Figuring The Cost Of Living In Panama

“Our family went to Panama in April. We didn’t stay in Panama City but went to Altos Del Maria for a few days and on to Coronado. We found things there to be more expensive than we’d thought when we shopped in the supermarkets. However, we did go to some local restaurants where we found the fare more reasonable.

“Then we headed to Boquete. We loved the cooler temperatures there and met a family who’d been living in the area a year and loved it. They had a 4,000-square-foot house, about 10 minutes outside Boquete, for which they paid US$1,300 per month. Another house, about 10 to 15 minutes from town, was 1,600 square feet and rented for US$700 per month. This was a gated house close to a community pool. We also found a lovely, small hotel here which was US$44 per night. We were very happy to stay there in the peaceful surroundings a bit out of town.

“We also found a restaurant, on the side of the road going into David, where you could buy a great hamburger for US$4. We visited more than a few times for the great food and very nice owners. We also ate lunch at a local restaurant right in Boquete where it cost about US$4 for a tasty rice and chicken meal. I’m sure you could spend a lot of dollars on meals at a ritzy place no matter where in the world you go. In Seattle I can spend a lot or a little. It depends on what I want.”

–Summer J., Seattle

We’re glad to hear you came down to Panama to get a “boots on the ground” perspective. It sounds like you had a great trip.

It’s true that you can live like a king or a pauper in any city in the world. Prices in Boquete and Panama City can be inflated due to the high population of foreigners, tourists, and expats. As with your experience, when you wander off the beaten path, the deals you’ll find can be incredible. In most cases, you don’t even have to go too far out of your way.

You can have breakfast at any food cart in Panama City for about 1 dollar, though not too many typical Americans would think it was worth it. One of the greatest things about Panama is its fresh produce. So much grows locally and is super cheap, compared to the U.S. or Europe, yet relatively exotic.

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