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Weird & Wonderful


Top Rated Shopping in Panama City

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Flory Saltzman Molas

Molas are possibly the most incredible example of the indigenous Panamanian artisanal tradition. Intricate reverse appliqué embroidery has been practiced by the Kuna people for hundreds of years to make the colorful, geometric patterns of animals, plants, and any other form the artist cares to imagine. At Flory Saltzman Molas, customers are treated to a remarkable array of items demonstrating this technique, with the textiles sewn into bags, shirts, coin-purses, headbands, and simply sold as patches to take on whatever purpose necessary. The encyclopedic place has options for every budget, from small designs costing pocket change to elaborate projects priced at hundreds of dollars.

Galería Art Indigena

Those tourists interested in learning about the many remarkable artistic traditions of Panama—and, of course, interested in bringing some examples back home—have few better resources at their disposal than the Galería Art Indigena in Casco Viejo. The store stocks carvings, paintings, woven baskets and bowls, figurines, masks, t-shirts, post cards, maracas, hammocks, decorated gourds, hats, animals fashioned from palm seeds, and many more treasures to be discovered along the shelves. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the Galería also hosts folkloric dancing performances from 6 until 8p.

Mercado de Artesanía

Across a small road from the Torre del Catedral, a recently renovated treasure of the Panamá Viejo ruins, the Mercado de Artesanía is one of the best places in the city to find the incredible indigenous handicrafts and artwork that are famed in Panama. Artisans showcase their work on tables or in small shops so that visitors can stroll past woven hats, carved masks, beaded jewelry, and elaborately embroidered textiles sewn into any number of useful forms. Whether looking to carry home a suitcase full of souvenirs or to simply to look and learn about the craftwork traditions of Panama by talking to the people who make them, this Mercado de Artesanía is sure to serve as a splendid resource.

Mercado de Buhonería

A bright colony of hammocks, molas, t-shirts, sandals, maracas, masks, baskets, food stands, and plenty of other trinkets is situated behind the Old Train Station on the eastern side of Plaza Cinco de Mayo. This open-air market, known as the Mercado de Buhonería, is both less frantically busy than the area immediately around the Plaza and less touristy than other markets or stores selling artisanal crafts. Friendly vendors are happy to chat with customers about their products, their prices, and their city.

Super Centro El Dorado

Super Centro El Dorado was one of the first malls to have opened in Panama City. Located on Avenida Ricardo J. Alfaro, it has been remodeled to befit the more modern shopping spaces that have propped up around the city. The fully air-conditioned shopping center incorporates several popular boutiques, stores and businesses like Saks and Bits & Nova, to name a few, that bring a tourists as well as locals in droves! Apart from the shops, Super Centro El Dorado also includes several popular eateries and restaurants such as Fonda La Especial and Restaurante California, to name a few.


A sweet little shop in a big busy neighborhood, Arteluna displays an assortment of special gifts in a space that never feels cluttered. Crafty wooden cut-outs are formed into angels, moons, and figurines that adorn frames, boxes, bulletin boards, and ornaments. The majority of the items on display are painted in soothing pastel colors. These precious pieces of art are sure to add a bit of charm to their new home.

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