Cost of Living for a Couple in Panama

2 Traveling Lovers

While traveling the world we thought it would be a great idea to give our subscribers exact numbers of how much it costs to live in these countries for one month.  Recently we stayed in Panama,  so here you go, this is the cost of living for a couple in Panama. We are going to show you how much we spent, what we spent it on, and what we plan to do differently at our future destinations.

Our goal is to live the culture and experience every place as a local would. We try to find the most economical way to live in these countries but also have a great time experiencing everything that the country has to offer.

We mostly stay in Airbnb’s. The only exception would be at the beginning or end of each month, or if we stay less than a week usually, if we plan to stay for a week or more, it’s a better deal to for us to use Airbnb’s. We often stay a night or two in the city we are flying in or out of. The reason we don’t use Airbnb’s for a few nights stay is that the service and cleaning fee often add up to more than an inexpensive or moderately priced hotel.

If you’re looking for a week’s vacation and more of a resort/hotel experience, please contact us directly at joel@2travelinglovers.com we always find great resorts in our travels. We specifically try to find a resort in each country for our Couples Getaway Series in our blog. Click here for our choice in Panama. 

“I do believe it’s time for another adventure.”



Booking.com

Accommodations

Where Did We Stay?

In April 2019 we spent 4 weeks in Panama, traveling to Bocas del Toro along the coast in the northeast side, Boquete in the interior northern mountain region, and Panama City. In Panama City, we stayed in 3 different areas of the city, so we get a better feel of Panama City with its diverse neighborhoods and appeal.

Accommodations – $1035 for the month

We stayed in both Airbnb’s and hotels in Panama, dividing our time between 3 areas of the country. We moved accommodations six times throughout the month. Firstly, because of this, we were not able to receive the more substantial longterm discounts that many Airbnb hosts offer when you stay for a month. This meant some sacrifices in the way of amenities to stay below our monthly accommodations budget of $1,000.

Our most significant issues turned out to be the lack of amenities at a couple of our Airbnb’s, along with the slow internet pretty much throughout the country. Bocas del Toro is hot and humid, and we didn’t have air conditioning, so by 10 am the little home we rented was quite hot. The place we rented in Boquete was absolutely amazing, and we loved it! It had one of the best views of any place we’d have stayed so far. All of the places we stayed in Panama City were within walking distance of stores and restaurants, and all had fantastic city lights views.

Because travel is our job, fast and reliable internet is essential to us. Unfortunately, like Costa Rica, the internet was really slow in all areas of Panama, which made it difficult to upload videos and posts. Most of our Airbnb’s were booked months ago, so we weren’t able to implement what we learned in Costa Rica in regards to picking the best accommodations for our needs.

So What Did We Learn??

The accommodation budget needs to increase to be able to work at home in a productive environment. After what we’ve learned we are increasing our accommodation budget to $1,150 per month for future bookings. We figure if we spend $40 more per week, we will have more amenities; such as more functional interior space, coffee, spices, cooking items, more toiletries, and possibly a better location which will wind up saving us money in the long run because of fewer transportation costs.

Some of the accommodations were on the small side (not much bigger than a large hotel room) which made for a lot of closeness with someone you spend 24 hours a day with already. lol We love finding 2-bedroom units or at least a separate bedroom with a living area and a full kitchen. It’s nice to feel like you can actually move around.

Where to stay in Panama. If you are looking for a list of top rated properties in the towns, we stayed click on the links below to check it out.

Bocas del Toro
Click here to see the latest prices on booking.com.

Boquete
Click here to see the latest prices on booking.com.

Panama City
Click here to see the latest prices on booking.com.

If you are interested in checking out Airbnb prices, click here. You will receive a $40 travel credit after your first booking.

“Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.”

Bocas del Toro – $367
Bocas del Toro was the first town we stayed, upon arriving in Panama. While staying in Bocas del Toro Archipelago, we stayed on two islands; first on the main island of Isla Colon and the second was on Isla Bastimentos.
Isla Colon is the most developed island and where Bocas Town is located which is the capital of the Bocas del Toro province.  There are many shops, restaurants, and tour companies on the main island.

If you are into water activities, along with the beach life, Bocas del Toro is an excellent place for fun and relaxation. We had a great time on Isla Colon, except for picking a place with no air conditioning we felt it was an awesome experience.

