Duty free: Island
the city has many places where you can buy things, one of them is "DUTY FREE" a mall where you can buy souvenirs without taxes, if I remember I meet some guys there that I don't know if they where half Panamanians and Americans or fully Americans.
What to buy: Souvenirs are very common here but also PCs and laptops with no taxes
What to pay: from $10 to 50
- Budget Travel
- Luxury Travel
Souvenir shops: Local crafts
While we were visiting with the Embera tribe one of the demonstrations were the crafts that they sell. You can find them at souvenir shops in Panama City but usually with an extremely high markup, it seemed like it was 2-3 times more expensive to buy at many of the shops in town. Casco Viejo had a better selection and lower prices than the shops near where we were staying so if you can't buy at the source, have a look at some of the shops in that part of the city
What to buy: The women of the Embera tribe and the other Indian tribes make baskets and plates woven from palm leaves. The men of these tribes carve figurines and jewelry out of the Tagua nut, known as vegetable ivory.
Panama hats adorned the heads of many a tourist waiting at the airport, the 1st couple I saw in town were eye popping expensive and I didn't look after that. But if you are interested in bringing one back, you might do a little research before you go to know what you are looking for and how much one should cost.
What to pay: The crafts are not inexpensive so if you visit the Indian tribes and want to bring home a souvenir, make sure you bring plenty of cash. The really small baskets started at around $10 and the larger items and those with more intricate designsgo up past $50US.
The nut figures seemed to range around $10-15, if you buy more than one they will likely offer you a discount.
Albrook Mall: Biggest Mall in the Country
The Albrook Mall is the biggest mall in the entire country. It's a huge shopping outlet with tons of different stores as well as interesting decorations throughout the mall that serve as landmarks to help guide you around. There is also a large food court with a wide variety of restaurants as well.
Prices here are a little more expensive than you would find elsewhere, but the selection is a lot greater to make up for that.
What to buy: Literally anything; clothes, electronics, souvenirs, etc.
Bodega Mi Amiga: Liquor Store and More!
Having trouble finding that French wine you can't do without? Miss having a shot of Jim Beam Black Label before dinner? Vermissen Sie sein lieblings Bier Deutschlands? Not to worry! Bodega Mi Amigas Liquor Store in Panama City probably has your alcoholic beverage of choice! This store has wine, liquor and beer from all over the world. They also have a small selection of very fine cheese, sausage, cold cuts and snacks. They also have a nice choice of glasswear and bar paraphenalia at reasonable prices.
What to buy: They have a wide assortment of American Liquors; bourbon, whiskey, wine coolers and flavored malt beverages. Huge wine selection from all over the world.
Good assortment of German Beer. Have: Paulaner, Bitburger, Koestrizer, Erdinger, St. Pauli, Beck's, Warsteiner and sometimes others like H-B and Hacker-Pschorr.
Have some other beers from Latin America, like Palma Cristal from Cuba. They have Cusquena from Peru and Quilmes from Argentina.
They also have specials and items with premiums, like glasses or coasters or the like.
They have all sorts of glasses and bar tools. They have snacks and some imported cheeses and sausages. Have local sausages and chorizos.
They also carry soft drinks and juices.
What to pay: Their prices are about the same as super markets.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
- Wine Tasting
Market - Panama City
Mercado de Artesanias of Plaza 5 de Mayo is a complex of 132 spaces, 88 of which are occupied by artisans. The rest are beauty saloons, shoe repairs and small restaurants. Most things are sold at the lowest prices I have seen in Panama. This happens because the place is less visited by tourists as the area is considered a 'red Zone'. I frequented this area for photos, food and shopping and believe me, not in one occasion did I feel unsafe. On the contrary people were friendly and helpful. And the prices were just great! I give you information about one of the shops but a personal visit is recommended.
