Panama is a great place to live but there are plenty of things that I get really frustrated with. Here is my list of the top negative things about living in Panama and how I deal with them:

1. Online Shopping: I am an eBay addict and in the states basically everything I bought was from there. But Panama has no mail system and to get things shipped here directly is very expensive. To continue my eBay addiction in Panama I set up a Miami forwarding address with Airbox Express. They give you an address in Miami and then everything gets forwarded to Panama twice a week. The fee per a package is based on the weight and value but I normally just have to pay $6 to $10 for a package. Even with that the items I purchase are cheaper than if I had bought them in Panama.

2. Traffic: There is so much construction going on right now that traffic is a nightmare! To solve the traffic problem I simply don’t drive. In Panama it is usually faster to walk somewhere than drive and it helps me to stay fit. I also take a bus or taxi if the distance is more than a 30 minute walk. Being able to sit and relax in bus or taxi in traffic is much less stressful than being behind the wheel of a car.

3. Acne: The constant sweating and humidity did not play out well for me when I first arrived to Panama and it caused my skin to constantly break out. This has happened to several other people that have moved or visited here as well. Some of the ways I have figured out how to control it are: reducing the amount I sweat by avoiding to walk far distances in the middle of the day, drinking tons of water, and increasing the amount of times I wash my face a day.

4. Bad service: At the moment, Panama is a bit notorious for bad restaurant service and customer service in general. The waiters are often unenthusiastic, not helpful, and very slow. I recently went to Colombia where the service was incredible so it’s weird that a neighboring country has such poor customer service. But whenever I have a waiter in Panama that presents exceptional service I tip them 20%. The rest get the standard 10% tip. I don’t know if it helps but I’m hoping that they eventually figure out that good service = good tip.

5. High electricity costs: Electricity in Panama costs about three times as much in the states which has really caused me to make some changes in my lifestyle. To help battle my electricity bill I use my ipad to watch tv and movies instead of the tv, I have all energy efficient bulbs, and I try to use fans instead of the air conditioner.


I'm from Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Panama in 2011 to finish a degree in International Business. I enjoyed the hot tropical weather and the lifestyle on offer in Panama City so much that I decided to make it my permanent residence. Follow @JoeyBonura on Twitter and Instagram for more updates on my life in Panama.

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