Where Should I Stay Away From In Panama City?

Heading to Panama City and looking for some travel tips? If you want to make the most of your trip, it’s important to know which areas to avoid. Whether you’re a solo traveler or exploring with your loved ones, this article has got you covered. Find out the neighborhoods that are best avoided to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in Panama City. Panama City, the vibrant capital of Panama, is a bustling metropolis with a diverse range of neighborhoods and districts. While the city offers many wonderful areas to explore and experience, it is essential to be aware of certain locations that are considered unsafe or have specific issues to consider. In this article, we will delve into different aspects to help you identify neighborhoods to be cautious of or avoid when visiting or living in Panama City.

Where Should I Stay Away From In Panama City?

Unsafe neighborhoods in Panama City

El Chorrillo

El Chorrillo is a neighborhood located in the southwest part of Panama City. While it holds historical significance as one of the oldest areas in the city, it unfortunately has a high crime rate. Visitors and residents should exercise caution when venturing into this neighborhood and should be aware of their surroundings at all times.

Santa Ana

Santa Ana, located near the Casco Viejo area, is another neighborhood that has seen high levels of criminal activities. It is advisable to exercise caution and avoid walking alone at night in this neighborhood. Being mindful of your personal belongings and not displaying valuable items can also help reduce the risk of becoming a target for theft or other crimes.

San Miguelito

San Miguelito, on the eastern side of Panama City, is known for its elevated crime rates and gang activities. It is recommended to avoid this area, especially at night or in unfamiliar surroundings. If you have to travel through San Miguelito, it is advisable to do so with a trusted local guide or take necessary precautions to ensure your safety.


Curundú, located close to the city center, is another neighborhood where caution should be exercised. It has a reputation for crime and is considered an unsafe area. It is recommended to avoid this neighborhood, particularly at night or when alone.

High crime areas in Panama City

Calle 50

Calle 50, a major financial and commercial district in Panama City, is unfortunately known for its high crime rate. This area is heavily populated during the daytime but becomes relatively deserted in the evening. It is advisable to remain vigilant and avoid walking alone, especially at night.

El Dorado

El Dorado, a district that offers various shopping and entertainment options, is also known for its high crime rates. Pickpocketing and petty theft are more common in this area, and visitors should be cautious with their belongings.

Pueblo Nuevo

Pueblo Nuevo, situated in the northern part of Panama City, has experienced an increase in crime rates in recent years. While it may have some attractions and activities to offer, it is prudent to exercise caution and be mindful of your surroundings when exploring this neighborhood.

Areas with poor infrastructure in Panama City


Tocumen, located in the eastern part of Panama City, is known for its inadequate infrastructure. The roads and public transportation systems in this area can be poorly maintained and congested. Travelers should expect delays and exercise caution while navigating Tocumen.


Albrook, a district that is home to the Albrook Mall and transportation hub, also faces infrastructure challenges. This area, particularly the roads leading to the mall and bus terminal, can be prone to traffic congestion and delays. Plan accordingly when visiting Albrook and consider alternative means of transportation if possible.

Overpopulated districts in Panama City

San Francisco

San Francisco is a densely populated district in Panama City that offers a mix of residential and commercial areas. The high population density often results in increased traffic congestion and can make navigating the district challenging, especially during peak hours.

Bella Vista

Bella Vista, located near the city center, is another district characterized by high population density. The area is known for its vibrant nightlife, restaurants, and entertainment venues. However, the large number of residents and visitors can contribute to crowded streets and sidewalks, particularly during popular events or weekends.

Where Should I Stay Away From In Panama City?

Flood-prone areas in Panama City

Juan Díaz

Juan Díaz, situated on the outskirts of Panama City, is known for being prone to flooding, particularly during heavy rainfalls. It is advisable to avoid this area during periods of heavy rains or anticipate potential transportation disruptions.

Parque Lefevre

Parque Lefevre, a neighborhood known for its residential areas and parks, has experienced instances of flooding in the past. Visitors and residents should exercise caution during the rainy season and be prepared for possible flood-related issues.

Areas with heavy traffic in Panama City

Avenida Balboa

Avenida Balboa, one of the most iconic and scenic areas of Panama City, is also notorious for heavy traffic congestion. This waterfront avenue offers stunning views but can become congested during peak hours, making commuting or traveling through this area time-consuming.

Vía España

Vía España, a major road that cuts through various districts of Panama City, is another area prone to heavy traffic. This road connects several busy areas, shopping centers, and residential neighborhoods, resulting in frequent congestion. It is advisable to plan your routes accordingly and allow extra time when traveling through Vía España.

Unsafe public transportation routes in Panama City

Corredor Sur

Corredor Sur is a major highway in Panama City that connects the city center to the south and Tocumen International Airport. While the highway itself is generally safe, incidents of robberies and theft have been reported in public transportation vehicles running along this route. Exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings when utilizing public transportation along the Corredor Sur.

Metro Bus

The Metro Bus system in Panama City is an affordable and convenient mode of transportation. However, like any public transportation network, it is important to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially in certain areas at night. Be cautious of pickpocketing or other petty crimes while using the Metro Bus.

Areas with major construction projects in Panama City

Costa del Este

Costa del Este, an upscale neighborhood in Panama City, has undergone significant development in recent years. While the area offers modern infrastructure and amenities, ongoing construction projects can cause disruptions and inconveniences to residents and visitors. Be prepared for potential noise and temporary road closures in Costa del Este.


Obarrio, a central district in Panama City, has seen significant growth and development. Ongoing construction projects in this area can occasionally cause traffic congestion and temporary inconveniences. Plan your routes accordingly and allow additional time when traveling through Obarrio.

Polluted areas in Panama City

San Felipe

San Felipe, located in the Casco Viejo area, is renowned for its historical charm and architectural beauty. However, due to the high number of visitors and lack of proper waste management systems, the area can be prone to pollution. Visitors should be mindful of proper waste disposal and refrain from littering in order to preserve the beauty of San Felipe.

El Carmen

El Carmen, a bustling commercial and residential district in Panama City, is another area that experiences high levels of pollution. The heavy traffic in this district contributes to increased air and noise pollution. Residents and visitors should be mindful of the potential health impacts and take necessary precautions to mitigate exposure to pollution.

Areas prone to natural disasters in Panama City

San Francisco

San Francisco, in addition to being densely populated, is also prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and landslides due to its geographical location. While the occurrence of such events is rare, it is essential to be prepared and aware of emergency procedures when living or visiting San Francisco.

Bella Vista

Bella Vista, like San Francisco, is also vulnerable to natural disasters due to its location near the coast. While Panama City has effective disaster response systems in place, residents and visitors should remain vigilant and familiarize themselves with emergency protocols to ensure their safety during unforeseen events.

In conclusion, Panama City offers a dynamic and vibrant urban experience, but there are certain neighborhoods and districts that require caution and awareness. Whether it’s due to high crime rates, poor infrastructure, overpopulation, flood-prone areas, heavy traffic, unsafe public transportation routes, ongoing construction projects, pollution, or vulnerability to natural disasters, being informed about the potential risks can help ensure a safe and enjoyable stay in Panama City. Remember to always prioritize safety, stay vigilant, and follow any local guidelines or advice given by authorities when exploring or residing in the city.