Miami of the South
Tourist guides frequently refer to Panama City as "a bargainers’ paradise" or "a shopping Mecca." Because of numerous free trade zones, shopping is the second most popular occupation in the city. Driving in from the airport on the Tumbo Muerto road, one passes the Centro Comercial Los Pueblos, which advertises itself as the biggest shopping mall in Central America. For a more "authentic" experience, one might try to visit the early morning, wharf side market at Salsipuedes, where produce and fishing boats jostle for space to sell their bounty.
There are also a few malls further afield, and the Amador Causeway has a shopping centre with a great range of stores, where seasoned holiday shoppers can spend a good part of the day. Vía España is one of Panama City’s main avenues, and here you’ll find a nice array of stores, both high and low end. Avenida Central is a fun street to do some Panama shopping - it has quite a lively atmosphere, and you’ll find plenty of cheap stores here, not to mention all kinds of interesting street vendors.