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Home Destinations North America Panama. Our gay travel guide to Panama city: find out about the gay scene, the best gay bars and clubs, things to do, gay hotels, safety tips, and more. Panama City is often nicknamed The Dubai of Latin America because of its immense economic growth in recent years and impressive dense skyline. But unlike Dubai, this mighty Latin American metropolis has a far more welcoming gay life, in a country where although culturally conservative, is constantly striving for LGBTQ equality.
Most will associate Panama City with the famous canal, which is a reason alone to visit.
The city is also the gateway to some gorgeous tropical beaches within Panama, like San Blas and gay friendly Bocas del Toro. We stayed in Panama City for a week and loved it. It's full of things to do, plenty of trendy bars, but most importantly, we left with a thirst to return for more. It's also a useful destination because it's one of the major transport hubs in Central America.
This is our complete gay guide to Panama City following with a focus on the gay scene, our pick of the most gay friendly hotels, our favourite things to do, and more. Avoid the stress of queuing for a taxi at Panama City's international airports by pre-booking your private transfer now. By doing this, everything is taken care for you from the moment you're picked up at the airport to when you're dropped off at your hotel.
You won't have to deal with negotiating taxi fares and you're guaranteed an English speaking driver. If venturing beyond, into more local areas, we recommend taking extra care and avoid all PDAs. Panama is a very conservative country. It has such a strong influence from the Catholic Church that any attempt by the government to pass any progressive LGBTQ laws in Panama almost always gets blocked! As a result, Panama does not recognise same-sex unions and has no anti-discrimination laws to protect the LGBTQ community!
To give you an example, a Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling required Panama to recognise same-sex unions and allow gay couples to adopt. Sadly, the response was a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage by the Panamanian National Assembly in October But remember, this is a country where homosexuality was legalised as late as It has come a long way since then with a popular annual Pride taking place every June, a vibrant gay scene in Panama City and a fantastic LGBTQ community that is constantly growing in confidence.
As gay travelers, safety is our 1 priority! Both are full of foreigners, tourists and ex-pats from all over the world. As a general rule and to be on the safe side, we recommend you also do the same: avoid any PDAs and save them for the queer-friendly spaces we've set out in this article. If you want to be in the tourist heart of Panama City, we suggest booking a hotel in Casco Viejo.
All the best restaurants, cafes and sites will be on your doorstep here. We stayed in a mix of gay friendly hotels located in both areas and have summarised our experiences of each below to help you pick which is the best for you:. Las Clementinas is our top choice for gay travellers who want a romantic stay right in the heart Gay bars panama city fl Casco Viejo. It oozes character — the public areas are decorated with old photographs and vintage decor.
It is set in a charming s apartment building with most of the original features still in place. It feels more like you're staying in a posh guesthouse rather than in a hotel. The rooftop is another huge highlight, with views over Casco Viejo and beyond.
We recommend having your breakfast here, weather permitting of course! The rooms are ensuite and super spacious. They include a mini kitchen Gay bars panama city fl filtered water. The beds are very comfortable and a pleasure to melt away in after arriving here after a long-haul flight.
In terms of location, you have the best bars, cafes, restaurants and shops of Panama City right on your doorstep. The only downside, which goes for any hotel in the Casco Viejo, it can get a bit noisy in the evenings. For me a heavy sleeper this wasn't an issue. For Seby very light and fussy sleeper! The restaurant at Las Clementinas is worth checking out even if you're not staying here.
It opens onto a beautiful garden, decorated with nostalgia-laced photos, tiled flooring and a handsome marble bar. The food is delicious — a fusion of Panamanian and European serving tasty ceviches and steaks. As a gay couple, we were made to feel extremely welcome at Las Clementinas. Subscribe now to receive in-depth FREE travel guides, along with inspiring stories, savvy planning tips, and exclusive discounts on gay tours. We loved loved the AC Hotel by Marriott. It feels grand the moment you enter. The lobby is massive with high ceilings, wide corridors and marble floors. As far as customer service goes, these guys have it nailed down to a T.
Everyone was so welcoming to us, from the sweet receptionist who checked us in, the hunky staff at their trendy AC Lounge bar to the friendly cleaning ladies.
Our room had plenty of space, complete with very large comfortable bed. We also loved the views over the city.
The buffet breakfast was so beautifully presented with an impressive offering of both international and local dishes, which included fried dough, yucca, lots of different local bre and even a natural honeycomb dripping fresh honey. In terms of communal areas, there is a gym, as well Gay bars panama city fl a large outdoor pool and Jacuzzi on the rooftop. We spent a large chunk of the day hanging out here — when it's hot and humid outside, why not spend it by the pool says we!? In terms of location, the Panama Marriott is located in the El Cangrejo area, which felt extremely safe.
The hotel is just around the corner from the excellent Envy gay club. Further down the road is the Malibu Spirits gay bar. Also nearby is the SoHo Mall and of course, the Avenida Balboa beachfront road, which was our favourite place to come running in the morning. We recommend the AC by Marriott Hotel if you to be based right at the heart of the main gay bars and clubs of the El Cangrejo neighbourhood.
Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, voiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. The Waldorf Astoria is part of the Hilton hotel group, a brand that is internationally famous for being very gay friendly. Similar to the Panama Marriott, the Waldorf is also located in the El Cangrejo neighbourhood, making it a convenient base to be close to the main gay scene, especially El Apartamento bar which is just a block away. The other reason we loved the Waldorf is that its located just by the Avenida Balboa beachfront, which was one of our favourite hangouts in the city at sunset and also perfect for morning runs.
