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.

Experience Panama


I'm Joey, a guy from Louisville, Kentucky that packed up and studied abroad in Panamá at the age of 20 and haven't moved back since. What started as a semester trip to Panamá has turned into 7+ years of living in Latin America and becoming a full-time travel blogger. Follow me on Instagram @joeybonura for more updates on my life abroad!


  1. Great blog… can you recommend your tailor? in dire need of one but havent had much luck finding one in town.

  2. Dude, you forgot the beer! (Under alcohol) .50 per bottle or .65 per can for the local brews…..great list btw.

  3. Joey Bonura Reply

    Glad you like the site! And yeah you're right! Fruits and vegetables are very affordable, especially if you get them at the market. Name brand clothing is definitely cheaper here than in the rest of Central and South America (I think it's just a little most expensive than the U.S. but overall about the same). I went to Colombia last year and was surprised at how much more expensive name brand stores were than Panama.

  4. Hey, great job with this webpage!, It is very interesting to see the way how foreigners see us -urban panamanians, lol. I am afraid you forgot two important things in this post. In Panama, fruits and vegetables are extremely cheap (the local ones) and you can find a fairly amount of them here all the year. The other thing is clothing. Fancy, good quality clothing for reasonable prices and the offer is huge. Nothing to ask to NY but UNIQLO. From Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, Felix to La Onda y El Titan. During store's sales there are great deals. Eating out for quick lunch, breakfast and dinner is very reasonable also.

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