±JOIN OUR FREE NEWSLETTER
±Compare Expat Providers
±Expat Focus Partners
±Latest Financial Articles
· Moving Overseas? Tick These Items Off Your Checklist
· Expat Focus Financial Update July 2018
· Brexit Update: How to Navigate Your Money Transfers Around Political Change
· A Closer Look At Europe – Some Of The Best Cities To Move To In 2018
· Expat Focus Financial Update June 2018
· Expat Focus Financial Update May 2018
· Life Down Under – 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Living In Australia
· The Top 5 Things American Expats Need To Know When Filing US Taxes Abroad
· Expat Focus Financial Update April 2018
±A - Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Our monthly newsletter contains health and financial news, expat articles, social media recommendations and more.
±A - Join Our Community
±A - Read Our Guide
±A - Compare Quotes and Save
±A - Listen to the Podcast
±A - Expert Financial
±A - ExpatFocus Partners
ShoppingBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Panama - Shopping
Most shops in the country are open from 9 am to 8 pm from Monday to Friday, although there are some supermarkets which are open 24 hours a day in the larger cities. Most shops will take all the major credit cards, traveller’s cheques in US dollars and cash, although it may be cash only in rural areas and in some of the smaller shops.
Panama City has a number of shopping complexes, including the Flamingo Centre and the shopping avenue at Via Espana. In both locations there is a range of shops available from those selling locally made items such as crafts to designer goods. Multiplaza Pacific is considered to be a quite expensive shopping mall but is very popular. The Multicentro mall is famous for the number of boutiques it houses and the Albrook Mall is for low budget outlet-type shops.
Supermarkets are frequently used in urban areas, though those in rural areas are served by smaller stores. One of the main supermarket chains is ‘El Rey’. Most of its stores are open round the clock and you can find all the basics that you need. El Rey has had a reputation for labelling goods with incorrect prices but there are usually points in the supermarket where these can be checked before you buy. Other chains include Machetazos and Super 99. Super 99 supermarkets are often cheaper than El Rey for some basic items, but they do not often open around the clock. Machetazos supermarkets are good for those who want to purchase traditional Panamanian fare. Farmer’s markets are very popular and fish markets can be readily found along the coast so for fresh produce these are a good option.
Panama has strengthened its regulations on consumer rights in recent years. Consumers have the right to purchase goods that are fit for purpose and that will not cause them any harm. They have the right to complain to the seller if the goods do not match the descriptions given or are faulty and they have the right to an answer within a fixed period of time. For advice with any problems, there are several organisations which can be contacted. One of these is the Panamanian Institute of Consumer and User Rights (+507 390 8899) and another is the Unión Nacional de Consumidores y Usuarios de la República de Panamá (UNCUREPA), which is for Spanish-speakers.
The first port of call when making a complaint about an item you have bought is to take it back to the shop. Customers have the right to a refund, replacement or repair. Depending upon the type of item and the length of time it has been owned, it may be necessary to complain to the manufacturer. Copies of all correspondence should be kept as well as proof of posting certificates if you return an item.
Food items which are purchased out of season may be very expensive so many people in Panama keep to ‘in-season’ goods to keep costs down. There are some shops where you can buy all the same or similar items that are available in countries like the US and the UK, some of which will cost a little more than back home, but it is still cheaper than having them brought into the country specially. Other items such as kitchen gadgets and home wares are readily available in the larger cities and most of these are well-known brands.
As some stores, particularly in the duty free zone, trade at low prices, other stores try to compete, so there is no real need for sales, but there are frequent special offers if you shop around so it should be easy to shop for bargains.
Read more about this country
Expat Health Insurance Partners
At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.