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Visiting Panama City for First Time

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in Panama.

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Visiting Panama City for First Time

Post Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:57 am

I am visiting Panama City for a few days (March 15 - March 19) before going to Mexico. I would like to find a place to rent in Panama City for those days. Is it possible to rent space for such a short period of time? It will be only me and my husband. We are U.S. retirees looking into moving to Panama, and this will be our first visit. Any suggestions?


Re: Visiting Panama City for First Time

Post Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:38 pm

I saw your post and noticed no one else had replied so I thought I would give my opinion.
My wife and I owned a condo in Panama for a few years. Because of work related issues we decided to sell. We haven't been back for a couple of years. So, some of what I know about the city could be dated.
Depending on what you are looking for in Panama should depend on where you stay. Panama city, although large, is only a small part of the country and not really representative of the majority of the country. The city is pretty congested and difficult to navigate. It could be better now that the rail system has opened. However, if they are still adding rail lines under the city, it will be a serious pain to drive around. If we ever needed to be at a particular place and time inside the city, we would drive to the mall (easy to get to and easy to park) and take a taxi. The city is absolutely worth seeing but in my opinion not where you would want to stay to discover the country. You shouldn't have any issues finding a place to stay in the city.
I would suggest that you take a look in the Coronado or Gorgona area. Lots of expats there. It will be easy to find a short or long term rental there. From that area you can travel to lots of different places easily. the city is about 45 to an hour drive. El Valle is about 20 minutes. All different beach communities are with in an easy drive. You should be able to meet plenty of expats that can share their experiences and give advice.
Rent a condo in a building NOT a house. Better security.
Don't talk with Panamanians about buying anything like property or cars. Many Panamanians don't use banks. If you discuss making a large purchase, some will think you have that cash on you. A good way to get robbed. We found Panama to be mostly safe with nothing to worry about. Just don't look or act like you have money and you'll be fine.
If you don't speak Spanish learn a little. Trying to speak with the locals with a big smile goes a long way.
Ask experienced expat about getting stopped by the Policia. What should you have on you? Use to, if you got stopped for a minor traffic violation you could give them 10 or 20$. Times may have changed. If you are going to be there for an extended time, you may want to make a color laminated copy of your passport with your arrival stamp instead of carrying your pasport with you.
A good resource you should check is Here you should be able to find lots of help for everything for your trip.
Good luck and I hope you have a great trip!
I wish I was there now enjoying the warm weather!!


Re: Visiting Panama City for First Time

Post Posted: Thu May 10, 2018 5:51 pm

How is safety in the financial district? Is it safe to walk around alone day or night in that area?


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