I know I typically write about my adventures while in Panama, but this blog post is going to be about everyone’s favorite soda Coca Cola. In the United States I’m use to the Coca Cola/Pepsi battle but here in Panama Coca Cola is the dominating force. Everywhere you look there are coke advertisements and people drinking the delicious beverage everywhere you turn. Although I typically limit myself to these tasty drinks when I am at home in North Carolina, I have had the hardest time pulling myself away from them here in Panama. Not only is the taste consistent throughout the United States and Panama, but they are also easily accessible, cheap, cold, and served in recycled glass bottles.
Everyone remembers in the U.S. when coke use to only be served in glass bottles and you could get them anywhere from the corner store to the grocery store. Now glass bottles are typically only found in specialty stores and are always priced higher than plastic bottles. Here in Panama it is the complete opposite. To find coke in the plastic bottle here is far less often and definitely caries a higher price tag than the glass bottles. Cokes can be found in pretty much any restaurant/fonda, grocery stores, super mini stores, convenient stores, and airports. Sometimes you will even see them being sold out of food carts on the side of the road ( I choose to stay away from these though).
As I have found Coca Cola is the most widely available soda or carbonated beverage throughout Panama. Everywhere you go will have an assortment of sodas such as Kist, Polar, Squirt, Fanta, Malta Del Baru, Pepsi, 7 Up, as well as many others, but none are as prevalent as Coca Cola. Another key reason I can’t stay away from these tasty beverages is it’s refreshing properties. With Panama having the tropical climate it does, after a long day in the sun you need something to cool you down. That is where coke comes into play. It is at every corner and you can guarantee that it is going to be cold.
One of my favorite features about cokes here in Panama is the cost. You can find a 16 oz coke anywhere from $0.50-$2.00. The standard price for a coke is about $0.75. An observation that I have made is that prices are higher in large cities and tourist destinations, while the outskirts and small towns have the cheapest cokes. Another great way that Coca Cola has kept it’s prices low and encouraged repeat consumers is the recycling program they have for glass bottles. At the super mini’s you can return your empty glass bottles for a refund of $0.25-$0.30 depending on who is working that day. You can also enjoy your coke at the super mini and leave the bottle for a $0.30 discount. This is a pretty great deal because once you rack up three empty glass bottles you can take them to the super mini and receive your free coke. Now that’s a sweet deal!
Obviously Coca Cola has done it’s marketing and promotion the right way in Panama. Obviously they got me!