Where to stay in Panama City

What is the best area to stay in Panama City?

By Campbell Hawk . April 18, 2023

The vibrant and bustling capital city of Panama, offers a captivating blend of modernity, history, and natural beauty. As a gateway between North and South America, Panama City boasts a rich cultural heritage and has quickly become a must-visit destination for tourists seeking a unique and exciting experience. Panama City is a haven for travelers who wish to immerse themselves in the local culture and explore the very best this captivating metropolis has to offer. In this guide, we explore the best neighborhoods for tourists to stay in during their visit to Panama City.


One of the best areas of Panama City to stay in is Bellavista, an area known for its vibrant atmosphere and picturesque surroundings. Bellavista is a top choice for visitors due to its central location, making it an ideal base for exploring the city's attractions. With an array of accommodation options catering to a range of budgets and preferences, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels, Bellavista is a popular choice for visitors seeking a lively and energetic base from which to explore the city. The neighborhood is characterized by its friendly locals, lively entertainment scene, and an abundance of culinary delights.



Other areas to stay in Panama City are: Calidonia, Casco Viejo, Punta Pacifica, Costa del Este and Punta Paitilla.

Hotel   Avg price
Hotel Terranova
Calle República de Uruguay
41€ - 45$
Hotel Tower House Suites
Calle 51 Este
48€ - 52$
Holiday Inn Express Panama
Calle 53 Este
85€ - 93$
Hotel   Avg price
The Executive Hotel
Avenida Aquilino de la Guardia
76€ - 83$
AC Hotel by Marriott Panama City
Calle Ricardo Arias 14
111€ - 121$
Hotel   Avg price
Global Hotel Panama
Calle 54 Este
75€ - 82$
Riu Plaza Panamá
Calle 50
112€ - 122$

On the map, which shows the most convenient area to stay in Panama City, you can see a selection of some of the best located hotels.



If you are interested in where to stay in Panama City, you may also be interested in where to stay in Belize and where to stay in Costa Rica.

Bellavista, the best area to stay in Panama City


Best for: Nightlife / Shopping / Drinking & Dinning



BellavistaBellavista is often referred to as the city's cultural heart. It is perfect for travelers who love to soak up local customs, art, and traditions. With its myriad of galleries, museums, and theaters, there's always something happening in Bellavista. Visitors will discover a multicultural atmosphere, characterized by bustling streets lined with colorful houses, cafes, and shops. This neighborhood is well-suited for those who thrive in a lively environment.


The area is also home to several parks and green spaces, providing a serene escape from the urban hustle. Nature lovers will appreciate the nearby Parque Natural Metropolitano, a sprawling urban park with walking trails and diverse flora and fauna. Foodies will be spoiled for choice with Bellavista's diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors, offering everything from traditional Panamanian cuisine to international fare. In the evenings, the neighborhood comes alive with live music and bustling bars, making it the perfect spot for night owls and social butterflies.



Hotels in Bellavista





Other areas to stay in Panama City




Best for: Culture / Budget Travelers



CalidoniaCalidonia, a bustling and lively neighborhood in the middle of it all, offers visitors an authentic experience of local life. With its narrow streets, vibrant markets, and friendly residents, this area is ideal for budget-conscious and adventurous travelers who seek a genuine taste of the city. Calidonia provides a variety of affordable accommodations and dining options, catering to different preferences and budgets. Visitors can explore Avenida Central, a busy shopping street, or the nearby Mercado de Mariscos, the city's famous seafood market.


The neighborhood also offers a glimpse into Panama City's daily life, with its residential areas, schools, and community centers. Additionally, Calidonia's proximity to the Cinta Costera and Casco Viejo allows for easy exploration of other popular attractions. For those who wish to experience Panama City beyond its tourist attractions and delve into its rich cultural diversity, Calidonia is an excellent choice.



