What you pack really does depend on whether you are spending time in Panama City or the countryside.
Panama City is cosmopolitan and people tend to dress casually but smartly – think fitted clothing and smart shoes.
If you don't want to scream ‘tourist' then avoid wearing shorts around the city, no matter how hot it gets.
The key is neat and sleek, and neutral colors are best.
Whatever time of year you visit it will be hot and humid.
During the day it's hot, so our advice is to pack lightweight, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics such as linen, silk, cotton and bamboo that will keep you cool and are easy to wash and dry.
Having said that, the air conditioning in hotels and restaurants can be fiercesome so pack a light jacket or pashmina to pop round you.
Outside of Panama City, dress is casual; wear comfortable layers.
light wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It keeps you warm in the cold, wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours – even after prolonged wear.
Your exploration of the stunning natural wonders is likely to involve a good deal of walking, so make sure you have comfortable, lightweight shoes. We love Hotter shoes, for total comfort along with style.
The city nightlife is amazing and many places won't let you in wearing tennis shoes or sneakers so pack some smart shoes or killer heels. We love the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range – using interchangeable shoe and flip-flop bases with snap-on decorations, you can change your look from day to evening in an instant whilst still packing light.
Clothing Tips for Women
Pack a smarter outfit for more formal occassions.
A few well-chosen pieces of costume jewelry will transform any outfit.
And a pashmina is a versatile piece that will dress up any outfit too.
Avoid short skirts and revealing tops, and in the main it's best to stick to more neutral colors.
If you're going to visit any religious sites then be sure to cover your shoulders and bare legs – your pashmina can come in handy for this too.
If you are traveling on businesspack a trouser suit or knee length skirt-suit.
Clothing Tips for Men
For versatile and stylish casual wear, try the Madda Fella range of shirts, shorts and polos.
If you are traveling on business,pack a normal business suit, shirt and tie – although you may find local businessmen prefer short-sleeved shirts.
For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.
Pack for the Weather
The temperature remains pretty constant all year round at 30C dropping to around 20C at night.
On the Pacific side rain is scarce during December, January, February, March and April whereas on the Caribbean side you may experience short heavy rainfall – a light raincoat and/or travel umbrella can be handy.
We love the Weather+ app – it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too – a nice way to remember your trip 🙂 Download for iPad/iPhone or Android
Other Things To Pack
Once you are outside Panama City you really need to be sure you take everything you need including sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), insect/mosquito repellent, extra batteries, adapter plugs and converters for electrical appliances (or pack a solar powered charger to cut down on plugs and cables). As laundry facilities may be few and far between on your travels, pack a small supply of detergent for hand laundry too. However, you will be able to buy these things in Panama City.
A bag or soft-sided rucksack is a more practical option than hard cases when traveling around the country, and using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
A microfiber travel towel is another great item to pack if trekking – they fold really small so you can accommodate a larger size and they dry really quickly too. They also make a good beach towel.
Combine your bag with a fold away day sack that will carry your essentials on day trips.
Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee – it protects against loss, theft and damage whether you're in the city, at the beach or out in the wilderness.
To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step up voltage converter if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (120V).
Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees – use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Look for street vendors and small shops selling indigenous crafts including decorative baskets, wooden figures, and beaded jewelry.