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Panama: COVID-19 Entry Requirements Travelers Need To Know

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Panama is known for so much more than its famed canal. From the modern skyscrapers of Panama city to its beautiful beaches, the country truly has something for everyone.

Panama’s tourism industry was originally devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic but has began its recovery by opening for international tourists as of October 12, 2020. 

Here are all the latest COVID-19 entry requirements and everything travelers need to know before booking their trip to Panama.

San Blas island, Kuna Yala, Panama
San Blas island, Kuna Yala, Panama

Countries Permitted To Visit Panama

Travelers from all countries are permitted to visit Panama under regular visa requirements. 

South Africa and the UK are temporarily banned due to virus strains.

April 1, 2021 update: Visitors from South America are still permitted to enter, but have extra testing/quarantine requirements

Travel Authorization To Visit Panama

All passengers must fill out an online health declaration form before entering Panama.

Two cargo ships enter the Gatun Locks from the Gatun Lake, Panama Canal

COVID-19 Testing Entry Requirements For Panama

All travelers arriving in Panama must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test certificate no older then 48 hours before you travel.

If a PCR test cannot be obtained before traveling to Panama, you can have a test carried out at the airport for USD $50.00. Travelers are responsible for covering the cost of the test.

April 1, 2021 update: Passengers coming from South American countries must comply with the above testing rules, be tested again upon arrival, and be subject to 14-days quarantine.

Casco Viejo street in an old part of Panama City
Casco Viejo street in an old part of Panama City

Quarantine Entry Requirements 

There are no quarantines for travelers arriving in Panama when a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test is presented. 

If a traveler arrives without proof of a negative COVID-19 test and tests positive, the traveler will be quarantined for at least 7 days in a government facility. The traveler will be tested after the first 7 days, if the result is still positive, the traveler must complete an additional 7 days of quarantine at the facility. If it is negative, the traveler will then be released.

Panama City Skyline at Night
Panama City Skyline at Night

COVID-19 Travel Insurance Entry Requirements 

All incoming travelers should have travel insurance that covers COVID-19 for the duration of their trip to Panama. 

Panama’s Transit Rules

Transits are permitted, as long as the passenger has:

  • Negative COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of the flight to Panama.
  • Confirmed onward flight.

Unless you meet entry requirements, you will not be allowed to leave the airport during your transit.

COVID-19 Health Requirements While in Panama

All visitors must follow COVID-19 health requirements while in Panama:

  • Panama still has very strict mask requirements in place and plans to keep the regulations during reopening. Any person in public spaces without a proper mask covering both nose and mouth can be detained and/or fined.
  • Follow social distancing markers and instructions
Panama City Harbour
Panama City Harbor

COVID-19 Vaccine Entry Requirements 

Panama has not announced any mandates if a proof of vaccine record will be required for entry in the future.

In March 2021 Health Minister Sucre announced fully vaccinated travelers will not have to provide a negative PCR/antigen test to enter.

Visa Entry Requirements For Panama During COVID-19

All travelers arriving in Panama will need to follow regular visa requirements.

Many countries can visit Panama for up to 180 days without a visa.

Travelers that require a visa must apply at the Panama embassy/consulate in their home country.  

See the chart below to check if your country requires a visa. 

Visa policy of Panama – Image: Wiki

Panama Covid-19 Entry Requirements:

  1. Check if you need a visa for entry to Panama
  2.  Get proof of a negative PCR or antigen test no older than 48 hours before you travel
  3. Present proof of negative test upon entry
  4. Follow all health protocols while in Panama

Read More: 

Countries Reopening For American Tourists

Countries Reopening For Canadian Tourists

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19

For Breaking Travel Reopening News & Questions, Join Our: Facebook Community


Sources: US State Dept. / UK Gov

Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

Article Originally Published October 18th, 2020

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Wednesday 21st of April 2021

Rules have once again changed for those coming from South America. Negative PCR or antigen result is required before arrival. A molecular test is now required upon arrival($85), though the quarantine was shortened to 3 days. After 3 days another PCR test must be done.

All sources are saying that the Panamanian government will pay for the 3-day stay in a hotel hospital and the third COVID test. After May 3 quarantine can be done at hotels.


Friday 16th of April 2021

It's said on the copa airline that pcr test is not mandatory for TRANSIT. And 2 others people confirmed the information. Can you tell me where did you had the information? I go to mexico who don't need it too

Kashlee Kucheran

Saturday 17th of April 2021

If your airline has told you not to get one, then you shouldn't need one, as they are the ones that would be checking to see if you have it or not. Listen to the advice of your airline. Rules change very fast in this environoment!


Thursday 8th of April 2021

Where did you get the information that a negative test is required to TRANSIT? Copa Airlines makes no mention of it on their website for required documentation, and since transiting passengers aren't entering the country, entry requirements wouldn't apply.


Wednesday 31st of March 2021

Hello. Panama just changed its entry requirements for anyone coming from South America, and I was wondering if you could clarify them for me. This is my understanding of it:

Anyone who has been in South America for the past 14 days before their flight needs an antigen or PCR test with a negative test result to enter Panama. At the airport in Panama, they must then do a rapid test before passing through immigration. If the test is negative they will be placed in a quarantine facility (supposedly free of charge) for five days. If they test negative on the fifth day they will be allowed to move around the country freely.

I'm planning on traveling to Panama from Ecuador at the end of April so I'd like some clarification on these new restrictions.


Saturday 3rd of April 2021

@Kashlee Kucheran, I suppose travelers will be responsible for paying for all 3+ tests, correct?

Kashlee Kucheran

Thursday 1st of April 2021

Hello - Exactly how you have typed ou the new restrictions for South America is the total information I have as well. Negative test to enter, test on arrival, 5 day quarantine, if negative = released. If positive, 14 day quarantine.

John Hawkins

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Hi I flew to Mexico on 2 Nov with a transit in Panama. I didn't need a covid test for Panama. And Mexico didn't ask for an onward flight or travel insurance. They did ask me how much money I had and how I was funding the trip. John