I spent three months in a high rise condo on Balboa Avenue, and the whole city was at my fingertips. I tried counting how many restaurants were within walking distance, and I lost track at 50.
The restaurants in Panama City are spectacular. I keep a Top 10 list in my head of my favorite restaurants, but it changes almost every week when I experience another fabulous restaurant.
If you live on Balboa Avenue, almost everything is within walking distance. For those who prefer to ride, taxis are plentiful and cheap. Plan on just a few dollars to get anywhere near the Avenida Balboa. Here is just a sampling of what's available:
- Cinta Costera: The Cinta Costera is Panama City's waterfront area, with large walking trails, biking trails, workout stations, playgrounds, tennis courts, and more. On a Sunday morning, it's a place to see and be seen while you're walking your dog, roller blading, riding your bike, playing tennis, or just out for a leisurely stroll.
- Shopping: There are two main malls that service the Avenida Balboa area. MultiCentro Mall is on Balboa Avenue. It home to shops, restaurants, a casino, and the Hard Rock Hotel. There is even a full-size Jewish grocery store attached to the mall. The other main mall is the MultiPlaza Pacific Mall. It's a high-end mall that offers designer stores such as Louis Vuitton, Armani and Cartier. Aside from the big malls, there are hundreds of small boutiques where you'll get handmade chocolates, wedding dresses, kitchen gadgets, and Panama fashions.
- Fish Market: The fish market is an easy stroll down the Cinta Costera. It is open daily and offers a wide selection of freshly caught fish, from Corvina to Octopus to Langostinos. Aside from buying fish for your evening meal, you can get dozens of different types of fresh ceviche. The ceviche is served in big Styrofoam cups and comes with crackers. For $2-$3, you can sit outside the fish market and have a light meal.
- Casco Viejo: If you are walking down the Cinta Costera and hit the fish market, it's only a few more minutes to Casco Viejo where you'll find more bars, restaurants and shops than you'll know what to do with. This is the old town and is definitely a must-see tourist destination. You'll see tourists mixing with artists stirred in with locals of all flavors.
- Restaurants: There are so many restaurants within walking distance of Avenida Balboa that it's hard to know where to start. Whatever your favorite dining options, you'll find it. Great Italian ristorantes, casual pizza joints, fresh seafood restaurants, steakhouses, breakfast cafes, French restaurants, Peruvian cafes, and even middle Eastern cuisine. The restaurants are fabulous, and are one of the main attractions in Panama City.
- Nightlife: If you like to party until dawn, you'll have many options. Calle Uruguay is a main hot spot for restaurants, bars and clubs, as is Casco Viejo. You can also party like a rock star at the Hard Rock or watch tango dancing at Petit Paris or drink with the young and beautiful at the Manrey.
- Casinos: If you like to gamble, there are a lot of casinos in Panama City. Bring Lady Luck with you, because you won't run out of casinos to visit.
If you're considering living on Avenida Balboa, my two favorite condos are the Villa del Mar by Bern (at the Corner of Avenida Balboa and Calle Uruguay) and GrandTower by The Group (right next to Trump Tower at half the price). If you'd like to know more about either condo, email me at email@example.com.
Until then, I'll see you on Avenida Balboa!