Panama City is the most international capital in Central America, with a slew of expats and entrepreneurs arriving in their droves, eager to capitalise on its booming economy, safety and stunning architecture. The city is increasingly becoming a hot spot for wandering professionals, as evident by the number of new co-working spaces popping up in recent years. Whether you wish to meet other expats and freelancers, or simply would like a quiet space to gather your thoughts, there are quite a few options available for Panama City Digital Nomads – just remember to bring a sweater. Many cafes and public buildings ramp up the air conditioning, so if you’ll be working away all day, you might want to bring something to keep the chills away.
Cafes & Eateries in Casco Viejo
1. Café Unido
Unido is a delightful coffee shop chain with five branches dotted all over Panama City. The fine brews attract people to bring their work here, whatever the nature. It is not uncommon to see people conducting job interviews and transatlantic video calls at The American Trade Hotel branch in Casco Viejo. Unido at Multiplaza is nestled in the rather opulent Luxury Avenue of the Mall, neighboured by Dolce & Gabbana, Polo, Hermes and Michael Kors. It is known for its chic, clean décor, and effervescently friendly staff and baristas. Panama isn’t generally known for its customer service, making this fact particularly noteworthy. Also worth mentioning, is the impeccable Wi-Fi here.
Café Unido, locations in Casco Viejo, Multiplaza Mall, San Francisco, Costa del Este and Marbella
2. Nomada Eatery
It is clear that many eat at Nomada purely to work, particularly in the early afternoons. You may find yourself sandwiched between graphic designers, and architects working on their blueprints, as well as their burgers. It is right next door to Casco institution Luna’s Castle, one of the most famous hostels in the area, and therefore a hub for tourists and travellers alike. Nomada feels very hip, largely due to the funky art dazzlingly on display. From literature books glued to the bathroom walls, to a painting of a sequin hat-wearing skull, Nomada’s décor will inspire you. The menu includes a fantastic breakfast and the lunch of the day is always sizeable, varied and good value at $7. A cup of tea on the other hand, isn’t the most inexpensive at around $3.21 per cup, including suggested tip.
Nomada Eatery, Calle 9na 3-28, Casco Viejo, Panamá, Panama
3. Super Gourmet
Imagine if Subway was Panamanian and made sandwiches right before your eyes that were healthier, heartier and certainly larger? Well, that’s Super Gourmet for you. This Casco Viejo establishment is as good a place as any to lose track of time. The manager Marc seems to know everyone that comes in, and if he doesn’t already, he makes it his business to do so. If you find yourself in Bocas del Toro, there is a small branch there too.
Super Gourmet, Calle 6a Oeste, Casco Viejo, Panamá, Panama
4. Bajareque Coffee House
Coffee lovers will be pleased to try Bajareque’s Panamanian coffee blends, worthy of winning the Panama Brewers Cup for 2017.
Bajareque Coffee House, Calle 1era, Casco Viejo, Panamá, Panama
5. Casa Sucre
Casa Sucre opened up in Casco Viejo over four years ago, and has established itself as one of the best (and coziest) coffee shops in the area. You get a limited duration wifi token only after purchasing something from their yummy selection, so this might not be the place to spend the day if you need extended connectivity.
Casa Sucre Coffee, Calle 8 y Ave B, Casco Viejo, Panamá, Panama
6. Caffe Per Due
A quick browse on Tripadvisor (or any of this Italian cafeteria’s social media channels) will unearth hoards of customers ranting and raving about their impeccable pizzas and exceptional service. You can sit, relax and eat to your heart (and stomach’s) content in their quiet patio in the back, enjoying their homemade desserts, salads, pastas- and of course, coffee.
Caffe Per Due, Calle 3a y Ave A, Casco Viejo, Panamá, Panama
Benissimo’s enchanting building just beckons you to enter when walking through Casco Viejo’s fabled cobbled streets. Once inside, you are greeted by a plethora of tantalising gelato flavours and the scent of warm waffles and fresh coffee. I dare you to resist.
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8. Fonda Paraiso
Escape to the tropics at the recently opened Fonda Paraiso in Plaza Herrera. The lush ornamentation makes this place a dream to spend one of Panama’s typically warm days.
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Fonda Paraiso, Plaza Herrera, Casco Viejo
9. Papaya Planet
Everything about Papaya Planet is optimistically upbeat. There’s even a smiley face stuck onto the mirrors in the restrooms to remind you to smile. Papaya is a bookstore and café and is an utterly pleasant place to spend the day.Upstairs doubles as an art gallery and event space. The food is also generally sublime (try the Shakshuka).
Papaya Planet, Avenida B, Casco Viejo, Panamá, Panama
Cafes & Eateries in New Panama
10. Mentiritas Blancas
The owners of Mentiritas Blancas in Via Argentina are fervent coffee enthusiasts and will take the time to explain all the options available to suit your particular preferences. Mentiritas Blancas is also a great place to try Geisha coffee, which Panama is fast becoming renowned for. A line of bar stools along the walls with a table makes this coffee shop particularly appealing for digital nomads and remote workers. The shop describes itself as an “Artisan bakery and coffee lab”. It’s anyone’s guess however, why it is called Mentiritas Blancas, which is Spanish for “little white lies”.
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Mentiritas Blancas, Local 2B, Edificio de Mar, Calle Gaspar O. Hernandez, Panamá, Panama
11. Juan Valdez Café
Colombian coffee comes to Panama courtesy of Juan Valdez, referred to by some as “the Colombian Starbucks”. Expect a tranquil atmosphere and people chatting, frapping and tapping away en masse.
