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Shopping at the fish market in Panama City

Living on Avenida Balboa Panama City

By Melissa Darnay in Panama City

I’m from Dallas–which means I’m a big-city girl–but I’ve never lived in the heart of a city before. Living on Avenida Balboa, I’ve gotten to experience the very best that Panama City has to offer.

I spent three months in a high rise condo on Balboa Avenue, and the whole city was at my fingertips. Almost everything is within walking distance. For those who prefer to ride, taxis are plentiful and cheap. Plan on just a few dollars to get anywhere near Avenida Balboa. Here is just a sampling of what’s available:

  • Cinta Costera: The Cinta Costera is Panama City’s waterfront area, with large walking trails, biking trails, workout stations, playgrounds, tennis courts, and more. On a Sunday morning, it’s a place to see and be seen while walking your dog, roller blading, riding your bike, playing tennis, or taking a leisurely stroll.
  • Shopping:  There are two main malls that service the Avenida Balboa area. MultiCentro Mall is on Balboa Avenue. It is home to shops, restaurants, a casino, and the Hard Rock Hotel. There is even a full-size Jewish grocery store attached to the mall. The other main mall is the MultiPlaza Pacific Mall. It’s a high-end mall that offers designer stores such as Louis Vuitton, Armani and Cartier. Aside from the big malls, there are hundreds of small boutiques where you’ll get handmade chocolates, wedding dresses, kitchen gadgets, and Panama fashions.
  • Fish Market: The fish market is an easy stroll down the Cinta Costera. It is open daily and offers a wide selection of freshly caught fish, from corvina to octopus to langostinos. Aside from buying fish for your evening meal, you can get dozens of different types of fresh ceviche. The ceviche is served in big Styrofoam cups and comes with crackers. For $2-$3, you can sit outside the fish market and have a light meal.
  • Casco Viejo: It’s only a few minutes past the fish market to Casco Viejo, where you’ll find more bars, restaurants and shops than you’ll know what to do with. This is the old town and is definitely a must-see tourist destination. You’ll see tourists mixing with artists stirred in with locals of all flavors.
  • Restaurants: I’ve tried counting how many restaurants are within walking distance of Avenida Balboa, and I lost track at 50. The restaurants in Panama City are spectacular. I keep a Top 10 Favorites list in my head, but it changes almost every week when I eat another fabulous meal. You’re sure to find your favorite type of food: Italian, French, Peruvian, and Middle Eastern; pizza, fresh seafood, steak, breakfast, and more. The restaurants are one of the main attractions in Panama City.
  • Nightlife: If you like to party until dawn, you have many options. Calle Uruguay is a major hot spot for restaurants, bars and clubs, as is Casco Viejo. You can also party like a rock star at the Hard Rock or watch tango dancing at Petit Paris.
  • Casinos: Gamblers won’t run out of casinos in the city. Bring Lady Luck with you!
panama usa europe real estate balboa

Walking the dog on the Cinta Costera

If you’re considering living on Avenida Balboa, my two favorite condos are the Villa del Mar by Bern (at the Corner of Avenida Balboa and Calle Uruguay) and, just off Balboa in Panama Pacifico,  GrandTower by The Group (right next to Trump Tower at half the price). If you’d like to know more about either condo, email me at

Until then, I’ll see you on Avenida Balboa!

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