This is a guest post by PacoLoco. He is comparing it to Costa Rica, specifically San Jose.
I found Panama to be the opposite of what I have heard before, the place does seem to have mixed reviews (seems guys that have never been are the most discouraging) and maybe some of that is just in the eye of the beholder. I plan to have a good time wherever on vacation and as you can tell I was all over the place experiencing as much as possible. Yet I could see how someone that tends to focus on negatives that goes solely for the purpose of “cheap pussy” might be disappointed in Panama City and bitch about how everything’s cheaper in some other shit-hole. Was only on the ground for 4.5 days/5nights and feel I only scratched the surface. I’ll cover the chicas below and know those type of day-trip activities are available, check the “Recreation and Adventure” link on this page-
Summary & comparison to San Jose, Costa Rica:
The Gringo Tourist – Lots of activities available and cool places to visit, similar to Costa Rica but more interesting history around Panama City in my opinion due to the canal, US involvement years ago plus they had pirates Yo ho ho. The infrastructure of a modern, thriving city blow San Jose away and US currency simplified things. Tourist attractions for the weekend warrior in Panama City are great since the Canal, causeway, Allbrook, Casco Antigua, Flamenco Island and the 573 acre parque are all within 30 minutes, most tourist attractions in CR are at least a 1.5 hr. drive each way.
Locals – Could be a misconception, they were cordial when approached but noticed the locals didn’t seem real friendly or smile much like the Ticos (Ed: Costa Rican) do, maybe it’s just because they’re not all working some angle like gulch Ticos so they don’t have a reason to be nice.(?)
Native women – I did not see a lot of pretty Panamanian women, there were occasional decent lookers in restaurants or the mall but not like Costa Rica where pretty Ticas (Ed: Female Costa Rican) are everywhere.
Weather– Hotter than Costa Rica but wasn’t as hot as expected during my stay, maybe I just got lucky. It hit 90 everyday but was always breezy, mostly cloudy and the humidity down around 40-60% which was comfortable to me. Never even unpacked my shorts.
Hotels – Looks like costs can range about the same for a nice room with much higher-end options available. Veneto was fun, clean, very comfortable and convenient plus they really cater to you but it is a casino-hotel with a high-roller rep., in other words I felt that the chicas and taxi drivers try to get more $ if they know you’re staying there. But how great it is to just ride the elevator down to the 2nd floor at night where 70+ sexy chicas await. Food and drinks are pricey there but you can walk across the street and drink for less and eat for 1/2 the price. There’s also a small Chinese market across the street for drinks & snacks and a 24 hr. pharmacy next door to the hotel. If I can’t get a decent rate at Veneto next trip will consider another hotel. One chica told me the Marriott across from Habanos is also guest friendly but would verify it with the hotel.
Food – Mostly ate at Manolo’s but food was much better than CR, everything was fresh especially seafood, greater variety and a bit cheaper than San Jose from what I saw. There were a half-dozen great restaurants recommended that I should have eaten at (and planned to) but Manolo’s was reasonable & convenient plus with the occasional working girls hanging out there I just kept going back. Sometimes when returning from Costa Rica I can’t wait to get back to the states for a decent meal, when I got home from Panama I was thinking of the delicious food I had down there. CR wins on the best coffee.
Chicas & Costs – Yes they cost a bit more but top-shelf beauties were at Veneto and Habanos and that’s where I shopped, they mostly ranged from 7-10s while at the HDR you have 0-10s. In San Jose you do have more variety of nationalities and more chicas concentrated in one area available for lower prices. I actually spent the same on chicas as I would for 5 nights in CR, just did a few less sessions because I was so busy doing tourist stuff every day. Most I asked said they were willing to work daytime and gave me phone numbers, one even offered to go on tours with me. I suspect most of the Colombianas don’t do much during the days anyway after sleeping late, so finding some to connect with for an afternoon discount seems a worthwhile strategy. They usually started rolling in Veneto around 9PM although I did see a few hanging around the casino during the daytime on the weekend, also they were occasionally eating at Manolo’s during the day- met my favorita there at 2PM on a Monday.
As far as getting it cheaper in Panama City I just wasn’t worried about pinching pennies this trip but am confident that some time invested in finding favoritas to repeat, networking, on the ground experience and locating the lower priced massage parlorss would drop the costs. On my last night someone pointed out a couple Dominicanas while we were out front of Veneto, although they seemed scarce Dominicanas and Panamanians are available and probably a cheaper option. Getting two sessions/day down to around $150 seems do-able. The way I see it if a trip to Panama City still ends up costing a couple hundred bucks more than a trip to Costa Rica it would probably be worth it to me not to have to deal with the little things I don’t like about San Jose.
Massage Parlors – Never made it to Golden Times or Goldfingers. I read somewhere that the Oasis chicas start at $70 on top of what you pay the house but never made it back in to verify, they did have 3 or 4 lookers the night I stopped in. Didn’t have time to go back and find the oriental MPs that JTF mentioned. I’ve heard there are similar cheaper places in the $40 – 80 range and found this list while doing research but some of these are likely legitimate massage therapists. I did find a review and link to massage parlor, Hawaii Center somewhere, it sounds like one of the lower priced ones worth checking into and the lineup looks good.
This report sparked quite a bit of input and interest, have gotten messages from 4 guys so far that like me have been curious about Panama for a long time but never pulled the trigger, now they want to go. Hope I didn’t make it sound better than it is since YMMV but I had a great time all around in Panama City, it was an adventure and perfect winter vacation. Wish I could have stayed 2 or 3 more nights but already planning a return trip. It makes me wonder why more reports and info aren’t available, my guess is it has the reputation of being too expensive or for most guys it makes more sense to go to Colombia and get them cheaper. Plus guys get bashed for paying cien anyplace since a main focus of most monger boards is getting it as cheap as possible.
I didn’t spend much more than I do in Costa Rica and that was mainly due to my hotel room which totaled $124/night with tax. For me PTY airport was a convenient flight from the states, most Colombianas encountered were beautiful & sweet especially the non-enhanced ones, the weather was awesome, the food fresh & delicious, the city impressive and the sights amazing with plenty of tourist attractions close to downtown. I’m working on a Google map and have the major places pinned but current info and addresses are really hard to find, will post the link soon. Thanks again to others that contributed useful info, Panama seems like a great place to spend more vacation time, seek out cheaper p4p options, watch the sunrise over the Pacific, setup an offshore account or even retire.
Was hoping to post a similar report from a first-timer perspective in SDQ/Boca Chica in a few weeks but… work and airfares are not cooperating so that one may have to wait.
I have a request from PacoLoco to amend to the report: Be sure to mention the CR Really Sucks Compared to Panama club, free membership.