Panama Local Customs

  • Pollera de Baila
    Pollera de Baila
    by bilgeez
  • Carnaval float in Las Tablas 2007
    Carnaval float in Las Tablas 2007
    by bilgeez
  • Kids sitting under the molas waiting for photos
    Kids sitting under the molas waiting for...
    by grandmaR

Panama Local Customs


    The flag of Panama was designed by the first President of a fully independent Panama, Manuel Amador Guerrero. It was adopted in 1903 and has not changed since. The flag itself is a rectangle divided into 2 white rectangles with a red and a blue rectangle. There is a blue star in the upper white rectangle in the hoist position. There is also a red...

  • local food

    Try the following local dishes:"ceviche", raw fish on lemon juice, onion, and other spices."arroz con pollo", rice mixed with chicken and usually, some chopped vegetables."arroz con piña", a beverage made of rice and pineapple (sounds very strange, I know, but tastes great)."chicheme", a drink made of corn, tastes like oatmeal."patacones", my...

  • Traditional dresses

    Pollera is the traditional dress of Panamanians. The origin of Pollera is not certain but it has probably developed from the Spanish dresses of the 17th century. It is not only a rich full skirt with the flower designs and many gathers. It is accompanied by complicated hair styles, gold combs and elaborate ornamental pins. It was possibly a...

  • Pants in 90 degree weather

    One of the only things I didn't care for in Panama was that men are expected to wear pants, at least all the locals do. You will stand out as a tourist for sure with shorts on anywhere besides the beach. The steamy climate cries for as little clothing as possible, so who cares how they look at you! I go for comfort and style.Local women wear...

  • Kuna lifestyle part 2

    Kuna men have adopted the Western way of dressing, although I noticed that they are conservative and cover up more than the majority of men in the Caribbean. Their demeanor reflects this: they are quiet to the point of effacement. I forgot to mention that the Kunas are a matriarchal society. This may have to do with that...I only spent 2 days on a...

  • Kuna life today

    The Kuna Indians living on the many islands of the Archipelago de San Blas are thought to be descendants of the Carib Indians. I'd read that in a book I found at the hostel in Granada, Nicaragua, where I spent many hours trying to locate the best-sounding islands on a barely readable map of Panama and the Archipelago. There were so many to choose...

  • Traditional body painting with the...

    The "jagua" stays on for around 2 weeks. Definitely got some funny looks when I was in shorts and a t-shirt back in other cities.

  • Pringles and Beer

    Buy a cylinder of Pringles, get a free beer.If this is not a local custom, it should be!!! The marketing is pure brilliance. When I'm in the mood for Pringles, I'm in the mood for beer! Boy,.. did I have my share of this common combo. hahaha...

  • Don't pack short-shorts

    Given the heat and humidity of Panama, you'd probably expect the people to dress in a casual, bare legs sort of way. They don't. Even at the hottest times of day in the hottest seasons, the men and women of Panama dress in suits and dresses. That's not to say that tourists are expected to dress that way as well, but it would be insulting to wear...

  • Greeting in Panama

    In Panama, people tend to use the single word " Buenas" for greeting. Rather then "Buenos Dias" or "Buenos Tarde" etc. People tend to greet when they walk into a store, waiting room or just passing, this means greeting to total strangers.

  • The friendly people of San...

    The friendly people of San Blas are born salesmen, and quietly encourage you to buy their wares without aggressively mobbing you like they do on the streets of Cartegena Columbia! They will willingly pose for pictures if you give them a dollar! But they cover their faces as you are taking a shot of the rows of merchandise displayed!

  • People tend to shake hands...

    People tend to shake hands with strangers.Tipping is 10% in restaurant.No batering in shops or stores.Tipping is not expected in Taxi.Don't get rip off by drivers from international airport it is $20 to $25. Some people i know paid $50 to $70. Thoses are sharks.

  • For the most part the people...

    For the most part the people speak Spanish, but there are many places that speak English and a few that speak other languages as well. The locals prefer someone that is trying to speak their language than the type that simply point at what they want. The locals do have a great love for everyone so don't skip a trip simply because you don't speak...

  • * Take attention with the...

    * Take attention with the spech of spanish and english, I handle the two languages, but I had really a lot of problems, with the guides, because they handle a mix of words with local expresions that requires very good attention when you want to understand something.

  • Below are photos of the Molas...

    Below are photos of the Molas on display in front and alongside almost all the huts. The Native Kuna women and girls make these and sell them on the island. The last picture in this group is my favorite from San Blas. The little girl pictured is so precious.

  • Panama it truly diverse. Here...

    Panama it truly diverse. Here there are all kinds of ethnic groups, Spanish descendants, Natives, Black people from the West Indies, Arabs, Chinese, and all of the above mixed together. In the city of Colon there are many descendants of workers brought from the West Indies and Jamaica to work in the construction of the canal, many of them speak...

  • Cultural attractions

    Cultural attractions include the 17th-century Metropolitan Church, the Interoceanic Canal Museum of Panama, the Plaza de Bolívar, the presidential palace, the History Museum of Panama and the sea wall built by the Spaniards four centuries ago.

  • The San Blas Indians sell...

    The San Blas Indians sell t-shirts in the city square. This postcard reads, 'Kuna Indian from the picturesque islands of SAN BLAS, in her colorful dress.'


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Panama Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Panama local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Panama sightseeing.
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