Best Areas to Stay in Panama City

Americas, Panama, Panama City  /   /  By bestdistricts

Where to stay in Panama City – a guide to the only Central American metropolis

Without a doubt, Panama City is the most cosmopolitan capital in Central America.

 
Panama City is a vibrant metropolis, definitely urban, with a skyline that few cities in these latitudes can boast of.

With a towering financial district full of bright skyscrapers and a peaceful colonial atmosphere in Casco Viejo, Panama is a city of contrasts.

Being such a small country, the good news is that escaping the bustle and urban chaos is never far away in Panama. A few kilometers from the capital you can admire the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal or venture into the country to discover paradise beaches and lush tropical forests teeming with howler monkeys.

Getting around Panama City is relatively easy using the metro system. Although this means of transport does not cover the entire city (it only has 1 line), it is one of the most efficient ways to get around in a city plagued by traffic. For areas where the metro does not reach, it is best to use a taxi or go by bus.

Choosing where to stay in Panama City will depend on your particular tastes. The quiet Historic Center of the city presents the most colonial side of Panama, while the Bella Vista area is a more modern district. See accommodation in Panama City Old Town | See accommodation in Bella Vista.

This is a guide with the best areas to stay in Panama City.

The best areas to stay in Panama City, Panama

Our recommended area: Casco Viejo (Old Town)

Panama City’s Casco Viejo (Historical Quarter or Old Town) is located on a small peninsula in the southwestern corner of Panama Bay.

The Old Town, also known as San Felipe, is the most picturesque and historically interesting area in Panama City and is home to many of its most important sights.

Its colorful colonial buildings and several museums make this small neighborhood the best area to stay in Panama City.

In addition, Casco Viejo has an important leisure and restaurant area, with bars and restaurants of different types.

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, little by little Casco Viejo is recovering to its former glory after decades of neglect.

The metro line does not reach the Historical Center, so transport to and from other areas of the city must be done by taxis or urban buses.

A handful of boutique-style hotels have sprung up in this area in recent years.

Where to stay in Panama - Centro Histórico

Where to stay in Panama – Old Town

Accommodation in Panama City's Old Town - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Panama City’s Old Town – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Panama City

  • Panama City’s colonial district
  • Boutique hotels
  • Nightlife and gastronomy

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Hotel Casa Panamá

Hotel Casa Panama is located in the Casco Viejo area, full of bars and restaurants, and offers free WiFi, a spa center and pet-friendly accommodation. The hotel has a year-round outdoor pool and sun terrace. There is also a restaurant that serves meals.

from US$59
Budget

Lunas Castle Hostel

Lunas Castle Hostel is a colonial-style mansion located in the historic center of Panama City. Breakfast is included. All rooms have a shared bathroom and include bananas, coffee, tea and free crepes. There is free WiFi throughout the property.

from US$27
Luxurious

Hotel Central Panama

Central Hotel Panama offers an outdoor pool and a spa center in the historic center of Panama City, 200 meters from the Presidential Palace. The hotel has a sauna, fitness center and restaurant. There is private parking.

from US$149

 

 

 

Bella Vista

Bella Vista, located a few km north of Casco Viejo, is one of the most affluent districts in Panama City. It includes the popular areas of Marbella, Obarrio, El Carmen and El Cangrejo, among others.

This area of the Panamanian capital houses Avenida Balboa, known as the “Copacabana of Central America.” This artery borders the Bay of Panama and the Cinta Costera and extends from the elegant neighborhood of Punta Paitilla to Casco Viejo.

This avenue is bordered by a succession of impressive skyscrapers.

Bella Vista is endowed with multiple Metro stations (Santo Tomás, Iglesia del Carmen, Vía Argentina and Fernández de Córdoba), so traveling around the city is simple.

Panama Banking Center is located in Bella Vista, as well as the largest number of hotels.

This is definitely a central area to stay in Panama City.

Thanks to its good connections, its developed urbanism and the presence of important banking centers and residential and office skyscrapers, Bella Vista is a high-end (and high-cost) district to stay. Accommodation prices here are usually higher than in the rest of the city.

