Here it is. Your ultimate go-to for on-the-ground intel about Panama City’s top expat neighborhoods and beach communities.
We take the guesswork out of moving to Panama for you, so you can decide which neighborhood or community is the right fit for you.
Read our in-depth guides for everything from shopping, dining and entertainment options to the best in healthcare, raising kids, community involvement and more.
El Cangrejo is Panama City’s trendiest, most bohemian and most multicultural neighborhood. It has become an expat haven for good reason: its European flair attracts those seeking a vibrant and artsy neighborhood, with bakeries, outdoor cafes and restaurants lining its winding, picturesque streets. Other Panama City neighborhoods may offer more by the way of luxury, history, or stunning scenery, but no neighborhood in Panama City has as much personality as El Cangrejo.
Read on to see if El Cangrejo is right for you:
It’s arguably the most walkable, convenient neighborhood in the Panamanian capital, where almost everything you need for the day-to-day lies within walking distance. And, with the new metro line stopping in two different sections of El Cangrejo, it has recently become even better connected.
El Cangrejo is a hub of activity for the whole family, with Christmas fairs and “snow storm” parties, folkloric festivals, as well as a mini marathon, gay parade, and year round festivals like outdoor concerts and community events. Parque Andres Bello is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a workout with great equipment, and, on weekends, join a yoga or zumba class and walking, running and tai-chi clubs. The park also hosts festivals, fairs and dance performances, complete with food vendors and handicrafts for sale.
El Cangrejo is chock full of excellent grocery shopping and restaurant options from upscale European to Argentine, Mexican and Cuban to Lebanese, Japanese, Chinese and the list goes on. And, El Cangrejo comes alive at night, dotted with bars and pubs (home to some of Panama’s best budding microbreweries), live music venues, as well as theaters, nightclubs and casinos.
Many of us raised our families in El Cangrejo and can truly say it’s great for kids, with a host of options from bilingual daycares all the way through to excellent high schools. Parque Andres Bello is our go-to spot on weekday afternoons, where you’ll find families (and kids) from all over the world playing on brand new equipment, including the kid-friendly zip line! And safety’s a non issue in El Cangrejo, given the hotels, buildings, and tourist activity going on 24/7.
Finally, El Cangrejo is also home to excellent healthcare options for expats, including a clinic with world-class specialists available six days a week, and a Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospital -- as well as several other excellent options -- a 10 minute ride away.
Click here for the latest El Cangrejo real estate listings or here to download your in-depth guide to El Cangrejo, including top tips for dining, nightlife and entertainment, grocery shopping, healthcare, and more. And… if you’re in town for the first time, check out our “Perfect Saturday in El Cangrejo” for the best of the best this unique neighborhood has to offer.
A short walk from Calle 50 and the Banking District, Balboa Avenue is a place to see and be seen. It’s a place of seeming contradictions -- a hub for the city’s commerce, home to its new architectural landmarks, a glistening scene of world-class dining and a shopping mecca for fashionistas from Paris to Palm Beach. But it’s also where local fishermen unload their catch at dawn and serve up the freshest ceviches at the Mercado de Mariscos. It’s where locals and tourists alike, every weekend, go to stroll along the Cinta Costera and sample Panama’s street food scene at its best. Its this eclectic energy that keeps Balboa Avenue buzzing.
Here are some of the reasons Balboa Avenue consistently tops expats’ lists on where to live in the city:
Balboa Avenue is a focal point for the city’s big-name events. From ballet performances, triathlons and all the parades you can imagine (for Christmas, Carnival, Pride, Disney…) to electronic dance parties, there’s always something on.
The Cinta Costera is THE place to get active in the city. Look out at the Pacific as you jog, roller-blade or downward dog – you’ll be doing it on 9km of the widest and nicest paved lanes and newest workout equipment. Nestled amidst the palm trees, you’ll also find a state-of-the-art skate park, brand new kiddie playgrounds, workout stations, and tennis, volleyball and basketball courts. Plus the Cinta Costera is closed to cars altogether on Sundays from 6am to noon. Balboa Avenue is also home to some of the city’s hippest gyms, yoga, pilates and dance studios.
The best in shopping: Balboa Avenue’s luxury malls are all a short walk away, featuring designer labels from Paris, Rome and New York, as well as award-winning Panamanian names and high-street labels.
Balboa Avenue is also full of excellent restaurant options from vegan and gluten-free to Italian, Brazilian, Mexican, French, Argentine etc, and some spectacular high-end places that dazzle diners with cutting-edge cuisine and views of the sun setting over the Pacific.
Balboa Avenue is also a surprisingly great choice for raising kids. Several excellent daycares and bilingual schools are in the area and the outdoor options for kids are some of the best in the city. The neighborhood is very walkable (and stroller-, roller-blade- and scooter-friendly), drivers are respectful and police is omnipresent, making it one of the safest parts of the city.
From Balboa Avenue you can get anywhere you’d need to in Panama City within minutes. You’re right at 50th Street and the Banking District and next door to the best malls in town. Walk, ride a bike or rollerblade to run errands and go out at night, or hop in an Uber or the Metrobus or Metro right up the street, which will get you straight to Tocumen Airport.
