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United States Drops Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ Advisory For Panama

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The United States has dropped its level 4 ‘do not travel' advisory for Panama to a level 3 ‘reconsider travel'. 

According to the U.S. State Department, all travelers ‘should reconsider travel to Panama due to COVID-19' and highlighted that ‘some areas have increased risk due to crime.'

Although the level 3 advisory is still in place, the reduced advisory comes at a great time as Panama officially reopened for American tourists earlier this month. 

beach in panama

Back in June, Panama saw a sharp increase in cases of COVID-19 and actually lead the world with the highest number of cases per 1 million residents. 

As of Sept 9. COVID-19 Cases Per Million Inhabitants (Statista)

Since then, the daily number of COVID-19 cases has gone down and stabilized at around 600 new cases a day. 

Daily Number of COVID-19 Cases in Panama (Worldometers)

The U.S. State Department advisory for Panama also stated the country “has resumed most transportation options including airport operations and the re-opening of borders.” 

The United States Governments is also reporting “other improved conditions” in Panama.

Casco Viejo street in an old part of Panama City

The U.S. did however leave a level 4 ‘do not travel' in place for two regions in Panama due to crime. 

The two regions that American tourists are being asked to completely avoid are parts of the Mosquito Gulf and Darién regions.

“In the Darien region, most travel is by river or by footpath due to the scarcity of roads. There have been reports of narco-traffickers, and other smugglers and criminals operating in the Panama-Colombia border area.”

Access to the “Mosquito Gulf” region is almost exclusively by boat and/or aircraft. Sections of this coastline are reportedly used for narco-trafficking and other illicit activities.

-U.S. State Department

panama old town

The Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Panama due to COVID-19. Level 3 is the highest advisory the CDC issues. 

Panama City Harbour

American travelers need to be aware that new COVID-19 entry requirements have been issued for Panama. All travelers arriving in Panama must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test no older than 48 hours. 

If travelers are unable to be tested before traveling to Panama, a test may be taken upon arrival at the airport for $50.00 USD. Note that this could result in delays to travel plans. 

San Blas island, Kuna Yala, Panama

All visitors must follow COVID-19 health requirements while in Panama including strict mask requirements that could include fines and jail time for offenders. 

Due to the high rate of infections in Panama, Travel Off Path highly recommends getting travel insurance that covers COVID-19 for the duration of your trip. 

panama city

On October 22nd, Minister of Health, Luis Francisco Sucre announced that all beaches and spas will reopen in Panama with strict health protocols. 

There is still a mandatory curfew for all residents and travelers that is in effect from 11:00 pm until 5:00 am daily. 

panama face mask rules

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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

Dianne J Berest

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

This is ridiculous. I wonder what level of travel advisory it would be appropriate to issue for travel to the US right now... By the way, Panama has not officially re-opened for American tourists, it has re-opened for tourists.

Kashlee Kucheran

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

Yes, we are aware Panama has reopened for all countries (under normal visa requirements of course) but since this is a news article about the U.S. State Department's advisory change, we mention Americans can go, as the people who are affected/impacted by the U.S. State Department's decision are Americans.