Travel Money Saving Tips in Panama City, Panama

If you have read any of my previous blogs, you have read a few times that Panama ain’t cheap! However, I have fallen in love with this country. Although it is easy to spend money and then turn around and ask yourself where that money went. That has happened to me a few too many times. However, my quality of life is much better than when I lived in the US. 

If you plan to live in Panama for an extended period, these travel money saving tips will help you save a few dollars on food, items, entertainment, and transportation. 

Fondas and food trucks 

Photo by Kampus Production on

If you have traveled around the world, especially in Latin America, then you know street food is where you can eat hamburgers, hotdogs, and empanadas for the low low. Panama is no different, but I want to specify what type of street food is enjoyable in Panama. As a result, the food you see people eating on small grills with chorizos is usually fine. The best street food is food trucks. Many might be identified by a sign called Fondas. 

When you are a newbie and not sure, heck even if you aren’t new to Panama. Find the fondas that have locals. I discovered a Greek food truck down the street from me after I lived in this apartment for over a year. I found it because I walked by when I was hungry and waiting for friends, and it was full of locals. That meal cost me $4.50 for a quarter of chicken, a small salad, and fries. Most food trucks and fondas usually serve meat, beans, macaroni, potatoes, rice, and plantains. These items can be prepared in a variety of ways and will cost between $4-7. You might have leftovers depending on how big of an eater you are. 

Grocery shopping

Photo by Min An on

Head to the food markets around the city. The most popular market is the San Felipe Market. It is near the fish market. The best time is in the morning to get fresh fish, meat, and produce. However, If you live in San Francisco, El Cangreo, near Rio Abajo, or many other areas around the city. Keep an eye out for food markets that are near you. 

They are often cheaper and better produced. However, learning to pick delicious or ripe vegetables and fruits would be beneficial. Unlike buying fruits and vegetables at the store, vegans and vegetarians can save a lot of money at markets. 

The larger markets will have the option to pay with a card so no need to worry about not having enough cash either. 


For black Americans or others who like collard greens. Sadly, you won’t find fresh collard greens, only frozen ones. 

Save on entertainment. 

Currently, there are 2 major discount websites: Gustazos and Ofertasimple. If you are used to Groupon these websites are pretty much like that. 


Photo by Colon Freld on

Here you will find deals on hotels, random items, and food. Sometimes these deals are genuine, and sometimes they are just fake. If you are a newbie to Panama City you won’t know the difference, unfortunately. 

Let me clarify what I mean by fake. I just mean that the original price is $20, and for Ofertasimple, they will mark it up to $30 for a deal of $20. There is no deal. You pay the normal price. Another downfall to Ofertasimple is that it isn’t very mobile-friendly. I hope they fix this in the future. 

But don’t let that deter you from finding bargain deals. Especially if you are planning to visit during the slow season in Panama which is usually during the rainy season. My friends got really good deals on whale watching, skates, skydiving, and more on Ofertasimple. If you don’t know this by now, Panama runs on IG. So, follow Ofertasimple on IG to see some deals that you might be interested in or try out a different restaurant out. 

Ofertasimple even offers classes or courses to buy on their website. You can save with OfertaSimple in a variety of ways. 


Photo by Chan Walrus on

Gustazos seems new to Panama. While they do have deals and offers, they have fewer deals on items, hotels, and food. However, this is still an excellent option to save money on spa days, hotels, or food. You can even give a friend an Egift from Gustazos. 

Gustazos is more mobile-friendly than Ofertasimple and it is much easier to navigate through the app. 


Photo by Chait Goli on

 To save on housing, consider living a little outside the city center. Examples include 12 October, Condado del Rey, or Brisas del Golf. I do suggest living by the bus or metro station for easy access to the central city. 

Another money saver would be to avoid using your air conditioner. Get a place that is on a high floor and has an excellent cross breeze. 


The cheapest way to get around in Panama is by bus and the metro. The bus ranges from .25 cents to $1 within the city and the metro is between .25 to .50 cents. 


Photo by cottonbro studio on

While Panama fashion is rather bland. However, if you are on a budget and enjoy thrifting, here are 2 stores to check out and save a few dollars. In a future post, I will give you a list of thrift stores in Panama that I have found. 


If you are used to TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or something similar in your city, then Yajois is similar. This store has low-cost and quality products. They have several stores in Panama. However, let’s be honest we live in a world of convenience. You can also purchase online from this discount store. Shipping costs vary depending on your address, but in the central city, it’s usually $5. 

Shop My Closet | Pre-Loved Fashion 

This store has one physical location but is mostly an online shop. She has a variety of women’s clothes, shoes, and hats. However, if you are a plus-sized girlie, I’m sorry to say she doesn’t have many clothing options for you girlies. I hope in the future she does. 


Photo credit: Lawrence Wilder

Living in Panama City doesn’t have to be costly. While living in Panama you can blow through your budget very quickly. However, you don’t have to. You can cut back and still enjoy the life and lifestyle of Panama. 

Let me know in the comments how you save while living in Panama City, 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!

2 responses to “Travel Money Saving Tips in Panama City, Panama”

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