Panama Travel Information

The Basics


GMT -5


Electrical current is 120 volts, 60Hz. Flat two-pin plugs are the norm.


The official language is Spanish. However, many Panamanians speak both Spanish and English.

Travel Health

It is recommended that visitors be inoculated for typhoid. Malaria prophylaxis is advised for most parts of the country other than Panama City and the Canal, and dengue fever is on the increase; travellers should take precautions against mosquito bites, as there are a number of tropical diseases spread by mosquitoes. Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travellers, except those visiting Panama City and the Canal, and is a requirement for all visitors arriving from an infected area. Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. Leptospirosis is a risk throughout the country, particularly during periods of heavy rainfall. Tap water is not safe to drink outside the capital without being boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected, and food should be eaten peeled, cooked and piping hot. Travellers are advised to carry an anti-diarrhoea drug. Medical facilities are good in Panama City, but less so elsewhere in the country. Critical medical problems require air evacuation to somewhere with better medical facilities, and travellers are therefore advised to have a fully comprehensive medical insurance policy. Quality control of pharmaceuticals in Panama is inadequate, so travellers are advised to bring a sufficient supply of their own medications from home.


Although a 10% service charge is added to most hotel bills, individual staff appreciate a gratuity appropriate to services rendered. Restaurant waiters expect a tip of 10 to 15% if a service charge is not included. Taxi drivers do not expect tips.

Safety Information

Most visits to Panama are trouble-free. Visitors should, however, be aware that there is a risk of street crime in Panama City and it is unwise to carry large sums of cash or valuables in public. Visitors should be vigilant using ATM cash machines in public places and beware of pickpockets and muggers in the main city shopping and tourist areas. There have been incidents of assault involving taxi drivers and armed hold-ups in restaurants. Use only registered taxi companies and call a cab rather than hailing one in the street. Do not allow the taxi to pick up additional passengers and do not share a taxi with unknown passengers. Burglaries have recently been committed by organised gangs who use ruses to gain entry to properties, so be cautious. Travel to Darien province only by air with an organized group to recognized tourist destinations protected by the Panamanian police. Travellers are advised to avoid the border area with Colombia, as this is particularly dangerous. Avoid political demonstrations in Panama City, usually centred on Panama University and the main road known as the Transisthmica.

Local Customs

A midday siesta is practised in many South American countries due to the heat. Tourists in Panama will find that shops and businesses are often closed during these lunchtime hours and should conduct their daily business either before or after siesta.


Business in Panama is formal. Handshakes are appropriate with men on meeting and departing, but not usually with women. Use of titles is very important to Panamanians, as is punctuality. Many Panamanians take an afternoon siesta, therefore business entertaining takes place over dinner instead of lunch. Many Panamanian business people prefer to host visitors to dinner at home, where they will be treated as VIPs and given a gift. The appropriate reciprocation is to invite the host to dinner in return. Dress for business is fairly formal despite the climate; men wear lightweight suits and ties and women wear lightweight dresses and suits. Office opening hours are from 8am to 12pm, then 2pm to 5pm or 6pm on weekdays, and 9am to 12pm on Saturdays.


The international access code for Panama is +507. The outgoing call code on Cable & Wireless is 00 (on Telecarrier dial 088+00 followed by the relevant country code. On Clarocom dial 055+00 followed by the relevant country code e.g. 0550027 for South Africa). Discount telephone rates apply between 10pm and 7am. Coin and card-operated public telephones are available, cards being sold at stores and vending machines. There are no domestic area codes in Panama. Cell phone providers offer GSM networks, and there are roaming agreements with most international mobile operaters. There are several internet service providers in Panama and internet cafes are widely available in Panama City.

Duty Free

The following items may be brought into Panama duty free: 500 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 500g of tobacco, three bottles of alcohol, opened bottles of perfume for personal use and gifts up to the value of B/.50. Fruit, vegetables and animal products are prohibited.

Become our Panama Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Panama travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Panama or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.

