Brand Names And Beyond in Panama, Latin America
Those unfamiliar with Panama may be pleasantly surprised to find many of their comforts from home do not need to be left behind when moving abroad.
Panama City is a bustling metropolis whose focus for the past few decades has been on infrastructure projects to beautify the city, particularly the waterfront area and improve public spaces to welcome all. The financial district is lined with high end boutiques from Armani to Versace, malls host Adidas to Zara shops across the city.
Nearly every main street in any neighborhood is dotted with the familiar names. While you are getting around in Panama City, you will notice the golden arches of McDonalds to KFC, next to a Pizza Hut and TGI Fridays. While you can continue a North American diet with ease, if you are a bit more adventurous, there is a world of selection in Panama.
From the local, often family-owned “fondas” serving typical Panamanian fare to the dining experience at Los Americas Golden Tower Hotel with its two star Michelin rated chef Ramon Friexa, the options are vast for places to eat in Panama City Panama.
Many of the top 10 restaurants in Panama City can be found in Casco Viejo.
Consistently top rated Madrigal, Donde Jose, Casa Casco, Maholo serve international and Mediterranean fare in lovely settings.
Expats seeking a new lifestyle are able to mix the best from back home with the Panamanian experience.
For those seeking the vibrancy of the city, the best place to live in Panama City tend to be near or on the water. Casco Viejo is a top choice for those with a large budget wanting to be located in the center of the action. Living along Avenida Balboa or the Amador Causeway provide breathtaking ocean views. San Francisco, Costa del Este and Punta Pacifica neighborhoods offer levels of luxury, high end services and amenities in Oceanside communities.
For a more laid back lifestyle, cross the Bridge of the Americas or the Centennial Bridge on the Pacific side of the canal and follow the Interamericana Highway to the mountain and beach communities.
Playa Coronado, nestled between Neuvo Gorgona and San Carlos is a popular gated community originally built as a weekend getaway for wealthy Panamanians which has morphed into a significant expat community.
Along with the expats came the chains, McDonaldss, Burger King, Papa Johns, Dominos Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Cinnabon and Subway line the highway in Coronado.
The strip mall host Payless Shoes and Crocs alongside local retailers and the major grocery stores, banks, medical, dental, spas, hair salons, hardware stores, vets and pool supplies.
A little further down the road, a turn off up a winding mountain road leads to El Valle, populated with a mix of locals and expats. Toward the Costa Rican border, Volcan and Boquete are mountain towns with many expats seeking cooler temperatures. Over the mountain, the islands of Boca del Toro is a tourist, surfer, party town with a Caribbean flair.
With such a vast array of choices, a knowledgeable relocation tour specialist can guide you through the positives and negatives associated with each distinct type of lifestyle.
Friends have decided to sample all the fondas along the highway, meeting for lunch, and report the food is simple, home made, inexpensive and filling. Supporting local business is good for everyone.
The grocery stores stock many brand labels yet often less expensive local replacements are available. Savings can be significant if you switch to less boxed and prepared foods.
Many find comfort from familiarity and knowing you can still access old favorites may be the tie that binds you to your last home. As time passes, the need for the old may be reduced as you have new experiences and adventures, explore new cultures and traditions, meet new people and try new things. Expand your horizons beyond the expected.
After years of chasing the dream, earning and spending, seeking validation through consumerism, adopting a completely new Panamanian lifestyle can simplify your needs and desires. As time passes here, simplicity may become more valued than designer shoes or a fast food lunch.
The choice is yours and that’s what makes it perfect for so many.