Packing list for Panama

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This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Panama and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. We recommend that you pack light. You can get virtually anything you might need in Panama. You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. Also, as you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And, a final suggestion: If in doubt, leave it out.

For luggage in general, duffel bags and backpacks are much more practical than suitcases. Rolling suitcases especially are not practical for Panama. Be sure to put the following items in a carry-on bag for quick and easy access once you arrive in Panama: passport, baggage-claim tickets, customs forms, World Health Organization card, and immunization records.

Because of the heat and humidity, cotton fabric is always a good idea, especially for underwear. Outdoor clothing with fabric that “wicks away” moisture can be useful, but cotton-synthetic blends also hold their shape and are cooler to wear. Clothing will probably be subject to harsh washing (many Volunteers wash their clothes on rocks) and rugged work and climatic conditions, so be sure to select durable items. Do not bring clothes made of delicate materials.

Panama has clothing stores located throughout all areas of the country. Attractive, practical clothing will be readily available for purchase at very affordable prices. Outdoor gear such as sleeping mats, headlamps, etc., however, will be more difficult (but not impossible) to locate in Panama, as well as high-quality footwear, so when deciding what to bring it is recommended that you prioritize those items over clothing. Finally, bring what you know you will need to be happy, but base your decisions primarily on the type of work you will be doing and your probable living conditions. Do not bring anything that you would be heartbroken to lose.

General Clothing


Note: Shoes larger than 10 are hard to find in Panama, as are wider sizes. Hiking shoes are available in Panama, but the selection is not as good as in the United States. Rubber boots are widely available.


The following items are less necessary, but you may want to consider bringing or to purchase once you arrive in Panama:

Batteries, razors, kerosene burners, and kitchen supplies are all readily available in Panama. It is strongly recommended that you not bring them. International calling cards are also inexpensive and easy to purchase in Panama.

You do not need to bring basic healthcare products (such as sun block, bug repellant, vitamins, band-aids, etc.) or a mosquito net as these are all provided by Peace Corps/ Panama. Peace Corps will also provide you with a Spanish-English dictionary, grammar book, and vocabulary book, as well as the book 501 Spanish Verbs when you arrive for training.

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