About Panama

Panama is a small country located in Central America, with approximately 4 million inhabitants and a thriving economy based on the successful operation of the Interoceanic Canal. Considered one of Latin America's most open-trade countries, Panama has experienced a boom in international trade and foreign investment equaled as well by the tourist sector. In a brief period of time, Panama has acquired a solid reputation as a regional hub for multinational companies. A recent article on the New York Times places Panama among the best places to visit in 2012. In fact, this beautiful country is a gem in many ways.

Panama City:

This is a city with all the attributes of a grand metropolis. Just by looking at its tall buildings of modern architecture, travelers know that they have arrived to a vibrant and welcoming city, which historically has been an important venue for meetings and events.

In Panama, the night is full of action and excitement. Restaurants, theaters, clubs, casinos, discos and pubs brighten up the city nights, offering visitors an opportunity to relax, enjoy good wining and dining, and all types of events: sports, music, dance, theater plays, gambling… you name it! Panama City has a lot to offer, no matter what your taste or budget is!. read more

The Canal:

Panama’s privileged geographical location was paramount in the construction of the Interoceanic Canal, a monumental feat of engineering that has operated continuously since 1914. The Panama Canal is probably the most visited site in the country. It has a museum showing the history of the canal and its operation, a video room, a scale model of the Canal, and historic pieces of machinery used in its construction. A restaurant on a terrace completes the museum’s offer. read more

The Old Town (Casco Viejo):

In 1997, the Old Town of Panama City was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In recent years, historical sites, and many houses have undergone renovations and restorations. The number of restaurants, bars, night clubs and venues has continued to grow, making this part of the city a major attraction for tourists and locals. Museums, colonial churches, plazas, archaeological ruins, and children playing on the old streets, offer a genuine slice of Panama’s life and its people. read more

The Countryside

The hustle and bustle of city life gives way to the quiet streets of small towns where time slows down amidst leisurely strolls and conversations. There are beaches and mountains, cooler temperatures and paradisiacal landscapes. Sites like the highlands of Chiriqui on the slopes of the Baru volcano; Santa Fe on the Veraguas Mountains, or Campana, near the capital city, offer visitors their beautiful scenery. Sunny and cool in daytime and temperate by night, the countryside of Panama is the perfect setting for a restful stay. read more

Beaches:

Panama’s coastline is dotted with sandy beaches and islands. So much that the line dividing land and water often fades out. The Caribbean coast of Panama offers a variety of tropical environments: beautiful beaches, coral reefs and palm trees; marine scenery of indescribable beauty on the banks of the Pacific Ocean and cozy beaches with tranquil waters as well as popular spots where the onslaught of a roaring sea conveys the perfect waves for surfing. read more

Fairs, festivals and popular events:

Fairs are highly expected regional events featuring a wide array of attractions. They all serve as a showcase for local produce, manufactures and arts and crafts. They are a great opportunity to have a closer look at the most authentic folklore and sample the traditional countryside cuisine. No doubt, this is the best way to come into contact with the regional cultures and the warmth of its people.

 

Carnivals are also known as “the people’s party”. For four days the whole country rejoice in celebrations starting early in the day. Music and street parades are everywhere. Some inland villages have gained for decades a reputation for organizing the best parties, namely: Las Tablas, Chitre, Santiago and Penonomé. If you are attracted by traditional parties and festivals of a more moderate nature, the Ocu village is the ideal place to spend the holidays. The Panama City Carnival features a big parade with groups of street dancers and floats representing businesses and other organizations. By night, on makeshift stages, national and foreign artists perform for the audience. Music is everywhere: bolero, calypso, salsa, reggae, merengue and bachata. read more

Useful information

Climate:
Panama has a tropical climate. Temperatures are relatively high and vary little during the year. Daytime temperatures in Panama City range between 24 ° C (75.2 ° F) and 29 ° C (84.2 ° F). read more

Money:
The official currency is the Balboa (PAB), although the US Dollar is legal tender in the country ($, USD).

Country code to call:
507.

Electricity:
120v, 60hz.

Language:
Spanish, although English is widely spoken.

Time:
GTM – 5.

ATMs:
They are easy to find throughout the country especially in Panama City.

Tipping:
In bars and restaurants the standard tip is 10% of the total bill.

Visas:

Visitors from the following countries may enter the country by presenting only a valid passport: Germany, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, South Korea, Chile, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Spain, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Holy See (Vatican), Switzerland, Uruguay and Singapore.

Visitors holding passports of the countries listed below need to present a current valid passport when entering Panama: a tourist visa or a tourist card which can be obtained from the airline at the airport of departure. The cost of the card is $ 5.00.

Travelers from the following countries need to provide a tourist card: Antigua and Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, United States, Grenada, Guyana, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Samoa Western Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe,Visitors from the following countries require a visa to enter Panama: Chad, Ecuador, Egypt, Philippines, Haiti, Peru, Dominican Republic, Russia, and Thailand. Contact the Consulate of the Republic of Panama in your country for more information.

If your country is not mentioned here, please contact your local consulate. read more