San Francisco has a PriceMart. If you are from the United States and you’re addicted to Costco, you will be glad to know that it is the same thing.
San Francisco is on the edge of the nicest mall in Panama. It has Calle 50 going through a part of it so it has nice shops and nice stores. Calle 50 is a 6-lane street that has the Riu Hotel, the Mercedes dealership, the Ferrari dealership, etc. It is a big boulevard where everything that one could want is located. Panama is not known in this area for large, wide streets, so Calle 50 sticks out.
San Francisco also has an old section that backs up to the original Panama, which was pre-1647. There are parts of San Francisco where the ruins are part of the new buildings, which is cool. There are some high-rise buildings there where the front of the building is still the front of the old building that used to stand there; something like a 15-foot stone wall that has been preserved.
San Francisco goes from the higher end all the way to the very lowest and is a larger area than most people realize, going from the area that the expats would be interested in all the way to the area with the ruins.
San Francisco has a lovely park called Parque Omar, which is named after one of the former presidents of Panama. Panama has a lot of parks where they didn’t put anything in but Parque Omar, they did. Many typical Panamanian parks are just parks where you can go and sit but Parque Omar has tennis courts, roller blading, it is where the hold 5k and 10k runs, it has children areas, etc. You could take a kid to Parque Omar and they could be there all day.
Punta Pacifica, which has a lot of high-rise buildings, including the Trump Tower, is adjacent to San Francisco. The dividing line between Punta Pacifica and San Francisco is the Multi Plaza Mall. Multi Plaza is one of the two biggest malls in Panama. They have Gucci, Prada, and many other luxury brands. They also have PF Chang’s, which has a check out process like many of the higher places in the US where they have the checkout credit card machine on their hip. There is no waiting for a check, which otherwise is normal in Panama. So we are getting technology; thanks to PF Chang’s!.
Right through San Francisco is a regular highway that, on Sundays, becomes a bicycle route. It goes right through San Francisco and by the mall where it is closed to cars during Sunday mornings. The bikes could go almost 30 miles on the main roads. That highway goes through San Francisco and past the ruins area. One of the nice things about San Francisco is seeing this parade of bikes every Sunday morning. You can just hop on a bike and ride. They close numerous streets. Via Israel is the name of the street that goes through San Francisco. Avenida Balboa is the part that is right along the ocean. Corredor Sur is closed, too. So it is a large commitment that they do to allow bikes, runners, and rollerbladers to experience the best parts of Panama City every Sunday morning.
The bad thing about living in San Francisco is being close to a mall because you could spend too much money! San Francisco does have quite a bit of traffic and so it is a relatively congested area to some extent but then there are people who want to be there and are wanting to be in that type of area so I guess they are okay with the traffic situation. They have made several improvements over the last year by constructing overpasses and making the lanes one way or the other but it is still a lot of traffic.
(Avenida Balboa at night, Panama City, Panama, pictured.)