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 Balboa - Shore Services

Communications

Cruisers VHF Net: This runs Monday through Saturday 0800 local time (1300 UTC). Currently VHF 74, however this does change due to quantity of local traffic. Each season cruisers establish a weekly get together, always announced on the local VHF Net.

Balboa post office, corner Avenida Roosevelt and Jamaica, open 07:00-17:45 Monday to Friday, 08:15-13:00 Saturday.

Payphones are available throughout the city. You can purchase phone cards, or make AT&T or MCI calls. You may elect to buy a cell-phone from Movistar for $20.00 plus phonecard. A similar service is available at Vable and Wireless in Panama.

Western Union offices offer international phone and fax services at several paces in Panama City.

Free internet access is available at TGIFriday's restaurant (when dinning there). It is next to Balboa Yacht Club.

Imtech Marine Panama (Radio Holland)
Boulevard Las Americas , Panamerica Corporate Center Warehouse 9100, local 11 , Howard – Panama Pacifico
Tel:+507 3160152/53 Fax:+507 3160153
Service, repair and installation of marine electronics (VHF, GPS, Sat Terminals, Radars, Echo sounders etc.). Represent Victron Energy, Garmin, Entel etc. Sell airtime for Iridium & Inmarsat terminals.
Operate out of Balboa (Pacific side including all marinas) and Manzanillo (Atlantic side including all marinas).

Banks

Bank and ATM ATM located in the shopping plaza HSBC facilities located at the junction of Calle Balboa and Barnby Tel: (507) 2284455

Laundry

Laundry is available at the yacht club, inexpensive and good.

Calaloo Fish Bar and Restaurant
Taboga Island, Playa Honda
Tel:507-6000-5172
Opening hours: open every day except Ttuesdays
Located by the pier, in front of the anchorage. Make advance reservations for dinner Thursday thru Sunday. Able to offer a laundry service.
Ocean View Hotel
Across the street from the La Playita anchorage
$10 for a large bag, and reported to provide service with a smile!
Panama City - Freeway Laundry
Located near YMCA
Tel:(507) 228 6592
From the YMCA go left and then left again at the light. It is in a small strip mall. You can leave it or do it yourself. They deliver also.

Provisions

The prices are about the same for most food and marine stuff as on the Colon side. However, there is much more available in food, services and marine bits on the Balboa side and the fresh markets are much better.

Some cruisers feel that it is more hassle than in Colon to get larger shopping quantities from the taxi to the boat. The Balboa yacht club runs their taxi boats from a very long pier due to the extreme tides. Transporting your goods to the end of the pier can only be done by trolleys and the loading and unloading of the taxi boat. Dinghies are not welcome at the dock.

The best provisioning on the Pacific side is at the El Dorado Shopping Mall, which has excellent supermarkets. There is also a fresh produce market near the railway station in Balboa.

Warehouse shopping is available at PriceSmart, MegaDepot, among others. There are new grocery stores opening all the time, with a good selection of goods.

There is also a shopping centre, the Albrook Mall, near the domestic airport.

Very good and comprehensive hardware shop called "Do It Center" next to the El Dorado shopping center. Do It also carries gas bottles, fittings, fishing gear, outdoor equipment and a vast range of tools and power tools plus generators.

Access to Panama City and shopping from the Playita and Flamenco anchorages requires taxis (between $5 and $7 each way and much negotiation).

Last updated May 2012.

Professional Ship Suppliers
Office No. 10, Level 100 , P.H. ORION PLAZA, Street 5th and 6th , Colon City
Tel:+507 6616 7531
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 8:00am - 8:00pm
Contact Emilio Lau (speaks English fluently). Services offered include provisioning/grocery runs to the big supermarkets, grocery orders and delivery to your location. Transportation/pick up to or from the airport. Custom searches for hard to find items, as well as ordering parts.

Transport & Travel

Buses
Next to the shopping mall ain Albrook is the Mall Gran Terminal de Transporte from where all buses to and from Colon and the interior departs and arrive. Also, most routes for local bus services for Panama City passes by this Terminal. A bus makes the Isla Flamenco circle once an hour.

