I love living in Panama, but being a Gringo here does come with a few disadvantages.  Here’s a Buzzfeed style list of 15 Things That Suck About Being A Gringo In Panama:

1. Being the first to arrive to a party.

I think they said 8:00pm


2. We just don’t look right dancing to salsa.

Please stop.
Please stop.


3. Or reggaeton.

I want latino rhythm!


4. Finding a good place to get a haircut.

I might have to shave my head after this one.


5. Saying hello to each individual person in the room.



6. And then saying goodbye to each individual person in the room.



7. Getting overcharged for things because people think all gringos are rich.



8. No one thinks your jokes are funny.

Just laugh!


9. Wearing jeans in 90 degree weather in an attempt to stop looking so gringo.


10. Laughing whenever Spanish speaking friends laugh so people don’t realize how clueless you are.



11. Learning that bills have to be paid in person.

So we have to wait in THAT line?


12. No dishwashers.



13. Finding out Netflix and Hulu only have half the shows available here. (There is a way around that)

I can’t watch Grey’s Anatomy!


14. No addresses.

So you live on McDonald’s Street?


15. Driving two hours to a Panamanian friend’s beach house but never going to the beach.

So when can we go to the beach?


Despite all these things we love it here!

contadora panama
This is worth it.

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. I’ve laughed a lot with your remarks. Not at all you’re right but it’s fun as you expose. There are salsa classes and they can do zumba sessions to catch rhythm.
    Bienvenidos a Panama

  2. Panama Sucks Reply

    Panama does suck, big time. I’m paying $6500 a month in rent to listen to dogs bark all freaking night. Loser country, don’t be fooled otherwise.

  3. Joey, this is so true.!!! Made me laugh!!!!
    But you can actually pay your bills by internet. And get a good hair cut for 4 to 10 dollars and dont worry for the salsa and regeton dance, you will learn.

  4. Hilarious, and so true! I don’t live in Panama, but when I work there I definitely get many of these!

  5. Everything it´s true, except points 4 and 11, Here in Panama we have very good places to get a hair cut, from $4 to $30, you decide and you don´t have to pay your bills in person, you can do everthing on line.

    • That one may depend on what part of the country you live in. I used to live in the interior and get my haircut at a place called “Barbaria Ghetto”. 🙂

  6. I live in Panama and have not paid any bills in person for many years.

  7. I've always wanted to sail my boat to Panama. The guy who inspired me to get a sail boat instead of an old Chris Craft had just sailed back from there.

  8. Joey Bonura and credit card? I have everything programmed to be charged to my credit card. Also in the case you don't have one you can use the "comisionitas" places where you do just one line but pay everything (like epago, multipagos, western union, etc.). I'm sorry it is so difficult to open and account for you, just imagine is the same for us in the states. I wish I could open an account there to use paypal properly :/

  9. White I got it that I had to go pay my restaurant bill, I was always leaving the tip on the table and my Panamanian friend was always yelling at me, and I always felt so badly, wondering if the nice waiter/waitress got it. I needed to put it in there hand. I was there 3 years.

  10. Joey Bonura Reply

    Thanks for sharing your blog post! I enjoyed reading a perspective from the other side.

  11. Joey Bonura Reply

    Hey Leslie, here's a link to a post I wrote about how to use US Netflix here: http://pty.life/watch-netflix-hulu-outside-us/

    If you only use Netflix on the computer then just get the $40 a year VPN that I mention but if you want it to work on Apple TV and any other device connected to your internet then the router I mention in the article is the way to go.

  12. Joey, this is hilarious and so true. I live in Boquete. It is a learning process but, like you. we love it here. Ps….how do you get around the Netflix thing??

  13. Lori Payne-Orihuela Reply

    OMG! Perfect! LOL. This is so true!! Great article. Made me laugh. 🙂

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