Panama City is the national capital of Panama, as well as the provincial capital of the Panama Province, and largest city of Panama. It is the most modern city not only in Panama, but the rest of Central America. Panama City has been an incredibly popular tourist and retirement destination, particularly for U.S. and Canadian citizens, due to city prices being cheap compared to most other places. Recently, Panama City has been given the unofficial title of The Dubai of Latin America, due to the recent rapid influx of skyscrapers, high-rise buildings, and increasing number of wealthy people in the city.
Panama City is a very multicultural place, with large populations from many different parts of the world. Spanish is spoken by most, and many speak some form of English. Customer service is slowly improving, and surprisingly dismal in hotels. However, on the streets Panamanians are for the most part friendly and helpful and would love to give you some advice. There's great shopping, from high-end stores in the malls around Paitilla and in the banking district around Via Espana, to veritable bargains around La Central (Central Avenue, now turned into a pedestrian walkway) and the Los Pueblos outdoor mall. You can find many ethnic stores (mostly Chinese and Indian), in certain parts of the City. Panama city has been developed following a USA model. It means going from A to B by car or taxi. There is public transportation like a metro and a system of (metro) buses. However to walk from A to B is unusual if the distance is more than half a mile. The only exception to this rule is the former European part (Casco Viejo) and Avenida Central where walking is possible and even common among the locals living there.