First impressions of Panama

We haven’t written in a few weeks, we’re still trying to get settle in Panama, there are many changes happening and a lot of work, that’s why it has taken us so long. We wanted to give you an idea of what we’re perceiving about the country, keep in mind that we haven’t left the city yet, or at least we haven’t been far away. So, here it comes.

Cost of living in Panama

It might be because we are coming from Turkey but in general living in Panama is not cheap. Everything is expensive: accommodation, shopping, leisure… The only thing that it is still good price is the transport and the petrol. This means that if you want to come to this country for an adventure, you must have big pockets.

Moving around Panama City

Although they are building a second underground line it is still too little. The city is not that big, but it is not very well connected and the underground would help. Both the bus and the metro are cheap (0’23$ for the first one and 0’35$ the second one). There is a lot of traffic and the public transport doesn’t help it at all: routes are missing and commuting within neighbourhoods it is difficult; this is why we choose Uber/taxi (let’s forget about chivas/diablo rojos for safety reasons). The prices are higher but you won’t be losing as much time. We highly recommend Uber, taxis here don’t use taximeter (you have to bargain each time), it is communal (while you’re on the taxi others can jump in if they go on your way), they aren’t the best drivers and can be a bit aggressive. From Albrook central station you can travel around the country by bus easily.

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International environment

If you like to be surrounded by people from all over the places, this is your country. Although there are a lot of Venezuelans you can find all people from Central and South America, of course the Spanish population is high around this area. Beyond Spanish speakers you have lots of people from United States and Brazil too. You can create your own multicultural group.

Party time

There are lots of bars and places to dance, specially if you like reggaeton. There are other options for those who like electronic (Moloco) and rock (El Sotano). The best area to go out is Casco Viejo. For Spanish standards, party finishes early, around 3.30 they are already closing. In any case, if you like partying, you will have fun.

Sport activities

If you’d like to practice some sport, the best option is Cinta Costera. A 7 kilometres area with a bike lane (you can rent the bikes) and room for other machines around the seaside up to Casco. On Sundays the streets around it are closed to traffic so runners and cyclist aren’t bother. If that is not for you, the city is always organising sports activities: races, triathlon, open water competitions…

Close by but beyond the city

Unfortunately there isn’t a good beach around the city, the main reason being water pollution due to the ships going through the Canal. No problem, around an hour away from the city you can find clean beaches where you can surf, SUP, or just enjoy the day. You can also choose to go to the Pacific or the Caribbean. Keep in mind that you have to be prepared, or at least ready to pay for it (don’t forget the parasol), the heat can be overwhelming.

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Easter is around the corner and we will go away for a few days and will show you other places around Panama, until then, enjoy.

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