Moving to Panama City? You’ll need to find the perfect area that fits you, and for many, that means somewhere that expats can adjust and thrive. There are many expats all over Panama, but when it comes to business and cultural centers, no place is better than Panama City. The city continues to grow at a breakneck pace, and each neighborhood offers something a little different. Here are what we believe to be Panama City’s top 5 neighborhoods for expats:
Panama City’s Casco Viejo neighborhood is by far the most popular for expats. It is the #1 tourist destination, and a hub for local culture, as well as some of the city’s oldest architecture, and a UN heritage sight. It’s also going through a renaissance of sorts, with massive refurbishment making it the country’s hottest spot for real estate. Casco has a vibrant expat social scene, but also a very authentic local flavor, which makes it ideal for people who want to relocate to Panama and really experience the best the country has to offer. Casco isn’t for everyone, however, as prices for real estate and nightlife tend to be very high when compared to the national average.
The El Cangrejo neighborhood of Panama City has long been a popular area for expats from all over the world. El Cangrejo is centrally located in the city and has many options for both renting and buying real estate. El Cangrejo is moderately priced too, which makes it ideal for people living off fixed incomes, or limited salaries. There is a huge expat community there that gathers at various local cafes, restaurants, shops, and bars. Also, there are many Spanish schools in El Cangrejo and many people in the area who speak English and offer English language services in their businesses.
While it’s not in the center of the city (in fact, it’s part of the old Canal Zone), Clayton is a great area for expats and has been for nearly 100 years. Due to its long-standing status as the hub of the Canal Zone, Clayton has an infrastructure that was set up by North American expats and continues to draw them in today. It offers tropical suburban living and houses many new tech businesses and NGOs in the nearby “City of Knowledge” business park.
One of the newest neighborhoods in Panama City and a growingly popular one for expats is Punta Pacifica. This is an area with prime luxury real estate, right on the ocean, with stunning views of the Pacifica Ocean in nearly every building. It’s expensive, but when it comes to conveniences for expats, it’s second to none. There is a 24-hour supermarket, a number of business towers, a marina, and easy access to the highway, as well as the airport. Punta Pacifica has very high prices, so it may not be ideal for people on a limited budget.
The San Francisco neighborhood of Panama City is very up and coming, and more expats are choosing this area now as prices in other parts of the city are rising. San Francisco is a huge neighborhood with a variety of housing options, so you can find a place to rent or buy at nearly any budget. There is also an up and coming restaurant scene there, and many expat-friendly social events and conferences at the ATLAPA Convention Center in the heart of the neighborhood.