Taxis
There are frequently taxis in the Flamenco Island area and the ride into Amador is $2.00. The run to Tucumen Airport is typically $20.00, and the ride back to Colón (after a Transit) is $40-60. Always determine the price with the driver beforehand. Ask the locals what the cost should be.

Access to Panama City and shopping from the Playita and Flamenco anchorages requires taxis (between $5 and $7 each way and much negotiation).

Recommended by cruisers: Luis Arce (Tel.638-2273, VHF ch 6). He has made a business with visiting yachts, speaks excellent English and is completely reliable. He charges $8.00 as an hourly rate to run errands with you and is familiar with all the marine and hardware stores. Another recommended English-speaking driver is Enrique Plummer (Tel. 674-2086). Both drivers are very customer oriented.

The trip to Tocumen International Airport (about 25km) is around $20.00 and takes about 45 minutes from Isla Flamenco.

The domestic airport at Albrook (Marco A. Gelabart Airport) offers services for commuter airlines to Colon and the interior. It is about 2km from Balboa.

Car Rental
Alamo Tel: (507)2365777
Budget Tel: (507)263 8777
Hertz Tel: (507)2602111

NOTE - Rental cars can not be taken across the border into Costa Rica. The new 4 lane interstate is open between Colon (Sabinitas) and Panama City. In general the roads throughout Panama are good. You can get a better rate if you reserve a car online. You can also rent a GPS with digitized road maps.

Train
Taking the train back down the route of the canal is a hassle-free way to return to Colón. Catch a bus from Flamenco to the train station in Panama City.

Last updated May 2012.

Edgar Huertas
Tel:507-625-36649
Taxi service. Knows where all of the marine suppliers and outside contractors are. 10 passenger van (new/AC).
Frederico Ploche
Cruisers' Taxi Service
A useful contact for canal transit arrangements (2009).
Moses Bike Rental
The Causeway, Amador , Panama
Tel:(507) 211 3671
Opening hours: Mon-Fri from 08:00-18:00
Can be delivered to Flamenco Marina. $10 per day, $100 deposit.
Professional Ship Suppliers
Office No. 10, Level 100 , P.H. ORION PLAZA, Street 5th and 6th , Colon City
Tel:+507 6616 7531
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 8:00am - 8:00pm
Contact Emilio Lau (speaks English fluently). Services offered include provisioning/grocery runs to the big supermarkets, grocery orders and delivery to your location. Transportation/pick up to or from the airport. Custom searches for hard to find items, as well as ordering parts.
Radio Taxi Howard Corporation
Amador
Tel:228-6204/228-4787
Taxi services.

Computer/Photo/Video

I.B.C., S.R.
El Dorado
Tel:+507 260-6128
Sells computer supplies.
Sonset
Avenida Brasil, (near Texaco Station)
Tel:+507 206-9500
Service and maintenance of computers.

Medical/Health

There are plenty of very good private medical facilities in Panama.

Dentists

Panama City – Dr. Omar Rodriquez, (507) 223-2689 is located in the El Cangrejo area. Atlantica Building, 3rd floor, #4.
Dr Ramon Vallarino, Clinica Dental Vallarino, Calle 50 y Via Israel. Centro Commercial La Colmena, Panama - +(507)223 3097 email valdent@cableonda.net

Balboa Dental Clinic
(Near Balbo Post Office) , El Prado, Panamá, Panama
Tel:(507)228 0338 - 314 1019
Located across the parking lot from Niko’s café.
Centro Medico Paitilla
Calle 53 and Ave. Balboa , Panama City
Tel:+507 265 8800 - urgencies +507 265 8888
This hospital has a casualty department. It is located near the World Trade Centre in the Marbella area of Panama City.
Clinica Hospital San Fernando
Panama City
Tel:278-6364
This private hospital has an international department to assist you. Call (305-6300) Ex 4283.
Clinica Urriola
Centro Comercial Aventura
Tel:(507) 2609415
Dentist
Farmacia Arrocha
Calle Aquilino de la Guardia , Balboa , (Also at the Albrook Mall)
Tel:(507) 2234505 (24 hrs)
Hospital San Fernando
Tel:+507 305 6300
Hospital Santa Fe
Tel:+507 227 4733
Private hospital.
Paitilla Hospital
Balboa Avenue & 53rd Street Panama City , Panama
Tel:+852 2810 9188

Accommodation

There are many hotels in Panama City.