Juan Valdez Café, locations in Multiplaza Mall and Soho Mall
Europhiles will know French patisserie Paul for its delightful desserts and laidback atmosphere. Their menu is laden with hearty meals, pastries and delicious smoothies to get those brain juices flowing. Come here to get a large table all to yourself to lessen your workload – if the aroma of freshly baked bread doesn’t torment you too excessively.
Paul Bakery Panama, Multiplaza Mall, via Israel, Panamá, Panama
13. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
California import The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf keeps remote workers afloat in Punta Pacifica, Balboa Avenue, Costa del Este and a small branch in Multiplaza. Flying out of Panama City? There’s a small branch at Tocumen International airport too.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Locations in Punta Pacifica, Balboa Avenue, Costa del Este, Tocumen Airport and Multiplaza Mall
When last did you visit a coffee shop with its own souvenir and clothing store next door? The choice is yours at Lumaca in Casco Viejo. Head over to their Instagram account immediately to see the variety of highly tantalising cakes on offer.
Lumaca, Calle 9A Oeste y Avenida A. Casco Viejo, Panamá, Panama
Co-working and Work Spaces
15. My Office Panamá
My Office won the Nomad Capitalist Award for best co-working space in 2016, and you can see why. Their super cool office is in the Credicorp building on Calle 50, and houses freelancers from Panama and beyond. The space is well lit with a fabulous skyline view of the city, and the walls are emblazoned with Instagram-ready captions and motivational messaging. You feel instantly comfortable here. Memberships start at $99 per month, which is rather economical given what’s included in the packages, and in comparison to other spaces in Panama. The three friendly founders are available to assist members during the hours of 9-5pm, and are all English speaking, making it a very convenient place for expats. My Office can be your office 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
My Office Panamá, Torre Inteligente Credi Corp. Piso 8 Oficina 802, Calle 50, Panamá, Panama / WhatsApp 507 6814 1621
16. Coworking Grupo212
Grupo212 describes itself as an entrepreneurial ecosystem, which enables business development through financial coaching and investment. They also happen to have a co-working space, where you can use an individual post for $350 per month, or a private office for $1,000 a month. Wi-Fi, printing services, a free cafeteria and telephones with unlimited national calls are included in each plan. There are also personal lockers and ergonomic chairs. Grupo212 additionally offers a virtual service whereby you may utilize their offices as your tax address and for receipt of parcels.
Grupo212, 18 Avenida de la Rotunda, Panamá, Panama / Call 507 833 6132 / email@example.com
Workings has branches in three fabulous skyscrapers dotted around Panama City for your optimum convenience: the prime location in Tower of the Americas in Punta Pacifica, a space at the Panama Design Centre in Obarrio, and another in Costa del Este’s MMG Tower. All three locations provide terrace access, events, benefits and discounts, phone booths, a branch officer, TV, high speed Internet, a kitchenette and mineral water. Within Workings, there is Drinkings, where one can get their hands on all the refreshments the heart desires, including coffee and beer. There are also terrace parties with live music, masseuses and yoga classes.
There is a plan to suit every budget and circumstance. An open space where you can plug in your laptop and work costs $25 for a day pass, $150 to access a space 8 times a month, $180 for 12 access passes or $250 for full monthly access. Reserving your own dedicated desk starts at $380 per month and a private office starts at $999 monthly. All fees are exclusive of Panama’s 7% ITBMS tax. Workings provides seriously stylish digs to boost your creativity, and is packed with highly motivated people to bolster your productivity too. Should you decide to take your work away from Panama, Workings will soon be opening branches in Costa Rica’s capital of San Jose and Bogota, Colombia.
Workings, locations in Punta Pacifica, Obarrio and Costa del Este / Call 507 830 6436 / firstname.lastname@example.org
18. Panama Coworking Center
A co-working space with snazzy offices, based at the Prime Tower in Costa del Este. Members benefit from an outdoor terrace with sea view, high ceilings and business consulting services, in addition to the usual bells and whistles.
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Panama Coworking Center, Prime Tower, Piso 6 of. 6A, Avenida de la Rotunda, Costa del Este, Panamá, Panama / Call 507 202 7937 /Info@panamacoworking.com
This co-working space offers training and workshops, as well as three membership options: daily ($15), fortnightly ($80) and monthly ($120) plans.
CoworkingPTY, Calle 44 con Avenida Justo Arosemena, Edificio Casa Blanca, Bella Vista, Panamá, Panama / http://coworkingpty.com/ / Call 507 300 0163
20. Workspace Business Centre
Not so much of a co-working space, but an office and meeting room rental venture. Parking is available as well as virtual office services if you are in need of a legal address here in Panama. Fully furnished 7-23 m2 office rentals start at $495 per month. Meeting rooms can be hired for $20 for 1 hour, $50 for 4 hours or $80 for 8 hours. Prices are exclusive of taxes.
Workspace Business Center, locations at Prime Tower in Costa del Este and at the Sortis Business Tower in Obarrio / Call 507 831 6700 for Costa del Este, and 507 320 4300 for Obarrio
21. Business Point
Both private offices and co-working spaces are offered at this site, which opened in 2015. Hot desking costs $90 per month.
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22. Ciudad del Saber, Centro de Innovacion Panamá
The City of Knowledge offers highly affordable co-working opportunities at the Panamanian Centre for Innovation in Clayton. A daily plan is $10, weekly plans cost $45, and monthly plans start at $125. Simply visit the Innovation Centre, sign up, and hit the ground running.
Ciudad del Saber, Building 234, Clayton, Ancon, Panama / Call 507 306 3106 / email@example.com
Rosie Bell is an international travel writer, author of the book “Escape To Self”, and content editor for Club Elsewhere. Follow her on Instagram @TheBeachBell.