1,540,048 bytes
Loading Time Base Classes  0.0020
Controller Execution Time ( Countries / Index )  0.1204
Total Execution Time  0.1229
No GET data exists
No POST data exists
  DATABASE:  globe_media   QUERIES: 40   
0.0005   INSERT INTO `ci_sessions(`session_id`, `ip_address`, `user_agent`, `last_activity`) VALUES ('31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3''''CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/)'1419288302) 
0.0065   DELETE FROM `ci_sessions`
WHERE `last_activity` < 1419281102 
0.0012   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0006   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0016   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0007   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = 'a:1:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0006   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = 'a:2:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Panama\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419288302, `user_data` = 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Panama\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:6:\"basics\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0004   SELECT *
FROM (`config_categories`)
WHERE `type` = 'left'
AND `parent_category_idIN (SELECT id FROM config_categories WHERE link "/countries")
display_order` != '0'
ORDER BY `display_order
0.0007   SELECT `province_code`, `province_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`provincesp)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `p`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Panama'
ORDER BY `p`.`province_name
0.0038   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Panama"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Panama"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0030   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Panama"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Panama"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0015   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Panama'
AND `attr_ski_chk` != "Yes"
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0014   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Panama'
AND `attr_ski_chk` = 'Yes'
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0013   SELECT `iata_code`, `name`, `url_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`port_of_callpc)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `pc`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Panama'
ORDER BY `pc`.`name
0.0004   SELECT *
FROM (`config_nodescn)
JOIN `config_nodes_categoriescnc ON `cnc`.`node_id` = `cn`.`id`
WHERE `cnc`.`category_idIN (select id from config_categories where link "/basics")
ORDER BY `cn`.`position`, `cnc`.`display_order
0.0036   SELECT `id`, `headline`, `via_title`, `via_link`, `body`, `event_date`, `end_date`, `anchor_link`
FROM (`news`)
WHERE `for_pro` = 1
AND `end_date` >  '2014-12-22'
AND `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Panama") 
0.0010   SELECT *
FROM (`tour_operators`)
WHERE `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Panama")
show_in_column` = 1
`show_in_columnDESC, `name
0.0007   SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Panama" 
0.0010   SELECT from tourop_list WHERE destinations LIKE '%PA%' ORDER BY id DESC 
0.0005   SELECT `country_code`
FROM (`countries`)
WHERE `country_name` = 'Panama' 
0.0184   SELECT d.id AS destination_idd.overview AS destination_overviewd.extended_overview AS destination_extended_overviewd.photo as destination_photod.*, c.*, 'Panama' AS country_nameLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.timed.electricityd.languaged.healthd.tippingd.safetyd.businessd.communicationsd.duty_free)) AS basicsLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.embassy_consulate_usd.embassy_consulate_ukd.embassy_consulate_cad.embassy_consulate_aud.embassy_consulate_ird.embassy_consulate_nz)) AS contacts(SELECT money FROM destinations WHERE country_code "PA" ) AS money(SELECT LENGTH(CONCAT_WS(passport_visaentry_req_usentry_req_ukentry_req_caentry_req_auentry_req_irentry_req_nz))
FROM destinations WHERE country_code "PA" ) AS visa(SELECT group_concat(id) FROM public_holiday p WHERE p.country_code "PA" order by p.weight desc) AS public_holiday(SELECT count(*) FROM tour_operators t where t.country_code d.country_code) AS num_tour_ops(SELECT count(id) AS total_rows FROM tourop_list tl WHERE tl.destinations LIKE ("%PA%")) AS num_tour_operators(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM port_of_call pc WHERE pc.country_code d.country_code) AS ports_of_call(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS cities(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS regions(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM resorts WHERE major_resort AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_resort DESCname ASC) AS resorts(SELECT count(*) FROM dmcs WHERE country_code d.country_code) AS num_dmcs(SELECT concat(caption" &copy; "copyright) FROM images WHERE filename d.photo) AS photo_copyright(SELECT count(*) FROM airports ai where ai.nfuwt != AND ai.country_code d.country_code) AS num_airports(SELECT count(*) FROM events e where e.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country 1) AS num_events(SELECT count(*) FROM activities where region_city_code "0" AND country_code d.country_code) AS num_activities(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND excursion "No") AS num_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND show_on_kids AND excursion "No") AS num_kids_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND excursion "Yes") AS num_excursions(SELECT phrases FROM phrase_book pb where pb.country_code c.country_code AND phrases != "") AS num_phrases(SELECT count(*) FROM image_bridge ib LEFT OUTER JOIN images i ON ib.image_id=i.id WHERE ib.destination_code c.country_code) AS num_photos(SELECT count(*) FROM hospitals h where h.country_code c.country_code) AS num_hospitals
(destinations d)
LEFT JOIN countries c ON c.country_code d.country_code
LEFT JOIN provinces pr ON pr
.province_code d.province_code
`c`.`country_name` = 'Panama' 
0.0006   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1419288302user_data 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Panama\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:6:\"basics\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0006   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1419288302user_data 'a:4:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Panama\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:6:\"basics\";s:6:\"region\";s:0:\"\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '31451ff277d48331e823e811a7b94af3' 
0.0007   SELECT TagID FROM FORUM_DiscussionTags WHERE  Tag 'Panama'  
0.0005   SELECT DiscussionID FROM FORUM_DiscussionHasTags WHERE TagID IN (257)
GROUP BY DiscussionID HAVING COUNT(DiscussionID) = 
0.0008   SELECT od.`Name`, od.`DiscussionIDFROM FORUM_Discussion od
                    WHERE od
.`DiscussionIDIN ( 171,1391,2525,2687,3699,4079,5085,5499,5917,6113 ) ORDER BY od.`DateLastActiveDESC LIMIT 0 15
0.0007   SELECT i.*, e.fullnamee.bioe.pic FROM interviews i INNER JOIN experts e ON i.expert_id e.id
INNER JOIN countries c ON i
.spatial_id c.country_code WHERE i.interview_type 'country' AND c.country_name 'Panama' 
0.0004   SELECT TagID FROM FORUM_DiscussionTags WHERE  Tag 'Panama'  
0.0004   SELECT DiscussionID FROM FORUM_DiscussionHasTags WHERE TagID IN (257)
GROUP BY DiscussionID HAVING COUNT(DiscussionID) = 
0.0004   SELECT od.`Name`, od.`DiscussionIDFROM FORUM_Discussion od
                    WHERE od
.`DiscussionIDIN ( 171,1391,2525,2687,3699,4079,5085,5499,5917,6113 ) ORDER BY od.`DateLastActiveDESC LIMIT 0 15