Click here for the latest Balboa Avenue real estate listings or here to download your in-depth guide to Living & Investing on Balboa Avenue. We take the guesswork out of it for you by covering the best dining, entertainment, shopping options and more, so you’ll know how to make the best of living at the very heart of Panama City.
A four and a half hour drive from Panama City along the Pacific lies the country’s best hidden gem: a small and charming fishing village called Pedasi. At the heart of the unspoiled Azuero Peninsula, it is home to the country’s best surf and known for its untouched beaches and wealth of marine life.
Pedasi has been gaining popularity among locals and foreigners over the past ten years as a place to live, work and retire, and a thriving and diverse community of locals, Europeans, Israelis, Americans and Canadians love to call it home today.
Curious why such a far-flung place is becoming a hot expat destination? Here are some of our favorite reasons:
If you want to get away from it all and live amidst unspoiled natural beauty on land and at sea, the Azuero Peninsula might be your calling: rolling hills of bright green grass turn golden in the summer and you’ll be a constant witness to Brahman cattle herds and their ranchers on horseback meandering from one pasture to the next. As top eco-tourism destinations, Pedasi, nearby Playa Venao and Isla Iguana are often mentioned in the same breath as Manuel Antonio and Tamarindo in Costa Rica -- without the crowds… or the price tag. But just imagine the potential.
The Azuero region is known for its spectacular Pacific beaches and is a world-class surfing, diving and sport fishing destination -- it’s known as the “Tuna Coast” for a reason. Beside the tuna, you can catch your wahoo, dorado and billfish close to shore here unlike in most places. And, while out fishing, keep an eye out for sea turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales in season (the latter half of the year).
Today, the Panamanian government is investing serious amounts of money in the Azuero Peninsula and major infrastructure projects are underway, from highways to two new hospitals and more. And, an increasing number of services, amenities and new local businesses are springing up to cater to every taste along the way. And, Las Tablas, 30 minutes away, is there in case you need government offices, large supermarkets, or an excuse to attend Panama’s number one Carnival celebration.
Pedasi’s real estate is taking off to take advantage of these developments, as several large investors are snapping up beachfront land and developers -- big and small -- are showing increasing interest.
In the midst of all this, Pedasi remains authentically Panamanian — from art to music to tradition.
Click here for the latest Pedasi real estate listings and here to discover everything Pedasi has to offer expats and retirees. This in-depth guide covers cost of living, real estate, the best beaches, dining, healthcare, social activities and community happenings and more.
Back in the 1940s, Coronado was a handful of sleepy ranches speckled along an unspoiled stretch of Pacific beaches. Today, it is the hub of beach life in Panama, offering fantastic amenities and the infrastructure to match the unrivaled surrounding natural beauty. Given Coronado’s picture-perfect location and its status as the least rainy spot in Panama (three days of rain during the rainy season!), it’s no wonder that expats in the know from the U.S., Canada and Europe have decided to call Coronado home and even set up new businesses here — in town or right on the beach.
Here are some of the reasons why:
Coronado is the closest beach town from Panama City. Hop on the Pan-American Highway and you’re there in an hour. And, once the Chorrera-San Carlos highway amplification project, the new Metro Line 3 and the new bridge over the Canal are all completed, new routes out of the city and a huge reduction in cars will make travel a real breeze. Hold your breath, it’s coming!
Once you’re there, you’ll see why living a year-round outdoor lifestyle is what Coronado is really all about. Think surfing, deep sea fishing, whale watching, stand-up paddling, kite-boarding and more — on land and at sea. Or, watch the sunset with literally the freshest ceviche in hand (and a cold beer to pair) along the string of beautiful beaches (read our guide to see which is the right one for you!)
Coronado also boasts four prime 18-hole courses for golf enthusiasts, all set within luxury communities with club houses and amenities to match.
And, if you’ve had enough of the beaches, Coronado is a great launchpad for day trips to nearby mountain retreats nestled amidst Panama’s tropical dry forests.
Coronado today boasts three shopping malls, a buzzing restaurant and nightlife scene with top-notch international cuisine, excellent healthcare clinics and a hospital, and several international schools.
Coronado has a busy social scene and expat community with book clubs, Spanish lessons, bocce ball clubs, mahjong and more to get you involved. Given its large retired and semi retired expat community, it also offers many opportunities to volunteer.
Finally, Coronado has top of the notch infrastructure, so you won’t be missing the ease and comforts of back “home,” whether it’s for a doctor’s appointment, shopping, or schools for kids. Coronado is home to one of the top private clinics in Panama, and two new malls opened up over the last two years in the area, both a shopper’s (and new homeowner’s) haven. And, when you read our low-down about the international schools in Coronado and the surrounding area, you’ll be thinking: Who wouldn’t want their kids to grow up in Coronado?
Click here for the latest Coronado real estate listings and here to download your Guide to Living & Investing in Coronado. This in-depth guide covers infrastructure projects and why getting to Coronado will only become faster and easier, how to make the most of an outdoor lifestyle, the best in golfing, deep-sea fishing, hiking and more, top dining, entertainment and shopping options, healthcare and more. And, of course, real estate insights and market updates.