A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Panama City vs. Maui for Beaches, Families, Couples, and Resorts

Should you visit Panama City or Maui?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Panama City or Maui, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Panama City

Panama City is a active, cosmopolitan, and fun-filled beach town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the food, beaches, and shopping.

Maui

Maui is a breathtaking, stunning, and idyllic island. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. And you can't forget about the hiking, shopping, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Panama City and Maui: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Haleakala National Park
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Panama City or Maui?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Maui than Panama City, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Maui is better known for its museums, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Panama City is more popular for its food, nightlife, and music. Panama City is well known for its watersports, sandy beaches, and year-round beach weather. Maui is well known for its beach-filled coastline, world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, dramatic landscapes, and paradise environment. Also, Maui is famous for Haleakala National Park.

How is Panama City different from Maui?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Maui and Panama City. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Panama City or Maui?

Panama City
Maui

Maui is a island with a few options for its museums and landmarks. However, Panama City does not have museums and landmarks.

Maui offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Most people prefer not to spend their time inside or at a museum, but for a rainy day you can check out the Maui Ocean Center.

Panama City does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Panama City or Maui? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Panama City
Maui

Panama City is a popular place for its restaurant scene. However, Maui is a island with minimal options for its local flavors and cuisine.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Panama City. There are many waterfront restaurants that serve freshly caught seafood. Head to town for a charming atmosphere or grab a bite at a casual eatery. Fried seafood is popular when eating out but you'll also find plenty of options for land-lovers. Most restaurants also have kid-friendly menus.

Maui may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Like the other Hawaiian islands, food is expensive and of varying quality here, but the food scene continues to grow and improve. There are eclectic food trucks where you can try local flavors. There's also plenty of fresh tropical produce like mangos, avocadoes, and coconuts. Seafood is common on many menus as well.

Is Panama City or Maui Better for Nightlife?

Panama City
Maui

Panama City is a great destination for nightlife and partying. However, Maui is a island with minimal options for its evening party scene.

The people in Panama City know how to have a good time. The nightlife is particular crazy during spring break, when the town fills with students. Head to the famous Club La Vela or Spinnaker for music and fun at night.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Maui The island is not known for its nightlife, but the limited activities that do exist you'll find in Kaanapali and Lahaina.

Is Panama City or Maui Better for Music?

Panama City
Maui

Panama City is a popular place for its live music scene. However, Maui is not a live music destination.

The music scene in Panama City is active and vibrant. A popular way to enjoy music in the area is to find a restaurant with a lounge where local musicians perform.

Maui is not a live music destination.


Is Panama City or Maui Better for Resorts?

Panama City
Maui

Maui is a great destination for its resorts. Also, Panama City is still popular, but not quite as popular for its luxury resorts.

Maui is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. There are a number of nice resorts, but there are also VRBOs, condos, and local hotels where you can stay. High-end luxury resorts on the island include The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua and Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. There are also more reasonable priced resorts without all of the glitz and glam.

Panama City has a few great resort options. Most people stay in condos that are VRBO's or Airbnbs, but there are resorts in the area as well.

Is Panama City or Maui Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Panama City
Maui

Maui is a great destination for its diving and snorkeling. However, Panama City is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Many visitors go to Maui to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. The island has excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. You can really find it anywhere on the island, but some places are more crowded than others. Some of the best beaches for snorkeling include Honolua Bay, Slaughterhouse (Mokuleia Bay), DT Fleming Beach, and Kapalua Bay.

Panama City is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Panama City or Maui Better for Beaches?

Panama City
Maui

Maui is an amazing island to visit for the beache. Also, Panama City is still popular, but not quite as popular for the beach.

The beaches in Maui are among the best in the world. The island has stunning beaches and more miles of swimmable beach than any of the other Hawaiian islands. One of the best swimming beaches is Kapalua Beach, but other favorite beaches include Makena Beach State Park, Ka'anapali Beach, Baldwin Beach Park, and Wai'anapanapa State Park.

