While there are plenty of small businesses and local boutique options for goods in Panama, sometimes it’s nice to have a few, reliable favorites on hand in case you’re short on time and have a long shopping list. It took me a few months of confused and chaotic shopping before I got the hang of where to go for what, but here’s my short list of helpful go-tos:
The Panamanian equivalent of Walmart. They have everything and for prices that are hard to believe. While I can’t assure quality, it is a bargain hunter’s paradise and offers a huge variety of day-to-day supplies. Also like Walmart, there can be quite a crowd as people stock up before holidays on bulk supplies. If you’re going I suggest comfortable shoes and a coffee beforehand!
The first time I walked into a Conway I had an eerie feeling of déjà u. I felt like I had been transplanted back to the States and shopping at my neighborhood Target in Ohio. Conway is a quasi replica of all things Target – from the product offerings right down to the company’s bullseye logo. Like Target, Conway seeks to democratize design – offering reasonable prices on some slightly higher quality goods. This is also a great option if you need a million things and don’t want to make a million stops during errands.
Like many bulk stores in the US, this chain requires a purchased membership (around $30 dollars a year). Also, much like the US, you can stock up on mass quantities of everyday goods: if you’re looking for a lifetime supply of macaroni and cheese or enough Cheerios to feed a small army, this is the place for you.
Grocery Store Chains
El Rey, Riba Smith, Super 99… All of these chains will be extremely reminiscent of your local grocery chain – they have all of the typical goods, produce, freshly-made bread and empanadas and also carry a good amount of American brand goods.