Panama City is a modern metropolis with a skyline to rival that of Miami. The Panama Bay is the blue backdrop for towers that sparkle at night. They house ocean-view apartments and sleek executive offices filled with an international set. A jaunt along the Cinta Costera will show you the best the city has to offer. This network of roads, walkways, bicycle paths, and green areas is sandwiched between the bay and the artery known also as Balboa Avenue.
Everything from the traditional fish market to the five-star Hilton Panama is accessible by foot or bicycle from here. You can buy fresh Panamanian produce and a vast range of imports like wine and cheese…visit a fancy casino or dine at a cozy little steakhouse that’s been around for decades…take in a first-run movie or sign up for Pilates classes. Art, culture, dining, sports…whatever your interest, it is represented here. The world comes to you when you’re in Panama City.
Skyscrapers and bay views aren’t all this bustling capital have to offer. In fact, the city’s popular metropolitan area packs a range of diverse neighborhoods into a strip about 14 miles long (along the Panama Bay) and less than four miles wide.
One of the most popular neighborhoods, Ancon, is at the city’s western tip. Known as the former Canal Zone, this was once home to U.S. bases and thousands of military households. In some ways, this still looks like small-town USA. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a condo here. Most of the district consists of spacious homes with green yards and flower gardens…nary a tower in sight. Property here is coveted by ever-growing numbers of affluent locals and expats (a large number of them North American).
You can find a two-bedroom, three-bathroom duplex in the Los Rios sector of Ancon for $375,000. Surrounded by rainforest and close to the Panama Canal’s Miraflores Visitor Center, the house is about 1,900 square feet, with a lot size of over 6,800 square feet. Single-family homes in neighboring Albrook and Clayton are in demand and cost in the $400,000-and-up range.
These family-friendly Ancon neighborhoods are known for their lush rainforest setting and the many tropical birds this attracts. From here, you have quick and easy access to the Bridge of the Americas, which leads out of the city to the beaches of the west. Coronado is just an hour’s drive away.
Further east and closer to the city center, you’ll find some great-value apartments. The El Cangrejo sector is walkable and centrally located. It’s also just off the Metro de Panama, the city’s new light rail. From here, you can hop Line One of the Metro to Albrook Mall. Once Line Two is complete, there’ll be connections to the Tocumen district and the airport known as the Hub of the Americas. A big El Rey supermarket is located in El Cangrejo, as well as numerous cafés, eateries, department stores, and nearly any other service you could want or need.
Here a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, of over 1,000 square feet, can be bought for $170,000.
Want an ocean view? One of the Panama City neighborhoods with the most cachet is Punta Paitilla. It’s just off the Cinta Costera, my favorite place to walk when the sun is gone for the day. The temperature sinks ten degrees or so to a delicious 78 F and people of all ages turn out to unwind and enjoy the breeze.
A three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment with a view of the bay can be bought here for $180,000. Over 1,500 square feet in size, I found one on sale that’s located in a doorman building by the Plaza Paitilla hotel, an iconic landmark due to its cylindrical shape. In a nearby building, a new, two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit with a city view is also available. Asking price for the 1,100-square-foot unit is $185,000.
This breezy city sector is popular for more than the high value real estate. It’s lined with old trees and stately buildings both new and old. In adjacent Punta Pacifica you’ll find a gleaming hospital affiliated with the prestigious Johns Hopkins International and Multiplaza Mall, a local favorite. You couldn’t ask for a more central, cosmopolitan location. Try finding better value in other world-class cities like Miami and you’ll agree…Panama City takes the cake.