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what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

ZEPHYRHILLS
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11 posts
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what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

we are visiting Panama for the 1st time this summer and want dress comfortably yet appropriately as well. Are bermuda shorts considered acceptable for both men and women (nothing too tight or too short!)? Are jeans ok? Also, what would be appropriate attire in a local restaurant?

Thank you !

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
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for Panama City
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1. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

Depends where you are, Panama City is more formal than the rest of the country, jeans are fine though, just don't go out to dinner in shorts in the city.

washington, dc
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2. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

You probably won't see that many people wearing shorts. Jeans are HOT and take up valuable luggage space. As a female, I like to take cotton capri pants and/or drip dry thin rainforest like pants. And those are what my husband wears everywhere. Accompanied by neat shirt of some sort, this will get you anywhere. Seems to me people dress casually everywhere these days.

Texas
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3. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

What are "rainforest like pants"?

My husband was planning to get cargo style pants in a lightweight fabric, but I thought that might be more appropriate for hiking than in the city. Is that the same as rainforest like pants? If so, I guess he'll be ok.

Can you describe?

Thanks!

ZEPHYRHILLS
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11 posts
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4. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

thanks for the info !!

washington, dc
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5. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

Sorry - rainforest like pants are ones you'd see in places like REI other adventure stores - wick away thin fabric. Many, but not all, zip off to shorts length. Thin, breathable, dry fast. MUCH more comfortable in hot humid places than jeans.

ZEPHYRHILLS
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6. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

thank you again, for describing the rain forrest pants...will have to get some of those !

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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7. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

Jeans are fine in most restaurants. The thing about nylon, convertible pants is that they brand you automatically as a gringo tourist. Especially in Panama (the city). Taxis, for example, will charge you $8 to $10 for a $4 or $5 ride (such as from downtown to Balboa). In the city, shorts are not acceptable in the more formal restaurants, but they're fine in the "diner" type places like Manolo's -- which has excellent, moderately priced food.

If you travel outside of Panama, to places like El Valle or Coronado, shorts are acceptable in most restaurants. They're used to Panamanian tourists who also wear shorts and T-shirts in the restaurants.

When you say you are traveling this summer, I assume you mean summer as in June, July or August. Summer in Panama is actually their dry season of January, February and March. June, July and August are part of the rainy season -- though not nearly as rainy as October and November. In any case, you should expect to encounter short but serious rainstorms. For about 20 minutes it will be like standing under a very warm waterfall. So, expect to get drenched. Some people like to bring rain jackets. I've quit using them because the humidity and heat causes me to get just as wet and twice as hot inside the jacket as if I didn't have one at all. Instead, I opt for nylon shirts and shorts that dry quickly when I'm traveling and touring, and an umbrella when I'm doing business in the city (and wearing slacks and a light weight shirt).

If you plan to do any hiking -- and if you're going anywhere near Boquete, Cerro Punta, Volcan, Gamboa, Portobelo or El Valle del Anton you should definitely plan on taking some hikes -- be sure to bring hiking socks and hiking boots or good, solid hiking shoes. By hiking socks, I mean absolutely no cotton. As the saying goes, "cotton kills." At least your feet. Wear SmartWool or polypropylene socks. Make sure your shoes/boots are reasonably waterproof but more importantly, breathable.

If you're going to be in the mountains, like Boquete, Cerro Punta or El Valle, bring a light sweater or a fleece. The nights can get really chilly. Or so they feel. After a day in the 80s to low 90s, dropping down to the still very humid 70s can feel like stepping into a cold locker. Also, there are a number of restaurants in Panama (the city) where the air conditioning runs full blast and it is like sitting inside a meat locker. A prime example is Las Tinajas, a great place to visit for the floor show of traditional, folkloric Panamanian dancing. In fact, it makes a great last-night-out-on-the-town before going to the airport.

And, don't forget a hat, sunglasses and the sunblock!

Buen viaje.

LA
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8. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

We were in Panama City yesterday and it was very humid and hot. This is Latin America, so many women wear tight clothes several sizes too small. Even fat women are squeezed into tight pants and tank tops. In no country should a tourist dress like a street walker, but the idea that shorts (even shorter ones) are too revealing is silly. Panama City is basically like slightly less developed Miami and outside the city is a lot less developed. I'm not sure how fancy your dinner plans are, but it seemed to me that tailored shorts (not dirty cargos or cut offs) would be fine for dinner almost everywhere in the country. In my opinion, it's way too hot for jeans. Almost every tourist we saw had on shorts and tank tops or nice t-shirts. Wash-and-Wear travel clothing is certainly fine. Bring a hat because the sun is strong. This is Panama, not the Vatican or Windsor Castle.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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9. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

"Almost every tourist we saw had on shorts and tank tops or nice t-shirts."

This is exactly why people elsewhere think of us as ugly Americans. In case I wasn't clear enough in the other comments, in places outside the city where Panamanians are tourists themselves, shorts are fine. The only tank tops I've seen in Panama were on young women or unsightly gringos.

"This is Panama, not the Vatican or Windsor Castle." You're right, it's not. But, that's no reason not to respect the manners of the country. What do we expect of people who visit the U.S.? First and foremost, that they speak and understand English perfectly. How is your Spanish? Second, that in public places and restaurants, they fit in and not show what we consider disrespect for our establishments. Why shouldn't others expect equal consideration from us?

ZEPHYRHILLS
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10. Re: what type of clothes should we bring to wear in Panama?

Thank you VERY much....I really do appreciate you taking the time to share so much info with me !!! I will certainly follow ALL your suggestions. We are visiting two of our "gringo" friends while there, one in Chorrea and the othe in Chiriqui. they both live in Panama year round now, one having never been back to the US since they moved there 3 yrs ago. One is a VERY casual, beach type person and the other is the opposite....wore skirts and dresses everyday even in the US....so I thought I was getting the wrong messages....We definitely want to fit in and be respectable, as well as moderately comfortable. Thanks again !!