In the Amador area: Country Inn & Suites and Hotel Brisas de Adador.

Near the domestic airport at Albrook: Albrook Inn.

At the international airport: Riande Hotel.

Cerrito Tropical B&B Hotel
Taboga Island
Tel:507-6489-0074
Opening hours: open daily
Located on the hillside near old Chu hotel.
Can offer a day package with shower, room, free wifi, a washing service (allow 24 hours minimum-everything is dried outside). From $40 plus tax for the day for 2.
The Riande Hotel
Tel:+507 290-3333
A block away from Tocumen International Airport, reasonably priced, and offers a shuttle service every half hour. Ideal for early morning departures.

Activities

Panama Paddle Center
Local 3, Antigo Deposito , La Loceria , Panama
Tel:(507) 3903748
Kayak/SUP shop. Sales, Lessons and Tours. Membership club and information point for all paddle sports; kayaking; kayak-fishing; canoeing; surf-ski or stand-up-paddle-boarding. Currently stock 22 different models of kayak, stand up paddle boards and a full range of accessories.
Scuba Panama
Neptuno Calle 73 , San Fransico , Panama City
Tel:(507) 261 3841

Shopping

The prices on this side of the Canal are about the same for most food and marine stuff as on the Colon side. However, there is much more available in food, services and marine bits on the Balboa side and the fresh markets are much better.

Within the El Dorado Shopping Mall is an internet cafe, hair salons, shops, and Gran Morrison department store with a good selection of English magazines and books. There are many fast food places, computer stores, shops and restaurants all within a block of the mall.

Amador - a former US Army Base, now a kind of Park Area with recreational areas, a Convention Center, Hotels, Restuarants, shops etc apart from the Yacht Clubs and Marinas. Buying here is significantly more expensive than buying in Panama City.

Nearby in the YMCA is an artesan market with high quality handcrafted Panamanian souvenirs. You can find the best quality Wounaan and Embera Indian baskets, tagua nut carvings, woodcarvings, and Kuna Indian molas.

Last updated May 2012.

Restaurants & Bars

Near the marina is a bar/restaurant El Barco, which is open for lunch and dinner. Tamburelli's pizza delivers to the marina office, call (507)314-0202.

The separate complex behind the shopping plaza has a number of bars and restaurants and there are plenty options further afield.

Calaloo Fish Bar and Restaurant
Taboga Island, Playa Honda
Tel:507-6000-5172
Opening hours: open every day except Ttuesdays
Located by the pier, in front of the anchorage. Make advance reservations for dinner Thursday thru Sunday. Able to offer a laundry service.
Los Templarios Restaurant
Near Balboa area
Tel:(507) 314 1169
This small restaurant has a wide variety of dishes on it’s menu, including pasta seafood and some traditional Panamanian dishes with reasonable prices
Shamrocks Restaurant & Grill
behind the Arnulfo Arias Monument on La Boca Rd , La Boca Road , Balboa, Panama
Tel:507 314-1436/507 314-1437
Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Aug 06, 2017 04:46 PM

The below comment is about La Playita Marina.

