On a recent trip home to visit the states a few people asked me about what currency is used in Panama. The concept of Panamanian currency is simple yet a little confusing. The official currency in the Republic of Panama is actually the Balboa. But don’t start panicking yet. The Balboa and U.S. dollar are virtually the same thing and work equally in Panama. There are no Balboa paper notes as with the dollar (at least none that I have ever seen) and the coins or cents are known as “centavos”. If the price of something in Panama is listed with a B. before, such as B.25, then the price would be $25 U.S. dollars. Panamanian coinage is represented exactly as we do in the U.S. beginning with the 1cent piece (centavo) , the equivelant of a nickel, dime, quarter, and going upward to the 50 centavo or “medio balboa”, then the full dollar or “un balboa”.
Nonetheless, you must remember that all U.S. currency is accepted in Panama wherever you go. Panamanian and U.S. currency is also the same exact size, shape and metal which means they will both work in any coin, payphone or vending machine in the States or Panama. However, I recommend exchanging Balboa for dollars before reentering the U.S. So, when asking what currency is used in Panama the answer is pretty interesting. The U.S. dollar or the Balboa will do the trick. It’s really up to the spender.