Most remember Panama City for its famous canal, which, of course, is a reason alone to visit. That said, the capital city of Panama is also the gateway to the gorgeous tropical beaches of Bocas del Toro and San Blas. Referred to as the Dubai of Latin America by some, Panama City is hard to pin down, especially since it sits at the world’s crossroads of LGBTQ rights. Despite lying in a culturally conservative nation and constantly striving for LGBTQ equality, Panama City is unlike Dubai – it has a far more welcoming gay life. In fact, there are many gay hotels in Panama City Panama that are extremely friendly towards LGBTQ travelers.
The bulk of the gay scene in this vibrant city is mainly focused around Casco Viejo, a.k.a. the old town, and the El Cangrejo neighborhoods. Gay ex-pats, travelers, and foreigners throng the streets of Casco Viejo which is full of gay bars, clubs, and rainbow flag-flying establishments. Even Catholic orthodoxy hasn’t deterred the integrated LGBTQ community to have a life here. That said, there are so many Top Things To Do In Panama City too, such as Bridge Of The Americas that’s the Pacific entrance to Panama Canal, and Biomuseo, the city’s famous biodiversity museum. This vibrant meeting point between East and West should certainly be on your gay journey around Central America. To that end, here are the 11 best gay friendly hotels in Panama City, Panama.
The Bristol Hotel
Not only is The Bristol Hotel a regular on best-hotel lists, but it’s also amongst the most luxurious gay hotels in Panama City Panama. Set in a historic colonial mansion in Panama City’s financial district, this one is for discerning gay travelers. The subway station is just a street away, which makes the gay scene at Casco Viejo merely a 10-minute ride. The hotel is full of storied antiques and experiences. For instance, the hotel serves delicious Panamanian cuisine that celebrates local ingredients. What’s interesting is that it’s prepared under the direction of the granddaughter of a Panamanian founder! The rest of the hotel is similarly impressive, especially the terraces and gardens that are perfect for unwinding. Relax with a couples massage at the spa and sauna or work out in the fitness center.
Choose from 125 tastefully appointed rooms done up in soothing creams, rich russets, and deep browns. Plush Frette sheets and wall-to-wall marble in the baths with free toiletries make you feel like royalty. State-of-the-art mod-cons aside, did you know that the hotel even delivers newspapers, coffee, and food to the room? Yes!
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American Trade Hotel
The American Trade Hotel is one of the glitziest gay friendly hotels in Panama City. Overlooking Casco Viejo’s Plaza Herrera, this 1917-built structure was once the country’s tallest! The hotel is an extremely gay favorite one due to its location in the heart of Casco Viejo; in fact, the gay club Gatto Blanco is just down the street. Coming to the hotel, there’s a lot to love about it. The rooftop space was designed for socializing, right from the rooftop pool with sunbeds to the well-stocked library. Aside from the gym, you’ll love the jazz club which plays live music every weekend. The lobby farm-to-table restaurant/bar is a great place to begin your day with a wonderful breakfast of made-to-order eggs, fresh fruits, and what are the best croissants in the city.
Everything about its 50 rooms is classy and stylish, right from the bespoke Aesop toiletries to the plush king platform beds. All rooms also come with plush bathrobes and swanky mod-cons such as internet radios. If you want to splurge, go for the large suites that come with large seating/dining rooms and bathtubs in the bathroom.
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Surrounded by Panama City’s thriving and buzzing gay nightlife, it’s no wonder that Las Clementinas Boutique Hotel is one of the best gay hotels in Panama City Panama. The 1930s-built structure makes the now intimate and exclusive boutique hotel feel more like a posh guesthouse. Sprinkled with vintage decor and old photos, the hotel has some gorgeous spaces for socializing. The rooftop terrace, for instance, is the perfect place to begin your day with an à la carte breakfast with gorgeous views of the old city. Think juice, tea/coffee, rolls, eggs, and seasonal tropical fruit. Plus, it opens onto a beautiful garden, where you can enjoy a cuppa or sit and even enjoy a Sunday prix fixe brunch. That said, the lobby cafe bar is very popular with both tourists and locals, especially if you’re looking to meet someone.
You’ll love the rooms at this hotel, of which six are spacious one-bedroom apartments with fully fitted kitchens and wraparound balconies perfect for entertaining. Plush beds aside, you’ll find lovely hardwood floors, high ceilings, delicate furnishings, and elegant bathrooms with Biogena amenities and rainforest showerheads.
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Another Casco Viejo gem is Casa Sucre, one of the most gorgeous gay friendly hotels in Panama City’s old city. Promising to deliver “Midwest hospitality in the heart of Americas,” the LGBT-friendly guesthouse has just five bedrooms. So staying here is one intimidate and exclusive experience. What’s more, Panama City’s gay life lies right outside the door, with Gatto Blanco in the next building itself. Thus, this is an excellent option for staying for LGBTQ travelers who’re on a budget.
