Frequently Asked Questions
A passport is required for foreigners visiting Panama. If you currently hold one, make sure it is valid at least 6 months beyond your travel dates. Please check with your nearest Panamanian Consulate to check whether you might need a Visa. Citizens from the USA and Canada are only required a Tourist Visa, which may be purchased for $5/person at the airline counter at the airport of departure, and at the Pananamian Tocumen International Airport upon your arrival. Panamanian law requires that you carry a type of photo I.D. with you at all times. We recommend making two photocopies of your passport and your driver´s licence.
Panama has been considered by many as one of the safest countries in Latin America. This applies for most of the country. However, like is expected in any large cities, like the capital of Panama, there are certain neighborhoods where you shouldn´t venture on your own. Overall crime rate here is low and it is mostly limited to pick-pocketing. At any rate, common sense is encouraged. You should leave home flashy jewelry, avoid carrying more cash on you than what you might need for some craft or souvenir shopping. In addition, it is advisable to keep records of your credit card numbers, and bank telephones in case of lost of theft.
Tap water is potable in Panama City, and most of country. When visiting remote villages or areas where water quality might be questionable, we will provide bottled water. Ice offered at restaurants is normally purchased from companies that prepare them from purified water.
Please check with the CDC website for specific information http://www.cdc.gov/travel/camerica.htm Yellow Fever has NOT been reported in Panama for a couple of decades. Malaria is only a concern if visiting remote areas of Darien or Bocas del Toro provinces. Please contact us if you any specific questions. Common sense is recommended to avoid traveler’s diarrhea. For example, avoid eating at street vendors, unless indicated by your tour leaders, or places that don´t seem to follow strict hygienic measures. State-of-the-art medical facilities are available within easy access from practically all of our destinations. An exception would be Darien jungle or Coiba Island where depending on emergency. Air Medical Evacuation would be the alternative.
The US dollar is legal tender in Panama, running on par with the official currency which is the Balboa (B/.) International credit cards like Visa and Master Card are widely accepted in the main cities (not as much in the countryside). American Express is not as popular. Bank ATMs are available throughout the country. Make sure you bring your Personal Identification Number (PIN) number with you. Traveler’s Cheques may be accepted but are rather difficult to cash at some locations.
Calling cards are widely available and allow for rather inexpensive calls to North America and Europe. Internet is widely available at the main cities, but not as much in the countryside.
Panama has the same type of electricity as North America: 110/120 V, 60 Hz. On the other hand, three-prong plugs with grounding are not always available, so if any of your appliances or chargers require this type of connection, make sure to bring an adaptor for two-plug wall outlets.
Gratuities are customary for staff in hotels, restaurants, bell-boys, drivers, and guides. Our tour prices regularly include the basic gratuity of 10% during meals at restaurants. Other tips are not included.
During most of our tour programs you will have the opportunity to meet a few indigenous people. Some of the villages we visit in remote regions of the country have very limited economic resources, and due to their inaccessibility, seldom receive any government assistance. Children always welcome candy, little toys, trinkets and local school teachers will be happy to receive any notebooks, pens, crayons, coloring pencils, any craft materials, or any school supplies. There is absolutely no obligation but past participants have told us they would have loved to do so, had they been informed of the opportunity.