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Where to stay in Panama City

Where to stay in Panama City — Live like a local in the coolest neighborhoods in Panama

Founded in 1519, Panama City is the capital of Panama. Thanks to its long history, it has a number of historical and culturally significant landmarks, and even a whole district dedicated to those landmarks. One of the things most often associated with Panama is, of course, the Panama Canal. Thanks to its construction, Panama and Panama City were effectively put on the map and the Canal helped grow the economy, as well as help the city grow into the modern metropolis that it is today.

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5 best neighborhoods to stay in Panama City

Thanks to the blend of old and new, traditional and modern, Panama City can cater to anybody’s taste. The city is divided into a number of corregimientos which is a Spanish term for district subdivisions. Below we will present you with our top 5 picks for the best neighborhoods in Panama City.

  1. San Francisco
  2. El Cangrejo
  3. Costa Del Este
  4. Obarrio
  5. Casco Viejo


San Francisco Great for first-time visitors who wish to explore the charm of Panama. Some of the more prominent landmarks include Atlapa Convention Centre and Parque Omar. Overall, this neighborhood provides a great mix of opportunities for relaxing and having fun.
El Cangrejo El Cangrejo is known for its exotic and fun nightlife. There are a number of great bars, pubs, clubs, cafes, and restaurants in this area. Perfect for those who like to party and dance the night away.
Costa Del Este Costa Del Este is more of a luxurious neighborhood with high-end shops, fancy restaurants, and pricier accommodation. However, it is not as touristy as some other areas, thus it is more quiet and calm. 
Obarrio Obarrio is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Panama City, which is great news for travelers on a budget. There are still plenty of things to do and places to see.
Casco Viejo Casco Viejo offers its visitors a blend of hip, traditional, modern, and historical. An excellent neighborhood for those who want to learn more about Panama City through its art, history, and culture.

Transportation in Panama City

Buses: an easy and affordable way of moving around the city. The majority of people in Panama commute by bus because it is cheap and they run often.

Taxis: are present throughout the entire city. They are yellow and don’t have any meters. You should keep this in mind when taking a taxi. Make sure to negotiate the fare with the driver before heading to your destination. On average, in Panama City, taxi fares are around 3 US dollars.

Where to stay in Panama City for the first time— San Francisco

A bustling and lively neighborhood with an abundance of options for entertainment, fun, and exploration of Panama City. An excellent place to come to if you are visiting Panama for the first time.

Things to see and do in San Francisco

These are some of our suggestions for activities and places to visit:

  • Atlapa Convention Centre
  • 5inco Cocina Urbana
  • Parque Omar

Atlapa Convention Centre

A convention center that has been opened for several decades. Frequently they host all kinds of events, concerts, sporting events, and other interesting and fun events.

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5inco Cocina Urbana

A restaurant that offers a variety of cuisines, ideal for foodies.

Image source: 5incopanama

Parque Omar

An oasis in the middle of the busy and loud city. The park has trails for walking, exercising equipment, and playgrounds. A great place to rest and relax, and see some great murals.

Image source: run_mela_run

Where to stay in San Francisco

Here are some of our suggestions:

Affordable: an apartment close to markets, shops, and restaurants.

Mid-range: a modern apartment close to Parque Omar.

Luxury: a large and spacious apartment with a view of the city.

For other options in this area check out Airbnb.

Where to stay in Panama City for nightlife — El Cangrejo

El Cangrejo is one of the trendiest and most vibrant areas in all of Panama City. This neighborhood has everything, from low-key and chill coffee shops to colorful and exhilarating bars, clubs, and pubs. 

Things to see and do in El Cangrejo

Here are some of our recommendations for places to visit while in El Cangrejo. These places were selected based on the atmosphere and location.

Here are some of our picks:

  • Istmo Brew Pub
  • La Rana Dorada
  • El Chante Panama

Istmo Brew Pub

Head to this pub for a relaxing night out. Enjoy various types of beer and other alcoholic beverages. They also have a pool table so you can play a game with friends, or maybe have fun with the locals.

Image source: gpetersond

La Rana Dorada

This bar offers delicious food and great drinks along with a lively atmosphere.

Image source:  hreaper

El Chante Panama

This bar has a real local feel to it. Spend the night out drinking and having fun with the locals in an inviting and fun atmosphere.

Image source: pbeventspty

Where to stay in El Cangrejo

There are a number of affordable apartments for renting, with the average price per night being around $60. Most of them are concentrated in the heart of the area, in the vicinity of a lot of bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants.

Affordable: a 1-bed, 1-bath apartment close to transportation and all the tourist attractions.

Mid-range: a fully furnished apartment in an excellent location.

Luxury: a lavish and luxurious apartment.

If you are interested in other options make sure to check out Airbnb.

Where to stay in Panama City long term — Costa Del Este

Over the last several years, Costa Del Este has become one of the favorite places among international expats. This area also has a large number of corporations. When it comes to buying property here it is a bit more expensive, however, renting a place offers a great deal for a decent sum of money. Thanks to the fact that this area is so well planned, you are able to get everywhere very easily. Costa Del Este is also close to Tocumen International Airport, which is a great bonus. In this area, you are also close to shops, malls, parks, entertainment, restaurants, and so on. 

Things to see and do in Costa Del Este

  • Go for a walk through Parque Costa del Este
  • Shop at Multiplaza Panamá
  • Dine at Noi Restaurante

Parque Costa del Este

Take a break in this oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Take in the beautiful scenery and unwind after a long day.

Image source: comoyoveoapanama

Multiplaza Panamá

From high-end to low-end shops, Multiplaza Panamá has something for everybody’s taste and wallet. It also has a variety of restaurants and well-known fast-food chains.

Image source: otto.alvarez.b

Noi Restaurante

This trendy restaurant serves dishes from a wide variety of cuisines, namely Argentine, Italian, and the Mediterranean. You can also find vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options.

Image source: restaurantenoi

Where to stay in Costa Del Este

Due to the increasing popularity of this area, it is getting slightly harder to find a place to stay, especially for a longer period of time. Depending on the time of the year, and the demand, the prices may go up or down. Obviously, living in the center is the most expensive option, and you are more likely to find more value for your money if you decide to move away from the center. 

Here are some of our suggestions:

Affordable: a spacious apartment in a great location.

Mid-range: a modern apartment with a view of the ocean.

Luxurious: this apartment is just 15 minutes away from the airport.

For other options in this area check out Airbnb.