I’m sure my list varies from others but here are the things that I have found to be more affordable in Panama than back home:
1. Cell Phone Service: I have a prepaid plan with Digicel where I pay $15 a month for 3GB of data and then I usually add $5 for the occasional phone call. In the U.S. it’s usually at least $60 a month and I have also noticed that cell phone service is cheaper in Panama than other countries in Central and South America.
2. Public Transportation: I get around on the Metro Bus for .25 cents a ride and usually pay $2 – $3 for a taxi ride within the city. My total transportation costs for the month are usually around $30.
3. Doctor Visits: I don’t have any health insurance here so I am really thankful that if I need to go to the doctor I am able to pay it out of pocket. The doctors I have tried range from $15 – $30 and they have usually been able to fix the problem (Mini Med $15, Los Portales $20, Clinica Einstein $30). I honestly don’t know what it costs for a doctor visit in the states because I’ve always been under my parents insurance, but I am pretty sure it’s cheaper here. I’ve also never scheduled an appointment to see a doctor in Panama because you can walk right in and the wait is not usually very long.
4. Movies: It’s $5 to see a normal movie (no 3D or VIP) and if you go on Wednesday it’s half price ($2.50). Popcorn, drinks, and other food is overall much cheaper than back in the states. I went to the movies while I was home in Kentucky for Christmas and it’s almost $10 to see a movie there.
5. Veterinarian: My dog recently hurt his back so I had to deal with an emergency vet visit for the first time. I went to VETS in San Francisco and the consultation, 3 shots, and an x-ray were $50.
6. Alcohol: The 750 ml of local Ron Abuelo is around $9 (and it’s REALLY good!), a 750 ml of Absolut is $13, a 750 ml of Smirnoff is $9, etc. Prices for these in the states is almost double.
7. Tailoring: I’m kind of short so I almost always have to get my pants tailored, luckily the cost is just $4. I’ve also brought in a few button down shirts that were too big with an example of one that fit perfectly and they did all the tailoring for $8.
How does this compare with your list? Also check out my article, 7 Things That Are Expensive In Panama.