While my post on what to wear in Panama was a fun, breakdown of ALL my outfits, here’s a bit more of a practical Panama packing list that goes into all my clothes, accessories, toiletries, and more.
Like I mentioned in the other post, traveling around Panama means being ready for a lot of different areas — from the more metropolitan Panama City to the tropical San Blas, backpacker party places Bocas Del Toro, to the mountainous Boquete and many more place, so you want to pack to be prepared!
Your Complete Panama Packing List:
Luggage or Backpack for Panama?
I took a rolling luggage because my backpacking days are over, but most travelers had backpacks or rolling duffels, so if you have one, you might want to bring it. You cannot take luggage with you to San Blas (you have to leave it at your hotel in Panama City) so you DO need to take at least a day-pack. I have a [easyazon_link identifier=”B075LQWVG3″ locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]thin LeSportsac backpack[/easyazon_link] that I took which came in handy for the beach as well.
Rolling luggage is totally possible and good to protect from the rain, but if you are staying at budget places where carry your own luggage so prepared to carry your heavy bag! I used Raden luggage, which is on my list of the most stylish for travel.
1 Day Pack
For this trip, I took an ancient leather tan purse from Fossil. It’s one of my favorite brands for purses and they last forever – I think it is at least 8 years old. You can check out all their current leather bags here or shop some styles below:
Several Casual dresses + jumpsuits
You’ll pretty much live in casual dresses and jumpsuits as they work well for the city and more tropical beaches. I didn’t even bring jeans or jean shorts, that’s how much I knew I’d be in a dress (like this one!) or jumpsuit (my favorite jumpsuit here).
Shop some of my dresses below
2 of Hiking Tops
- Anatomie Windbreaker
- Old T-Shirt
1 of Hiking Bottoms
- My leggings here are from Lilybod.
2 Sets of Yoga Outfits
I took two sets of Stronger yoga outfits (one that was a crop top and one that was a full tank top). I also took a pair of Lilybod leggings and about 3 tee shirts. This was just enough! These were just for shorter hikes and lounging around. Some other brands for yoga wear that are nice:
Bring a raincoat! I brought a long-ish black raincoat from North Face that I always travel with. I also took a windbreaker which was from Anatomie. It’s very very thin and can be scrunched up into nothingness (it basically takes up no space and adds no weight). It was perfect for tying around my waist for hikes since it would get colder as we went higher.
2 Light Sweaters/Coverups
I took two sweater-ish things. One is a linen button up in tan that I wear all the time and just think is perfect for travel and the other is a cute black activewear top from Under Armor. Both came in handy a lot.
Practically speaking, you really only need one. However, I took 6 swimsuits because I wanted to mix it up! I took 3 from Montce (my new favorite brand), 2 from Ris-k Swim, and 1 from Acacia (one is the bright pink underwire one that I love so so much).
20 Pairs of Undies
I did not want to do laundry on this trip so I took 20 pairs of underwear, lol. You’ll be going from beach to days in town to the beach etc and changing in and out of your swimsuit a lot so take extra.
I also took two types of bra: one is a thin underwire that has not much to it (yes, I’ve decided to try real sort of real bras now and not just bralettes) and feels like a t-shirt, the other is a little more material but still no padding and it’s the Body By Victoria demi cup in nude.
2 Sets of PJs
I took a set of Homebodii satin pink PJ’s (shorts and a top) and another set from them that is a romper with a robe. That’s mainly because I knew I’d be taking photos in the hotel for the blog but you should take some PJs and I will link to these because a lot of people asked about them on social media.
Shop Homebodii Loungewear Below
A Pair of Loose Trousers
I also took a loose pair of trousers pictured below in the second photo that was great to throw on the beach
Shoes to Pack for Panama
1 Pair of Flip Flops
Mine are from Reef, and I’ve talked about them before in my favorite travel shoes post.
