Posted by: Sailing Camelot | August 10, 2012

July 12th – Contributing to the economy in Panama City

 In my opinion, a mooring ball is the next best thing to a marina dock. You’re tied up safe in the knowledge that your boat will stay put (in most cases), but you still get the gentle rocking that you enjoy at anchor.

The long dock connecting us to land

Part of the mooring field, with a view of Bridge of the Americas

We’re quite pleased with our setting. The Balboa Yacht Club is conveniently close to the buzzing city but far enough from the crowd. To get ashore we take advantage of the complimentary water-taxi service that runs 24 hours a day, and there are always cabs stationed outside to take you wherever you want for a reasonable fee.

It can get pretty crowded at times…

Today we venture out to visit Albrook Mall. Fellow cruisers describe it as a must-see modern marvel, so see it we will!

As soon as we enter the air-conditioned, three-story mall our jaws drop: I have never seen such an expansive shopping area and certainly wasn’t expecting such a modern, luxury American-style facility in Central America!

Albrook Mall


It takes us about five hours to cover maybe a third of it and we get lost pretty often. Quite different from the secluded bays we’re used to… It’s complete sensory overload!

We soon find out that prices are overall quite reasonable and very convenient when it comes to electronics.


One of three Food Courts in the Mall

We splurge on two cell phones (smart-phones that are smarter than me for sure), a small waterproof camera that is 20% cheaper here than in the USA, and a new computer for me, since the hand-me-down I had has finally given up the ghost.

Then I see a lens for my semi-professional camera that I have been lusting after for a while. “Go ahead, get it” says Tom, tired of seeing me drool on the store counter.

And so it is that I blow my yearly allowance and then some, celebrating Birthdays, Christmases, Valentine’s Days and whatever else for a few years to come… This mall is hazardous to your wallet!


Every wing of the Mall is named after a dedicated animal.

We’re tired, wiped-out in more ways than one, so we make our way back to the boat. Before hopping on the water taxi we stop at the adjacent Balboa Bar for a refreshing drink and some interaction with friends new and old.

I didn’t expect to spend my first day in the city going crazy-shopping, but it has been a welcome diversion from the more modest lifestyle we usually enjoy.

In all truth, I don’t need to do it again for a very long time… Nor could I afford to, anyway!


The Balboa, not just a Panamanian currency…



  1. Sounds like that was fun!!!!! Obviously worth the $$$$s. We are counting the days now as we begin to make plans of what we need to get to return to our dream!!!! Keep up the good job on your blog.

    What kind of computer did you get?

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