Some areas favoured by expats include:
Punta Paitilla and Punta Pacifica
These are neighbourhoods in the south of the city. In Punta Paitilla, you can find new and old buildings, and some houses with a small green area. In Punta Pacifica, there are all the new condos, with high standards of security and excellent recreational areas (pool, sauna, squash courts, playground, barbecue grill, and ballrooms). Both areas are safe and considered exclusive, often with a sea view and close to restaurants, shopping malls and hospitals. Most residents are expats and diplomats from all over the world along with wealthy Panamanians.
One of the main streets of the city, located on the south with access to a pathway next to the ocean. This neighbourhood is very dynamic, with restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, nightclubs and pubs (especially in Calle Urugay). It is also very central. You should just be aware of the possible noise issue, since Avenida Balboa is a 10-lane road, which is often very busy.
Near Calle 50, another main street of the city. It is close to the convention center Atlapa, and near Parque Omar, the largest park in the city. San Francisco has a mixture of new and old buildings, and big houses with gardens and pools. You can also find supermarkets, delicatessens, cafés and restaurants.
The old city, it is completely different from the rest of the Panama City. It feels like a small European neighbourhood with plazas, kids playing outside, old men playing dominoes on the street, or women with hair-rollers listening to salsa and merengue on their balconies. You will find art galleries, festivals, jazz clubs, nice restaurants and cafés. There are no supermarkets or McDonald’s in this part of the city. You will find historic buildings that might need some renovation and parking space is often an issue.
Costa del Este
A bit outside of the city, on the east part, is this new neighbourhood. This posh district is connected to San Francisco by a modern highway (Corredor Sur). It takes ten minutes to get from the neighborhood to San Francisco when there are no traffic jams. You will find new buildings and American-style residential communities that are small villages with private security staff. It is the favourite neighbourhood for elite Panamanians and expats, especially those from Latin America. It has a number of shopping plazas, banks, parks and restaurants, without the noise from the city. It is also an ideal neighborhood for expats moving with kids.
Albrook and Clayton
Located around 6 km from the city center, around 20 minutes by car on a working day. Both are residential neighbourhoods with many green areas and are very quiet. You can go out to jog or take your dog out for a walk. Both areas are near the Canal of Panama zone, and the Albrook mall, one of the largest in the city. These areas used to be the North American zone, and the architecture resembles that of a small American town. Houses are very common in this area.