Malls To Open Markets
Pretty much whatever you can buy where you currently live is available in Panama as well. The official Panamanian currency is the Balboa, which is at par with the U.S. dollar. American paper money is used in commerce and coins used for change can be either Panamanian or American. The currencies are interchangeable and accepted everywhere.Supermarkets are located in every significant town or city. “Mini-supers” or what we in North America might call variety stores, are everywhere.
Open air farmers markets and roadside stands add local charm and color.
In Panama City, there are several large shopping malls:
Albrook Mall is a large, air conditioned indoor mall. It has movie theaters, a food court with 35 restaurants and many stores. It is located near the Marcos A. Gelabert Airport and the Grand Terminal (the central bus terminal). It has had recent renovations and expansion and covers 460,000 square meters.
Central Avenue (Avenida Central) is a pedestrian mall in Panama City that is six blocks long and is lined with shops and restaurants. Avenida Central is a fun place to do some shopping. It has a lively atmosphere and you’ll find plenty of affordable stores here, not to mention all kinds of interesting street vendors.
The Los Pueblos shopping complex is a strip mall, so you walk outside among the stores. It is located in Panama City near the Tocumen International Airport.
Multicentro Mall is a large indoor air-conditioned mall located in the Punta Paitilla district, which is one of the wealthiest areas of Panama City. It is the largest shopping mall in Central America and has a movie theater, casino, arcade, internet cafe, library and many shops. The mall is connected to the Radisson Decapolis Hotel.
Multiplaza Pacific Mall
Multiplaza Pacific Mall is a large indoor air-conditioned mall located in the Punta Pacífica district in Panama City.
Authentic Indigenous Handicrafts
Indigenous handicrafts are among the most popular Panama shopping items. Though buying them in traditional native villages is always more authentic, you can find handicraft markets in Panama City as well. The Mercado Nacional de Artesanías in Panama City’s Viejo district offers handmade crafts from around the country. The Kuna and Embera cultures sell their goods at markets in nearby Balboa.
Colon Duty Free Shopping
If you have taken an interest in Panama shopping, you probably have heard of the country’s duty free shops. In Colon, Panama, which is about a 45-minute drive from Panama City, you’ll find the famous Free Trade Zone. This conglomeration of shops features products from companies found around the world. Many guests of Panama cruises hit the Free Trade Zone to shop, and you can easily arrange a visit from either Colon or Panama City.
David and Boquete
David, capital of the province of Chiriqui, is the closest larger city to our Roca Milagro development. The Mall Chiriqui has a number of stores to shop in and a food court. It also has a movie theater complex. Elsewhere in David are many restaurants, hotels, a casino, hospitals, dentists, and lawyers, everything you might expect to find in any city. It also has car dealerships, many individual stores selling anything you can imagine, and even McDonalds and KFC restaurants if you need an occasional fast food fix. In Panama’s western Chiriqui Highlands, you will want to pick up some locally grown coffee. Boquete is famous for its coffees and most cafes and grocery stores in Chiriqui province sell locally grown coffee. A number of coffee plantation tours are available in the area to learn more about Panamanian coffee production. At Boquete’s main plaza, you’ll find a handicraft market where you can get items made by the Kuna, Embera, and Ngobe-Bugle cultures.
Restaurants and Entertainment
Panama City has many great restaurants, night clubs and casinos. Restaurants cater to every conceivable palate. The night life in Panama City is lively and if you are a gambler there are a number of casinos vying for your money. Closer to our Roca Milagro development, gourmet restaurants abound, especially in Boquete. And dining out won’t deplete your bank account. Prices in the trendiest restaurants range from about 40 – 70% of what you might pay in North America, depending on what you order. At many smaller, Panamanian restaurants a meal of chicken, rice, and a salad can be had for $2.50 or less.