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Panama Reopening for International Tourism on October 12

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Panama has officially released their tourism reopening plan, which was approved this Tuesday by the cabinet, and has international aviation and tourism activities set to restart on October 12, 2020.

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

The government has suspended international commercial flights since March 22, but come October 12 after almost 6 months of lockdown, they could see a resurgence in international tourism once again.

panama ciry reopening for tourism
Cityscape photo of fishing boats and the skyline of Panama City

Panama’s reopening plan starts first with restarting domestic tourism on September 28th, and then two weeks later on October 12, finally reopening borders to international tourists and foreigners.

panama old town
historic Casco Viejo district of Panama City

Panama's Reopening Timeline

September 28th

  • Domestic flights
  • Retail shops
  • Restaurants and cafes with dine-in options
  • Tour guides
  • Travel agencies and travel operators
  • Spas and aesthetic services
  • Beaches
  • Outdoor activities like parks, water sports, etc
september 28 panama reopening domestic tourism

October 12th

  • International flights
  • Hotels, motels, hostels and other accommodations
  • Tourism activities and non-essential transportation
  • Swimming pools
october 12 panama reopening international tourism

No date yet determined:

  • Gyms and fitness centres
  • Movie theatres, museums, galleries, etc
  • Casinos
  • Concerts, parades and carnivals
  • Nightclubs and discos

The government of Panama has a few caveats in place in order to keep the October 12th reopening date. They will only reopen on that date IF, hospital beds are only at 20% occupancy, the respiratory care unit is only at 15% capacity, and the death rate is under 3%.

If those above criteria determined by the Ministry of Health are not met, Panama will once again push back the reopening of the country.

panama beach panama

Entry Requirements for Panama

  • Travelers will be required to present a negative COVID PCR  test taken no more than 48 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama. (Some new reports say this has been extended to 96 hours)
  • If a passenger's COVID test was taken more than 48 hours before the moment of arrival, they will be mandated to take a rapid COVID test at the airport before customs and the traveler will have to cover the costs of said test.
  • There are currently no restrictions on entry from any country.
  • Travel Insurance that covers COVID-19 is highly recommended 
panama reopens oct 12

Panama has been one of the most locked down nations in the world, only ending their government-imposed restrictions on movement on August 24th. The movement restrictions only permitted adults to go outside for two hours per day, determined by their government ID number. This extremely strict protocol has now ended but has been replaced by a curfew running from 7:00pm to 5:00am, with Sunday being a fully curfewed day.

Curfews are expected to be lifted on September 28th to coincide with the domestic reopening of the country.

panama face mask rules

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.

panama opens borders

Read More: See all the countries in Latin America that have reopened for tourism, and which countries are accepting American and Canada tourists.

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Tuesday 19th of January 2021

Is the land border open? Coming from Costa Rica

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 19th of January 2021

Sorry we don't have any reliable land border information at this time


Wednesday 14th of October 2020

If I risk to be deteined, then simply I won't go to Panama.


Monday 5th of October 2020

Thank you, Kashlee, for the timely and helpful information. I am flying from Florida to Tocumen on the evening of Oct 12 on Spirit (following a one-hour layover connection from Detroit). I'm worried about the 48-hour COVID test mandate. With Monday travel, I don't know how to get a result that is current over the weekend. It seems better to just skip the US test and rely on the rapid test in Tocumen. Your thoughts? Anything more to the rumor of a 96-hour window? Thanks again. Bob

Kashlee Kucheran

Monday 5th of October 2020

Hi Bob! The text seems to contradict itself several times with the 48 hours vs the 96 hours. From what I can see, it seems if you have a test dated under 48 hours = no test on arrival. If the test is between 48-96 hours = a 2nd test on arrival at your cost. If you do not have a test (or it's over 96 hours) you may not be able to board, and I am not sure what will happen on arrival, as it could be a test, or perhaps a 14-day quarantine.

If it were me, I would try and get a test under 96 hours and just have enough cash on my person to do a 2nd test on arrival if that is what they require.