' Rincon Panameno' has a great variety of souvenirs at excellent prices. Very cheap hammocks, tagua sculptures, Panama hats, dominoes, wooden sculptures and a lot more...
shopping in Panama
For electronic goods one of the best places in Panama city is the shopping center in Albrook airport. It is a very modern airconditioned complex with many nice and trustworthy shops. Prices are very good and the variety of goods is quite large. There are all kinds of electric and electronic devices, clothes, and household goods. A lot of buses passing from every corner of the city can take you there for 0,25$. If you are ...loaded when leaving take a taxi. Give no more than 2$-3$ for any destination in the city.
As for traditional good and souvenirs there are a lot all over Panama. Carvings of tagua ( a kind of coconut tree seed), molas, painted ceramic, polleras (traditional Panamanian dresses), baskets and painted hats are the most common artisan products. Lately there is an increase in the flow of tourists so there is also an increase in artisan industry. The state is trying to help the artisan markets by remodelling their shops, making them more attractive and accessible. They also guide the artisans to diversify and modernise their products thus selling a greater variety of more useful objects at more reasonable prices. So, for example, the molas come now not only in squares but in purses, shirts, cell phone holders, bags and oven mitts. The best prices are in the Market of 5 de Mayo in Panama City . There are some in Plaza de Francia and also in Central Avenue. And in the shops in Panama Viejo. More expensive in the good neighbourhoods of the city.
Finally you can buy a house or a luxurious ...apartment at a very good price...!
Hardrock Cafe: HardRock in Multicentro shoppin Mall upstairs
Hardrock Cafe and gift shop.
I have read they have a lunch special . I did not eat hear I ate at the Lenos and Carbon Steak place.
I just came here to buy gifts.
What to buy: I bought t shirt,caps, metal mini Guitars.
What to pay: Expensive. hear is what i paid. mens leather t shirt $ 26, Gothic cap $ 27, metal Mini Guitars=3er anniversary $ 14,breast cancer $ 12,Canal Bottle opener $ 14.
- Arts and Culture
Albrook Mall- Very large mall: Albrook Mall in Panama city
Very large shopping mall alot of everything .
I was told not to go on Sat or Sunday because its very crowded because its next to bus terminal and airport where people are arriving.
I went on a Monday it was not that crowded.
What to buy: Everything
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Native Vendors: Be sure to get a Mola
While strolling along the waterfront in the old city of Panama we were attracted to these colorful Molas, made and sold by native Kuna women. The designs and colors of these native works of art make a perfect souvenir of Panama. The women seemed reluctant to let me take their photograph, but when Karen was actually in the process of making a purchase that resistance was broken. I suppose it was worth it to let me take a pictrue as long as they were making a sale. We had our mola framed and today it is hanging in our den - a great reminder of our trip.
Things to buy and prices
Panama in general is great for shopping ( except for electronics , from the prices I saw)
Clothings, shoes especially name brand sneakers, souvenirs items such as Mola, and other Indian made accessories, even luxurious items such as Cartier, Luis Vuitton, Chanel which they have their own boutiques at Multiplaza, Bvlgari is opening as well. Retail taxes at malls and larger stores is about 5%, while buying from the street stalls you don't get officially taxed with cash purchase.
Prices for your reference
- Cuban cigar ( Trinidad ) $ 18 USD. I paid $ about 11 in Cuba, and in Canada it is going for $45 plus tax a piece.
- sales tax about 5%
- brand name sneakers such as Puma, Nike, Addidas are about 30% cheaper than in Canada at least.
- no name fashion hand bags go from about $ 8 and up. back home they'd be listed at at least $30 at discounted store.
At stores outside the malls you can find ladies tops from $1 to 4 a piece, high heels from $6 and up.
My wife has a favorite store called Picara, there is one at Multicentro mall and on Avenida Central, the one in Central has much more discounted things ( style wise for ages between 18 to 25 ) think Paris Hilton, ha :D
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
This is one of our favorite store we found in Panama City. Tendencies sell colourful fashion accessories such as rings, key chains, neckless made from natural material such as plant seed,beans, south american palm nut, leather.
We bought a few things for souvenirs.
