Panama - Frequently Asked Questions
Table of contents
- When is the best time to go?
- Do you need a visa?
- How can I get there?
- What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
- What is there to see and do?
- How safe is Panama?
- What kind of vaccinations are required for travel to Panama?
- Is tipping customary in Panama?
When is the best time to go?
Panama can be said to have a tropical climate, although the weather varies between its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. On the Pacific seaboard, the best time of year to visit is between mid-December and mid-April during the dry season. The rainy season (May to November) tends to make the weather rather humid - especially in the lowlands - but as downpours are often heavy and short, you can have a very pleasant trip no matter when you decide to travel.
Do you need a visa?
British and EU citizens, as well as Canadian, Australian and U.S.A citizens and other international citizens who have a visa from anyone of the countries afore mentioned, no longer need a visa to enter Panama. Instead, regardless of your nationality, you can purchase a tourist card upon arrival to Panama at a cost of $30 USD. Your passport needs to be valid for at least three months and the tourist visa is valid for 30 days. It can be extended for up to 60 more days at Panama's Office of Migration in the country's capital city.
How can I get there?
While no direct flight is currently servicing Panama from the UK, there are several international airlines that offer flights to Panama from London via European cities with one or two stopovers. These include British Airways and Iberia, Air France, United, American Airlines, KLM and Delta Airlines. The average time flight time from London to Panama City is 13.5 hours.
What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
The balboa is the official currency in Panama, although US dollars are also accepted as both currencies have the same value. It's worth noting that all the local currency is in coins, rather than notes. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country and ATMs are readily available.
What is there to see and do?
There are some incredible sights in Panama, not least of all the Panama Canal. You can take a tour of this feat of engineering and visit the museum dedicated to its construction and history. Panama City is a cosmopolitan place to explore that's got plenty of history and culture to discover. The old town - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - is a maze of cobbled streets lined by beautiful buildings, many of which are centuries old. Panama is a real haven for active and adventurous travellers, with a wide range of exciting activities on offer all over the country. Kayaking, scuba diving, rock climbing, ziplining, white water rafting and horseback riding are just a few of the things you can have a go at. Hiking is also popular in Panama, with a host of trails leading through the country's beautiful national parks. Among the top places to visit are Baru Volcano National Park, Soberania National Park and Friendship International Park, which straddles the border with Costa Rica. As it has two coa
How safe is Panama?
Panama is generally safe for travellers, although it's best to take precautions to protect yourself and your valuables. Don't walk around alone at night and avoid taking large sums of cash out with you. Pick-pocketing can happen in busy cities and on buses, so be vigilant and keep an eye on your bag and valuables when you are out and about.
What kind of vaccinations are required for travel to Panama?
It's sensible to be up to date on all your standard travel vaccines before visiting Panama, including hepatitis A and B, tetanus, typhoid and tuberculosis. It's also advised that you are vaccinated against rabies and, depending on where you're travelling to, yellow fever. There's also a risk of malaria in certain parts of Panama, so speak to a health professional well in advance of your trip to find out what vaccinations and medication you may need.
Is tipping customary in Panama?
The standard tipping rate in Panama is ten per cent of the bill, although this isn't expected in smaller establishments. Use your discretion when deciding whether to leave a tip.
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Panama has recently been granted the honour of becoming the location for the first ever W Hotels property in Central America. Run by prestigious hospitality company Marriott International S.A., the new hotel is expected to open its doors to the public in 2018. In addition to boosting lodgings for local tourism industry, the property has provided jobs for over 200 people.