• things to do in panama city

A Comprehensive + Stylish Panama Packing List

While my post on what to wear in Panama was a fun, breakdown of ALL my outfits, here’s a bit more of a practical Panama packing list that goes into all my clothes, accessories, toiletries, and more.

Like I mentioned in the other post, traveling around Panama means being ready for a lot of different areas — from the more metropolitan Panama City to the tropical San Blas, backpacker party places Bocas Del Toro, to the mountainous Boquete and many more place, so you want to pack to be prepared!

what to wear in panama

Your Complete Panama Packing List:

Luggage or Backpack for Panama?

I took a rolling luggage because my backpacking days are over, but most travelers had backpacks or rolling duffels, so if you have one, you might want to bring it. You cannot take luggage with you to San Blas (you have to leave it at your hotel in Panama City) so you DO need to take at least a day-pack. I have a that I took which came in handy for the beach as well.

Rolling luggage is totally possible and good to protect from the rain, but if you are staying at budget places where carry your own luggage so prepared to carry your heavy bag! I used x luggage, which is on my list of the most stylish for travel.

1 Day Pack

1 Purse

For this trip, I took an ancient leather tan purse from Fossil. It’s one of my favorite brands for purses and they last forever – I think it is at least 8 years old. You can check out all their current leather bags  or shop some styles below:

 

Clothes

Several Casual dresses + jumpsuits

You’ll pretty much live in casual dresses and jumpsuits as they work well for the city and more tropical beaches. I didn’t even bring jeans or jean shorts, that’s how much I knew I’d be in a dress or jumpsuit.

Shop some of my dresses below

2 of Hiking Tops

  • Old T-Shirt

1 of Hiking Bottoms

  • My leggings here are from .

2 Sets of Yoga Outfits

I took two sets of Stronger yoga outfits (one that was a crop top and one that was a full tank top). I also took a pair of Lilybod leggings and about 3 tee shirts. This was just enough! These were just for shorter hikes and lounging around. Some other brands for yoga wear that are nice:

1 Raincoat

Bring a raincoat! I brought a that I always travel with. I also took a . It’s very very thin and can be scrunched up into nothingness (it basically takes up no space and adds no weight). It was perfect for tying around my waist for hikes since it would get colder as we went higher.

what to wear in panama

2 Light Sweaters/Coverups

I took two sweater-ish things. One is a in tan that I wear all the time and just think is perfect for travel and the other is a cute . Both came in handy a lot.

6 Swimsuits

Practically speaking, you really only need one. However, I took 6 swimsuits because I wanted to mix it up! I took 3 from (my new favorite brand), 2 from Ris-k Swim, and 1 from (one is the bright pink underwire one that I love so so much).

20 Pairs of Undies

I did not want to do laundry on this trip so I took 20 pairs of underwear, lol. You’ll be going from beach to days in town to the beach etc and changing in and out of your swimsuit a lot so take extra.

2 Bras

I also took two types of bra: one is a thin underwire that has not much to it (yes, I’ve decided to try real sort of real bras now and not just bralettes) and feels like a t-shirt, the other is a little more material but still no padding and it’s the .

2 Sets of PJs

I took a set of satin pink PJ’s (shorts and a top) and another set from them that is a romper with a robe. That’s mainly because I knew I’d be taking photos in the hotel for the blog but you should take some PJs and I will link to these because a lot of people asked about them on social media.

Shop Homebodii Loungewear Below

A Pair of Loose Trousers

I also took a pictured below in the second photo that was great to throw on the beach

Shoes to Pack for Panama

1 Pair of Flip Flops

, and I’ve talked about them before in my favorite travel shoes post.

2 Pair of Nicer Sandals

  • Ugg Slip-On Leather Sandals
  • Platforms ()

2 Pairs of Outdoorsy Shoes

  • 1 Pair Tevas “Tirra” Sandals in Blue
  • 1 Pair of Tennis Shoes (old ) for hikes

You could also bring a pair of boots if you have them as Sylvia did. I didn’t have any here in Mexico and ended up being okay without them. Overall, I’d take the same shoes next time! They fit into one small packing cube and didn’t take up too much space.

Shop the shoes below

Accessories

1 Umbrella

Yes, really! You can get now too.

2 Hats

  • Straw hat ()

Where to Stay Gulf of Chiriqui Isla Palenque

1 Headlamp

I didn’t bring one, but I wish I had! You can get them for pretty cheap off of .

1-2 Sarongs

They work as additional cover-ups. I love the .

1 Fanny pack

Yes – my new love, the ! They’re great for the hiking.

Sunglasses

I pretty much lived in my .

Shop accessories below

The Toiletries

These days I travel with a straightener to add waves to my hair. I ended up doing this only one day in Panama City and you can tell a difference because it’s basically the only time people have messaged me to say “your hair looks so cute on Instagram today!” haha. It’s a , which .

American Trade Hotel Review

Otherwise, I took:

  • Aveda Blue Malva and
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Make-up basics
  • , the sun is much hotter here!

I also did try a new concealer, , and it’s amazing!

Shop the toiletries I used below

Misc items you need to pack for Panama

  • Snacks, for real
  • , so much time on boats and windy roads
  • & , had a headache from the boats and roads haha
  • , you really do need this, I had to borrow all the time because I forgot!
  • are what their wall sockets use
  • An unlocked phone to put in a Panama SIM card
  • Headphones for the long car rides
  • Journey towel, I’m loving my compact Tesalate one! It’s sand-resistant, big, but takes up no space.
  • for the bug bites you are going to get all over your body
  • Camera & extra batteries (You can read my review of the one I use)

Read More Tips on Panama Journey:

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2018-10-02T02:20:06+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.

One Comment

  1. Ryan Biddulph October 10, 2018 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    I never backpacked Rachel but would do rolling luggage 100% of the time, anyway. Especially with all the traveling I do these days. I dig your packing list for Panama. You’ve it all covered for this delightful little country.

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