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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.
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.
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.
Is it safe to drive across Panama?
Driving in Panama is a pretty safe and easy thing to do.
Is Panama a safe country?
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.
Is Panama beautiful?
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- ...
How much money should I bring to Panama?
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.
Do you need a car in Panama City Panama?
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.
Is Panama safer than Costa Rica?
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.