As the Food Babe says “there is nothing better than drinking water straight from a coconut.” I agree! The coconut health food rage has resulted in the production and worldwide distribution of all sorts of packaged coconut waters. With costs usually US$3 or over and additives and production processes that impact the quality of the packaged water (see: http://foodbabe.com/2014/07/15/how-to-buy-the-healthiest-coconut-water-and-avoid-the-worst/), the selection process becomes difficult to navigate.
Luckily in Panama, finding fresh coconut water in its natural container is easy. You can pick up a large green immature coconut (the brown, hairy coconut is a mature coconut) for about US$1 in most small, informal grocery stores. Ask for an “agua de pipa.” The immature coconuts are informally referred to as “pipa” – the translation of coconut, however, is “coco.” The folks at the store usually open the pipa with a machete right before your eyes – talk about unprocessed!
The coconut has infused itself in Panamanian culture - from local cooking (especially along the Atlantic Coast – coconut rice is a must try during your stay!) to artisan goods to Panamanian slang! If you are bald, you may be called a cocobolo; if you are snobby, you may be called a cocotudo; if you are surprised by your good luck, you may exclaim “qué cocón!”