Panama City has long been a destination visited by business travelers, but that’s finally starting to change. Emerging from the shadow of nearby Cartagena, Colombia, and eco-friendly Costa Rica, Panama City is coming into its own as a desirable travel destination.
Take it from us – there’s more than enough to see and do in Panama City to keep you busy. Planning your own trip to Panama City? In this ultimate guide to Panama City, Panama’s best neighborhoods and accommodations, we share everything you’ll need to know to decide where to stay in Panama City, Panama.
Where To Stay in Panama City, Panama
From vibey, historic Casco Viejo to the luxurious seaside residential zones of Panama City, you’ll find no lack of incredible places to stay in Panama City and neighborhoods to explore.
Looking for our top recommendations for the best hotels in the city? Here are our top picks – they’re all located in charming and safe neighborhoods and will provide some of the best experiences the city has to offer.
Best Hotels in Panama City
- Selina Casco Viejo ($ – $$)
- W Panama ($$)
- Las Clementinas ($$ – $$$)
- Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City ($$$)
- Hotel La Compañía ($$$)
Don’t skip our detailed guide on the best hotels in Panama City for even more hotel recommendations. Or, for all the nuanced details about where to stay in Panama City and the best neighborhoods in Panama City for travelers, keep reading for all the details!
Panama City, Panama Neighborhoods
While it may not be an overwhelmingly massive metropolis, Panama City is quite large and spread out, meaning choosing the best neighborhood for your interests and your style of travel is important. These three Panama City neighborhoods have the most to offer travelers:
- Casco Viejo: Where to stay in Panama City for charm, history, and all the action.
- Marbella: Where to stay in Panama City for great shopping, city views, and modern luxury.
- Obarrio: Where to stay in Panama City for all the conveniences of the city for business and leisure travelers.
Or, consider staying slightly outside of Panama City for even more unique stay experiences. The Westin Playa Bonita Panama is a lovely beachfront resort just a short drive from the city, while nearby Monkey Lodge Panama is immersed in the stunning Soberania National Park
After falling into disrepair and disregard for decades, the Casco Viejo neighborhood – Panama’s historic center and former colonial capital – wasn’t a place you’d want to visit at night. After a few decades of urban renewal and revitalization, the city’s historic heart is the place to be for travelers.
Featuring historic churches, restored colonial mansions, and charming boutique hotels, there is so much to love about Casco Viejo – plan your trip before word gets out! These are the best places to stay in Casco Viejo:
Selina Casco Viejo ($)
Nestled in the heart of Casco Viejo, Selina Casco Viejo is our top pick for the best comfortable, stylish, and budget-friendly hotel and hostel in Panama City. Offering a surprising number of amenities for Panama backpackers and travelers in this budget range, and a can’t-be-beat location, it’s easy to see why it’s such a favorite.
The pool and rooftop bar, offering great views over the city and frequently featuring live music, themed gatherings, and other engaging events, make it a popular gathering place for guests and locals alike. Keep in mind that it can get a bit loud at times, which is something to consider if you’re a light sleeper.
Reviews and Bookings: Selina Casco Viejo
Las Clementinas ($$ – $$$)
Mixing fun and funky design with the historic charm you’d expect from a boutique hotel in Casco Viejo, Las Clementinas offers a unique experience for guests looking to get in touch with the history and culture of Panama City. Beautiful apartment-style rooms with full kitchens and living rooms are perfect for longer trips or traveling families, while traditional studio apartment-style rooms are just as comfortable. Expect handpicked, unique decor and beautiful touches in whichever room you choose.
With its beautiful on-site restaurant, Mahalo Cocina y Jardin, offering delicious food and gorgeous decor, plus a lovely patio space, you’ll want to plan a visit to Las Clementinas even if you’re staying across town.
Reviews and Bookings: Las Clementinas
Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City ($$$)
The recent debut of the impressive Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City in the heart of Panama City’s most beautiful and historic neighborhood has brought even more shine to the city’s rapidly growing profile with travelers. Formerly an early 20th-century social club that welcomed even the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, this meticulously restored building again welcomes the most well-heeled travelers to the city.