Isla Bastimentos island is only a 10-minute water shuttle ride away from Isla Colon.  It’s quite isolated with fewer town amenities than the main island which meant it was a more “rugged” experience. The island has a limited source of water, at one point I was taking a shower, and the water just stopped. Our Airbnb host said it was because they ran out of water for the day. Lol

If I had it to do over, I would stay entirely on Isla Colon and then take a water taxi over to Isla Bastimentos for the day. The main attraction on Isla Bastimentos if Red Frog beach which could be easily experienced in 1 day.

Boquete – $150 (3 nights)
We loved the town of Boquete, and we plan on returning someday for a longer stay. Our place was in the hills, and it had breathtaking views overlooking the quaint town of Boquete. We had a kitchen, living area, a huge patio, and separate living quarters with 2-bedrooms and a bath. Check out our post and video below of what to expect and all the fun things we did while in Boquete.

The Ultimate Travel Guide To Boquete Panama  

Panama City – $518

We stayed the longest in Panama City, and we really enjoyed the city. There is so much to see and do you will never get bored. We stayed in three separate locations throughout the city. It was great staying in different areas because it enabled us to experience more of the city and local neighborhood amenities. However, if we return we would stay in the area known as Casco Viejo which we visited many times.

Casco Viejo is located in the Old Quarter of Panama, and it has historical colonial buildings, quaint brick streets, beautiful architecture, boutiques, and top-notch dining options. Check out our post and video below.

The Best of Casco Viejo food and Nightlife.

Consensus
Expect to spend $1,000 – $1,500 per month on minimal to modest accommodations. Many places on Airbnb have better deals when you book monthly.

Food & Shopping

What Did We Eat?

Restaurants – $685

Going out to eat was less expensive in Panama than Costa Rica. Most of our accommodations had a full kitchen, which helped keep the spending in control.  We try to restaurants with a Happy Hour in order to cut costs when eating out.  

Groceries – $550

Because we are staying in all of these countries for an extended period, we usually do a lot of grocery shopping, and we try to cook many meals at home. This has proven to be more difficult when we stay in more than a couple of places in a month. We found grocery shopping to be less expensive than Costa Rica, but the selection seemed to be limited in most stores. Of course, buying the local items was considerably cheaper than purchasing the imported items.

We moved to new accommodations six times in Panama. Not only did this increase our grocery costs because you can only lug so much stuff to the next place, but it was more exhausting too. We choose to move around a lot in Panama so we could experience as much of the country as possible in a month.

Shopping and Incidentals – $605

Our shopping budget was higher than usual this month because Joel’s drone went in the water in Bocas del Toro, so we repurchased a new drone.  He loves his DJI drone and we think the drone shots add a lot to the video, so this purchase was a must even though it increased our shopping expenditure considerably. It seems we have unexpected things come up every month in regards to our electronics or camera equipment.

 

Transportation & Excursions

Transportation – $516
Our transportation total includes Uber, taxis, water taxi, buses, cabs, shuttle, and a moped with the cost gas.

We stayed in Bocas del Toro after a month-long stay in Costa Rica. We took a shuttle from Puerto Viejo Costa Rica to the boat launch (lancha) in Almirante Panama. We took a water taxi to Isla Colon, which is a 40-minute ride. The water taxi costs $6 per person one-way. Taking water taxi’s between islands costs $2 to $7 per person depending on which island you a going to.

Taxis in Bocas del Toro: $50
Water Taxis: $35
A shuttle from Bocas del Toro to Boquete: $60
Scotter in Boquete: $25
Cabs in Boquete: $80
Taxi/Ubers/Buses while in Panama City: $165
These totals are for both of us.

We rented a moped in Boquete which enabled us to see a lot of places without having to go on a formal type of tour. We have found this to be a great money saving option as long as the area is safe for mopeds.

We relied on Uber in Panama City because we felt it was too risky to rent a moped since the streets are so busy. Taking an Uber in Panama City is inexpensive, so it turned out to be the best way to get around.