The beaches at Panama City attract visitors from all over. With miles of long white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, this area's beaches offer a beautiful escape. Head to the area's state parks for the most natural experience. These include St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park. A day trip to Shell Island is also popular.


Is Panama City or Maui Better for Hiking?

Panama City
Maui

Maui is an amazing island to visit for its hiking experiences. However, Panama City is not a hiking destination.

Known for its hiking, Maui draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. There are many diverse hikes on the island that pass through different landscapes and ecosystems. Hikes range from easy to challenging and are of varying length. Some of the favorites include 'Iao Valley State Park, Haleakala's Sliding Sands Trail (in Haleakala National Park), and The Pipiwai Trail.

Panama City is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Panama City or Maui?

Panama City
Maui

Shopping is a popular activity in both Maui and Panama City.

Panama City offers some nice shopping areas. There are a number of malls and shopping centers in the area.

Maui has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are many shopping centers where you'll find souvenirs, Hawaiian clothing, and even handmade crafts. If you forgot something from home, you'll also find many of the major chains that are common on the mainland.

Is Panama City or Maui Better for Families?

Panama City
Maui

Panama City and Maui are both fantastic destinations for the whole family.

Panama City is an amazing family-friendly beach town to visit. This area has large sandy beaches, waterparks, amusement parks, and marine parks. Kids will enjoy playing around at WonderWorks, cooling off at Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and learning about marine life at Gulf World Marine Park. There are also many watersports and water activities that are fun for the whole family.

Maui is an extremely popular beach town to visit for families. It is one of the best of the Hawaiian islands to explore with kids. There's plenty of snorkeling, outdoor adventure sports, and hiking that are great for kids of all ages. There are some kid-friendly beaches where kids can play in the water. There's also the Maui Ocean Center, Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm, and 'Iao Valley State Park.


Is Panama City or Maui Better for Couples?

Panama City
Maui

Maui is an amazing island to visit for its romantic activities. Also, Panama City is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Maui has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. Couples will enjoy the outdoor sports, excellent snorkeling and diving, and beautiful waterfalls that make for a romantic getaway. There are world-class resorts and breathtaking scenery that attract honeymooning couples from around the globe.

Panama City is a great beach town if you're traveling as a couple. The beautiful beaches and romantic restaurants make for a great romantic getaway. This is the perfect place to take sunset walks along the beach and sample freshly caught local seafood.

Is Panama City or Maui Better for Students?

Panama City
Maui

Panama City is a great destination for students. However, Maui is not popular with students.

Panama City is a very popular beach town for students and younger travelers. It's not the spring break destination that it once was, but you'll still find students hanging out around the spring holidays.

Maui is not popular with students.

Is Panama City or Maui Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Panama City
Maui

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Panama City and Maui.

Public transit is generally limited in Panama City. Most people need a car in Panama City but there is a trolley service that connects major tourist areas.

Public transit is mostly limited in Maui. The island does have a bus system with 14 routes, but most visitors prefer to have their own transportation to get around.


Is Panama City or Maui a more walkable city?

Panama City
Maui

Neither Panama City or Maui are walkable places.

Panama City is not a walkable beach town. There's often construction and the streets aren't designed for pedestrians.

Maui is not a very walkable beach town. The island is large enough that you'll want to have access to a car if you hope to explore it in its entirety.

For even more information, also check out Is Panama City Worth Visiting? and Is Maui Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Maui or Panama City?

How long in Panama City or Maui?

Both Panama City and Maui have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Maui has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Maui than Panama City. However, 3-7 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Maui than Panama City. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Maui, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Maui than Panama City. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Maui that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Maui than Panama City if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Maui.


  • How many days in Panama City or Maui? Ideal Length of Stay
    Panama City 3-7 
    Maui 3-7

One day in Panama City or Maui?

Visitors enjoy the live music and food when visiting the destination of Panama City. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the stunning island of Maui. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Panama City or Maui?

Panama City is a fun place to experience. It's also a great beach destination, too. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the breathtaking destination of Maui. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This island offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.


Five days in Panama City or Maui?

