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David Lim – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
It would be hard to get by in the San Francisco area of Panama City, if you just speak English. You might be able to survive, because a lot of local people in Panama have at least some sort of idea of English, and I would say that a lot of the population of Panama in the more upper-class neighborhoods know a little bit more English than the average Panamanian.
 
If you were planning to move to Panama, I would highly recommend that you learn at least some basic Spanish. If you are coming to Panama as a tourist, you should at least know how to speak English, but you could also come to Panama and learn Spanish here because we have some good places in Panama to learn Spanish. We have several English / Spanish learning centers throughout Panama City, for example the Kaplan Centers, which are very popular in Panama.
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
LANGUAGES IN PANAMA.
 
As in any other place, language is an important issue if you travel to Panama.  Most travelers get a good dictionary or take a short valuable course, even if it´s only a conversional one, just to be prepared for main and basic needs.
 
The first thing after your arrival, it´s advisable to contact a local, in case you should need immediate help to translate any important document or answer.
 
As to the most often spoken language in the Republic of Panamá, it is obviously Spanish, which is the official language.  But the majority of Panamanians speak other languages, which could include the main ones, like English, Chinese, French, Italian and Russian, among others.  So it is not uncommon, especially lately, that you find English or German being spoken at malls or restaurants in Panama City.
 
San Francisco, as part of Panamá City, is the residence for many foreigners.  The physical proximity to important international malls like Punta Pacífica and Multicentro, restaurants, deli gourmet "cafés", discotheques, the prime park  and 5 Star hotels everywhere make this neighborhood one of the most desired places for foreigners to spend their time.  No matter what the language they speak, they always get through on their needs, as Panamanians are very accommodating and make visitors feel at home. 
Nelson Vega of Panasurance – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
As in many areas of downtown Panama City like Punta Pacifica, Paitilla and Avenida Balboa, in San Francisco it is getting more and more common to find people who speak English either because that is their birth language or because they learned it. However, I wouldn't say that you will get by in the San Francisco area by just speaking English.
 
Your chances of running into English-speaking citizens are getting higher by the day, but I would say that in San Francisco and all of Panama it is very important that you learn a good deal of Spanish so that you can communicate properly for your daily activities.

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