Welcome to Panama
If you’re seeking a tropical adventure off the beaten path, full of outdoor recreation and wildlife, head to Panama.
This largely undiscovered Central American country is replete with turquoise seas, coffee plantations, cloud forests, rainbow-hued coral reefs and colonial ruins. You’ll get the best of both seas – the Caribbean and the Pacific – with easy snorkeling on one side and scuba diving with whale sharks on the other. Head into the Darién province and visit with the friendly and welcoming Emberá, one of the country’s seven indigenous groups.
Find a secret beach in Península de Azuero. Get your culture fix in scrappy, yet sophisticated Panama City and its reinvigorated historic Casco district. Sail to the San Blas archipelago and find a desert island. And of course, there’s that epic engineering marvel, the Panama Canal, which you can visit and cross by boat. Panama is a lost world playground, ripe for your discovery.
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Need To Know
- When you visit Panama City, you’ll also be in the world’s only capital city to encompass a rain forest within its city limits. It’s the Parque Natural Metropolitano and its accessible via a number of hiking trails.
- If you’re checking wonders of the world off your bucket list, don’t miss one of them here: the Panama Canal, built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914.
- It’s hurricane-free – for the most part. Panama is located south of Hurricane Alley so you can plan your trip without the threat of major tropical storms.
- Watch the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean and set on the Atlantic ocean from the top of Volcan Baru, Panama’s highest point.
Panama’s official language is Spanish.
When To Go
The best time to go to Panama is during the short dry season, between December and March. At just about every other time of year, there is rain likely on most days.
Tocumen International Airport, Panama City
Passport must be valid for up to three months beyond date of entry.
Visa Required By US Citizen?
The CDC recommends the following vaccines for most travelers when visiting Panama: Hepatitis A, Typhoid. Depending on where you are traveling, you may also need Hepatitis B, Rabies, Yellow Fever and Malaria vaccines.
Power plugs and sockets: type A and B. Standard voltage: 110V. Frequency: 60Hz.
Official currency: Balboa
The major car rental companies maintain offices at the airport and other tourist areas. However, if you plan on staying just within Panama City, consider using taxis instead, due to the heavy traffic.
Within Panama City, get around via the metro bus and metro rail systems. To get from city to city, use long-distance coach or van service.
One passenger rail route, the Panama Canal Railway, follows the route of the Panama Canal from Colon, on the Caribbean coast.
Biking is an easy way to get around some of Panama’s larger cities, with the exception of Panama City, where it may be too crowded to cycle safely.
Valid driver’s license from country of origin and passport are required.
US Embassy Info
U.S. Embassy Panama
Avenida Demetrio Basilio Lakas,
Telephone: +(507) 317-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(507) 317-5000
Fax: +(507) 317-5278
Local Visitor Info
Panama Tourism Authority
Terminal de Pasajeros
Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen
Tocumen Airport, Panamá
Local Emergency Phone Numbers
General Emergency: 911
Ambulance, Fire: 103
Safety and Security
The crime level in Panama is high, particularly in Colon and Panama City. The Mosquito Gulf (Caribbean side) and the Darien Region (Colombian border) are considered dangerous due to remoteness and presence of criminal organizations. There have been reports of narco-traffickers, and other smugglers and criminals operating in the Panama-Colombia border area.
Take caution while swimming in the Pacific Ocean, particularly in the Bocas Del Toro and Chiriqui provinces, as there are dangerous currents.
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