Home to one of the world's most exceptional modern engineering marvels, Panama invokes historic nostalgia.

Yet there's more to this nation in Central America than the mighty Panama Canal, and travellers lucky enough to end up in Panama will be delightfully surprised by the uncrowded beaches, sensational surf breaks, magical rainforests and splendid colonial towns. It's high time the world's wanderers added Panama to their adventure agendas.


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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Articles on Panama

Panama travel highlights

Panama holiday information

At a glance

Best time to visit Panama

Geography and environment

Top 5 Beach Spots of Panama

Health and Safety

Further reading

Panama travel FAQs

Australia: Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
USA: Yes - on arrival

The cost of a tourist card on arrival varies by nationality.

Tipping (although not mandatory) is considered polite in Panama. Tip 10-15% in restaurants and cafes, and leave a small amount of money for porters, guides and taxi drivers

Travellers will be able to access the internet at cyber cafes and hotels in Panama's large cities and tourist areas. Access to the internet is generally less common in rural and remote areas.

Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Panama's major cities, but may be less reliable in remote or rural areas. Ensure global roaming is activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone.

Panama has a combination of modern, flushable toilets (found in cities) and more modest squat toilets (found in rural areas), so prepare to encounter both while travelling in Panama.

Bottle of soft drink = 1 PAB
Bottle of local beer = 1.50-2 PAB
Snack at a market = 2-3 PAB
Lunch at a café = 5-7 PAB
Three-course dinner at a restaurant = 20 PAB

Tap water is considered safe to drink in Panama unless marked otherwise.

Major credit cards will be accepted by large hotels, shops and restaurants in the cities of Panama, but less so in rural and less developed areas. Be sure to carry other modes of payment just to be sure.

Panama's major cities and tourist-orientated towns have ATMs readily available. It's advisable, however, to withdraw cash before leaving the city as ATMs may not always be available in regional areas.

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey. 

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

  • 1 Jan New Year's Day
  • 2 Jan New Year's Holiday
  • 9 Jan Mourning Day
  • 28 Feb Carnival Day
  • 14 Mar Good Friday
  • 1 May Labor Day 
  • 3 Nov Independence Day from Colombia
  • 5 Nov Colon's Day (Colon Only)
  • 6 Nov Colon Day Holiday
  • 10 Nov The Uprising of Los Santos
  • 27 Nov Independence Day from Spain
  • 8 Dec Mother's Day
  • 25 Dec Christmas Day

Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Panama go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/panama/public-holidays

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Local Kuna woman in traditional dress, in Panama

Top responsible travel tips for Panama

  1.  Be considerate of Panama’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
  2.  For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
  3.  Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
  4.  When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
  5.  Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
  6.  Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
  7.  Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
  8.  Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.