We stayed in one of the lavish suites. As well as having all the usual Hilton amenities — bathrobe, slippers, Salvatore Ferragamo branded toiletries etc, it also had a very comfy Gay bars panama city fl bed, a Nexpresso machine to satisfy my hourly caffeine fix and a welcome plate of yummy macarons. In terms of food options, the Waldorf Panama has a terrific breakfast buffet, which was our favourite standout culinary memory from our stay here. We may have overstayed our welcome here trying everything on offer from the delicious fresh juices, the different cheeses, bre and the yummy local Panamanian classics like sancocho soup.
You also thought of Luna Lovejoy from Harry Potter right? Luna's Castle Hostel is actually a plush and affordable hostel set in a three-storey creaky colonial mansion from the s. It's super hip and cool here, targeted at backpackers. We think this is the best option for solo travellers and LGBTQ budget travellers who want to be based right in the heart of Casco Viejo.
This is also home to the queer-friendly Relic Barwhich is our favourite hangout on weekends. We love the fact that Luna's does not feel like you're staying in a cheap hostel at all. From the moment you enter, you get an old-world feeling — think high ceilings, ornate balconies, French doors and a handsome wooden staircase! On the second floor and third floor, you get an impressive view of Casco Viejo, Panama Bay and the downtown skyline.
The staff at Luna's are young and super charming, which we think is key to what makes Luna's a gay friendly have in Panama City. Luna's has a strong focus on communal activity which is a great way to connect with fellow travellers. For example, they have a cosy movie theatre showing films until midnight, a communal kitchen, table tennis area and spare guitars hanging on the walls for guests to use — Seby particularly loved this!
The only downside is Luna's only have dorm beds and don't yet offer private rooms, which may put off gay couples from staying here. There are a handful of very queer-friendly places where we felt comfortable with PDAs, which we set out below.
They are mainly based in the El Cangrejo and the Casco Viejo neighbourhoods:. The bar staff are also super cute. When we came here it was a Friday evening and they had a live DJ set playing some of the best Latino pop hits. Gato Blanco is open every day from 5pm until 3am. Malibu is quite a quirky bar with a popular outdoor patio. Malibu Spirits is only open Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm until midnight. El Apartamento y El Sotano is a gay friendly restobar in the El Cangrejo neighbourhood located next to a balloon shop. We say this 'cause there is no outside, so use the World Globes Balloon shop as a point of reference!
Inside, the bar is downstairs where all the fun happens, the restaurant is upstairs. The vibe is very Bohemian with a young, openminded, mixed crowd mainly in their 20s, 30s and 40s. There was no issue at all about us dancing together here or the occasional kiss. Relic is the awesome bar attached to our top pick for gay friendly budget hotel in Panama City: the Luna's Castle Hostel.
The place comes alive on weekends when it hosts Happy Hour parties that go on until 3am. As it's targetted to backpackers, the crowd was mainly foreigners with a few locals on weekend evenings.
We also found the crowd to be on the younger side, mainly in their 20s and 30s. The best times to come is on Thursday to Sunday evenings from around 9pm until 3am. Panama City has a few gay clubs, which we set out below.
But also note there are many monthly ad hoc parties that take place at the international hotels such as the Hard Rock. To find out what's happening when you touch down in Panama City, we recommend using Grindr to connect with local guys and also messaging the Gay Pride PTY Facebook who are very responsive. Pro-tip : bring your original passport with you when going out to a gay club in Panama City. The doormen are very strict and will only admit you if you have your original ID. A copy or photo of it on your phone will not suffice and they'll just turn you away. Envy is the most popular gay club in Panama City where the hottest guys in town go!
They have a large presence on Instagram where they frequently post Live videos. Envy has the best Saturday night gay party in Panama City, full of gorgeous hunks from all around the world. We had a great time …clothing becoming more and more scarce later in the night got… During the week Envy always has something happening including Karaoke nights and the best drag shows in all of Panama.
Don't miss out, it's a fantastic gay night out here! XS is one of the main gay clubs in Panama City where you'll quickly make lots of friends! It's a very local crowd, who welcome foreigners with open arms — we loved it for this! Sadly it's in Gay bars panama city fl a rough area so we highly advise taking an Uber there and back. As stated above, the doormen will bluntly dismiss you if you don't have your original passport so remember to bring this!
XS is open Thursday to Sunday from 9pm until 3am, but we advise heading here after midnight. They play a mix of Latino-pop hits and electro music. They also have drag shows on most nights, but it's mainly in Spanish, so a great way to polish up your gay Panamanian Spanish slang! Check their Facebook for details of the next event. When it comes to gay saunas in Panama City there are few, in fact just one! Though we advise connecting with local gay guys on Grindr to find out the latest gay scene gossip — places open and close quite quickly here.
HamMan is the only gay sauna in Panama City with lots of different themed nights every day of the week like Naked Only2for1 Entry and Threesomes! Saturday evening is the busiest night when they have a live stripper and DJ. The HamMan Sauna is open daily from around 5pm until around 3am 5am on weekends. When it comes to gay events in Panama, the main one is Pride week in June.
We advise checking out the gay bars and clubs listed above who will also host parties Carnival-inspired parties during Gay bars panama city fl period. The LGBTQ community of Panama City may have a slight uphill struggle when it comes to getting the government to pass progressive laws to protect them, but the city's week-long Pride festival grows stronger each year since its inception back in — 3 years before the country legalised homosexuality. The week includes a mix of conference, live performances, parties, debates and of course, a large parade which goes from Santa Ana through the Casco Viejo all the way to the Cinta Costera.
Panamanian food, ever heard of it? Neither had we, and you need to! Find out what these all are in our guide to the best traditional foods of Panama and read on to find the best place in Panama City to try some of these out, along with a few other gems in Casco Viejo we discovered:.Gay bars panama city fl
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Panama City Gay Bars