Visitors enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting the active destination of Panama City. This beach town offers something for everyone. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the idyllic island of Maui. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A week in Panama City or Maui?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the cosmopolitan beach town of Panama City. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Many people spend one week here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Because of this, one week is usually enough time for a trip here.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the destination of Maui. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for one week. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. In one week, you should have a good grasp of this island.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, and The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Maui or Panama City?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Panama City is $224, while the average daily cost in Maui is $275. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Panama City and Maui in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Panama City $128
    Maui $141
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Panama City $256
    Maui $282
Compare Hotels in Panama City and Maui

Looking for a hotel in Panama City or Maui? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Panama City


Hotels in Maui


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Panama City Hotel Prices and Maui Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Panama City $48
    Maui $62

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Maui

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Maui:

  • Kahului OGG Airport and Kihei Wailea Hotels Private Transfer: $43
  • Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) to Maui - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $173
  • Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) to Maui hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $87
  • Maui to Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) - Departure Private Transfer: $87
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Maui Kahului Airport OGG: $31
  • Private Transfer from Kahului Airport(OGG) to Lahaina Cruise Port: $81
  • Private Transfer from Lahaina Cruise Port to Kahului Airport(OGG): $81
  • Private Transfer from Maui City Hotels to Lahaina Cruise Port: $81
  • Private transfer: Kahului Airport (OGG) to Kahului: $101
  • Private transfer: Kahului to Kahului Airport (OGG): $101

Is it cheaper to fly into Panama City or Maui?

Prices for flights to both Maui and Panama City change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Panama City $66
    Maui $94

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Maui

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Maui.

  • From Ma'alaea Harbor: Sunset Dinner Cruise Aboard the Quicksilver: $110
  • Ma'alaea Harbor: Sunset Prime Rib or Mahi Mahi Dinner Cruise : $150
  • Premium Sunset Dinner Cruise from Ka’anapali Beach: $154
  • South Gilligans' Island Luau with Dinner and Drinks: $166
  • Mystery Puzzle Food Tour in Lahaina for 2 People: $170
  • Premium Dinner Cruise: Four Course Dining Experience - Ma'alaea: $170
  • Maui Sunset Luau Dinner Cruise from Ma'alaea Harbor aboard Pride of Maui: $187
  • Haleakala's Best Sunset Tour with Dinner: $210
  • Wailele Luau Including Fire and Knife Performance plus Dinner: $219

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Panama City $19
    Maui $38

Tours and Activities in Panama City

Here are a few actual costs in Panama City for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Panama City Beach: SkyWheel Ticket with Sunset Option: $19
  • SkyWheel Panama City Beach Sunset Ticket: $23
  • Panama City Beach: SkyWheel Ticket and Mini Golf Combo: $26
  • Bike Rental with Smartphone Tour: $28
  • Self-Guided Bike Tour: Pedal At Your Pace: $28
  • Sunset Dolphin Cruise in St. Andrews Bay: $29
  • Dolphin Sightseeing Tour on The Footloose Catamaran from Panama City Beach: $35
  • Panama City Beach Dolphin Sightseeing Sail: $40
  • Sunset & Dolphin Catamaran Cruise with Island Time: $42
  • Panama City Beach: Sunset Catamaran Cruise: $45
  • Shell Island Snorkel and Dolphin Catamaran Cruise with Island Time : $52
  • 90 min Cruise at Lower Grand Lagoon : $54

Tours and Activities in Maui

Here are a few actual costs in Maui for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • South Beach Parks Self-Guided Driving Tour: $13
  • Lahaina Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Kahului: Self-Driving Audio Tour of Road to Hana: $17
  • Sunrise at Haleakala Audio Driving Tour: $20
  • Self-Guided Audio Tours - Full Island: $20
  • Maui Bundle: 6 In-App Driving And Walking Audio Tours: $30
  • Maui Adventure Bundle: 6 Epic Audio Driving Tours, Including Road to Hana: $30
  • Aloha West Maui 2 Hour Self-Guided Electric Bike Tour: $40
  • Reefdancer Semi-Sub Boat Cruise from Lahaina Harbor: $54
  • Small-Group Ghost Walking Tour in Maui: $59
  • From Ma'alaea Harbor: Afternoon Whale Watch Cruise Aboard Calypso: $60
  • Taste of Hawaii: A Maui Farm Tour: $69

