What to Wear in Panama

by | Sep 23, 2017

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Last updated on November 19th, 2023

I’m sending along this clothing advice based on my trip to Panama.In spite of the heat, almost no one wears shorts in Panama City. Even in the poorest sections, people wear long pants and appear to be well-groomed. My advice is to wear cool slacks or a sundress in the city so that you don’t stand out as a tourist. I’m told that this custom is a holdover from the days of Manual Noriega, who banned the wearing of shorts in public because they were something the Americans customarily wore.

Sandra G., Toronto, Canada

In 2003 I spent five months travelling in Central America — Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras– a single woman travelling alone! I read a lot of travel information on the area and they all said that women should cover up, i.e. skirts or pants — no shorts, to avoid being harrassed by the local men. I found this to be absolutely true. Some women I met complained about being followed, called names, etc my local men, but they were wearing shorts! I never had any run ins like that thanks to being properly attired while on the street or travelling by bus.

Christine, Campbelton, New Brunswick, Canada

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