TheGayTripper on a bed in Las Clementinas hotel
Panama, Review

Hotel Review: Las Clementinas, Panama City


So, you’re visiting Panama City and need a hotel – I’ve got you. .

So, you’re visiting Panama City and need a hotel. Casco Viejo is a good place to start. It’s the old part of town and far more walkable than the busy multi-lane streets near Obario, where crossing between sidewalks can feel like a game of Frogger. For my first visit to the country, I was hosted by Las Clementinas. A boutique hotel in the San Felipe district.

Check-In Process

If you’re flying into Panama City, then you’ll land at Tocumen International Airport (PTY). Uber and taxis will offer service to any part of town, but I found Las Clementina’s airport shuttle to be fairly priced at $35 for a 30-minute, 15-mile ride to the hotel. My driver, Lini Daniel was directly contracted by the hotel and let me into my room at 3 a.m. For a late flight, this is your only option as the desk closes at 9 p.m. and opens at 6 a.m.

Lini was friendly and knowledgeable, despite the late hour – he gave me a great primer on the region and its history. The check-in process was clearly communicated via email a week before my arrival.

A couch inside a boutique hotel room in Casco Viejo
The living room of apartment #6 at Las Clementinas

The Room

This spacious room was more than enough for me as a solo traveler. In fact, I’ve stayed in AirBnB spaces this size with three or four other guests. The bed was plush and above average in comfort. There are lots of windows and three separate entryways to the balcony. Plenty of natural light during the day and – thank god – responsive, central air conditioning throughout the apartment.

In terms of extra accommodations: there’s free WiFi and the fridge is stocked with a few bottles of water upon your arrival. The kitchen is loaded with coffee, tea, and lots of cutlery. A dining room table and nearby supermarkets make cooking easy. Soap, shampoo, conditioner and plenty of towels are stocked in the bathroom as well.

Other reviews mention the noise of nearby Casa Bruja. But since I sleep in hostels on most trips, this doesn’t bother me. Still, it’s worth bringing earplugs just in case – and I’d recommend packing them for every trip.

A Panamanian dancer performs at Casa Bruja
At the nearby Casa Bruja, this dancer puts on a show.

Gay-Friendly Atmosphere

Panama is safe for LGBT people, but the scene isn’t developed enough to call it a gay destination just yet. In recent year, Panama City Pride has grown substantially, but there’s not much outward or proactive acceptance year-round. In this area, Paola and her staff go the extra mile to welcome LGBT guests. Of all my research in the area, Las Clementinas is one of the few local hotels to explicitly state their support for the LGBT community.

For this reason, Las Clementinas is my recommendation for a gay-friendly hotel in Panama City, Panama.

A patio at Las Clementinas hotel in Panama City
A public space at Las Clementinas

Location

The hotel located in one of the most walkable parts of Panama City. Highly-rated, nearby restaurants include Nazca 21 (Peruvian), Grapes (international), Donde José (Panamanian), Ochoymedio (Caribbean), and Restaurante Calicanto (Italian) – all of which are located within a few blocks of Las Clementinas.

You’re also close to the busy shopping drag of Avenida Central. Whether or not you’re looking to buy something, I suggest taking a one hour walk past all the stores. There’s lots of life in this area, and it’s interesting to see the local commerce. Just be prepared with a, “No, gracias” or two for the street vendors. They’re less pushy than the sellers in Mexico City – and the DirecTV sales reps at Costco. But you’ll still encounter a few along the way.

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Sunset over Panama City from the balcony of Las Clementinas
A sunset view over Casco Viejo from apartment #6

Summary

In the historic quarter of Casco Viejo, hotels are limited. There’s around a dozen or so to choose from, most of which are local, boutique lodgings and a smattering of hostels. For the money, Las Clementinas is a good bet. It’s middle of the road for a Panama City hotel. Not flashy, not overly-expensive, just comfy and friendly.

Check availability for Las Clementinas on their website and get a closer look at the digs through their Instagram account. Chau!