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Panama City $56
    Maui $41

Sample the Local Flavors in Maui

Also in Maui, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Maui Farm Distillery and local craft experience Full-Day Tour: $224
  • Goat Farm, Distillery, & Glass-Blowing Tour w/ Tasting: $224


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Panama City and Maui, we can see that Maui is more expensive. And not only is Panama City much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Panama City would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Panama City and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Maui would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Maui than you might in Panama City.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Panama City Expensive? and Is Maui Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Panama City or Maui?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Panama City or Maui in the Summer?

Both Maui and Panama City are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Panama City in the summer for the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Maui for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Panama City is around the same temperature as Maui in the summer. The daily temperature in Panama City averages around 82°F (28°C) in July, and Maui fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

It's quite sunny in Maui. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Panama City. Panama City usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Maui during summer. Panama City gets 283 hours of sunny skies, while Maui receives 290 hours of full sun in the summer.

It's quite rainy in Panama City. In July, Panama City usually receives more rain than Maui. Panama City gets 7.3 inches (184 mm) of rain, while Maui receives 0.4 inches (10 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Panama City 82°F (28°C) 
    Maui 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Panama City or Maui in the Autumn?

Both Maui and Panama City during the autumn are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Panama City for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Maui because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Panama City is cooler than Maui. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Panama City in October average around 71°F (22°C), and Maui averages at about 78°F (26°C).

In Maui, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Panama City. In the autumn, Panama City often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Maui. Panama City gets 256 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Maui receives 245 hours of full sun.

Panama City usually gets more rain in October than Maui. Panama City gets 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain, while Maui receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Panama City 71°F (22°C) 
    Maui 78°F (26°C)

Should I visit Panama City or Maui in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Panama City and Maui. The winter months attract visitors to Panama City because of the shopping scene and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Maui this time of year.

In January, Panama City is generally much colder than Maui. Daily temperatures in Panama City average around 52°F (11°C), and Maui fluctuates around 72°F (22°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Maui this time of the year. Panama City usually receives less sunshine than Maui during winter. Panama City gets 185 hours of sunny skies, while Maui receives 217 hours of full sun in the winter.

Maui receives a lot of rain in the winter. In January, Panama City usually receives around the same amount of rain as Maui. Panama City gets 3.9 inches (99 mm) of rain, while Maui receives 4.1 inches (105 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Panama City 52°F (11°C) 
    Maui 72°F (22°C)

Should I visit Panama City or Maui in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Panama City as well as Maui. The beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Panama City this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Maui for the beaches and the natural beauty.

Panama City is cooler than Maui in the spring. The daily temperature in Panama City averages around 68°F (20°C) in April, and Maui fluctuates around 74°F (24°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Maui. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Panama City this time of the year. In the spring, Panama City often gets more sunshine than Maui. Panama City gets 295 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Maui receives 231 hours of full sun.

Panama City usually gets more rain in April than Maui. Panama City gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Maui receives 1.8 inches (47 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Panama City 68°F (20°C) 
    Maui 74°F (24°C)

Typical Weather for Maui and Panama City

Panama City Maui
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 52°F (11°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm)
Feb 55°F (13°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 72°F (22°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 61°F (16°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm) 73°F (23°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 68°F (20°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 74°F (24°C) 1.8 inches (47 mm)
May 74°F (24°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 76°F (24°C) 0.8 inches (20 mm)
Jun 80°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 78°F (25°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.3 inches (184 mm) 79°F (26°C) 0.4 inches (10 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 7.5 inches (191 mm) 80°F (26°C) 0.5 inches (13 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 7.5 inches (192 mm) 79°F (26°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm) 78°F (26°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 76°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm)
Dec 56°F (13°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)