Excursions – $225

You can enjoy Panama with or without paying for excursions depending on what type of vacation you are looking for. In Bocas, we took the water taxi to nearby islands which is an inexpensive way to see the islands. Go ahead and barter with the water taxi drivers. Another fun thing we did was the local event called “Filthy Friday” which is a bar crawl by water taxi to 3 bars on nearby islands. We rented a golf cart to explore the local beaches and towns. Another day we went by cab to the other side of the island to visit Starfish Beach. You can go by water taxi or cab to Starfish Beach.  Check out our article and video highlighting the 10 Best Things To Do In Bocas Del Toro.

In Boquete, we went on a few hikes, saw a coffee plantation, and went to the Lost Waterfalls. I wish we had more time in Boquete because there were a few things we missed.  If you are interested in visiting Boquete you may want to check out our post The Ultimate Travel Guide To Boquete Panama.

In Panama City, of course, we went to see Panama Canal, we saw several museums, walked through the streets of Panama City, the boardwalk, and we spent a lot of time admiring and learning about Casco Viejo and Panama City. There is rich history in Panama City, and we found it to be a great learning experience.

Urban Adventure Tours

Cost Of Living For A Couple In Panama

Misc. Monthly Costs – $288

We have our cell phone bill which includes international calling. We go through T-Mobile, and our bill is around $100 a month. We have the global calling plan with T-Mobile; however, we found out that’s only for parttime travelers, not people who plan on being out of United States for longer than 60 days at a time without returning, so we will most likely be purchasing Sim cards in each country. We will keep you updated as to how that works for us.

We are currently in Greece, and after 7 days T-Mobile already shut off the data on my phone, so it looks like we will be looking into Sim cards in Athens.   

We pay $100 per month for a storage unit in Phoenix to keep our stuff.

TOTAL COST FOR 4 WEEKS IN PANAMA WAS $3,899.  

Panama was our highest monthly cost yet. The higher costs were due to repurchasing the drone, our daughter visiting for an extended period, and having fun with our good friends who visited us during much of our stay in Panama. All of these things affected our spending. Even though this month was higher than Costa Rica, I think if we took the above-referenced items out of the equation, Panama would’ve been lower than Costa Rica.  

More 2 Traveling Lovers Article & Video links from Panama:

We spent a month traveling throughout Panama.  If you’re interested in visiting the area, we hope you will find our articles and videos helpful.  All of our posts have a video included, and we have new videos on our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel too so you won’t miss a video.

Below are a few articles and videos from our stay in Panama:

12 Best Tips You Need To Know Before You Visit Panama

Best Casco Viejo Food & Nightlife (Panama City)

The Ultimate Travel Guide – Boquete Panama

10 Best Things To Do – Bocas Del Toro

Bocas del Toro – Couples Getaway Series

Cost Of Living For A Couple In Panama

 

Closing Words

We learned a lot during our time in Panama, and we hope to go back again one day to see the areas we didn’t have time to visit and to return to Boquete and Panama City.  We hope you enjoyed our post on the “Cost of Living For A Couple In Panama”. 

Our Mission

Our goal while traveling the world is to help couples find the best cultural experiences in every country while keeping costs very reasonable. We have become experts in planning travel and not breaking the bank!!

If you decided to subscribe to our website and become part of our travel community, we want to welcome you and thank you for your support.  We strive to bring you valuable information towards your travels and we want you to know we are here to answer any of your travel questions.  We give a great deal of FREE information to make your lives easier. Learn from our mistakes!!

We also have an Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube Channel all at @2travelinglovers.     

Travel Resources

If you are interested in checking hotel prices we have found booking.com to have the most competitive prices.  Click here to check out hotels.  

All of our video footage is taken with GoPro HERO7.  It’s a waterproof digital action camera for travel with a touchscreen.  We use this camera daily, and we love it. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link:  Click here.

The drone we use is the DJ Spark with Remote Control Combo.  We like this drone because it’s compact, it’s effortless to take on trips, it’s easy to fly, and it shoots 1080p.  All of our drone footage on our blog posts and youtube videos are taken with this drone. We highly recommend it. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link:  Click here.             

Another item we use daily is our Primocean Backpack with an insulated cooler bag.  We use this as Christie’s carryon bag on the plane and as our cooler at our final destination.  We used to use a different backpack and we switched to this one because it’s better made of durable material with quality zippers.  We love this backpack!! The cooler section is smaller; however, all the compartments and the quality of the backpack make it a much better choice for basically the same cost.  We wish we would have thought of this item a long time ago. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link: Click Here.  

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