Those that know me may find this an odd article for me to write, reason being, I don’t like shopping – whether it is for groceries or clothes. However, hardware stores are exceptions! In those instances my husband waits in the car. The good news for those of you who find shopping a hobby – you have a plethora of opportunities.
Probably like most people I was amazed at the shopping opportunities in Panama. Panama City has everything you can imagine. The rising demand for high-quality products has brought in several modern megamalls that carry international brands, cinemas and food courts. These are similar to what we have in North America. If you are looking for selection and quality Multiplaza Pacific is the best option, also the most expensive in town. Multicentro, conveniently located off Avenida Balboa has various shops, a cinema and a casino. Located next to the bus terminal is Albrook Mall, a busy place because of the bus access for those coming from the interior and the low-cost shopping.
Visit the Web Site of Albrook Mall in Panama City here!
According to Wikipedia, Albrook Mall is the largest in Central America. Just 10 minutes from the Tocumen Airport is the Metromall. It was built for Latin Americans who want to shop for a day or two in Panama. There’s a free shuttle to and from the Tocumen Airport. It has more than 280 stores, 40 restaurants, banks, a movie theatre and a major hotel. The closest megamall to Coronado is Westland Mall which is about 45 minutes away, located outside of Panama City. http://www.visitpanama.com/en/westland-mall.html
There are many stores that carry inexpensive items, clothing especially. For example you can purchase a pair of sandals for $1.99 and up. One of my friends bought a cute dress for $2.50 has worn and washed it several times and it still looks good!
If you are a bulk shopper, celebrate. Panama City also has several Pricesmarts. This is a warehouse store similar to Costco which requires a membership card to shop. A lot of the brands they carry are the same or similar to Costco.
There are various boutique type stores as well that carry fun collections of items. Some are in the malls and others are located in the smaller strip malls. Now, I already told you I like hardware stores so I am pleased to report there are quite a number of different options and it continues to increase. I found the same name brands that were in my toolbox before I moved here.
Similar to North America, super store chains are present in Panama. They carry food, household goods, clothing seasonal items and more. One is particular has three stories with a cool escalator just for your cart.
Words of caution if you are shopping for clothes, the sizes tend to run small. Take the time to try them on because they don’t like returns. Before you leave the store, the salespeople will take your electrical and other items out of the box to assure they are working or the glass is not cracked or broken. This was a bit odd when I first encountered it, not to mention I didn’t speak the language and had no idea what they were telling me. Now I like it, it saves that frustrating return trip.
Coronado alone has four different grocery stores within two blocks of each other. People that have been in Panama for a while always say, “I remember when we just had the El Rey and had to go to the city for serious shopping.”
Recently I moved into a new condo on the beach and had to do some shopping for lights, furniture, bedding, and kitchen supplies, etc. It was a fairly simple task with the options at Westland Mall and Coronado. The only challenge I encountered was not having enough space in my car to transport everything I needed.
You may discover you have run out of cash before you are out of items to purchase. Don’t panic, they take credit cards and there are an abundant number of ATM’s available. Panama does not have everything but it does have the best shopping in Latin America!