Set in a 19th-century home, this guesthouse has a coffee house that’s very popular with locals, especially gays. It specializes in beans from the Panamanian highlands, making it a great place for coffee lovers who want to hang out. It’s also where you can dig into a hangover-curing à-la-carte breakfast while watching life in Casco Viejo go by. Free Wi-Fi aside, the charming rooms and apartments are decked out in colonial-style décor. Cable TVs and equipped kitchens make your stay comfortable, but the best bit is that they all come with charming balconies.
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A 15-minute walk along the coast from Casco Viejo brings us to Waldorf Astoria Panama, one of the friendliest and most luxurious gay hotels in Panama City Panama. In fact, the rollicking gay establishments of Envy Club and El Apartmento bar are just a few streets away from the hotel. So, this makes for an excellent lavish base to delve into Panama City’s pulsating gay nightlife. Tucked right on the Avenida Balboa beachfront, the hotel occupies an excellent seafront location in the town. If you want to splurge, we’d suggest staying in one of the lavish suites. Besides all the usual amenities such as Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries, slippers, and bathrobes, they also come with plush king beds, a welcome plate of macarons, and Nespresso machines for satisfying your hourly caffeine fixes.
The rest of the hotel is similarly impressive, especially the outdoor heated pool which is the central place to unwind on the property. Post swim, a dip in the adjacent whirlpool completes your cycle of relaxation. If you’re a workout person, head to the 24-hour gym, but we’d highly recommend getting a couple’s massage at the decadent spa. Aside from two restaurants, the hotel serves a terrific breakfast buffet, which has literally everything on offer. Think bread, cheeses, delicious fresh juices, and delicious Panamanian classics like sancocho soup. If there was ever a hangover fix for washing off the telltale signs of a wild gay night out in the town, it’s this breakfast buffet. So, it’s no surprise that Waldorf is one of the Best Hotels in Panama City too.
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Dreams Playa Bonita
If you want to stay away from Panama City’s bustle but close to it, we’d suggest the extremely gay-friendly Dreams Playa Bonita. Lying just 20 minutes south of Panama City, this mega-resort sits on a sandy and pristine Pacific beach. Playa Bonita literally translates to “beautiful beach,” and we couldn’t agree more. After a hearty breakfast featuring a mega-selection buffet, head down to the turquoise waters and have a morning of fun splashing in the surf and laying on the loungers. After spending time at the beach, it’s time to unwind by the languorous infinity pool, complete with sunbeds and palm trees. The staff will make you feel thoroughly pampered, bringing you everything from snacks to drinks at your poolside perch.
There’s a lot more to explore and enjoy while staying at this stunning resort, such as the swanky fitness center and the pool and lobby bars which offer a bevy of delicious drinks. When you want to relax in your room, why not order an in-room massage or facial? It’s a great way to unwind with your partner. You’ll love the modern rooms here as well, which are decked out in muted colors. French windows that open onto gorgeous balconies bring in lashings of sunlight. There’s even a breakfast table set up on the balcony for romantic mornings.
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Located on Avenida Balboa within walking distance of Casco Viejo, Hilton Panama is one of the best gay hotels in Panama City Panama. Offering stunning vistas of the city, the huge 350-room hotel features striking design elements and is designed for comfort and luxury. While standard rooms are swanky enough, we’d recommend going for the rooms that come with terraces, balconies, and patios for sweeping Pacific Ocean views. Nevertheless, the rooms are spacious with carpeted floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and deep-soaking tubs in the bathrooms. If you’re looking for utterly romantic digs in the city, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than this.
There’s a lot more to love about this hotel, especially its relaxation options. Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the outdoor terrace of the restaurant before heading to the rooftop pool. With blue sunbeds and superb views of the city and the ocean, it’s one of the best places to relax in the entire city. Post swim, head for a heavenly massage at the spa, or work up a sweat in the fitness center. Evening revelries in the city begin right at the bar in the hotel, after which Casco Viejo is a short walk.
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Radisson Hotel Panama Canal
LGBTQ travelers looking for a front-row view of the Panama Canal will love the Radisson Hotel, which lies right at the entrance to Balboa’s Amador Causeway. Despite the obvious and peaceful out-of-town location, Casco Viejo and its gay establishments are a mere 10-minute ride via the utterly scenic seaway of Cinta Costera. You have the choice of 83 rooms, but we’d recommend that you especially choose one with a view of the Panama Canal. Nevertheless, the light-filled and spacious rooms feature sliding glass doors opening onto huge balconies. Whether it’s your morning breakfast or evening glass of wine, it’s the perfect place to enjoy views.
