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Yesterday I posted my #1 Panama pet peeve: grocery stores. Today, I’m bringing up something that effects everyone, whether you’re conscious of it or not.

Panama Pet Peeve #2: Trash


This is not uncommon to see.

Panama doesn’t have an effective trash control system. Yes, they have garbage trucks that come around weekly and pick-up the trash, but unfortunately, by the time they trucks come around, the trash is already piling up and spilling out onto the sidewalks and streets. The trash receptacles/cages are too small which leaves residents and businesses no choice but to set the trash outside the cage which then, birds and other animals get into a make a huge mess. Add a sudden downpour to the mix and you have quite a stink.

park trash1

This is a picture that I took on Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro. The main street is constantly littered like this.

Panama locals as a whole, are litterbugs. I hate to be so down on them, but it’s true! There is trash sprinkled everywhere – in nearly every part of the country. Don’t even get me started on the dump site. I don’t even know if it’s the official dump site, or ones that communities just delegate, but they’re a huge eye sore in an otherwise glorious setting. I love what Steve from Flying Pirates plans on initiating on Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro to help with the trash situation. Panama needs more people like him. People that care.


This is what a typical, small dump site looks like, but honestly, most of them are much larger and much worse.

The dumping and littering isn’t just an eye sore, it contributes to the spread of illness in Panama. When May hits and 6 months of “rainy season” begins in Panama, the flies rapidly multiply, spreading gastric, intestinal and skin disorders.


There are three areas that we found were exceptionally clean: Boquete, El Valle and Coronado. Is it just a coincidence that these places have a higher concentration of expats living there? Hm…

We took a month off to explore Panama and still made money! Click below to find out how!