Q: Where is Panama? Panama FAQ Answer: Panama is located between Central and South America. See Panama Maps. It covers 75,517 sq. km (29,208 sq. miles), and is somewhat smaller than the state of South Carolina. Panama is between 50 and 120 miles wide (89 and 192 km) and is bordered by 1,287.7 km (805 miles) of Caribbean coastline and 1,700.6 km (1,062.8 miles) of Pacific coastline. Return to top
Q: What language they speak in Panama? Panama FAQ Answer: Spanish is the official language. English is widely spoken in the business, banking, retail and international communities, in tourist oriented activities and in both the cities of Panama and Colon. Return to top
Q: What currency they use in Panama? Panama FAQ Answer: The currency is "Balboa" which has the same value as the US dollar. The US dollar is legal tender in Panama, which doesn't print bank notes but only mints its own coins. Coinage is either Panamanian or the US equivalent in 50¢, 25¢, 10¢, 5¢ and 1¢. Credit cards and travelers checks are widely accepted. Return to top
Q: Does Panama have Beaches and Islands? Panama FAQ Answer: Panama has two coasts, Caribbean and Pacific and more than a thousand islands with a wide selection for you to choose from consisting of exotic islands and retreats with full service Beach resorts. Snorkeling, diving, fishing, surfing, and swimming are all popular pursuits. Return to top
Q: Is Panama safe? Panama FAQ Answer: Panama is a very safe place. However at night try to avoid some peripheral areas and parks. When using public transportation as buses or taxis, mind your personal effects, pick pocketing is a particular concern for travelers. Don't wear expensive jewelry, don't carry large amounts of cash. Your safety and security are relative to, and are dependent upon your individual actions and decisions. In case of emergency dial "104", National Police free line. From time to time, there may be demonstrations or other manifestations of anti-American sentiment by small but vociferous groups. While there is no evidence that U.S. citizens or tourists might be targeted (most demonstrations relate to labor disputes or other local issues) and while such protests are typically non-violent, it is nonetheless a good security practice to avoid demonstrations. The area of Darien Province between Yaviza and the Colombian border along the upper Tuira River is unsafe due to the presence of drug smugglers, bandits and Colombian guerrillas and paramilitary forces. However, the vast majority of Darien National Park is relatively safe, though it is advisable to visit the park with a guide due to the inherent risks of travel in remote jungle with ill-defined trails. Other areas are generally very safe. Return to top
Q: Can you tell me about Panama cost of living? Panama FAQ Answer: The cost of rent, homes, services, utilities, food etc. are all well below USA, Canadaian and European prices. A few examples: Panama has one of the lowest costs of living in all Central and South America: A U.S.-style home can be built for about $40 per square foot; unskilled labor costs $6.40 per day; a full-time live-in maid costs $120 to $160 a month; a beer at a bar costs 50 cents; a cup of coffee, 30 cents; a haircut and shave can cost as little as $2; an afternoon at a beauty salon is $8; electricity is about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour; water bills are $18 per year; telephone service costs roughly $30 a month; Internet access is $14 a month; wireless is available for a bit more; cellular-telephone service costs about $30 a month plus a per-minute charge of around 22 cents; and cable TV will cost you about $30 a month. Panama City has numerous North American restaurants including TGIF's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Bennigans, MacDonalds, Subway, Wendys, Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts etc. Supermarkets in the major cities have just about everything you would find in North American supermarkets. Return to top
Q: When is the best time to visit Panama? Panama FAQ Answer: There are two seasons in Panama. The dry season (Panama's tourist season) lasts from January to mid-April and the rainy season from mid-April to December. Rainfall is heavier on the Caribbean side of the highlands, but most people live on or near the Pacific coast. Temperatures are typically hot in the lowlands (between 70F and 90F) and cool in the mountains (between 50F-64F). The weather can be hot and steamy in the lowlands during the rainy season, when the humidity makes the heat more oppressive. Rain in Panama comes in sudden short downpours that freshen the air and are followed by sunshine. The dry season is the most comfortable time for hiking. The Darién Gap can be crossed only at that time. Return to top
Q: What about Panama government? Panama is Democratic Independent Republic. Panama's politics takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. In Central America, it is the second most industrialized country, behind El Salvador, Panama is also the 3rd largest economy in Central America, after Guatemala and Costa Rica and has the largest expenditure on resource consumption, making the country the largest consumer in Central America. Return to top
Q: What to Wear in Panama? Panama FAQ Answer: Shorts, t-shirts, and sandals year round. In Panama mountains you may need a light jacket and sweater. During the rainy season it is still warm but you should pack an umbrella or poncho. Here are some recommendations of what to pack:
- Sunglasses - Swimsuit - Beach towel - A hat - Sunscreen - Insect repellant - Light raincoat and/or umbrella - Sweater/light jacket - Long Pants: evenings can be cooler in some parts of Panama - Clothing comfortable for hiking, touring, etc. (70-90 degree weather) - Hiking shoes - Day pack (fanny or backpack) - Your Passport - Driver's license - Credit card or traveler's checks - English/Spanish dictionary - Panama Map and Guidebook - Drugstore items (toothpaste, soap, lotion, razor, etc.) - Sandals - Camera and film Return to top
Q: Do I need a converter/ adaptor for the electricity in Panama? Panama FAQ Answer: The standard in Panama is the same as in the United States or Canad 110 volts AC (60 cycles). Sometimes there are unpredictable variations with some sockets that are 220 volts. Ask the hotel before plugging in your devices. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type, three-pronged outlets can be scarce, so it's helpful to bring along an adapter. Return to top
Q: What is entry and exit requirements for Panama? Panama FAQ Answer: US and Canadian citizens only need a valid passport and a tourist card. Tourist cards are the most common entry document for short stays (valid for 30 days). Cards may be purchased in advance from your travel agent or airline, or upon arrival at a land border or at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City. Travellers can request an extension to their tourist card prior to the expiry date (maximum additional 30 days), however the Migration authorities of Panama may refuse the request. Citizens of other countries should consult with the Panamanian consulate or embassy in their home country to obtain the latest information on entry requirements. In some cases, no tourist card is necessary and in other cases, you will need a visa.
A valid Canadian passport is required for Canadians intending to visit Panama. The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected departure from the country. Canadians must also be in possession of a tourist card.
Tourist Card: Required (available upon arrival) Business Vis Required Student Vis Required
Visitors to Panama are required to have the equivalent of US$500 or a credit card, plus a return or onward ticket.
A US$20 airport tax (cash only) is charged upon departure. Return to top
Q: Who are Kuna Indians? Panama FAQ Answer: A People Who Would Not Kneel: Panama, the United States, and the San Blas Kuna. As they expanded, most nations in the Western Hemisphere relegated indigenous peoples to the lowest social levels, stealing their land, diminishing their populations, exploiting their labor, and flattening their cultures. Few have gone quietly, but one group, the San Blas Kuna of Panama, set their own terms. Anthropologist James Howe tells their story. 39 photos. Return to top
Q: Can I buy property in Panama? Panama FAQ Answer: A foreigner can buy and own property in Panamá. Foreigners enjoy exactly the same rights and protections as a Panamanian property owner. You can bring in all your household goods free of taxes. You can bring in a new car every two years for private use. You pay no property taxes on your home in Panama if that is your only residence...Visit our Real Estate Page. Discounts between 15% and 50% are offered on hotels, restaurants, pharmacies, movies, many professional services etc. for retirees in Panama. Return to top