Panama for a Dollar (Yes, Really)


I like this.


An eternal optimist, Liu-Yue built two social enterprises to help make the world a better place. Liu-Yue co-founded Oxstones Investment Club a searchable content platform and business tools for knowledge sharing and financial education. also provides investors with direct access to U.S. commercial real estate opportunities and other alternative investments. In addition, Liu-Yue also co-founded Cute Brands a cause-oriented character brand management and brand licensing company that creates social awareness on global issues and societal challenges through character creations. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Liu-Yue worked as an Executive Associate at M&T Bank in the Structured Real Estate Finance Group where he worked with senior management on multiple bank-wide risk management projects. He also had a dual role as a commercial banker advising UHNWIs and family offices on investments, credit, and banking needs while focused on residential CRE, infrastructure development, and affordable housing projects. Prior to M&T, he held a number of positions in Latin American equities and bonds investment groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Read (Swiss Bank), OFFITBANK (the wealth management division of Wachovia Bank), and in small cap equities at Steinberg Priest Capital Management (family office). Liu-Yue has an MBA specializing in investment management and strategy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Marketing from Stern School of Business at NYU. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.

By Jessica Ramesch, International Living,

I’ll admit it. I became a bit obsessed with Facebook a few months back. It has turned into a great way for readers interested in Panama or International Living to share tidbits or post questions for the IL community. My favorite recent post on the International Living Facebook page asked: “What can you buy for $1 where you live?” At first I thought: “Not much…what can anyone get for $1 these days?” But after a few seconds of brainstorming I realized I was wrong.

Turns out, I could go on and on about all I can get for $1 here in Panama! At a deserted island in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, I can get a sweet green coconut full of water. The sellers are usually members of the Ngobe Bugle indigenous tribes that live on the islands. They’ll take a sharp machete to the coconut, hacking off the top so you can enjoy the cool water. Then they’ll crack it open so you can scrape out the slimy innards…delicious!

You can also get a beer for a dollar at most beachside shacks, a gold and green papaya with sweet orange flesh, or a cheap pair of flip-flops if you forgot yours back home. Even the roadside stalls sell trinkets and souvenirs made out of natural materials like the ubiquitous tagua nut for $1 and up.

In the Panama Highlands, I found multiple things for $1 or even less. I had good, strong coffee for $0.35, a filling empanada for $0.50 (more than enough to fill me up for a quick breakfast), and a small pizza for $1.75. Taxis to most anywhere were only $1, as were the colorful mixing bowls I bought at a small store called La Cocina (“the Kitchen”).

At another shop down the road I bought four souvenir postcards of Panama for…you guessed it, $1. In fact, I could come up with long lists for every town I’ve visited in Panama. At the hot springs in El Valle, $1 entry fee gets you a packet of mineral-rich mud for your face…rub it on, lower yourself into the hot water, and relax for as long as you like!

And I’m not just talking about rural areas. In Panama City, most gas stations are full-service (something I really love). I can get a quick check for my car for free…but I usually tip $1. The attendants will check all fluids…motor oil, coolant, wiper fluid, etc…and even make sure your tire pressure is good.

My favorite vegetarian restaurant is a Chinese buffet/cafeteria called La Casa Vegetariana. I can choose four different items from the buffet line for $1. The vegetarian ham pao is $0.50, as are the empanadas filled with either chopped veggies or sweet fruit.

My dad found a small “wholesaler” where he can buy ten packs of platanitos (fried plantain chips) or peanuts for $1. He refuses to buy corn in supermarkets. He points out that vendors sitting right outside the grocery stores sell you corn on the cob…already cooked…for $0.35 each. They also sell boiled and prepared pixbae, a delicious, starchy palm fruit that’s said to be highly nutritious: four for $1.

My favorite, though, is when they have changa for $1 each. The masses of fresh corn, shaped like a skillet bottom, are big enough to feed four. I cut them into pizza-like wedges and serve with garlic and herbs on top. With a salad, the wedges make a delicious dinner for under $1 a person!

Tags: , , , , ,

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe without commenting