Don’t worry about exchanging U.S. dollars in Panama

The dollar is the de facto currency; the Panamanians refer to it as the balboa, named for explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa who "discovered" the Pacific Ocean and claimed it for Spain. You’ll see prices written as B1 or $1, and although the country does mint its own coins (of the same size and value as their U.S. counterparts), both types of currency circulate freely. See our Panama Travel Guide.