Deep Dive: Panama City, Panama

Panama City is the capital of Panama and is located near the Pacific Ocean entrance of the Panama Canal, on the Bay of Panama. The city covers an area of 275 square km (170 sq miles) and has a population of 880,691. The overall metropolitan area has a population of 1.5 million. This makes the population density of Panama City 3,203 persons per square km. This is by far the largest urban area in the country. About two-fifths of the national population resides in its metropolitan area, which includes San Miguelito, Tocumen, Arraiján, Ancón, and Balboa.

The history of Panama City begins August 15, 1519, when it was formally founded by Spanish soldier and colonist Pedrarias Dávila. The city became an important center for the Spanish exploration and conquest of Peru as well as an important part of the gold and silver trade route. The city was attacked and looted in 1671 by Henry Morgan, a Welsh privateer. It was then rebuilt in 1674 by Spanish conquistador Alonso Mercado de Villacorta at a new site roughly 8 km southwest of the original location. For years, Panama City experienced political chaos and economic decline and even became part of Colombia during the 18th century. When Panama declared its independence from Colombia, Panama City was chosen to serve as the capital of the new country.

After the canal opened in 1914, the city developed rapidly.  As the economic and financial center of the country, Panama City’s economy is service based, heavily weighted toward banking, commerce, and tourism. The economy depends significantly on trade and shipping activities associated with the Panama Canal and port facilities located in Balboa. Due to the canal, Panama’s status as a convergence zone for capital from around the world helped the city establish itself as a prime location for offshore banking and tax planning. Consequently, the economy has relied on accountants and lawyers who help global corporations navigate the regulatory landscape. The city has benefited from significant economic growth in recent years, mainly due to the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal, an increase in real estate investment, and a relatively stable banking sector. There are around eighty banks in the city, at least fifteen of which are local. Panama City itself is responsible for the production of approximately 55% of the country’s GDP. The location of this city will allow seasteading communities to be connected to global trade networks as the Panama Canal is one of the most important passageways in the world. With the canal also expanding, and an increase in real estate investment, seasteading communities can become an important part to the city’s expansion.

Panama is a regional hub of trade and immigration, so it caters to a variety of lifestyles. In Panama City you’ll find a rich cultural tapestry, from the colonial buildings in Casco Viejo to the many festivals that take place in the city throughout the year. While its ultra-modern skyline lends to its reputation as a booming business town with vibrant nightlife, it also offers low-key, laidback living in neighborhoods that wouldn’t be out of place in small towns in the U.S. While it is the most expensive part of Panama, the cost of living here is low when you consider some of the facts: Panama City is a world capital, on the water, home to Latin America’s premier airport hub and just a three-hour flight from Miami. There are few cities in the world that can offer these things. With such a diversity of cultures and stable climate, it can be easy for any seasteader to build a life here. Integration into the fabric of the city can be made easy as this place resembles many other metropolises found around the world. There are already people here from all over the world so finding a community to fit into can be quick.

The city is surrounded by dense tropical forests that feature a great diversity of animal species including pumas, caimans, and tapirs. The forests are a source of water for the Panama Canal and therefore have been carefully preserved. Panama City has a tropical savanna climate, a little drier than a tropical monsoon climate. It sees 1,900 mm (74.8 in) of precipitation annually. The wet season spans from May through December, and the dry season spans from January through April. Temperatures remain constant throughout the year, averaging around 27 °C (81 °F). Sunshine is subdued in Panama because it lies in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, where there is a nearly continual cloud formation, even during the dry season. With a mild climate and being located completely outside the hurricane belt provides optimal conditions for the long term viability of Seasteads in this area.

When it comes to overall value, Panama City shines. It’s Central America’s only true metropolis, with a thriving art scene, a large roster of sporting and fitness-related activities, active nightlife, and just about anything else you’d expect from a world-class capital. Cosmopolitan lifestyles, top-notch healthcare, and proximity to the U.S. have all helped transform this hub for business and trade into one of the world’s most desirable expat destinations. Panama City, Central America’s true First-World capital, offers the perfect mix of old and new, modern and traditional. Here you can eat in a gourmet restaurant, attend a jazz festival, watch a movie in English and do just about anything you would be able to do in many of the First-World cities. But in Panama City, you can do it all for less while living in one of the safest capitals in the Latin American region. A luxury lifestyle in the “Hub of the Americas” is easy.


Panama City




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