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Top 5 Tips for Your First Visit To Panama

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Panama is an exciting Central American paradise. Travelers can experience a variety of outdoor activities, great regional food, and historical and cultural sites. Read on to get all the information you need with these helpful travel tips for your first visit to Panama. 

Travel Tips for Your First Visit to Panama

The Best Time To Visit Panama

Panama has a warm, tropical climate year round. The country experiences dry and rainy seasons. The dry season is from mid-December to middle April, while the rainy season is the rest of the year. 

As to be expected, the high tourist season is during the dry season, or what the country considers their summer. Many tourists from North America and Europe flee their freezing climates to enjoy the warm and humid weather of Panama. If you wish to avoid the crowds and get the best lodging rates, it is best to travel to Panama during the wet season. 

Getting Around the Country

The best bet for convenience in getting around Panama is with a rental car. Take note that car rental agencies are hard to fine outside Panama City, so you should pick up your rental there after your flight. You can easily arrange for car rentals with websites such as Expedia or Booking.com.

The public bus system is another great and inexpensive way to get around the country. The country has city buses, and even long distance buses that are modern and air-conditioned for journeys to places like Bocas del Toro. The bus tickets are not available for purchase online, you will simply have to go to a bus station and purchase your ticket at the counter. 

Where to Stay

Panama has appropriate lodging whether you want to have an urban stay, or a tranquil stay in the cloud forest, or lounge by the beach. In Panama City, Grace Panama has stunning city views and ultra-modern décor. The Al Natural Resort lives up to its name with beachfront bungalows made from natural materials. 

Where to Eat

Panama is nation where many cultures come together and reflects that in the regional cuisine. Seafood lovers will want to stop in at Los Camisones for its wide selection of tasty seafood. Guests can sample the changing seasonal menu at Donde Jose or get a delicious steak and a bottle of wine at Gaucho’s Steak House. This is just a small example of the culinary delights you will find in this country. 

What to Do

For historical and cultural sites, you must visit the world-famous Panama Canal. You can also visit a coffee plantation or explore the ruins of Panama Viejo. Travelers would also like to visit the historical towns of Santa Fe and San Francisco.

There is plenty to do in Panama for those that are active outdoors. Bocas del Toro is the best area for the beach and all related water sports. If you wish to hike in the rainforests, you can visit Parque Natural Metropolitano in Panama City. In Boquete, you will enjoy waterfalls, many hiking trails, and views of the slopes of Volcan Baru

Things to Know for Your First Visit to Panama

Time Zone- Eastern Standard Time UTC -5 (Daylight Savings Time is not observed)

Main Language Spoken-Panamanian Spanish, which is closely related to Caribbean Spanish. English is spoken by about 14 percent of the population. 

Currency– The official currency of the country is the Balboa. However, Panama does not print its own currency and uses the US Dollar as legal tender. The exchange is even- one US dollar equals one Balboa. Visitors can use either currency while in Panama, and many retail outlets will display prices of goods with a or a B before them.

Power Outlets- The power plugs and sockets in the country are the standard voltage 110 V commonly used in North America. 

Covid-19 Entry Requirements for Panama

United States and Canadian citizens are currently permitted to enter Panama. Vaccinated travelers must provide proof of vaccination and sworn affidavit to enter the country. Unvaccinated travelers must present a negative Covid (PCR or antigen) test within 72 hours of departure and may have to quarantine for a period of at least 72 hours. There are also testing facilities in Panama, so travelers can schedule and take their Covid-19 PCR test for departure. 

READ MORE:

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19 For 2021

Panama COVID-19 Entry Requirements Travelers Need to Know

Panama to Allow Vaccinated Tourists Without Testing

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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


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Robert Arias

Sunday 10th of October 2021

Don't forget to mention the law that gives seniors and retires awesome discounts in Panama.

Chris

Saturday 9th of October 2021

I’ve been there earlier this year and never again. Two reason. Masks everywhere and no-smoking anywhere, haha. They want to be the first country in the world to be completely no-smoking, which is good news for many, but not so good for smokers like me. I found a hotel in Panama City that has a designated smoking area, which was a 5 minute walk from my room. Just thought to put that out there.

Christian

Sunday 10th of October 2021

@Chris, I have been waiting since last year to visit Panama and get residency, but because of their lockdowns and entry requirements, I postponed it. But maybe I should cancel my plan all together and get residency in Mexico instead.