The Top Ten Differences Between Panama City, Panama and Quito, Ecuador for travel, lifestyle and retirement.
1. The taxi ride from the airport in Quito is $6, in Panama City it’s $27. This ratio applies to the cost of many services when comparing the two cities.
2. The temperatures in Quito are 15 – 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than in Panama City. I find these temperatures refreshing and invigorating, although the first thing I needed to buy when I arrived Quito is a sweater. The mountain air in Quito feels cleaner and fresher and more pleasant to walk around in than the stifling sea level humidity of Panama City.
3. The indigenous population in Quito is very different from the mixed meztizo population in Panama City. The attitudes of the people in Quito come across more humble and quiet, compared with Panama’s boisterous blend of honking, whistling, and yelling.
4. The glitzy towers of Panama City don’t exist in Quito. Quito looks and feels not nearly as new or as modern as Panama City. Example: While the coffee shop down the street in Quito offers a WIFI hot spot, they didn’t have any outlets with three prongs for my lap top to plug into, only two prong outlets (I now have a two prong adapter).
5. One has to be a touch more watchful of one’s belongings while wandering around Quito. Make sure your cell phone, camera, wallet and purse are firm in hand – not that the place is full of robbers, it’s just a slightly elevated feeling of caution you have in Quito that you don’t need in Panama.
6. Smiles and genuine appreciation are easier to come by in Quito. Sometimes in Panama City, you get the feeling the person serving you is doing you a favor, not the other way around.
7. Food options in Quito are in many ways healthier. Fruit, vegetables and salads are more widely available – gone are the deep fried breakfasts they serve up in Panama City.
8. The frequency in Quito feels lighter, more spiritual and better educated, relative to Panama City’s grinding struggle to make that dollar. Panama City often feels heavy, albeit sexier and more lively than Quito.
9. My business hotel in Quito costs $28/night vs Panama City $78/night.
10. Quito is in many ways more touristy than Panama City. More backpacker and tourist facilities are apparent in Quito vs. Panama which caters to the business traveler. The result is more international street life in Quito with various travelers walking about, compared to Panama City’s business clientele who fill up the high-end restaurants and clog up the city’s traffic with their taxis and rental cars.