If this is your plan, you could stay in bed & breakfasts, homestays, hotels, and short-term rentals. Short-term rentals are highly recommended, especially if you are moving with your personal belongings and furniture. This temporary accommodation will also give you time to know the place and find the neighbourhood that suits you best before settling permanently.
It's important to know that Panamanian customs will not allow you to receive the shipment with your personal belongings until you have provided a letter to your moving company from a Panamanian lawyer indicating that you are in the process of legalizing your residency – a process that you can only initiate after your arrival.
Once you begin looking for a rental property in Panama, you will soon notice that the rental market is not well organized. In other words, you can find an apartment to rent with just about any method (newspaper, online, real estate agencies and word-of-mouth, to name a few).
Of course, if you are willing to pay an agent it is easier to find an apartment to rent. Since most real estate agencies offer their services in English, especially in Panama City, finding a place isn’t that difficult for foreigners. In addition, they will save you time and eliminate many legal concerns.
Besides consulting a real state agency, a very common way is word-of-mouth from other expats who may be leaving their accommodation. You can also search in the classified sections of Panamanian newspapers:
You can also search for accommodation before you even arrive in Panama via the Internet. It is also easier since you can focus your search on criteria such as the city, price, and category of accommodation (condo, apartments, houses…). You can also ask all questions you may have by email (e.g. what is included in the price?). The usual classified websites are: