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While Panama is more expensive than the rest of Central American countries, its natural beauty is unsurpassed. Imagine hundreds of idyllic, deserted islands scattered through warm seas; densely forested wilderness; creatures as incredible as those in Dr. Seuss’s most imaginative books. Panama’s skinny isthmus holds all this, and much more.

Where Should I Go?

Panama City is one of the most cosmopolitan, culturally distinct, and enjoyable capital cities in all of Central America. Modern commercial buildings blend with cobbled streets and Spanish colonial architecture of centuries past. West of the capital lies the Panama Canal, the legendary feat of humankind that unites two entire oceans.

Panama’s most striking and popular archipelagos are Bocas del Toro and the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean, and the Pearl Islands in the Pacific. The Pearl Islands were featured on a season of the reality TV show, Survivor. The San Blas islands are noteworthy for being populated by the Kuna Indians—remarkable artisans. Book a long-term room on a major island (specifically, Bocas Town in Bocas del Toro, and Contadora in the Pearl Islands), and use it as a base to explore Panama’s hundreds of remote islands and islets.

Other worthwhile destinations are Boquete in the Chiriqui Province, an ecotourist’s dream in the southeast featuring volcanoes, waterfalls, and even the elusive quetzal; Boquete, a quaint town overflowing with flowers; and the Anton Valley, the largest inhabited dormant volcano in the world.

What Will I See?

Docked against Costa Rica in the northwest and Colombia in the southeast, Panama’s mountains, forests and oceans boast an exceptional biodiversity. In fact, the animal species of this unique country are as varied as any region in the world. Panama is home to 900 bird species —- more than the entire land mass of North America!

Those interested in experiencing true rainforest can visit the Soberania National Park, just 25 miles north of Panama City. The Bastimentos Marine National Park in Bocas del Toro offers some of the best diving and snorkeling in Central America.

Darien is one of the most dangerous areas in Panama, but also one of the most fascinating. The Pan-American highway, which stretches from Alaska to Argentina, is broken only at the Darien Gap -— the rainforest in Darien is impenetrable. Travel to Darien is not recommended, but if you insist, book an experienced guide.

How Do I Get There and Around?

As in every Central American country, local buses — often garishly painted American school buses — are the least expensive mode of transport in Panama. Destinations like Colón, Panama City, and David are also served by larger and more comfortable express buses. Outside more populated areas, paved roads can be rare. In those cases (like venturing to Bocas del Toro, for example), booking a seat on a small aircraft is the preferable option.

To travel to Costa Rica in the northwest, you can either book a plane from Panama City or an air-conditioned Ticabus.

How Much Will I Pay?

Partially because of its use of the United States dollar, Panama is one of the most expensive Central America countries to visit. While rooms usually start at $12-$15 USD a person, travelers can reduce costs by taking advantage of local cafes, markets, and transportation. More affluent travelers will find a pleasing selection of plush resorts, especially among Panama’s islands.

When Should I Go?

Panama’s rainy season usually between June and November, with rainfall much higher on the Pacific side of the country.

In Panama, Holy Week (the week of Easter) is similar to Semana Santa in Guatemala, with colorful religious processions and festivities. In February or March, Panama celebrates Carnaval, a boisterous nationwide fiesta most notable for its lively water fights. Visit Kuna Yala in February to see the grand Independence Day celebration of the indigenous Kuna people. Book a room early during any holiday, and be prepared to pay extra.​

How Safe Will I Be?

In the larger cities of Panama, such as Panama City and Colon, extreme caution should be taken at night. Passports must be worn on your person at all times—carry it, along with important documents and large sums of money—in an underclothes money belt. Keep an eye out for helpful Tourist Police with white armbands.

In the thickly forested, far southeast region of Darien (which borders Colombia), guerillas and drug traffickers remain a real threat, and while this area is still visited by intrepid travelers, we don’t recommend travel there without an experienced guide.


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All you need to know is


Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. Panama occupies the southeastern end of the isthmus forming the land bridge between North and South America.


Panama's transportation system — which includes domestic flights, buses, boats, private transports, and taxis — makes it easy to get around without ever stepping behind the wheel. Once in the ride, Uber bills itself as a premium service, with clean new cars and professional drivers. Uber is also cashless. You do not pay the driver when you exit the ride, rather it bills to a credit card you keep on file with Uber. Uber fares are metered, so you are charged by the distance and time of your rides.

Languages Spoken

The official language in Panama is Spanish and it's definitely the most often spoken. Do not expect a majority of people to speak, or understand, English. 

Spanish is the official language, but other languages are spoken in pockets around Panama. The country's seven indigenous groups speak a variety of dialects of Wounaan, Teribe, Emberá, Kuna, and Ngöbe-Buglé (Guayamí), the latter two being the most common given that they are the largest indigenous communities in Panama.


