Panama is emerging as the new hot spot for international eco-tourism. Within this small but vital land bridge connecting North and South America is an abundance of natural, cultural and commercial marvels found together nowhere else in the world. Panama indeed has it all.
The most famous of its attractions is the Panama Canal, “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” which joins two oceans. Panama is also a duty free port and shopper’s paradise with everything from colorful Indian crafts markets to modern shopping areas offering top brands from the world over.
Panama’s marvelous bio-diversity distinguishes it from other eco-tourist destinations. Because of its unique geographical position, Panama harbors a greater variety of wildlife than any other country with species converging from North, South and Central America. Almost a third of Panama’s land is protected in national parks, forest reserves and wildlife refuges.
Come to Panama with Elegant Adventures and discover its richness and beauty. Yes, Panama has the Canal, and much, much more!
Things to Know Before You Go
More than 150 international banks and their branches operate in Panama. Banking hours vary, but most of them are open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Some banks offer services on Saturday.
The country enjoys an agreeable tropical climate and an average daytime temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with cooling in the evenings. The average humidity is 70%. The rainy season goes from May to December. Throughout the dry season, trade winds keep the air continuously cool. In the mountains, the average temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Light clothes are recommended. Business clothing is formal. A light jacket for men and a tailored suit or a two-piece pants suit for women is recommended. A wide-brim hat and sun glasses are necessary if you go to the shore or inland.
Since 1904, the United States dollar has been the legal currency in Panama. The Balboa, the Panamanian monetary unit, is par valued with the dollar. Prices can be expressed in Balboas (B/.) or in Dollars ($). Traveler checks and credit cards are widely accepted. The International departure duty is US$20.00, payable in the airport. The hotel tax is 10%. The added tax value to products and services, with the exception of food and medicines is 5%.
When entering the country, you may only bring up to one carton of cigarettes and 3 bottles of liquor. Like other countries, you may be fined and charged for leaving Panama with products made from endangered species.
The current is 110v–60 cycle and 220v. Telephone and international cable services in Panama are excellent. We have a direct-dial system to locations inland and all over the world. The country code is 507.
United States and Canadian citizens need only a valid passport and tourist card to visit Panama. Tourist cards cost about $5.00 and are available both on your arrival in Panama from the immigration authorities and at the airline counter at the time of departure. A tourist card gives you an automatic 30-day stay, and is extendable for another 60 days.
No vaccines or pills are necessary prior to visiting Panama. Remember, the tropical sun can be strong, so it’s wise to take protective sunglasses and sunscreen with you. Although Panama is indeed a tropical country, mosquito control is effective. Exceptions would include hiking and over-nighting in the jungle, in which case you should use protective insect repellent. Panama is one of the few countries in Latin America where you can drink water straight from the tap.
Although the official language in Panama is Spanish, English is widely spoken and understood in the major cities.
Panama was given the highest ranking (along with the United States) for tourist safety from the Pinkerton Intelligence Agency. However, as with any foreign destination, it is not advisable to walk around the streets flashing your money or valuable belongings. Reports of people being pickpocketed in Panama are rare, but it’s best to assume that pickpockets are around. Just use common sense and your intuition to protect yourself. Remember that the less attention you draw to yourself, the less likely you are to have an unpleasant experience.
Panama time is the same as the United States Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5).