2 Pair of Nicer Sandals
- Ugg Slip-On Leather Sandals (Check out my review here) (similar here)
- James Smith Platforms (similar here)
2 Pairs of Outdoorsy Shoes
- 1 Pair Tevas “Tirra” Sandals in Blue (buy here)
- 1 Pair of Tennis Shoes (old Adidas Sambas) for hikes
You could also bring a pair of boots if you have them as Sylvia did. I didn’t have any here in Mexico and ended up being okay without them. Overall, I’d take the same shoes next time! They fit into one small packing cube and didn’t take up too much space.
Shop the shoes below
Yes, really! You can get travel-sized ones now too.
- Old Yankees hat
- Straw hat (similar here)
I didn’t bring one, but I wish I had! You can get them for pretty cheap off of Amazon.
They work as additional cover-ups. I love the ones from Acacia.
1 Fanny pack
Yes – my new love, the Patagonia fanny pack! They’re great for the hiking.
I pretty much lived in my Ray-Ban Clubmasters. (Check out 8 of my other favorite brands here)
Shop accessories below
These days I travel with a straightener to add waves to my hair. I ended up doing this only one day in Panama City and you can tell a difference because it’s basically the only time people have messaged me to say “your hair looks so cute on Instagram today!” haha. It’s a GHD straightener, which you can get at Sephora.
Otherwise, I took:
- Aveda Blue Malva shampoo and conditioner (check out my review here)
- A Comb
- Body lotion (and some other drug store faves)
- Mia Clarisonic
- Biore face wash (other favorite Biore products here)
- Sea salt spray for waves
- It’s a 10 conditioner
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Clinique moisture surge lotion (my review here)
- Make-up basics (like eyeliner!)
- Sun Bum Sunscreen, the sun is much hotter here!
I also did try a new concealer, the Smashbox one, and it’s amazing! You can check out all my favorite beauty products of the moment here.
Shop the toiletries I used below
Misc items you need to pack for Panama
- Snacks, for real
- Sea bands, so much time on boats and windy roads
- Tylenol & Dramamine, had a headache from the boats and roads haha
- Bug spray, you really do need this, I had to borrow all the time because I forgot!
- USA chargers are what their wall sockets use
- An unlocked phone to put in a Panama SIM card
- Headphones for the long car rides (these are the comfiest)
- Travel towel, I’m loving my compact Tesalate one! It’s sand-resistant, big, but takes up no space. You can use code “hippieinheels15” for 15% off.
- Cortisone for the bug bites you are going to get all over your body
- Portable chargers 15,000 MAH
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B00OQVZDJM” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link]
- Camera & extra batteries (You can read my review of the one I use)
- You could consider the [easyazon_link identifier=”B01BKFQALG” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Handpresso[/easyazon_link] for times you won’t have coffee! This little thing is a travel life-changer and you can have strong, tasty, espresso on the go. So many places just have instant coffee which I cannot stand so I love this. I have it in pink!
Read More Tips on Panama Travel:
- Complete Panama Travel Guide
- Full Two Week Itinerary
- 16 Things to Do in Boquete
- 27 Things to Do in Panama That Are Actually Cool
- Essential Things to Know Before Visiting San Blas
- 13 Things to Know Before You Visit Bocas Del Toro
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I never backpacked Rachel but would do rolling luggage 100% of the time, anyway. Especially with all the traveling I do these days. I dig your packing list for Panama. You’ve it all covered for this delightful little country.
Always love your packing lists! I totally used your packing guide to India when I backpacked there for 6 weeks. And I love all of the pictures, it looks like an amazing country.
Where Did you peachy colored jumpsuit in the first picture come from?? Thanks for the packing list!
Hey Carly! I actually have a second post which has links to all the outfits I wore it’s here!
Rachel! I leave for Panama in 15 days with my Father! Your posts have been super helpful! Got some cute jumpsuits and dresses, I feel pretty prepared! What was the accessibility of using a debit/credit card down there? Should I take mainly cash?
Cards are fine! ATM’s everywhere – I use Charles Schwab so no fees but if you get fees to withdraw, you could bring some cash, too
Woow!! Your posts about Panama are helping me a lot to plan my trip there!! Thank you so much!!! Do you know if I need to get any vaccines ??