Four Neighborhoods Perfect For Expats in Panama City




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Panama City, Panama is a great place to live if you’re an expat. It’s the center of the country’s business, tourism, and financial industry, as well as its culture capital. For this, and many other reasons, many expats choose Panama City as their home. Panama City’s size and cost of living variance between areas means that choosing the right neighborhood can be an important step in many aspects of your life here. Here are four neighborhoods we feel are great for expats, each with its own charm, style, and quality of life.

1. El Cangrejo

This is one of the city’s most fun, urban, and central districts. It’s also widely popular for expats looking for city convenience without necessarily the luxury price tag. El Cangrejo has a lot of hotels and tourism on one end, and a vibrant skyscraper-laden residential area on the other end. This mix makes El Cangrejo incredibly popular with expats, who can enjoy lots of well-priced restaurants and nightlife, find a variety of large and small apartments to share or live alone, and parks for recreation. The large expat community also makes it easy to network here, especially if you’re not familiar with Panama or the Spanish language yet.

2. Ave. Balboa

While technically it’s more of an avenue than a neighborhood, Avenida Balboa has some of the best properties available in all of Panama. It’s also the most accessible to main thoroughfares and highways, although rife with heavy traffic. Ave. Balboa is definitely more of a luxury address, but by expat standards for high end housing and amenities, it’s hard to beat. You will be close to shopping, nightlife, Panama City’s financial district, and the bay, where most likely your apartment will look over with breathtaking views. This area is also adjacent to the Cinta Costera, Panama’s pedestrian only coastal park, which gives you walking access to Casco Viejo, the fish market, and Punta Paitilla on the other end. Also, a great place to exercise!

3. San Francisco

Nestled conveniently between downtown Panama City and Costa del Este, San Francisco is a budding expat area due to its wide range of new and old properties, and access to key business sectors of the city. In San Francisco, you can live in a full family-sized house, or high up in a condo tower, and prices reflect both middle-class, and luxury budgets. San Francisco is growing in population, and therefore lots of new small businesses are popping up to meet the demand. This is the perfect balance of urban and suburban, and very convenient for those who need to travel to the airport, or into the city or Costa del Este for banking or other business.

4. Casco Viejo

Undoubtedly, Casco Viejo is Panama City’s most popular area for visitors, but it’s also become a big target for full-time expats as well. This is the city’s restored “old town” that is home to the national government offices, and a booming tourism economy. Casco is well-known for nightlife, gourmet food and restaurants, historical landmarks, and sight seeing tours. For residents, it’s a unique experience that brings old world Panama together with hip new trends, art, culture, and entertainment. Apartments in Casco are not as abundant as in other parts of the city, and therefore are priced relatively high. Expats who live there, however, think it’s a price worth paying, when it comes to the ultimate Panama City quality of life experience.

About Manoj Chatlani


Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, Panama Offshore Legal Services offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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