Panamanian cuisine is a mix of Afro-Caribbean, indigenous, and Spanish, with milder flavours than other parts of Central America such as Mexico. The warm, wet climate means you can fresh and tasty fruits, herbs and vegetables are available everywhere and are as cheap as chips.

Common foods

Sitting down to a mean in Panama usually means you’ll come across common local foods like pollo (chicken), ceviche (raw fish with lemon and coridander), patacones (fried plantain slices), corvina (a Pacific fish) and camarones (prawns).

Typical dishes

Found everywhere in Panama, sancocho is a type of chicken soup. You’ll also find plenty of tortillas but in Panama they are thicker than elsewhere in Central America and usually come deep fried and loaded with eggs, cheese and beans — eat too many and your waistline with soon start to suffer. Arroz con guandu is a common side dish of rice cooked with beans and spices.



Slake your thirst with pipa, the clear sweet liquid of an unripe coconut. You’ll come plenty of roadside vendors who expertly hack a hole in the top of the coconut, pop in a straw and hand it over for a pittance.


Cerveza is Panama’s most popular poison. Choose from a variety of national brands including Balboa, Panama and Soberana.


Panama’s most famous liquor is called seco, a sugar-cane-distilled alcohol that is usually sipped with mile and ice that is most common in rural communities and cantinas.


Like much of Central America, the tap water quality can be poor so it
is recommended to drink bottled water, which is cheap and available