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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Trips on or before 31 December 2022
If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
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
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
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.
In Panama, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.