Top 18 Places to Live in Panama for Expats

Where do expats live in Panama?


Top 18 Places to Live in Panama for Expats

Climate, scenery, entertainment, social communities, types of work opportunities, retail options, and nearby facilities are all factors that an expat may take into account when deciding on where to live in Panama. Thankfully, Panama is a very diverse country, so regardless of whether you’re dreaming of a beach life, fresh mountain breeze, affordable cosmopolitan lifestyle, or a family-friendly suburban community, you can find it in Panama. Inviting foreigners from numerous nations with incredible expat laws, Panama is the easiest country to get citizenship. One of the most difficult aspects of moving to Panama is choosing which place to live since there are so many options to suit different needs. Here is a list of places to fall in love with and move to in Panama.


1. Boquete

A cozy rural mountain town in the province of Chiriqui with rich volcanic soil, cool highland weather, and an altitude of about 1,500m. There is no lack of entertainment with plenty of festivals, coffee and volcano tours, and welcoming restaurants and coffee shops. With a strong expat community, there are regularly-organized plays in English, a single expats club, and planned activities such as birdwatching, horseback riding, hikes and golf. For the introverted types with a love for nature, Boquete is a wonderful choice thanks to its tranquil, quiet, green, flower-filled village environment.

2. Volcan

A famous hiking location in a volcanic mountain near the Boquete area. Volcan is home of the Baru Volcano, which is the highest and coldest area in all of Panama and the tallest volcano in Central America with an altitude of 3475m.

3. El Valle

A peaceful highland community in the Cocle province of Panama, located about a 30 minute drive from Playa Corona. Many established Panamanians and foreigners choose to live there for its cooler weather and to be immersed in its vast nature. It is noted for its mud baths and tranquil residents.

4. Chica

One of the closest mountains to the city and a few minutes from the beach, situated in a conservation area. It is a jewel waiting to be discovered.

5. Cerro Azul

Cerro Azul is perfect for those who want the mountain lifestyle without having to live outside of the province of Panama. It is a small forest village at an altitude of about 950m, filled with houses built in a wooden architectural style reminiscent of North American mountain cottages. Although it is a small town, there are farming areas, waterfalls, hiking trails, and a significant expat community. The weather is much cooler than in the city and the abundance of greenery provides clean air and a refreshing breeze all year long. Cerro Azul is a hidden gem in the country, which is why there is not much information about it online. It is a fascinating place because it has the typical tropical plants one can see all throughout the rainforests in Panama, but it is also surrounded by trees similar to those found in Canadian forests that are not seen anywhere else in Panama. There is a direct road to Cerro Azul from the 24 de Diciembre town in Panama City and it only takes around 45 minutes by car to get there. This makes Cerro Azul an easily accessible, elevated sanctuary in the woods.

Panama Beach Life

6. Coronado (Panama expats’ preferred beach town) and nearby areas

Coronado is one of the best developed beach towns in the country with plenty of new infrastructures, shopping centers, restaurants, a high-quality medical facillity and a bilingual school. It is an excellent option for those who want a beach lifestyle while still being in the center of everything they need. The North American community in Coronado is very strong and regular expat social gatherings are held in various venues around town. Additionally, its location is convenient because it is only about an hour and a half drive to Panama City, where one can easily access the most cosmopolitan amenities Panama has to offer. The beaches in Coronado are a blend of shiny white and sparkling dark volcanic sand, but there are numerous other beaches nearby, and over 120 beaches to choose from around Panama for every expats unique preferences.

7.Bocas del Toro

An internationally acclaimed beach community with expensive resorts and exotic houses built on top of posts within the sea. It is a collection of islands with numerous beaches that contain a vast number of wildlife species. It is located on the Carribean coast, therefore it is an excellent choice to experience Panama’s carribean music and food. Bocas del Toro is also a popular spot for young backpackers and is a wonderful place to meet interesting people from all over the world. Bocas del Toro has many seafood restaurants, boat tours, and an exciting nightlife with friendly, outgoing residents and tourists looking to socialize.

8. Pedasi

A renowned surfing destination close to an agricultural and fishing community with a few resorts and a secret luxury hotel owned by royalty. There is a moderate expat community and a lot of transient surfers.


9. Punta Pacifica

The bedroom of financiers and rich Panamanians with a luxury hotel that used to be called “Trump Plaza” and has now been sold and joined the Mariott group.

10. Costa del Este

A brand new residential and business area next to the Tocumen International Airport. It is the center of affluent foreigners – many from Asia – that live and work in the area. The layout and aesthetics of this area are very similar to those of Miami.

11. El Cangrejo/Via Argentina

A popular spot for both foreigners and young artists. Via Argentina is one of the most walkable areas in Panama City as it is lined with affordable restaurants and bars that hold regular events. It is an exciting area with people oustide having fun every night of the week. It is also a great place to live with plenty of small apartment buildings with balconies on every floor. Having a large expat community, Via Argentina is home to a New York style bagel shop and even a Spanish school for foreigners to improve their use of the language.

12. San Francisco

A typical upper middle class mix of Panamanians and foreigners. It is full of nice restaurants, bars and newly-founded trendy food trucks with good food from different cuisines and low prices. It is home of the Atlapa Convention Center that hosts the majority of large events, conferences and trade fairs. It is also a good option for families, being a residential area with many gyms and yoga, music and dance classes nearby.


13. Panama Pacifico

It is a new residential and business community hosting some 200 of the worlds biggest multinational corporations’ offices. It is located just outside of Panama city, across the Bridge of The Americas but before reaching the “interior”/country side of Panama. There are penty of newplazas and shopping centers that are similar to those found in the suburbs in the United States and in Canada. 

14. Costa Verde

It is the newly discovered community for upper-middle class families. Located close to Panama Pacifico on the west side of the Bridge of The Americas, giving quick access to the interior provinces of Panama. Similar to Panama Pacifico, many new North American-inspired shopping plazas have been built in this area.

15. Clayton/Albrook

The Clayton and Albrook areas, located in Panama City, used to be the American Canal Zone when the United States owned the Canal. Americans born in this area are referred to as “Zonians”, and many still live there today, therefore there is a large community of North Americans who organize many English-speaking activities. There is an ample amount of greenery, fresh air and tropical palm trees while being just a 15 minute drive from the downtown center of the city. The huge Kiwanis Park in Clayton is a great spot for walking, exercising, or simply enjoying family time with its pool, sports fields, and regularly organized yoga classes and music festivals. Old military buildings in the area continue to be repurposed into recreation centers and classrooms or galleries for art. It is an excellent choice for families as this area is the center of most of the best bilingual private schools in Panama. Florida State University also has its own campus in this area. There is a strong sense of community amongst foreigners and Panamanian residents alike.

Special interest

16. Casco Viejo

An old-town tourist center by the bay with European architecture, a bustling nightlife, gourmet restaurants, and bohemian art communities.

17. Brisas del Golf

A middle class Panamanian community for young professionals with a mix of apartments and single-family residences. It is close to malls, schools, and the airport. Many foreign residents have chosen this neighborhood because it has the air of affluence at lower prices.

18. El Dorado

Casino in El Dorado

 El Dorado is an exciting Asian setting right next to elegant, conodminium-filled streets built up on high hills, allowing for mountain views in the middle of the city. In the heart of El Dorado, Panama’s melting-pot qualities shine. Wether strolling around a Chinese market, going for the iconic dimsum breakfast that is a Panamanian Sunday tradition, or visiting one of the many new ramen, sushi, bubble tea or shaved ice shops that continue to open, you will surely enjoy a unique cultural experience that you can’t find in most other Latin American countries.

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