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Panama is rapidly becoming a shopping destination and with the celebration of Black Friday every year, more and more travel agents in Central and South America are creating holiday packages to take advantage of the bargains offered by the retail sector.
Until 20 years ago, malls were a rarity in the country. However, when the population started to move to the suburbs, the need arose to have convenient shopping facilities close to the newly created neighborhoods.
There are seven malls in Panama City and other provinces like Panama West, Veraguas, Herrera, Coclé and Chiriquí also have shopping facilities which are among the best in Central America.
Normally shops open between 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. but during Black Friday they have an early start at 6:00 a.m. and close at midnight. These are the main malls in Panama.
Albrook Mall is the biggest mall in Panama and is currently expanding. Located in the former Canal Zone near Marcos Gelabert International Airport and adjacent to the National Bus Terminal, the mall has hundreds of stores and can become very crowded. It has food courts, movie theaters, a bowling alley, a climbing wall, a hotel and a casino.
Metromall is relatively new and resides close to the International Airport. The mall offers shoppers choices for all budgets, from inexpensive to upscale and has a free shuttle to the nearby international airport.
Multicentro on Avenida Balboa, across the street from the Pacific Ocean, has upscale and budget shops, restaurants and is home to the Hard Rock Cafe.
This mall is located in Punta Pacifica, near Multicentro. It has three levels with more than 280 shops, 47 restaurants and cafes. Some prestigious brands such as Chanel, Cartier, Bulgari, Hermés, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany have branches there.
This mall is located on Calle 50 in the heart of the banking district. It has more than 100 luxury- item shops and is home to the first Ritz Carlton in Central America. This shopping mall was built at a cost of $400 million.
Westland Mall, Arraijan
Located only 20 minutes from Panama City, this mall has a food court, ample passageways and more than 100 shops and a supermarket.
Other malls outside Panama City are: Paseo Central, in Chitre, Herrera province, which has 76 shops and five levels; also Santiago Mall, in Veraguas province, currently under construction, and David Mall, in Chiriqui which currently has 60 shops.