Because of its unique geography, Panama has become a popular trading and business center recognized all over the world. Here are some of the great shopping spots around the country that you will not want to miss during your trip to Panama.
The nation's capital is home to a large shopping center with various locations throughout town. For example, Via España and Central Avenue are home to a number of boutiques, gift shops, jewelry stores, and many modern shopping malls. Via España is located in the heart of the business and banking district and is an easy spot to browse through on foot. The famous Central Avenue has been converted into a pedestrian only area making it that much simpler for visiting shoppers. Here you will find the majority of the country's Asian markets which sell linens, crafts, rugs and even souvenirs at an affordable price. Also, Panama City is home to some 17 different shopping malls which are sure to please even the pickiest shopper! Another great stop in Panama City are the artisan markets where shoppers will find a plethora of Panamanian handicrafts. For example, the mola is always a popular item, which is a piece of intricately woven fabric used for a number of things. Also offered are baskets and beadwork as well as tagua nuts that are carved and painted into a number of different objects. One very popular handicrafts store is Terracotta which has two locations in the city and a wide selection of goods.
Colon is home to the largest Duty Free shopping area in the world, also known as the Colon Free Zone, and is therefore a very popular stop for visitors from all ends. Located near the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, it first went into business in 1948. The entire area is made up of nearly 600 acres and is physically split into two major sections in the city. Sixty years after its opening it is now made up of some 1,400 different businesses offering shoppers a limitless amount of merchandise.
One popular shopping spot in Balboa is near the old YMCA building where many indigenous vendors sell their handicrafts and artwork. Here you will find wood carvings, baskets, leather works, clothing, and much more. Also, shoppers can find the famous Panama Hat, which is actually made in Ecuador despite the contradicting title.