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Panama City on any Budget

From jumbo shrimp to chic molas, here’s how to balance your pocketbook in Panama's capital.

Molas

Panama on any budgetPhoto: Lynne Berger (Flory Saltzman Molas)

Breebaart ($$$)
Drawing on Panama's ancient mola art, in which coloured cloths are layered, sewn and cut to reveal a pattern, French designer Hélène Breebaart created her new evening wear line, Mother Nature. It's dominated by multihued geo­metrics, but for a really chic take on the tradition go for the black and white.
Calle Abel Bravo, Casa Duplex 5, 507-264-5937

Flory Saltzman Molas ($)
At this inconspicuous spot above a Chinese restaurant, you'll find the city's largest collection of molas, inspired by turtles, toucans and all things tropical, hand-sewn by Kuna women. Study up by watching the tutorial video available on Flory's website – helpful when faced with the shop's inventory of over 1 million molas.
Vía Veneto 18, 507-223-6963


Seafood

Panama on any budgetPhoto: Hanami Sohn (The Fish Market)

La Posta ($$$)
With a setting overlooking impossibly green gardens, wicker tables draped in white linen, palm trees and ceiling fans, this place is a total throwback to 1950s Havana. Chefs Yoel Mojica and Agostin Cruz enhance Latin dishes with local flavours, like langostinos (jumbo shrimp) with passion-fruit dressing, bacon and palm hearts.
Calle 49, 507-269-1076

The Fish Market ($)
Japanese lanterns, white tents and strings of lights decorate this lively food truck, which sits within the ruins of a colonial building and serves up fresh-caught seafood. Pair the fish tacos drizzled with chili-garlic aioli, a favourite among regulars, with an Oregon-brewed Rogue Chipotle Ale from the international beer selection.
Av. Central, 507-6151-1697


Nightlife

Panama on any budgetPhoto: Lauren Coleman (Danilo's Jazz Club)

Danilo's Jazz Club ($$$)
Opened in 2014, the 50-seat venue at the Ace Hotel group's American Trade Hotel is already a fixture on the international jazz circuit, thanks to impeccable accoustics and a view of the city's cobblestoned Casco Viejo. Catch live shows by acclaimed local and international acts, like Panama's own "Lady of Jazz" Idania Dowman.
Calle 10A O., 507-211-2000

The Relic Bar ($)
Experimental electronica and one-dollar beers cement the status of this high-energy bar, built around a stone wall dating from the 17th century, as the city's favourite underground (literally – it's subterranean) hangout. A young crowd packs the narrow space during its 9 p.m.–10 p.m. happy hour, spilling out onto the large patio area to cool off.
Calle 9NA O., 507-262-1540

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HIGH & LOW     PANAMA    

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