Hotels in Calidonia




Casco Viejo


Best for: History Lovers / Drinking & Dining / Culture



Casco ViejoThe historic heart of Panama City is Casco Viejo. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is characterized by its charming cobblestone streets, colonial-era architecture, and vibrant art scene. The picturesque neighborhood attracts history buffs and culture enthusiasts, boasting numerous museums, churches, and plazas. Visitors can stay in a selection of boutique hotels and guesthouses, ensuring a unique and memorable experience.


The lively atmosphere of Casco Viejo, with its street performers, art installations, and outdoor cafes, creates an unforgettable ambiance for all who visit. Stunning views of the city skyline and Panama Bay can be enjoyed from many rooftop bars and terraces, while the area's numerous dining options offer a taste of Panamanian cuisine. Exploring Casco Viejo's narrow streets and hidden alleys reveals a world of history and culture, making it a must-visit destination in Panama City for travelers seeking rich experiences and timeless charm.



Hotels in Casco Viejo




Punta Pacifica


Best for: Luxury / Drinking & Dining / Shopping



Punta PacificaPunta Pacifica, an upscale waterfront neighborhood in Panama City, is known for its modern skyscrapers, luxurious hotels, and high-end shopping centers. This contemporary neighborhood is perfect for those who appreciate modern architecture and amenities, providing stunning ocean views and easy access to the financial district and Multiplaza Pacific Mall. Visitors can indulge in fine dining, luxury hotels, and a picturesque waterfront promenade, making Punta Pacifica an ideal destination for those seeking comfort and sophistication. The neighborhood's location on the Pacific Ocean also offers opportunities for water sports, boat tours, and fishing excursions, ensuring visitors can make the most of Panama's beautiful coastline.


Furthermore, Punta Pacifica is just a short drive away from the historic Casco Viejo, allowing travelers to explore Panama City's rich history. Punta Pacifica's mix of urban luxury and seaside leisure creates a unique atmosphere, catering to a wide range of travelers, from business professionals to vacationers seeking an upscale experience.



Hotels in Punta Pacifica




Costa del Este


Best for: Beaches & Outdoors / Families



Costa del EsteCosta del Este is a modern and trendy neighborhood boasting well-planned residential areas, green spaces, and sleek architecture. This family-friendly neighborhood is perfect for those seeking a quieter stay, offering a range of accommodations and dining options. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities in nearby parks or visit the Town Center mall for shopping and entertainment. Costa del Este's well-maintained streets and landscapes provide a pleasant environment for walking or cycling, while its proximity to the beach allows for relaxation and water activities. The neighborhood also features a sports park and various playgrounds, ensuring families have plenty of options for recreation.


Costa del Este is conveniently located near Tocumen International Airport, making it an attractive option for travelers who prefer easy access to and from their accommodations. With its combination of modern amenities and tranquil atmosphere, Costa del Este caters to families, couples, and travelers seeking a peaceful retreat, while still having access to Panama City's attractions.



Hotels in Costa del Este




Punta Paitilla


Best for: Luxury / Outdoors / Ocean Views



Punta PaitillaPunta Paitilla, an affluent neighborhood in Panama City, is characterized by its impressive skyline, luxury residences, and upscale amenities. This elegant area is ideal for visitors who enjoy comfort and sophistication, featuring luxurious hotels, fine dining options, and nearby shopping centers. Punta Paitilla boasts a beautiful waterfront promenade, perfect for leisurely strolls and admiring the stunning ocean views. The neighborhood's central location ensures easy access to Panama City's attractions, while its tranquil atmosphere provides a peaceful haven for relaxation. Additionally, Punta Paitilla is home to several parks and green spaces, providing a serene environment amidst the bustling city.


It is also within walking distance of the Cinta Costera, a popular destination for outdoor activities and spectacular views of the city. Punta Paitilla's combination of opulence and serenity makes it an excellent choice for travelers seeking a luxurious and peaceful stay in Panama City, while still being able to explore the city's vibrant culture and activities.



Hotels in Punta Paitilla

Campbell HawkCampbell Hawk

Campbell is a seasoned traveler and writer who spent an immersive three years journeying through the rich terrains of Latin America. During her 6 months traveling across Panama, she discovered a deep affinity for the culture and natural beauty that continues to pull her to return.