Panama has it all
Panama’s merchants, operating in one of the great crossroads of the world, bring to the isthmus the finest merchandise; and the volume generated by buyers who flock in from all over the Americas guarantees variety and excellent prices.
The Colon Free Zone is a significant contributor to Panama’s success as a shopping center. Many wholesalers operating in the Colon Free Zone have retail outlets in Panama City and city shops draw on the huge variety offered in the zone and pass price advantage on to their customers.
Panama’s old-established and traditional shopping areas are Avenida Central, now a pedestrian precinct, and Calidonia, the extension of Avenida Central up the first few hundred yards of Via España, but in recent years big malls and commercial centers have been developed.
There is a good selection of shopping on Via España in the main hotel and banking area, which also offers the Plaza Concordia.
Albrook Mall is a huge complex between Marcos A Gelabert Airport and the country’s central bus station (El Gran Terminal).
In the center of the city on Avenida Balboa adjacent to the banking and hotel area is the Multicentro Mall, a multi-storied complex of impressive architecture, incorporating a large casino and the Decapolis Hotel.
The Multiplaza Pacific, yet another gigantic mall, is located in the newly-developed and fashionable area of Punta Pacífica.
Metro Mall, situated ten minutes from Tocumen International Airport, is the most recent mall to open. It is convenient for in-transit passengers eager to find big-name brands at reasonable prices.
The following is a summary of some of the fine shopping.
HANDICRAFT / SOUVENIRS
Reprosa: This unique store, located on Ave Samuel Lewis in the city’s Obarrio district and on Ave. A, Casco Antiguo specializes in reproductions of pre-Columbian gold and silver jewelry. They also offer reproductions of natural items of beauty such as orchids and seashells, in the form of brooches, pendants, earrings, necklaces and charms. Some of the items are surprisingly moderate in price and each one makes a delightful memento or gift.
Casa Latina, situated on Avenida A and 5th Street in the Casco Antiguo, is the place to browse for high quality souvenirs, not just from Panama but from all over Central and South America. Among their unusual merchandise visitors will find a range of fine alpaca clothing in the form of dresses and scarves etc. Their unique jewelry and fine native art will appeal to the most discerning shopper. while the baskets woven by the Embera, Wounan tribes of the Darien are of museum quality. Sculptures, and of course, the ubiquitous Panama Hats are among the other treasures to be found.
Situated in Albrook Mall, local 47A, this store is the place to shop for luxury leather goods. The company was founded in Colombia in 1986 and proudly proclaims that “Velez is for leather lovers”. Shoes belts and bags are crafted with care for delicate detail which makes each piece unique. They operate a large chain of retail stores in Colombia and now discerning shoppers here in Panama can acquire these leather fashion accessories with their distinguishing contemporary look.
Deco Accesorios is a big supplier of hotel and residential hardware and architectural features. It also has a store offering unique ornaments and gifts for the home.
Abernathy caters to all sea lovers with the best brands in fishing and boating and many other water sports as well. With branches in Amador, Transistmica, Cinta Costera and Pedasi, you are sure to find a store near you. They also operate the store El Deportista on Via Israel and in Albrook Mall.
Amphora Duty Free: Located at the cruise port on Flamenco Island at the end of the Amador Causeway. As the name indicates, prices here for perfumes, liquor, cosmetics etc are cheaper than in regular stores.
For books in English and Spanish, in Panama City visit Exedra on Via España. In Chiriquí, Bookmark is located in Dolega on the road up to Boquete.
NAUTICAL CHARTS & BOOKS
Islamorada is the appointed Admiralty chart agent in the Republic of Panama, and the largest nautical bookstore in Latin America. Located in Balboa, Islamorada’s core business is with merchant shipping but it is also a fascinating speciality store dealing with all things nautical – and not just for mariners. You can find things like night vision binoculars or a complete selection of the famous Maui Jim sunglasses, down to souvenirs of the Panama Canal.
AIRPORT SHOPPING SHUTTLE
Tourists that transit through Panama and on to other destinations can now take full advantage of the time that they would normally spend waiting in the airport to take care of their shopping. A free shuttle goes every 45 minutes from Tocumen Airport to Metromall and back to the airport. Tourists who take advantage of this free shuttle service also get a discount Shopping Card that allows them to get great discounts while shopping in Metromall or Multiplaza, as well as discounts in selected restaurants in food court and cinema. They also offer a free shuttle from hotels.
Multiplaza Pacific Mall
This gigantic 3-storey shopping center, located in Punta Pacifica in downtown Panama City is 15 minutes from Tocumen Airport. The mall has 260 establishments featuring the most famous international and local trademarks. There is an area of luxury trademarks, and a restaurant and bar area. For tourists, Multiplaza offers a discount card called “Panama Shopping Card”, which provides special offers and discounts in more than 100 stores. Request the card at the Concierge Centers of the Mall.
This “supermall” located a few minutes from Tocumen Airport is ideal for travellers and tourists. The formula: bargain prices plus famous name brands. Stores like Titan, El Costo, Steven’s, Sportline America, El Machetazo, Panafoto, Audiofoto and Hometek offer “complete” shopping. The same discount card offered by Multiplaza Pacific Mall is available at Metromall.
This vast mall adjoins the Gran Terminal bus station at Albrook. With incomparable food courts, cinemas, theatre, virtual center and entertainment, it is a tourist attraction in its own right.
A European-style mall in the exclusive neighborhood of Paitilla, only minutes away from the city’s banking, hotel and restaurant districts and the main thoroughfares leading to Tocumen Airport and the interior provinces. It adjoins the Radisson Decapolis Hotel and the Majestic Casino.