The Isthmus of Panamá is divided into 9 provinces, and border with the countries of Colombia and Costa Rica. The main province is Panamá, in which is located the city of Panamá, the financial and economic center of the Republic of Panamá.
The climate is nice with a nice breeze all year around; with a rainy season and a beautiful dry season from November through April. Fortunately, Panamá is protected from hurricanes and tornados, and even though there are numerous mountains, there are only few places where some "shakes" take place once in a while, but no earthquakes. As for environmental disasters, we can only say that we have some flooding here and there, especially on areas around rivers, and after heavy rain.
Panamá is a very modern and cosmopolitan city, which grows on a daily basis. Several international organizations have appointed Panamá as their No. 1 destination in recent years.
The main neighborhoods in the city of Panamá are Marbella, Altos del Golf, San Francisco, Cangrejo, El Carmen, Obarrio, Paitilla, Punta Paitilla, Costa del Este and Punta Pacífica.
Several modern hospitals offer their services with the most advanced technology, as well as numerous important malls and shopping centers. Medical and dental care is excellent, and Panamanians in the medical field are highly trained, many of them, in foreign countries.
Even though more and more visitors are coming every day to Panamá to experience this small but unique country, known for its beauty and biodiversity, with primary and secondary forests and rainforests and one of the highest variety in fauna and flora in the world, Panamá still offers a pleasant way of life, which many consider a good quality of life, at a very low budget, with warm people who welcome you and who make every effort to accommodate visitors, no matter what language they speak.
With over a million inhabitants in the city, Panamá offers to their residents a classic culture between old and modern; a unique combination. You can still buy fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables in almost every corner of the city without stepping into a supermarket, at wonderfully low prices.
Additionally, the city of Panamá offers a modern metro and metro bus public transportation. Also, there are many tourist sites, full of history, back from the colonial times in the 15th century.
The city of Panamá is a combination of locals and foreign residents who move around the city on a daily basis to work, or simply, getting along in harmony, and enjoying what the city has to offer. Expats, from different countries, who have moved to the city are very happy with their new guest country, and enjoy every minute of it. They especially enjoy the many little restaurants and "cafés" (coffee shops) around the city.
As for the language spoken in the city, the officially is Spanish, but everyone speaks whatever they please, and most of the times, get along very well.
Marbella is a small area, with mainly high-rise residential buildings, but many of them have a nice ocean view. A little traffic and noise maybe, but you get used to it. It´s very centrally located and you can walk everywhere, if you don´t mind the warm temperature. Marbella is very close to various hotels and malls, as well as hospitals and medical clinics.
The closest metro stations are in Vía España, by the Our Lady of Carmel Catholic Chuch, on Vía España and Avenue Federico Boyd (by the Hotel Panamá), and the Vía Argentina (in El Cangrejo). In the Marbella area there is also the Multicentro Mall and the famous recently inaugurated Hard Rock Café Hotel. In there, you can also take the Hop-In / Hop-Off bus that will take you to several tourist sites, and to Albrook Mall.
Marbella is a safe area, and a good place to live if you like the city life. Besides, is also very near several hotels, in which you can go for breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends. There are two in particular that are kind of landmarks: A small cafetería (coffee shop) named "La Inmaculada", where students even before "baby boomers" visited every day after school, where you can request an exceptional sandwich or the biggest dessert, like a giant banana split; and the Riu Hotel, who has a spectacular buffet breakfast for brunch at a very nice price. And, if you are a resident retiree, you can enjoy the senior discount that by law Panamá offers on airlines, restaurants, movies and others.
One more thing to mention is that when you visit Panamá, your first 30 days are covered with a medical emergency care, courtesy of the Panamanian Tourist Authority. Just ask at the airport or your hotel.