Where to stay in Panama City - Bella Vista

Where to stay in Panama City – Bella Vista

Accommodation in Bella Vista - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Bella Vista – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Panama City

  • Modern area
  • Metro stations
  • Very central
  • Restaurants and nightlife
  • Best area for business travelers
  • Great views

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Hotel Ojos del Río

Hotel Ojos Del Rio is just 2.6 km from the Metropolitan National Park in Panama City. This property offers a fitness center and a shared lounge. It has free WiFi connection.

from US$49
Budget

Hotel Roma Plaza

Located just an 11-minute drive from the large Albrook National Transportation Terminal and Albrook Mall, this non-smoking hotel offers luggage storage, free Wi-Fi and an outdoor pool.

from US$34
Luxurious

Marriott Executive Apartments Panama City, Finisterre

This modern hotel offers a gym, free parking and rooms with free Wi-Fi and a central location in the financial district of Panama City. It also has a terrace with pool and sea views.

from US$79

 

 

 

Calidonia

Calidonia stretches along the coast between the Historic Center (to the south) and the elegant district of Bella Vista (to the northeast).

Calidonia owes its name to the one that the Romans gave to Scotland (Caledonia). It is the only remain of that country’s efforts to colonize the isthmus at the end of the 18th century.

Calidonia is a district of contrasts. On the one hand, it has Avenida Central, a busy commercial avenue, and on the other, its southern limit offers a large concentration of sophisticated skyscrapers facing the Bay and the Coastal Belt.

Only five streets separate the working-class north from the chic south.

Central Avenue is now a pedestrian street with Latin American street market flair. In contrast, Balboa Avenue offers unparalleled views of the sea.

Some of the attractions in this central area include Belisario Porras Park, the Afro-Antillean Museum and the Anthropological Museum.

This neighborhood is connected by the metro (5 de Mayo, Lotería and Santo Tomás stations).

Mejores zonas donde hospedarse en Panama City - Calidonia

Best districts to stay in Panama City – Calidonia

Accommodation in Calidonia - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Calidonia – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Panama City

  • Commercial heart of the city
  • Cheap accommodation
  • Avenida Central

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Hotel City House Soloy & Casino

Located in Panama City, this hotel has a casino, an outdoor pool and Mai Tai Club Bar. The rooms have free Wi-Fi. The Interoceanic Canal Museum is 1 mile away.

from US$44
Budget

Hotel Lisboa

Hotel Lisboa is located in Panama City and offers a restaurant, private parking and free Wi-Fi. The historic center of Panama City is 5 minutes away by car.

from US$32
Luxurious

Hotel Bahía Suites

This hotel offers free Wi-Fi and a rooftop pool with a terrace. It also houses a restaurant with views. It is only 1 block from the main avenues of the city and has rooms with air conditioning, cable TV and a private bathroom.

from US$50

 

 

 

Around the airport

Tocumen International Airport is located 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Panama City.

Tocumén is the base and main hub of the Panamanian airline Copa Airlines. Copa connects Panama City with the main cities of Central America, South America, the Caribbean and the United States.

Named the “hub of the Americas”, Tocumén is one of the most important airports in the region.

In addition to inter-American flights, Tocumen also has connections to Europe and Asia.

Staying near the airport is a good option for international travelers who have a connection in Panama City.

Tocumén and Panama City proper are connected by buses and taxis.

Where to stay around Panama City Airport

Where to stay around Panama City Airport

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Crowne Plaza Airport

Crowne Plaza Airport offers accommodation in Tocumen, just 200 meters from Tocumen International Airport, and provides a free shuttle service from the airport, as well as free internet access in the entire property.

from US$99
Budget

Express Inn PTY Aeropuerto Internacional Panama

This simple hotel is located next to the Tocumen International Airport and offers a small outdoor pool, shuttle service and free continental breakfast. Free Wi-Fi is only available in public areas.

from US$44
Luxurious

Riande Aeropuerto Hotel Casino

This modern hotel offers a gym, free parking and rooms with free Wi-Fi and a central location in the financial district of Panama City. It also has a terrace with pool and sea views.

from US$109

 

 

 

Read in Spanish.

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