Noah D.
Noah D. says:
Jul 01, 2017 01:45 AM

Posted in behalf of Hugh Pilsworth of BlueFlyer:

After an uneventful trip through the Canal we arrived to the well hidden Marina.
First impressions on arrival through the narrow and unlit, unmarked entrance, were good. This is a new Marina with power and water on the docks, which are wide and stable, with big dock cleats.
Security is via keycard to both enter and exit. The office is just at the top of the walkway and is heavily air conditioned.
That is the end of the good impressions. The fees are outrageous, twice those of Shelter Bay and that was more than Red Frog Beach. First night is US$150.00 plus water and electricity. Thereafter it's $2.00 per foot per night, minimum rate charged is 40 feet! For a 2 week stay our cost, 49 ft, is $1470.00 plus 7% tax. That is $1573.00 plus water and electricity.
The toilets are bad and the shower had no hot water.
There is a large chandlers and an ice cream shop next to the office. Restaurants, etc are a good walk away and Panama City is a taxi ride away. Albrook Mall is a 2 hour walk, so bus or taxi.

This would not be my favourite Marina by any measure, but the other marinas are either more expensive or for motor boats. There are mooring buoys at the Balboa Yacht Club, but I'm told that they cost $46.00 per night, presumably plus tax as well.

linuswilson
linuswilson says:
Jun 11, 2016 01:55 PM

Astillero Nacional S.A.
Vacamonte, Panama
They do NOT do long-term dry storage. There is an $80 per day charge to be blocked up.

Rosalind Laing
Rosalind Laing says:
Mar 10, 2015 07:40 PM

Most marine rigging can now be done in Panama. DIMAR has opened Total Marine Supply and details of products and the location of Flexocable can be found on www.flexocable.com

Total Marine Supply in DIMAR also have a wide range of marine products, parts and services. They are official agents for a range of products, including Rule/Jabsco pumps and an inflatable.

dshaimas
dshaimas says:
Feb 17, 2015 01:41 PM

Increased Rates for Transients, Balboa Yacht Club, Panama City, Panama
Effective March 1, 2015:

Monohulls: $0.85 US per foot, per day
Multihulls: $1.00 US per foot per day

Adding the 7% government tax brings actual effective rates of $0.91 for monohulls and $1.07 for multihulls.

Rates include mooring ball (which will rub bright yellow paint onto your hull), water taxi service (dinghy's not allowed in the mooring field), use of coin operated laundry facility, free shower facilities, free water, free wifi (depending on location within the mooring field).

BYC does NOT sell gasoline and, due to permitting issues has been unable to sell diesel for the past 4 to 5 months. No one can say with certainty when they will be able to sell diesel again.

The new General Manager is Capt. Rex Jansen. The email address for checking on mooring availability is: bycmarina@cwpanama.net

Debi Shaimas
s/v Serenity

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jul 03, 2014 11:44 AM

I am sorry to report that Juan of Gente De Mar cannot be used to handle laundry.. On two occasions items have been missing and on the second occasion my husband's columbia brand clothes and several other items were missing. Juan said it was not his problem and offered no help. I replaced several items at significant cost and did not want the money, I just wanted him to inquire with his laundress.. His response was shocking and rude.
He fills gasoline cans and propane cans for cruisers in the Panama City area but you can do this yourself much cheaper with a taxi if at least two boats get together. If you chose to use his services, expect to pay premium prices with no guarantee that he is using reputable service providers.
Nell Kellett
SV Moon Dancer

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Apr 15, 2014 03:16 PM

Posted on behalf of D. Laurin, S/Y Vimy:
I want to inform the yachting community about a top notch Electrical Engineer who is working both in Shelter Bay Marina (Colon - Panama) and out of Panama City/Balboa.
He is the first seriously professional electrical trained person that I have encountered in many years of cruising. This is the first time that I have bothered to make a comment about a Trade here or anywhere.
Name: Tom Valentine
Company: Marine Electric
E-mail: th.valentin@gmail.com
Tel: 507 -6666 2598

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Panama: To use an agent or not? (02 May 2007)

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Cruising Report on Sapzurro (15 Jan 2007)

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Panama Canal - Using an agent (26 Jun 2006)

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Cruising Notes Costa Rica, Cocos Island (24 May 2005)

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Positive Experience From Panama Canal To Galapagos (11 Apr 2005)

