who wish to live close by their workplace.


Panama City draws retirees and transplants from North America seeking a more traditional lifestyle, especially Chitre which is popular among expats wanting access to amenities they are used to such as hospitals and big box stores. Chitre also boasts an active expat community as well as cultural events including a weekend arts and crafts market.

Obarrio, known for its modern infrastructure, is a bustling business and commercial center filled with restaurants, cafes, shops and embassies/consulates. Home to high-rise buildings that define its skyline as well as shopping centers such as Multicentro Mall and Soho Mall offering numerous retail opportunities – Obarrio offers all of these things and more.

Although it is widely considered one of the safest neighborhoods in New York City, it’s wise to take basic safety precautions. This is especially important in areas surrounding bus stops and public transit hubs which can attract pickpockets. Also it would be prudent not to walk alone after dark in this neighborhood.

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