The hotel offers 159 decadently decorated and beautifully designed rooms that marry modern and historic elegance. Downstairs, Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo‘s Mayda Lobby Bar and Plaza regularly welcomes the best and brightest of Panama City, while the signature Caleta restaurant boasts a menu and ambiance that instantly helped it shoot to the top of the list of the best restaurants in Panama City. All the more reason to call it your home away from home in Panama.
Reviews and Bookings: Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City
Hotel La Compania ($$$)
When it debuted in 2022, Hotel La Compañía instantly became the darling of an increasingly impressive Casco Viejo historic heart of Panama City. This former Jesuit convert was meticulously restored and given new life, giving Hotel La Compañía the perfect blend of modern luxury and historic charm.
It’s easy to see why Hotel La Compañía has quickly become one of the most sought-after hotels in the city. Between its spa, multiple restaurants, and a rooftop bar and lounge with an infinity pool and stunning city views, you’ll barely need to leave the hotel for a memorable stay in Panama City.
Reviews and Bookings: Hotel La Compañía
For travelers looking for the modern amenities and comforts that this cultural and financial capital has to offer, look no further than Marbella. This seaside neighborhood is near the financial district of the city, offering plenty of options for shopping, trying the city’s best new restaurants, and enjoying this gleaming, modern metropolis.
Machico Hostel ($)
Marbella might be all about glamour, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a range of places to stay in this lively neighborhood. Machico Hostel is quite unassuming, offering super-simple decor and few frills.
With its large pool, indoor and outdoor communal space, a social atmosphere without the excessive noise and parties you’ll find at other hostels, and an excellent location near the metro in a safe and lively neighborhood, it’s hard to find something bad to say about Machico Hostel. It’s simply the best hostel you’ll find outside of Casco Viejo.
Reviews and Bookings: Machico Hostel
Le Meridien Panama ($$)
Just a stone’s throw from the water, Le Meridien Panama is a beautiful and surprisingly affordable place to stay in Marbella. Offering spacious rooms, a large pool deck with views of the ocean and big-city high-rises, and a great restaurant and bar, it’s no surprise that the hotel is a favorite. While rooms are a bit dated, service is excellent, the location is superb, and the price can’t be beaten.
Reviews and Bookings: Le Meridien Panama
W Panama ($$$)
Offering stunning skyline views, a luxurious spa, and incredible dining options, W Panama is a luxury boutique hotel that easily tops the list of the best hotels in Panama City. You’ll love relaxing at the hotel’s pool deck, enjoying drinks and live music at La Cajita bar, and sampling Spanish cuisine at Moró Restaurant.
W Panama is near some of the city’s best shopping, most celebrated restaurants, and all the best things to do in Panama City, while only 15 minutes from the heart of the Casco Viejo. It’s the best of both modern and historic Panama City at your doorstep.
Reviews and Bookings: W Panama
You can’t find a more convenient place to stay in Panama City, Panama than the Obarrio neighborhood. This central district is close to great shopping, plenty of supermarkets, and the beating heart of Panama City’s financial center. It offers a great range of both affordable and upscale places to stay.
Global Hotel Panama ($ – $$)
In the very heart of the city’s financial sector, Global Hotel Panama is a great choice for business travelers, though it has plenty to offer tourists and even long-term travelers as well. With clean, spacious rooms offering panoramic views of the city, a large fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck with a covered lounge, it’s a great place to make the most of the city.
Reviews and Bookings: Global Hotel Panama
Sortis Hotel Spa & Casino ($$)
Another favorite in the heart of Obarrio, Sortis Hotel Spa & Casino is an excellent choice whether you’re looking for a short stay in the city or a more leisurely trip. Home to the largest casino in Panama City, this hotel offers more than 300 rooms and plenty of amenities whether you want to gamble or not.
With a variety of restaurants on-site, a second-to-none spa, and a palatial pool deck with a covered lounge, bar, and dining, Sortis Hotel has much more to offer than you might expect from a hotel in the financial district. Its convenient location makes maneuvering the city easy, no matter what draws you here.
Reviews and Bookings: Sortis Hotel Spa & Casino
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.