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Top Ten Differences Between Quito, Ecuador And Panama City, Panama

Quito's cooler climate, artsy vibe, and mountainous scenery makes for a stark contrast with Panama City's hustle and bustle

Panama City, Panama

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.

5 responses to “Top Ten Differences Between Quito, Ecuador And Panama City, Panama”

  1. Terry Schmidt

    Thank you for your article. I’m in the process of deciding where to retire in South American and your article reinforces my thoughts about Ecuador.

    Thank you.

    Santa Fe, New Mexico

  2. Gordon James

    Although I have never been to Quito, I currently live in Panama just outside the main city and your assessment of Panama is spot on. I try not to generalize but when I hear others say the same things as me it only reinforces that I am not imagining things. Panama is a banking and financial center so the vibe is biased toward that scene. Too many people are chasing money, bling and social staus. It’s a rat race in the city and the skyscrapers, pollution, heat, humidity, noise and rudeness are suffocating. There are a few nice mountain communities but either they have little to no amenities or they are rife with North Americans who generally have a one sided view of the world. Not my cup of tea. You are absolutely correct to point out that the service is abysmal in Panama. The workers generally do not care. Cashiers make you feel as if you are inconveniencing them and it is an awkward experience. When I visit Costa Rica or Guatemala the people are entirely different. They are much more dignified and respectful and the service is much better there. There is no real culture in Panama, nothing to sink your teeth into and be captivated by. It seems everyone is just chasing money trying to take advantage of the next foreigner who lands there. Needless to say after 4 years living in Panama, I’ve had enough of this place and am moving on to more pleasant pastures. I’d like to visit Ecuador soon. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Joseph Camdon Wilmoth

    Panama is completely differnt
    Quito has very little high end restaurants and wine
    Panama has many
    Quito is more conservative, more in control, more respect!!
    Panama is trying to find her way…
    I like both cities
    I live in Panama

  4. Cesar Osi

    It is wonderful to see the developing of Panama City, its skyscrapers,you could think you are in New york or Singapore, when I arrived at 6:30pm from Miami, I realized however , Panamá it is not well lit, the climat? humit, very hot, cloudy, rainy.

    Quito??… wonderful!, you must visit it.

  5. Top Ten Differences Between Panama City and Quito | Breaking News 24/7

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