Money Matters

The Panamanian currency is the US dollar. Amazing but true. This is one of Panama's great conveniences. American coins are also used (as well as Panamanian coins which look exactly like American coins except for the imprint.)

Credit Cards

Credit cards are well accepted at hotels, major stores and better restaurants in Panama City. Outside Panama City, in general, cash will be necessary.
You can get a cash advance on your credit card at most major Panamanian banks; make sure you have your passport for ID.

ATM machines

You can access your American bank account in Panama City at the ATM machines that have "Cirrus" or "Plus" sign on them, provided that you have a personal ID number. Look on the back of your debit card to see if it has these names. This a quick and hassle-free way to get cash in increments of up to $500 a day, depending on the daily limit your card imposes.


Because of counterfeit problems, some Panamanian businesses will not accept bills over $20. In Panama City, in some stores you will have to fill out a form for anything bigger than a $20.Outside Panama City best to carry denominations of $20 or less.

Traveler's checks

Traveler's checks are generally not accepted in Panama. : American Express Traveler's are preferred but we don't recommend bringing traveler checks. (Businesses don't like them because they take more than a month to clear their bank accounts.


At restaurants 10% is fine. Taxi drivers and bartenders need not be tipped- but it would be much appreciated if you do.