One of the most sophisticated capitals in Central America, Panama City is both a vibrant metropolis and gateway to tropical escapes, from beaches to rainforests.
Welcome to Panama City, the lively capital of Panama, a Central American country located on a narrow strip of land that connects North and South America. With more than 1,600 islands off its Caribbean and Pacific coasts, this tropical nation is renowned as the site of the Panama Canal, which runs through its midsection. It is also globally known for its natural beauty, diverse plant and animal life—including hundreds of bird and tree species—and vibrant music and culture.
From pristine beaches to lush rainforests, Panama promises pure paradise along two coastlines: the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
With an abundance of deserted islands, relaxed Caribbean vibes on one side, and Pacific waves on the other, Panama sits poised to deliver the best of beach life and a whole new world begins at the edge of the water. Seize it by scuba diving with whale sharks in the Pacific, snorkelling the rainbow reefs of Bocas del Toro or sailing in the indigenous territory of Guna Yala. Meanwhile, surfers will be delighted to have prime breaks all to themselves.
However, beautiful beaches and idyllic islands are not the only treasures found in Panama.
As a multicultural city of nearly 2 million inhabitants, Panama City offers much more than a view of its canal.
Panama City is one of the most cosmopolitan capitals in Central America and a must-visit. In fact, it is three cities in one, with a historic district, a rebuilt district and very modern areas.
This bustling and dynamic urban centre is truly a metropolitan city in the middle of the tropics, where you can expect to see massive skyscrapers surrounded by breathtaking nature. And not to forget, Panama City is home to one of the wonders of our world: the renowned Panama Canal.
Home to the canal and the best-connected airport in Latin America, Panama City is the perfect gateway to the rest of the world.
Welcome to Casco Viejo, the historic core of Panama City.
Forbes Magazine called Casco Viejo one of the “12 Coolest Neighbourhoods Around the World”, and today many call it home for its distinctive combination of historic charm, healthy beachfront living, and a welcoming and eclectic community.
Founded in 1673, Casco Viejo is a small peninsula at one end of the Cinta Costera and is the oldest neighbourhood in Panama City. Just four avenues wide, it is also the smallest district and the heart of Panama City’s UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooking the entrance to the Panama Canal.
In addition, Casco Viejo is one of the wealthiest areas in culture, architecture, restoration and natural beauty. With narrow streets, colourful colonial architecture and a diverse population, there is definitely something magical about this neighbourhood.
Our experts say
“Panama City is a well connected, modern city being one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. The weather, culture, food and tax advantages make Panama an excellent choice for investors.
Foreign earned income isn’t taxed, and the buyers can secure residence permits with real estate purchases above $300,000. There are very low transactional costs to buy and attractive developer incentives.
We are partnering with some of Panama’s leading development companies delivering projects in prime locations.”
Brad Craw – Property Consultant
How to get there
It is possible to reach Panama by car from Costa Rica. Once in the country, visitors arriving in Panama City by car will do so via the Pan-American Highway from the west, first crossing the canal on the Puente de las Américas and reaching the Balboa district of the city.
Panama City Mall is the principal station to arrive at, and you will find many options from here to get to your destination. For instance, the Panama Canal Railway runs from Panama City on the east coast along the Panama Canal to Colon on the west coast.
Panama City is well-connected due to the newly expanded Tocumen International Airport (PTY), located 21km from its centre and welcoming frequent international flights. Services arrive daily from the US and other American cities, as well as European cities.
The main port of Panama City is Balboa, a port for passengers and freight vessels. The Panama Canal is the main route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It is also common to get a boat from Cartagena in Colombia via the San Blas Islands.
Known for its lush, verdant landscapes, Panama has a tropical maritime climate. It is warm and humid at sea level, with slightly cooler weather in mountain areas. And unlike North America, Panama does not have four seasons but two: the wet or “winter” season and the dry or “summer” season.
Summer, or the dry season, usually begins in December and ends in April and is when the majority of visitors choose to explore the city. Therefore, the best time to visit Panama is from February to April, when it is warm almost everywhere, the sun is shining, and there is little rain.
The rainy season lasts from late April until late November, also known as the green season and to locals, winter. Whilst there is hardly any rain during the dry season, it will rain almost daily in the wet season, although these spurts do not always last longer than an hour.
In addition to having a strategic location, Panama is constantly improving its infrastructure and talent to boost economic growth, its connection to the rest of the world and business competitiveness—leading to a mix of advantages for foreign investors.
Panama has enjoyed a very stable and steadily growing real estate market since 2005. Through the ups and downs of the global landscape, its economy remains one of the strongest in Latin America.
The Panama Canal and the use of the US dollar have fostered the strengthening of a globally-oriented services economy. Additionally, Panama has been one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America over the past decade, with real GDP expanding at an average of 8.4% between 2004 and 2013. Today, FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists foresee the economy growing 7.1% in 2022 and 5.2% in 2023.
Whilst the Panama Canal and related activities were historically the main economic engines, growth is also being driven by modern businesses and the financial services sector. Today, Panama is home to over 140 regional offices of multinational companies, including Procter & Gamble, Heineken, Caterpillar, BMW and ArcelorMittal.
Since 2012, Panama City has experienced growth in development through a complete infrastructure overhaul with brand new transportation systems. The Panama Metro, a rapid transit that links the north and east sides of the metropolitan area to the city centre, was inaugurated in April 2014, the first in Central America.
This metro system provides transportation from San Isidro through the downtown to Albrook, home to one of the largest malls in Panama and the largest inter-nation bus terminal and domestic airport.
Today, the metro is planned to extend to 10 lines, plus a branch line to the Tocumen airport, by 2040 or 2035.
The beautiful beaches of Panama are seeing new resorts being built with infrastructures to support them. Panama has over 1,000 islands, and several of them are witnessing new developments that will make Panama one of the most popular beach destinations in Latin America.
Tourism has also been rising steadily since 2005, surpassing 2.5 million visitors in 2019.
Panama is known for its healthy political system and is rated by the World Bank as one of the most politically stable countries in Latin America. Moreover, it is the second safest country in Central America and the fifth in America.
Thanks to the government, foreign investors also enjoy constitutional protections and incentives to relocate through visa programs and other benefits, making it an ideal country to invest and live in.