There’s a lot to do at this hotel, starting with the huge outdoor pool that’s surrounded by sunbeds, pretty yellow umbrellas, and lush Panamanian foliage. Choose from a bevy of dining options, of which the lobby bat with beers and drinks is a great place to enjoy a sundowner or nightcap. Finally, the gardens with alfresco furniture are an excellent place to relax and unwind on the property.
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One of the best gay hotels in Panama City Panama is Intercontinental Miramar, complete with elegant digs and amazing views. No matter which room you choose, they all enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows with exquisite views of Casco Viejo and the Bay of Panama. The well-designed rooms and suites are perfect for a romantic vacation, whether you’re with your partner or a new friend you might have made at Casco Viejo. The best bit is that even Casco Viejo is a five-minute scenic oceanfront drive. Coffeemakers and flatscreen TVs aside, the rooms also have swanky minibars and huge for-two bathtubs. Combined with bespoke toiletries, they’re perfect for romantic escapades in your room.
You’ll love the rest of the hotel too, which features a well-equipped fitness center and divine spa facilities. An excellent breakfast buffet is a great way to cure your previous night’s hangover. Post that, head to the heavenly outdoor pool that’s surrounded by lush tropical gardens. Overall, it’s a great spot to soak up the sun and relax with memorable views of the Bay of Panama.
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Located 10 minutes from the gay scene at El Cangrejo, Aloft Panama is one of the best gay-friendly hotels in Panama City. Since it lies around 20 minutes from the old city, Aloft is perfect for LGBTQ travelers who want to explore the city as well. That’s because it’s within walking distance of many of the city’s sights. Despite having no concierge or room services, Aloft still oozes a glitzy vibe thanks to the lounge with a pool table and a snazzy bar serving signature drinks. Both places are very gay-popular, so you might even end up meeting someone here! Begin your morning by enjoying a grab-and-go breakfast from the Re:fuel snack bar before heading out to explore the city.
Once you’re back, you can either hit the gym or unwind by the gorgeous outdoor pool, which is one of the best in the city. Post swim, relax in the shared lounge, the terrace, or get the party started at the scintillating bar. After a night of revelry, sleep it off in the comfort of the spiffy rooms, which come with swish bathrooms, plush beds, and a host of gadgets for mod-cons.
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It’s only fitting that we place the exquisitely superb Balboa Inn atop the list of the best gay hotels in Panama City Panama. The extremely LGBTQ-friendly nine-room inn is tucked in the serene and tranquil neighborhood of Las Cruces, which lies on the other side of Casco Viejo. So, it’s far from the maddening crowd, and yet close enough for you to enjoy Panama City’s gay nightlife.
Staying at this inn is a laidback and personal experience. Begin your morning with a paid but very affordable à la carte breakfast where the chef whips up whatever you feel like having. Post breakfast, head out to explore the city or relax in the lush gardens at the inn. You could also sunbathe on the terrace, which offers great views of the lush neighborhood. The rooms are similarly wonderful and feature plush European mattresses and spotless bathrooms with toiletries.
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Just So You Know:
- Travelers are advised to bring their original passports with them while heading out to gay clubs in Panama City as doormen are very strict and could turn you away.
Get Some Culture in Panama City:
- Gay Pride Panama City: June sees a huge carnivalesque and vibrant gay pride parade in downtown Panama City. It’s sponsored by Asociación Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panamá, the country’s first and only LGBTQ association. The week-long celebrations feature debates, live performances, conferences, parties, and of course, the huge parade that passes through Casco Viejo. The highlight of the rainbow-hued event is the ‘Great Pink Egg’ award that recognizes Panama’s most homophobic organization or person.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Panama City:
- Gatto Blanco: This trendy gay-friendly is a favorite hangout with LGBTQ locals. It’s got cheap drinks, a great crowd, and a cool vibe – not to mention a super cute bar staff! Sometimes a live DJ plays the best Latino pop hits.
- Malibu Spirits & Eatery: This quirky bar has a very popular outdoor patio, but is even more popular because of their male-only Sunday parties “Domingo de Pintas”. They also have cocktail happy hours and a host of other gay night events.
- Envy Club Panamá: This extremely popular gay club is where you’ll find the hottest guys in town! It’s also where you’ll find the best Saturday night gay party in the city, complete with gorgeous hunks from all around the world. Oh, and did we mention? The clothes become more and more scarce the later it gets!
Best Gay Saunas in Panama City:
- Hamman Sauna Spa: The only gay sauna in Panama City has lots of different themed nights every day of the week such as Threesomes, 2-for-1 entry, and Naked Only! Saturday evenings have live strippers too!