Are you planning a solo trip to Panama? You might be wondering how safe it is for solo travelers and what precautions you should take. Well, fret not! This blog will cover all the information you need to know before embarking on your journey.
We will also guide you through budgeting for your trip, including average prices for accommodation, transportation, and food. Additionally, we’ll share some tips on how to save money during your stay.
Last updated on: 02-01-2024
How safe is Panama for solo travel?
Panama is generally considered safe for solo travel, including for solo female travelers. The country holds the 68th spot on the Global Peace Index. The GPI is a creation of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and stands as the foremost global measure of worldwide tranquility.
According to the Solo Female Travel Safety Index, Panama ranks 1 out of 4, with one being the safest.
While it’s important to exercise caution and be mindful of pickpocketing in tourist areas, solo travelers, including solo female travelers, have reported feeling safe during their visits.
What is the best time to visit Panama for solo travelers?
For solo travelers, the best time to visit Panama depends on various factors. The dry season, which occurs from December to April in Panama, offers plenty of sunshine and lower chances of rain. This makes it an ideal time to explore the country’s beautiful landscapes.
However, if you prefer fewer crowds and more affordable prices, consider traveling during the shoulder season in May or November. Keep in mind that the wet season, from May to November, offers lush, green landscapes but occasional rain showers.
What are the most important holidays and festivals in Panama?
The most important holidays and festivals in Panama include:
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Martyrs’ Day (January 9)
- Carnaval (the four days preceding Ash Wednesday)
- Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Separation Day (November 3)
- Flag Day (November 4)
- Colón Day (November 5)
- Independence Day (November 28)
- Mother’s Day (December 8)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
In addition to these national holidays, Panama hosts various festivals throughout the year, such as the:
- Chiriqui Highlands Flower and Coffee Festival
- Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival
- Sobresaltos Dance Festival, Semana Santa (Holy Week)
- Bocas Del Toro Sea Fair
How to meet other solo travelers in Panama
Want to connect with fellow solo travelers during your trip to Panama? Consider staying in a hostel, a popular choice for meeting other solo travelers from around the world.
Join organized tours or activities, where you can connect with individuals who share a passion for travel.
Immerse yourself in local events like language exchanges or cultural workshops to meet both locals and fellow travelers. Attend social gatherings or meetups organized by travel communities, both online and offline.
Don’t forget to utilize travel buddy apps or social media platforms to connect with solo travelers in Panama.
Is Panama expensive for solo travelers?
Panama can be moderately expensive for solo travelers, with costs varying based on travel style and preferences.
According to Numbeo, Panama holds the 59th spot on the Cost of Living Index by Country.
According to multiple travel guides, you can calculate your daily budget (covering accommodation, food, transportation, and some activities) with the following numbers:
- $30 to $50 should be sufficient for budget travelers.
- Mid-range travelers may expect to spend around $80 to $150 per day.
- A luxurious trip could require a budget of $220 per day or more.
Panama is considered one of the more expensive Central American countries, with prices slightly higher than some other countries in the region.
It’s important to plan ahead, limit meals out, and stick to affordable accommodation to manage costs effectively.
Tip (no advertisement): for planning your route, we can recommend using the Stippl app.
Practical tips for saving money during your trip
To make the most of your solo travel in Panama without breaking the bank, it’s important to budget and save money wisely. Start by setting a daily budget and diligently tracking your expenses to stay within your financial limits.
Consider cooking your own meals or trying local street food options, which can be more budget-friendly than eating out at restaurants. Take advantage of free attractions such as beaches, parks, or public events for entertainment.
Look for travel discounts, promotions, or affiliate links to save money on transportation, accommodations, or activities. Additionally, consider traveling during the shoulder season when prices are generally lower compared to peak tourist season.
What are the best places to visit for solo travelers in Panama?
Some of the best places to visit for solo travelers in Panama include:
- Panama City: Explore the modern skyline and historic districts like Casco Viejo, a UNESCO-protected district with colonial architecture and trendy bars.
- San Blas Islands: Experience the beauty of these picturesque islands, known for their clear waters and white sandy beaches.
- Bocas del Toro: This destination offers a range of activities such as surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, making it perfect for solo travelers who want to stay busy.
- Boquete: Known for its natural beauty and the town with Volcano Baru, Boquete is a great place for solo travelers seeking adventure and relaxation.
- Santa Catalina: Ideal for those interested in surfing, diving, and exploring the natural beauty of Panama.
These destinations offer a mix of urban exploration, beach relaxation, and outdoor activities, catering to various interests of solo travelers.
What are the best ways to get around in Panama?
In Panama, there are several convenient ways for travelers to get around, including public transport, taxis, and rental cars. Here are some of the best ways to navigate Panama:
- Public Transport: Panama City boasts a modern mass-transit system, including metro trains and modern buses, making it easy to get around the city. Buses are also a popular and affordable option for traveling long distances within the country, with a network connecting major mainland destinations.
- Taxis: Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive in larger cities like Panama City and David, providing a convenient way to navigate urban areas. Intra-city rides are generally affordable, making taxis a practical choice for short distances.
- Rental Cars: For travelers interested in exploring at their own pace, rental cars are available at airports and in larger cities. Panama’s well-paved highways make driving a viable option, especially for reaching remote destinations not served by public transportation.
- Boats and Flights: In certain regions, such as the islands of Bocas del Toro and Guna Yala, access is primarily by plane or boat. Flights are a fast and practical way to reach remote areas, while boats provide transportation between islands and along rivers in the Darién region.
- Walking and Cycling: While walking is a great way to explore compact neighborhoods, cycling is recommended only in specific areas with dedicated lanes or during times of light traffic. In western Panama, cycling is popular due to well-paved roads and scarce traffic.
Overall, Panama offers a variety of transportation options, allowing travelers to choose the most suitable mode based on their itinerary and preferences.
5 Must-try dishes in Panama
The must-try dishes in Panama include a variety of traditional and flavorful options. Here are five dishes that solo travelers should consider experiencing:
- Empanadas: These savory pastries are popular in Panama and are typically filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables.
- Carimañolas de Carne: Carimañolas are deep-fried yuca (cassava) rolls filled with seasoned ground meat, often served as a snack or appetizer.
- Tamales Panameños: Tamales in Panama are typically made with corn dough and filled with a variety of ingredients such as chicken, pork, or vegetables, then wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed.
- Patacones: These are fried green plantains that are smashed and refried, often served as a side dish or snack.
- Sancocho: This traditional soup is a staple in Panamanian cuisine, typically made with chicken, yuca, corn, and other vegetables, offering a hearty and flavorful dining experience.
These dishes represent the rich and diverse culinary heritage of Panama, providing solo travelers with an opportunity to savor the country’s traditional flavors and local specialties.
Pepijn is the founder of Likeplan. He mainly writes about solo traveling. With over 10 completed solo trips, he writes from his own experience with the mission to encourage other people to go out and explore by themselves.