In Panamá: Albrook Mall
Malls are much the same wherever you go. In fact, for most malls, it’s not easy to tell if you are in St. Louis or Dublin since many of the stores and much of the retail is the same. An exception is China with its modern, high-rise, high-end malls filled with Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, action-packed movies at $20.00 a ticket, and fine dining on the upper floors. Panamá City too has a mall that seems exceptional to me. It is big – in fact, the largest mall in Latin America – the Albrook Mall!
Besides being a retail center, the Albrook Mall is the terminus for the Panamá City Metro and the Central Bus Terminal of Panamá – the long-distance and city public bus terminals.
Albrook Mall has over 350 stores, more than 100 restaurants divided into three food courts; the mall is so big that we found only two. The food courts include all the big names such as the McDonalds, Dunking Donuts, Subway, and Quiznos plus local chains and independent restaurants: Fitness Foods, Ni Hao Chinese restaurant, and salad bars. Also you’ll find a movie theater, a bowling alley, a supermarket, casinos, and more – almost anything you could possible want or need is there at Albrook Mall.
The mall is opened every day from 10am to 8pm; the restaurants in the food courts close at 9pm. We found nothing open at 4am when we arrived by our long-distance bus from Boquete. But we caught the first Metro train of the day to the Veneto, our hotel, where they let us check-in early – and we were there in time for its great breakfast that starts at 6:30am. So even if you end up at Albrook Mall when it is not open, transportation to where you want to go is readily available.
We were at the Albrook Mall several times: we got our sim cards, drank fruit smoothies, ate tasty snacks, caught long-distance buses and the Metro, and watched people – all at Albrook Mall.
Be sure to check out the Albrook Mall when you are in Panamá City.
Aloha, Amor y Luz, Renée