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Five Things To Know About Visiting Panama

Where: Panama
April 3, 2009 at 9:31 AM | by | ()

Our own Brendan Spiegel has wrapped up his trip in Panama and here's a parting gift on all that he's learned. If you have still have any questions or suggestions for him, let us know.

Not that we're exactly experts after two weeks in the country, but here's a couple of field tips we wish we knew beforehand…

1. No Need To Change Currency: The money thing is super-easy here. Panama has their own currency, the Balboa, but it's tied to the dollar, which is accepted literally everywhere. They don't even print their own bills, so there's no need to change any money if you're coming from the States. You'll get Balboa coins as change, which are the same size and color as their American counterparts. Just make sure to get rid of them before you leave, as I've learned New York shopkeepers are not so happy when you accidently try to pay for the newspaper in Balboa quarters.

2. Get Detailed Directions: Wherever you're going, get exact directions. A lot of the smaller hotels are on little side streets that taxi drivers won't necessarily know, so be sure to ask for more than just the street name.

3. Prices are Fair: Bargaining's not a big thing here, but neither is gouging tourists. With the exception of the seemingly unavoidable tourist-price-fare from the international airport into town, everyone seemed to give us a fair price without any hassle.

4. Airplanes Trump Chicken Buses: The domestic airlines (Air Panama and Aeroperlas) are cheap, reliable, and perfectly fine if you don't get freaked out by teeny tiny aircrafts. We've heard very mixed things about the buses – some people love the air-conditioned, overnight express bus from Panama City to Bocas; others paid an express fare and somehow still ended up on the chicken bus.

5. Skip Calle Uruguay: A lot of Panama City hoteliers will point tourists to Calle Uruguay in Bella Vista as the city's most interesting stop for food and nightlife. It is, but only if you're looking to grab some wings at Hooters and then hit up an American-style nightclub. Nearby Via Argentina has a more laid-back, local vibe.

Related Stories:
· Panama Field Trip [Jaunted]
· This is Panama's Version of 'Pura Vida' [Jaunted]
· Dominican Republic Field Trip [Jaunted]

[Photo: Jaunted]

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