Playa Coronado Panama Shopping Malls

Nearly every friend traveling to Panama from the states for the first time to visit me are always worried about what to bring.

Panama Shopping, Playa Coronado“Sunscreen? Toothpaste?  Bug spray?  Surf wax? Tylenol?  Can I get this or that there?”  I understand that Panama is not totally first world in many respects, but Noriega is not here running around in his fatigues with a machine gun any more either. Times are changing in this small country. Almost anything one needs can be bought here.  Granted, there are not the endless amount of options like state-side, but one can find whatever they need at the local stores.

Playa Coronado is a fine example of development and growth.  When I first started venturing into Panama in 2003 the only mini-mall and major grocery store in Coronado was the Rey supermarket and a few small shops in the same commercial complex.  The Rey was always the best store to stop and stock up on american style food products.  Rey is a great store, kind of the Panamanian version of a Publix back in Florida.  We could see the lone tall Rey sign miles away, signaling us to pull in to fill the cooler before the long surf journey.  These days I almost pass by the Rey because of all the new business signs distracting me.  Where once stood a small modern looking commercial area is now camouflaged amongst the two other much larger complexes across the street from it  and the myriad of other new businesses.  McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Super 99, Machetazo, Glidden Paint Store, Organica Grocery, Subway, gas stations, food courts, banks, furniture stores, steak houses, chinese restaurants, mexican restaurants, cell phone stores, hardware, pool store, the list goes on and on.

Yes times are changing here. Playa Coronado is one of the fastest growing areas in Panama and there are many cities within country that are growing nearly as fast and trying to catch up. For those of you worried about not finding what you need while visiting. Take my advice, don’t worry about it. You may have to look a little harder, but I bet you will find it.