Since 1904 one Balboa equals one US Dollar and since then, the US Dollar has legally circulated in Panama. In other words, in practice, the currency used day-to-day in Panama is the US dollar, which is also legal tender. 

Panama's official currency is the balboa. The rate of exchange for the balboa has always been tied to the US dollar—one dollar equals one balboa. Panama does not, however, print its own paper currency and instead uses the US dollar as legal tender. 


Before you travel to Panama, you need to check whether or not you require a visa to enter the country. Fortunately, the visa policy of Panama is pretty lenient, and chances are that you can travel to Panama without a visa and stay there for a period that cannot exceed 180 days. Many nationalities are granted visa-free access, and you may be one of them. All the other nationalities must visit the nearest embassy of Panama and apply for a visa that allows a 90-day stay


In Panama the power plugs and sockets are of type A and B. The standard voltage is 110 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.

Type A - Mostly used in the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America, China and Japan. No other plug types will fit in a type A outlet.

Type B - Similar to type A, but with an extra pin for grounding. Mainly used in the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America and Japan. Plugs of type A will also fit into a type B socket.


The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Panama: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. Shot lasts 2 years.

Emergency Calls

Ambulance 103

Fire 103

Police 104

Emergencies 911

When to visit
Best time to visit the destination

Panama has two seasons: the dry season or summer, which extends from January until April, and the wet season which runs from May through December. As you might have already gathered, during the former there is little rainfall while the latter offers plentiful precipitation. The best time to visit Panama is during the summer dry season from mid-December to mid-April. At other times of year rain is likely most days.

What to do?
Don’t miss to challenge your world

Wake up on a desert island in San Blas

San Blas is an archipelago made up of 360 or so tropical islands off Panama’s northern coast, home to the Guna Yala indigenous people. Getting to San Blas is not the easiest thing – and probably for a reason. The Guna people want to preserve their land and they control tourism. San Blas is one of the few places in the world where, if you travel by boat, you can actually stay on an island by yourself. Picture something like Robinson Crusoe’s hideaway, with the whitest sand, warm crystalline, turquoise water and coconut palms.

Hike the Darién Gap, the roadless jungle on the Colombian border

The Darién National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as a drug smuggling corridor between Panama and Colombia, and is rarely visited by outsiders. Home to poisonous frogs, coral snakes, scorpions and spiders, it is not a hike for everybody. As you walk in the mud you may discover fresh jaguar tracks, and you’ll for sure be able to spot some of the most extraordinary birds you’ve ever seen (the Darién is one of the world’s top bird watching destinations). Hiking the Darién Gap will truly be a one-in-a-lifetime experience.

Spend a day with the Emberá indigenous people

One of the highlights of visiting Panama is the possibility of approaching indigenous tribes. The Emberá, a semi-nomadic people, live in the Darién province. Friendly and welcoming, they open the doors of their villages to select groups of visitors who come to discover their way of life. You can either go on a day tour, or immerse yourself totally and spend the night at the village, watching adults creating traditional handicrafts, women cooking and children playing.

Take in both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans from the summit of the Barú Volcano

The Barú Volcano is a dormant volcano and one of the only places in the world where you can see both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans at the same time. Close to the beautiful mountain of Boquete, the volcano is a coveted attraction but also an extremely challenging hike. In order to make it to the summit before the sun rises high above the clouds, many people choose to start climbing around midnight.

You ask, we answer
FAQs about Panamá

Is Panama City Panama worth visiting?

Panama City is by no means an unpleasant place. You can happily spend a bit of time in this modern city, without finding it overly disagreeable. ... A good day-time activity would be a visit to the Panama Canal; worth going to mainly just to say that you've been, rather than because it's especially visually stunning.

Driving in Panama is a pretty safe and easy thing to do.

The road

When you visit Panama, you can count on friendly people offering you help with anything you need, especially in rural areas. However, crime rates are high, and it's not just the petty crime that's the issue: violent crime is a common issue in Panama, though it's on its way to getting eradicated.

Although Panama is a small country, about the size of South Carolina, it has a great variety of world-class attractions: exotic tropical rainforests, beautiful mountain refuges, two coasts for Caribbean and pacific style beaches, more than a 1000 islands, seven living Indian cultures in their own reservations, a Miami- ...

The amount of cash you should carry depends on what you plan to do. If you envision a day of eating at better restaurants, having drinks, and maybe even buying a souvenir, you'll want $30-50 per person. However, if your hotel includes some meals and you're only planning on lounging along the beach, $20 should cover it.

You do not need a car for San Blas and Bocas. ... You can as well drop off your car in Panama-City but it will cost you an extra usd 180.00. There are car rental in Pedasi and David so you should consider to rent in these places for a few days and take the bus for the long distance.

Panama is considerably safer than Costa Rica. The United States Department of State warns that: “The incidence of crime in Costa Rica is high and has adversely affected the traveling public.

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