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Panama Travel Information, Tips and More

Panama lies at the center of the world, it's the last part of a natural land-bridge between the North and South American continents. The Panama Canal is just the start of this singles adventure vacation. Explore dense rainforestswith abundant wildlife, raft pristine rivers, zip among the mountains, enjoy fabulous duty-free shopping and relax onbeautiful beaches.

Panama City bustles as a thriving commercial hub where modern skyscrapers and architect Frank Gehry's BiodiversityMuseum share sightlines with 18th-century architecture. It is a very multicultural place, with large populations frommany different parts of the world. Spanish is spoken by most, and many speak some form of English. On the streets Panamanians are for the most part extremely friendly and helpful and would love to give you some advice. There's great shopping, from high-end stores in the malls around Paitilla and in the banking district around Via Espana, to
veritable bargains around La Central (Central Avenue, now turned into a pedestrian walkway) and the Los Pueblos outdoor mall.

The jungles of Panama's lowland rainforests harbor a sweltering tropical ecosystem. East of the canal, the Darien covers an untouched expanse of pristine forest, pure rivers, and intricate ecosystems. The Chiriqui Highlands and the Valle de Anton nurture dense cloud forests. Along the Pacific Coast where the mouths of rivers meet the ocean, extensive mangrove forests and swamps provide rich breeding grounds for marine wildlife. Throughout Panama, ATMs are readily available except in the most isolated places – look for the red ‘sistema clave’ sign. Generally speaking, ATMs accept cards on most networks (Plus, Cirrus, MasterCard, Visa, Amex), though a charge is usually levied depending on your issuing bank. The amount that can be withdrawn at one time varies from bank to bank, though it is usually around US$500. Tap water in Panama City is safe to drink, as is the water in most other parts of the country. However, you’re better off buying bottled water or purifying your own water in the provinces of Bocas del Toro and Kuna Yala. Electricity in Panama is 110 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. If you travel to Panama with a device that does not accept 110 Volts at 60 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. As far as Internet Access, we recommend you leave your computers home! Most of the hotels have computers with internet access (for a fee) in the lobby. Wifi is very limited.

What to Bring

Remember to pack all your liquids in your suitcase or you must follow the TSA rules for carry-ons -3-1-1 = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger One easily managed medium suitcase (bus to boat...) and 1 carry on bag. Some days you will be out all day so bring a small bag or knapsack that you can carry all day.  Leave your wallet at home - they make easy targets for pickpockets.

Bag Clothes If you are planning on washing clothes as you go, be aware that launder mats can be tricky to find, but you can hand wash a
few items (things like jeans can take forever to dry). Some of the hotels have laundry services—expect to pay a buck or two per item.


Water is another consideration when planning your wardrobe. Cloud and rainforests have little regard for phrases like “dry season.” It may not rain during your visit, but the saturating humidity dripping from the leaves and the spray from the inevitable waterfall will make you glad for quick-drying garments.

  • 3-5 T-shirts, one or two long sleeved and to protect you from sunburn
  • 1-2 dress shirts or blouses
  • 3-4 pairs of shorts. One or two pairs of quick drying nylon and one or two pairs of dressy cotton shorts or tropical weight/length skirts.
  • Active/sports swimsuit and a tanning suit You may also want a casual beach cover-up.1-2 pairs of long pants. Something casual that will work for cool nights.
  • If you can find a pair you like, convertible pants (zip-off legs) can serve as shorts and long pants.
  • 5-8 pairs of underwear
  • 2-8 pairs of socks.
  • Pajamas
  • Jacket- Light, water-resistant jacket that will keep you warm on a cool evening or during a sudden downpour, yet can be stuffed away or worn loosely on a warm day
  • Baseball cap or brimmed hat for the sun
  • Sturdy shoes, tennis shoes with plenty of tread or hiking boots comfortable for walking
  • Sandals or shoes you don't mind being wet in. (Have shoes to change into when these get wet)


Toiletries

  • Razor
  • toothbrush with cover, and toothpaste - Travel-size
  • shampoo and conditioner - Travel-size
  • brush or comb
  • antiperspirant
  • tampons
  •  toilet paper


Documents

  •  Passport and a copy kept in a different location
  •  Money, credit/debit card – don’t forget to call the banks and let them know you are traveling
  • Insurance card and contact information

Miscellaneous

  •  Insect repellant with DEET (diethyl-metatoluamide).
  • Contact lenses and/or extra pair of sunglasses
  • Sun block of at least 15 SPF - the tropical sun is strong
  •  Water bottle
  • Camera – and charger – batteries – lots of film or extra memory cards
  • Binoculars
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Earplugs (for light sleepers)
  • Plastic bags – for wet clothes
  • Travel alarm clock
  •  Notebook for traveling thoughts and addresses


Personal Medications (Carry all your daily medications on the plane with you, just in case...)

  •  Pepto-bismol for diarrhea
  • Throat lozenges
  •  Motion sickness medication
  • Aspirin or other pain killer
  • Antacid tablets
  • Sunburn salve such as aloe vera gel

Otherwise get ready for the adventure to begin, for great memories and amazing new single travel friends!

Don’t Leave Home without your Passport!

 

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