The Dollar bill is King in Panama
For those of you that have never traveled to Panama, the dollar bill is king in Panama. Here are a few things you need to know about the currency. Panama uses the United States dollar as their main currency. They do have $1 coins and smaller coins. Anything larger than a single dollar is United States currency. Since they use United States currency, the exchange rate is 1 for 1. Meaning, $1 USD is the equivalent of $1 Balboa. Balboa is the official name of the currency in Panama.
While my friends and I were in Panama we couldn’t help but notice the importance of single dollars. When you you’re paying for the taxi, it’s usually an odd number like $3 or $5 for a ride. In Bocas del Toro taxi rides were $1 on the main island of Isla colon and anywhere between $3-$10 for the water taxi’s depending on how far you needed to go. Drinks were around $1.50. It doesn’t make sense to carry around anything higher than a $10 bill. It causes mass confusion. When you pull out a $20 bill to pay for a $3 cab ride, the drivers get annoyed because you are draining them of all change. Even when we were at the mall we noticed the same issues. Change was hard to come by anywhere we went in Panama. Several times throughout our trip we had to go into the bank to change our large bills into singles.