What to buy: one of a kind rings, key chains, belts, purses.
What to pay: $6 and up
- Family Travel
Most ladies will go crazy here if they love their bargains and shopping. We did what the locals do and walked the Avenida Central stretch. You can find almost anything there, cell phones shops, clothing accessories stores, electronics store ( not exactly cheap ), shoes stores, eateries. Pricings for ladies clothes and shoes are very good. 2,3 4 USD for a top, 6 USD and up for a pair of high heels which we'd have to pay at least $ 40 plus tax back home.
Knowing some Spanish helps.
Can get quite crowdy, so take necessary cautions regarding your personal belongings. Stay on the main street.
What to buy: Clothings, shoes, accessories, souvenirs.
What to pay: quite cheap
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Study Abroad
Albrook Mall: Largest Mall in Panama
The area Albrook Mall is located used to be in the Canal Zone, the old US airbase which is located next to the mall is now an airport for flights to the provinces. At Albrook Mall is the huge National Transport Center, which is the main bus terminal for travel to all points in Panama and to Central America and Mexico. The Mall itself is huge, it looks like any large regional shopping mall in the US and has many shops of US and other foreign businesses. The food court is gigantic and one can buy virtually any type of food there from hot dogs to Panamanian barbeque. See my restaurant tips for places here to get grub from!
The Transport Center has shops in it as well, including a Dunkin’ Donuts for those who are jonesing for a good ol’ American donut!
The buses leave to virtually any point in Panama. You can get on a bus whose final destination is beyond where you want to get off and just get off there. The fare is prorated, it is strictly regulated by the government, so you can’t be cheated and at the ticket booths on the concourse, they are supposed to show the published fares to all the points the bus will stop at that you want to take.
Take care to have a nickel ready because you need to pay that at a turnstile to get to the bus you want to take! If you have a porter carry your bags to the bus you wish to take, please tip him 50 cents a bag. They don’t usually have overhead bins on the buses, so you will have to check any bags that won’t fit under your seat. They will give you a claim check, be sure they give you one because they DO ask for it when you get off and want your bags retrieved! I don’t know what happens if you lose it, but seeing how Panama works, it could be a big hassle.
What to buy: Please note that buses to larger cities are bigger and more comfy than ones going to smaller towns. They are not all Greyhound-sized tour buses. For instance, when we travel to Panama City, we generally take the local bus to Chitre from Las Tablas and take the Chitre bus to Panama City and vice versa. Why? Because the bus to and from Chitre is roomier and has better air conditioning than the bus to Panama City from Las Tablas. It only costs us $1 more to be more comfortable from Chitre to Panama City, which is about a 3 ½ hour bus ride. You don’t want to be jammed into a smaller bus for that length of time if you can avoid it, believe me! The buses to David are large and comfy tour buses, but going up to Boquete, they are smaller If you go to Pedasi or Tonosi, you will probably have to get off at Chitre or Las Tablas and take a local bus from there, so if you have surf boards or boogie boards, you may have a time juggling them. I believe you can rent them in those towns, anyway.
Traveling in Panama by bus is not that bad. That’s how the locals do it. The buses generally stop at a restaurant every two hours so one can stretch their legs and use the facilities or get something to eat. These restaurants are specifically there for the bus traffic. I have been over most of the country with no problems, so far. My wife has done this her whole life and she has had no serious problems traveling by bus in Panama.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
San Miguelito Plaza: Buy where locals buy
If you want the best prices, do not buy at Via Espana or any other major mall, buy at San Miguelito. Take a taxi there. You'll not get the best quality but the best prices and deals, you'll be able even to bargain at the stores.
What to buy: Shoes, average watches, clothing, souvenirs.
What to pay: Bargain!
Located in Paitlla, one of the most wealthiest areas of Panama City.
Largest shopping mall in Central America. Has a casino, movie theater, arcade, internet cafe, librarys, 3 department stores and much more shops. It is also connected with Radisson Decapolis Hotel.
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