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Is A Late Transit Of Panama Canal Feasible? (12 Nov 2004)

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Refuelling in the Marquesas (03 May 2004)

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New Comprehensive Cruising Guide for Panama (24 Feb 2003)

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Eastern San Blas (19 Aug 2002)

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Panama, Shelter Bay Marina: Boatyard Manager Vacancy  (18 Mar 2013)

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Summary of Security & Piracy Reports 2012  (28 Feb 2013)

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Panama, Balboa Yacht Club: Pacific Puddle Jump Party, March 9, 2013  (18 Jan 2013)

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Panama, Colon: Protests over land sell-off  (23 Oct 2012)

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Panama: Increased Canal Tolls Effective from October 1st 2012  (18 Aug 2012)

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Panama: Dinghy Licence for Local Residents  (18 Jul 2012)

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Panama, Bocas del Toro: American Couple Brutally Assaulted And Robbed On Their Sailboat Near Isla Colon  (09 Jul 2012)

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Panama Canal: ACP Announces Delay in Implementation of Toll Increase  (30 Jun 2012)

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Panama Immigration: If going to Panama, find out first the best place to clear in.  (26 Jun 2012)

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Honduras: Doublehanders Boarded and Robbed by Pirates  (14 Jun 2012)

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Panama: Row over Proposed Toll Increases  (30 May 2012)

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Visiting the Galapagos? Reduce your Human Footprint  (18 May 2012)

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Panama: Good News about Immigration Fees - with Update  (09 May 2012)

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Panama Canal Transit - Limited Advisors creates Backlog  (21 Apr 2012)

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Panama, Colon, Club Nautico: Skipper tied up and Robbed  (08 Apr 2012)

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Panama: Latest on Transit Waiting Times  (05 Apr 2012)

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Caribbean Free Cruising Guides - New Editions  (04 Apr 2012)

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Panama: Latest Transit Information - Further Updates  (20 Mar 2012)

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Panama: Waiting Time for Canal Transits Increases  (01 Mar 2012)

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Panama: Marine Scene Marina – New Mega Facility in the Planning  (04 May 2011)

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Panama Canal Temporarily Closed to All Traffic - Update  (11 Dec 2010)

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New Webcast Service for Caribbean Weather  (20 Oct 2010)

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Panama: Skipper Killed and Crew Wounded in Yacht Attack - Further Updates  (11 Jul 2010)

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Panama: New Regulations Covering Cruising Permits - Effective July 1st 2010  (02 Jul 2010)

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Panama - Warning of ACP Canal Toll increase 2011   (30 Apr 2010)

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Panama Canal - Official Agent Listing Available Soon  (21 Oct 2009)

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Transit Fees for the Panama Canal  (02 Jun 2009)

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The Panama Cruising Permit - "Permiso de Navegacion"  (18 May 2009)

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Update on the Panama Canal  (13 Mar 2009)

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Panama Canal Transit Season - Update on Waiting Times  (21 Feb 2009)

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Panama: All Visiting Yachts Now Required to Pre-Register Arrival Information  (11 Feb 2009)

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Panama Canal Transit Season - Current Waiting Times  (09 Feb 2009)

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Confusion in the San Blas Islands  (17 Sep 2008)

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Is the Panama Canal back to Normal?  (20 Jun 2008)

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Waiting Times at Panama Canal Worsen  (16 Apr 2008)

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Waiting Times at Panama Canal Get Worse  (11 Apr 2008)

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Galapagos Restrictions  (03 Nov 2006)

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New US Immigration Requirements  (02 Aug 2006)

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Ecuadorean Authorities Ease Galapagos Restrictions  (05 Apr 2006)

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More News - Good and Bad - From Panama  (21 Sep 2005)

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Panama Canal Authority Tightens Screws On Yachts  (16 Sep 2005)

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Ecuador’s Puerto Lucia Provides A Perfect Base En Route to the South Seas  (05 Sep 2003)

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Panama Canal Raises Fees But Yachts May Not Be Affected  (19 Aug 2002)