panama cheat sheet

Want to know some of the basics before you travel in Panama? We've got you covered!


3.8 million

main cities

David, Colon, Panama City (capital)

bordering countries

Costa Rica, Colombia

top tourist destinations

Bocas del Toro, Boquete and Panama City (from where you can visit the canal). 


languages spoken

Spanish, although English is increasingly popular, especially on the Caribbean coast and in Panama City.


currency and 2015 exchange rates

Panama's official currency is the US dollar. Some coins will be Panamanian instead of American, but they retain the same value. 

|  £1 = $0.6 |  €1 = $0.8


our route

We whizzed through Panama from Costa Rica but actually travelled the route that most people would take - via Bocas del Toro, you can head to Boquete and then make your way to Panama City. 

must-try food and drink

If Panama had a national dish, we're pretty sure it would be Sancocho, a chicken stew that can be found in almost every corner comedor. Other popular dishes include ropa vieja (kind of like pulled beef in a rich sauce) and ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice - tastes much better than it sounds!).


good for vegetarians? 

As Panama is a relatively developed country, certainly by Central American standards, vegetarian options are a little easier to come by here. Although should you chose to eat in budget restaurants you may still get a few odd looks when requesting that the meat be omitted from your meal!

Our recommendation? Take advantage of the amazing fresh fruit and vegetable markets across the country, pick a hostel with a kitchen and cook for yourself!


transport options

Buses are the most popular form of transport in Panama but vary quite considerably in quality, from the usual old American school buses to fancier long distance coaches. Between islands, boats are clearly the better option, however, these do come at a premium!


can i see it in a month?



can I drink the tap water?

Yes, except for Bocas del Toro and Comarca de Kuna Yala


is malaria present?

For those travelling east of the Panama Canal, anti-malarials are recommended, for elsewhere in the country mosquito avoidance is usually sufficient. As always, it is recommended that you visit a travel clinic prior to your trip.


vaccinations needed?

Hepatitis A and typhoid. Although it is not a requirement, is often recommended to have a Yellow Fever vaccine prior to commencing a trip to Panama.