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El Valle de Anton, Panama

How much does it cost to travel in Panama? Our budget and tips

In Panama we spend 1070 euro for 24 days so 22.30 euro per person per day. Although it's not visible in the budget, it's not a cheap country compared with Colombia or other South American countries. But we saved a lot of money by volunteering for 2 weeks.


Where did we go?

In Panama we visited Bocas del Toro region, Valle del Anton and Panama City.

How did we travel?

Long distance travel we did by buses but in Panama City we used mostly Uber both for transport and a nice conversation 🙂 in the area of Bocas we had to use boat taxis. All of that fun transport costed us 92 euros.

Example: Bus from Almirante (mainland next to Bocas del Toro) to Panama City costed 13.9 dollar (round 12 euro) per person and it was  an overnightbus. Uber taxi from our hostel in Panama City to the Canal (which was the most expensive fare ever because we stopped in a few places and saw the Canal from a lot of viewpoints) was 16.11 dollars (around 14 euro) and a ride from our hostel to the city center or other parts of the city was about 3-5 dollar (around 2.8 - 4.4 euro). Boat taxis in Bocas were around 3-5 dollars (2.8- 4.4 euro)

Where did we stay?

On accommodation we spend 296 euro spending 4 days in a private room on Bastimentos (Bocas del Toro) and
the rest in cosy dorms in El Valle and Panama City.

Examples: private room on Bastimentos was 45 dollar (around 39 euro) per night per room and a bed in dorms were around 15 dollar per night (around 13 euro) although we volunteered for two weeks so we didn't pay for our cosy bed during that period.

What did we eat?

As usual we mostly cooked ourselves but really good food, we are not instant noodles type of people:) that's how we spend 343 euros. Unfortunately fresh vegetables and fruit is not cheap in Panama, it also didn't help that the closest supermarket in Panama City was kosher.... (yep it was a shock for us too).

On Bastimentos we didn't have a kitchen so we had to eat out and we also treated ourselves with a nice meal in Panama City so all of that resulted in 266 euros. Few of those euros came with ice cream so necessary in such a warm country:)

How expensive are museums, tours etc?

On tourism we spent 66 euro taking a tour on Bocas del Toro to an idyllic beach of Isla Zapatilla. Except for that we did mostly hikes and the nature we saw was for free:)

What else did we spend our dollars on?

6 euros went on peeing in public toilets and putting stitches on JD's head.

Our tips to save money in Panama:

  1. Cooking on your own is the best way to save money. It's healthier, often more delicious and almost always cheaper
  2. If you don't want to use public transport in Panama City, use Uber! It's easy, fast and very safe. And it's not very expensive especially if you travel with the 2 of you or more.
  3. Volunteer! We did that and it not only saved us some money but it gave us the opportunity to meet incredible people and stay longer in places. We used workaway to volunteer in El Valle in Panama.

P.S. Exchange rate used for the overal budget 1 USD= 1.11EURO
If you have any questions or you would like to take a look at our spreadsheet, let us know:)

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Panama City, Panama

Where the modern meets the old – Panama City

Panama City is most certainly not like any other city we saw in Latin America. First of all it's really clean, we could walk around in our flip flops without having to jump between mountains of poo. There were way less homeless people lying on the streets. We didn't have to look around anxiously while running through the pedestrian crossings because the drivers were really stopping on red!! And not only a red light would stop them, every time I was taking a picture, they would stop not to destroy my shot. Panama City was definitely a whole other world compared to other cities in Latin America. Rather peaceful, cheerful people and... It was actually really pretty! We are both not particularly city people and for sure we are not in love with cities that we saw so far. But Panama City was so vibrant, colorful and organised. The old city town was charming, full of soul, hip cafes and restaurants and undisturbed by skyscrapers. It was visible that someone thought about the city before building its new part which is completely separated from the old part. They didn't think too hard though as in the middle of the modern part of the city they placed a Donald Trump tower but well ... It still has it's charm. For those who want to drive through the city but skip the narrow streets of the old there is a road that goes above the water. It's faster and it offers incredible views of the old & new.
Honestly we both thought The Canal was the least impressive of all that Panama City had to offer. It was massive but it was nothing special. Big ships passing through a big canal that's pretty much it.
Below few pictures from lovely Panama City:)