5 Must-Know Facts Before Moving Abroad to Panama City, Panama

Panama has so many wonderful aspects of this lovely country. It is a beautiful soft landing place for people who want to live abroad for the first time. It is an excellent mix of culture, beaches, mountains, city, and nightlife. 

Hop over and read 5 Reasons Why Panama Should Be On Your Travel Vision Board and learn more about the super-diverse nature of Panama. 

Every country has things you should know and be aware of before moving and living in that country. Panama is no different. 

Here are the Top 5 must-know things before living in Panama City, Panama. 

Don´t bring things you won´t wear. Especially shoes! 

Some clothes that I hadn’t worn in over a year.

For my people who like their stuff and the abundance of things, you might be like gurlll, please! I´m bringing all my things!  

Don’t say I didn´t warn you. 

The biggest reason to not bring things you won´t wear is that Panama is a hot and humid place. Therefore, the humidity is atrocious! So that means MOLD. 

Truthfully hot and humid weather damages furniture, clothes, and shoes more quickly than in other climates. Especially leather or any organic materials.

Many people have dehumidifiers or try and run their A/C once a day. 

However, if you are like me and some others who hardly use their A/C but want to keep the mold and humidity lower here are some tips when looking for an apartment. 

Tip 1

Try to find an apartment that will create natural ventilation. So a window or door on both sides of the apartment. Also, get a high floor; I suggest 15 and above. This will cut down on mold and dust. 

Tip 2 

Hire a cleaning person on a monthly or bi-weekly bases. So they can clean those fans and other places you probably don’t want to clean. Cost can range from $25-$50 depending on the size of your home. 

Instagram and Whatsapp 

In 2023 Instagram and Whatsapp are business staples in Panama. If a place doesn´t have an Instagram or Whatsapp, they probably aren´t getting much business unless it´s an old and established business that all the locals know. 

Instagram is how you know about events in Panama.

Adondeirpty is a great IG account to know what is happening each week.

Since the Instagram algorithm is constantly changing, make sure to save what you see or hear. Otherwise, you may not find it again. This is super annoying, but hey this is how it is currently. 

Panamanians aren’t heavy on Google reviews but on more Instagram followers and likes. If you want to find more up-to-date information it won’t necessarily be on Google but on Instagram. 


Always check both. 

Contacting most places, especially restaurants, will be through Whatsapp. 

Most, if not all of Latin America uses Whatsapp for daily communication. 

At this point, I don’t know how to use a regular SMS text messaging system. 

If you are living in Panama and want to meet up with young people from all over the world, check out the Panamigos IG

There host several events a year. However, their events are large, so it can be easy to get lost in the sea of people. However, grab a few people you feel drawn to and become friends. 

If you are youngish and Afro-descendent, join the Young Black Expat of Panama on FB to meet up with other Afro-descendant people for coffee, co-working, or just to explore the city together. 

However, these groups are more active in Whatsapp groups than in FB or IG. Ask about the Whatsapp group if you plan to live in Panama or stay for an extended time.  


We live in a world of convenience and being able to access products and services from all over the world. The nice thing about Panama is receiving products is easy and convenient. The shipping service will give you a US Miami address, and once it arrives in Miami a few days later, you will receive your shoes, favorite snacks, or favorite travel necessities. 

Here is a list of shipping services I or others have used in Panama City. 

So shipping things out of Panama now is a different story. Exporting goods out of Panama is costly. Most of us don’t do it. We try to find friends to take our items with them if they are traveling back to the US, Canada, the UK, or any other country. FedEx, DHL, or the listed above companies, will charge you easily $50+ for a small package that could weigh next to nothing, but they will still want your right arm for it. 

It would be great if companies could provide an affordable export service in Panama City. Right now, shipping things out of Panama is for the birds. 


People often ask why I chose Panama, and one reason is that they use the US dollar. For me, moving to another country is a big deal. Especially when you don’t speak the language. Though my Spanish is improving, I still have trouble communicating. 

So, having the same currency as the US makes moving to Panama easier. However, if you’re coming from any country that doesn’t use the US dollar, then this might not make a difference for you. 

Even though Panama uses US dollars this doesn’t mean Panama is cheap. Don’t expect to find Mexico prices or Colombian prices here. However, you can get luxury for similar prices you might pay for a small apartment in a major city in a western country.  

These days the whole world is expensive, and in the US you need $1,500 a month for rent to live in a shack after Covid. 

Black and Privileged 

So, what does being black in Panama mean? 

Well being Afro-descendant across the world can be a challenge, either for the lack of exposure to afro-descendant people, or the mindset of white superiority in that country that has been ingrained in the minds of people. 

Sometimes being black in a predominantly black place leaves other challenges of political corruption, lack of resources, education, and also a poverty mindset. 

Of course, we have the violence and abuse against afro-descendant people. In certain countries like the US, South Africa, and Brazil, the violence against afro-descendant people is higher than in some other countries. 

However, as a Black expat with US privilege in Panama, you can quickly discern who has the influence and money to afford to live in the city. 

Even though Panamanian companies are making small improvements since 2020 to shift to having more diversity within their companies and not just blanco Latinos but more afro-Latinos within their companies.

 I want to mention that diversity is not just having more Afro-Latinos but the inclusion of all cultures, ideas, and beliefs and supporting their creativity. Panama is a beautiful mix of cultures however, in the city you hardly see Asian, indigenous, or Afro people publicly celebrated unless it’s in the tourism industry. The news, politics, commercials, and other random ads hardly see the true diversity of the country. 

Honestly, I’m not sure how much these people or communities are financially compensated for this within the tourism industry. 

If you are in the tourism industry and know the statistics in Panama. Comment below. 

There are a few things to still be aware of in Panama. While there are more black people throughout the country, discrimination persists. In contrast, I haven’t seen or heard violence towards afro-Panamanian from people in authority. Like in most Latin countries they don’t like to admit that racism exists in their country but that it’s classism. Classism and racialism are often intertwined together. 

As an Afro-descendant, you may be mistaken as The Help or more questions asked of you here. 

Especially, if you are a black man! 

Sorry black man, you are more likely to be singled out for your ID. You may also be asked more questions about why you are here or how long you will be here. However, most of the time people in authority aren’t jerks. I know that saying “oh at least they are nice about it” doesn’t make a difference because you are still seen as more of a threat. Which sucks! 

Overall, the black men I know in Panama feel safe and are respected in general. 

Being a black expat earns you more respect than a local. Well, mainly because you bring the country money and they want to save face too. Panama wants to be seen as welcoming to foreigners, which they are. 

But being black and looking like the locals sometimes has its disadvantages. 


Moving to a new country whether that is with a company, solo, or because you got married to a local from that country. It doesn’t matter the reason; living abroad can be a wonderful experience to learn new skills about yourself. Use these 5 tips for navigating Panama City with a little more ease. 

Would you like to know what other Black expats wish they knew before moving to Panama? 

Check out this Travel Noire article ¨Here’s What Black Expats Wish They Knew Before Relocating To Panama” 

As Always Thank You for Reading My World, My Vision, My Adventure! 

Don’t forget to Subscribe, Follow, and Like my Pinterest and Instagram pages. Until next time Peace and Hair Grease!

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