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*Signing up for a travel insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems is a great idea. Check that the policy covers ambulances and/or an emergency flight home.
Panama uses the US dollar as its currency, the official name for it is “Balboa”. It’s exactly the same bill and the terms dólar and balboa are interchangeable. Panamanian coins are of the same as value as US coins, and both are commonly used. Most businesses won’t break $50 and $100 bills, and those that do may require you to present your passport. ATMs are widely available throughout Panama, except in the most isolated parts. They accept cards on most networks (Plus, Cirrus, MasterCard, Visa, Amex), though a charge is usually levied depending on your issuing bank. The amount that can be withdrawn at one time is usually around US $ 500. The closest ATM is in Pedasi.
The only bank that exchanges foreign currency is the Banco Nacional de Panamá counter at PTY Int’l Airport once you exit customs. When in the city, the only place that can change foreign currency is a “casa de cambio” (exchange house), which can be difficult to find outside Panama City.