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Shopping in Panama City
Panama has always been a shoppers' heaven, hundreds of years before the term ‘retail therapy' became fashionable. Goods from far-off lands have flowed in to this ‘crossroads of the world' and continue to do so, owing to its strategic location between two oceans. Today, you can pick up state-of-the-art electronic products and audio-video equipment, branded apparel and internationally famous perfumes and cosmetics. All this at some great prices, too!
Sales tax is a mere 5 % in Panama City and a bit of bargaining will get you even better deals!
This Panama City Shopping Guide gives information about the five main malls in the city, as well as giving some details about some of the markets you may wish to visit. For information about what goods that Panama specialises in, or about items you may wish to pick up as souvenirs or gifts, be sure to visit our Panama Shopping Guide. And if all this shopping makes you hungry, why not check out our Panama City Restaurants Guide.
Los Pueblos is a large open mall; Albrook Mall is one of Panama's biggest closed, air-conditioned malls. Both malls stock an enormous variety of good quality merchandise at reasonable prices. At either of them, you can spend an entire day shopping to your heart's content, stopping only for a bite at the many restaurants serving fast foods as well as local and international cuisine.
Los Pueblos covers a large area; cars are allowed in some areas, others are pedestrian only. There are department stores, shops for shoes and sportswear and grocery outlets. There's also a Price Smart, Arrocha, a large, American-style chemist and TGI Friday. For entertainment, there's a casino and movie theatre as well.
Panama City has several other air-conditioned malls, evidence of the craze for Americana. However, if you're looking for a taste of Latin culture and locally made souvenirs, there are a couple of other places you should check out.
One of these is Mi Pueblito (My Little Village), a faux Panamanian village styled along the lines of an open air shopping mall. While the ambience is faintly reminiscent of Disneyland, you'll be delighted with the crafts on display, as they are of high quality. As with most culturally rich countries, art and craft are a living tradition in Panama. Look around for beautiful appliqué work and designer textiles. The intricate, geometric designs on the mola, part of a traditional costume worn by native women, are irresistible. Woodcarvings and basketry also make for interesting souvenirs.
Avenida Central is an open air, pedestrian-only mall, an ideal spot to try out local street food. You won't find much here by way of souvenir shops. However, the local department stores, like Gran Morrison and Saks, stock some items of interest to visitors. You can pick up inexpensive soccer shirts here - those make for interesting souvenirs too! Another souvenir market frequented by tourists lies behind the Anthropology Museum at the city's northern end.
If there's nothing you enjoy more than a hearty session of haggling, do visit the Mercado Nacional de Artesanías (the National Artisan Market), alongside the ruins of Panamá Viejo. It's decidedly more downmarket than Mi Pueblito, which is why everything is cheaper. Of the market's 132 spaces, 88 are occupied by artisans' outlets. The others are beauty salons, little restaurants and shoe repair shops. Prices are the lowest you can find in Panama, not surprising since, officially, the market falls into the ‘red zone', a place not frequented much by foreigners. Nevertheless, many travellers swear that it's relatively safe. And of course, you do get great bargains. Things to look out for: good quality hammocks, Tagua sculptures and the famous Panama hats.
Shops are usually open Monday to Saturday, from 09:30 hrs to 20:00 hrs. However, shop owners normally take a one or two-hour lunch break.
Multiplaza Pacific Mall is a large indoor air-conditioned mall located in the Punta Pacífica district in Panama City.
Boquete Community Center
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ART GALLERY WEIL
Calle 48 Bella Vista (debajo del restaurante Eurasia) Apartado 0832-2233 Panamà, Rep.de Panamà Tel : Fax :
Tel: (507) 264-9697 - Fax: (507) 264-6673
6th Street and A Ave., Casco Antiguo Panama, Republic of Panama
Tel: (507) 262- 1957
HELENE BREEBAART STUDIO
Calle Abel Bravo, casa # 5, Obarrio. Panama City
Tel: (507) 264 5937 - Fax: (507) 264 5937
El Taller de Gisela
Casco Antiguo, Edificio Santa Familia, Calle 4a Oeste, Piso 3.