I’ll admit that I spent a limited amount of time on land in Panama on this recent trip, but I did keep my eyes open and jot down some key prices for important things, like rum and beer. Here’s a Panama price check as of early 2008.
12-ounce beer in a dive bar in Portobelo – 75 cents
1/2-liter beer in a beer store – 60 cents!
12-ounce beer in a convenience store – 55 to 75 cents
12 ounces bottled water in a convenience store – 75 to 95 cents
Haircut at a basic salon in Panama City – $2
Manicure at the same salon – $3
Admission to a basic museum or site – $1 to $2
375-ml bottle of El Abuelo rum – $2.75 (decent stuff, so a screaming bargain)
One hour of Internet access in Panama City – 75 cents
Phone call to the U.S. from an Internet cafe – 5 cents a minute (sweet!)
Meal of the day at a cheapo restaurant – $2.50
A big bowl of sancocho soup, the national dish – $1.50
5 pound bag of rice – $2.25
Bunch of bananas – 19 cents a pound
Taxi from the airport to the banking district – $28 incl. tolls
Before you decide to pack up and move down there, however, note that real estate prices are spiraling out of control, but a typical bilingual call center employee only makes $375 to $500 per month. Better have a virtual work situation going where you can get paid from home (unless you’re in shipping or international banking).
The keen-eyed among you may have noticed that beer is cheaper than bottled water and rum is not much more than bottled water. Fortunately, the tap water is fine, so no need to create more landfill trash that will outlast your great-grandkids.
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