where to stay in panama city panama

Where To Stay in Panama City, Panama + Best Panama City Neighborhoods

Overshadowed by nearby Cartagena, Colombia and popular Costa Rica, Panama City, Panama is still most commonly visited by business travelers here to shake hands with Central America’s elite. Get your passport ready because that is about to change.

When considering where to stay in Panama City, Panama, travelers now have their choice among historic boutique hotels, gleaming high-rise apartments, and luxe resorts with ocean views. In this ultimate guide to Panama City, Panama’s best neighborhoods and accommodations for travelers, we share everything you’ll need to plan an unforgettable trip to this city on the cusp of becoming a travel hotspot.

where to stay in panama city
Matyas Rehak / Shutterstock

Where To Stay in Panama City, Panama

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. While you’ll find an array of places to stay throughout the city, these three Panama City neighborhoods have the most to offer travelers.

  • Casco ViejoWhere to stay in Panama City for charm, history, and all the action. While the city’s old quarter was quite dodgy and dangerous just a few decades ago, renovation and urban renewal after 2000 have transformed this area into a hotspot for travelers.
  • MarbellaWhere to stay in Panama City for upscale shopping, great views, and international hotels. Marbella is another popular spot for travelers looking for all the amenities of this major city.
  • ObarrioWhere to stay in Panama City for all the conveniences of the city. With plenty of grocery stores, restaurants, and a mix of affordable accommodations and gleaming residential towers, this is a great spot for business travelers, long-term stays, and some great affordable hostels and hotels.

Casco Viejo

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!

Selina Casco Viejo ($)

Nestled in the heart of the Casco Viejo, Selina Casco Viejo is a favorite budget hotel and hostel, perfect for an exciting stay. You’ll be surprised by the number of amenities it offers for travelers in this budget range, making it a clear 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.

Visiting Panama City as a digital nomad or planning on using Panama’s digital nomad visaSelina Casco Viejo is a great place to stay. With its on-site coworking space, great private rooms with access to a shared kitchen, and countless social events perfect for meeting other long-term travelers, it has a lot to offer remote workers.

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.

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 even if you’re staying across town.

Las Clementinas has beautiful apartment-style rooms with full kitchens and living rooms, perfect for longer trips or traveling families, as well as more traditional studio apartment-style rooms. Expect handpicked, unique decor and beautiful touches in whichever room you choose.

Hotel La Compania ($$$)

Opened in April 2022, Hotel La Compañía is a newcomer among Panama City hotels, though it has quickly become one of the city’s best places to stay. A former Jesuit convert meticulously restored and given new life, Hotel La Compañía is the perfect blend of modern luxury and historic charm, perfectly suited for a memorable stay in the heart of Panama City’s beautiful Casco Viejo neighborhood.

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.

Plus, with the exquisite service and attention to detail you would expect from a boutique hotel, the guest experience here is second to none.

hotel la compania
© 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. It doesn’t need it.

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 the best hostel you’ll find outside of Casco Viejo.

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 – Le Meridien Panama is a great value stay in an otherwise expensive neighborhood.

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 places to stay 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.

Located in the fashionable Marbella neighborhood, W Panama is a great choice for all travelers, no matter what brings you to the city. W Panama is nearby 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.

W Panama
© 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.

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. It’s no wonder this hotel is considered among the city’s best/