Panamanian Money

One funny thing that happened in Panama was how we learned about the local currency. Upon entering the country, you have to purchase a tourist visa (which is a very official-looking piece of paper that no one ever needs to see – it’s just an excuse to get five bucks out of each visitor). Anyway, on the visa it says that it costs 5 dollars or 5 balboas. So I say, “Oh, so the US dollar and Panamanian balboa are at parity.” A little while later, we ask the taxi driver about Panamanian currency, and he says “We use the US dollar.” And we say, “What do you mean? What about the balboa?” and he laughs like crazy and says “That’s just what we call it!” So balboa is basically the Panamanian word for the dollar, though there are Panamanian quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies – they look just like the American ones, except they are stamped (engraved?) differently.

One thought on “Panamanian Money

  1. Real Estate in Panama says:

    Panama has kind of love-hate relationship with the USA, kind of like adolescents and their parents.

    Panama has done better than the rest of Central America when the recession hit because of the flight to the dollar which raised the “Balboa.”

    Some folks here are very specific about wanting you to pay in Balboas. Most, like your taxi driver, could not care less so long as you pay….in dollars.

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