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Panama: FAQs

Our frequently asked questions about travel to Panama. If you have any other questions, please contact your travel designer or concierge.

Do I need to get a visa?

Tourist visas are not required for UK, EU, US, Australian and Canadian citizens for stays of up to 180 days. Please note your passport must be valid for six months beyond the date of your stay.

Do I need any vaccinations before I travel to Panama?

No vaccinations are required for travel to Panama but we recommend speaking to your health practitioner before you travel. Please seek professional medical advice and recheck close to the date of travel as the situation may change.

Please note that all travellers coming to Panama from the Bahamas, Brazil, Guyana, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Nigeria must have the yellow fever vaccine at least ten days prior to their trip.

What should I bring in terms of currency?

The official currency in Panama is the Balboa (PAB), which is used interchangeably with the US dollar (USD). The currency used day-to-day in Panama is the US dollar. MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted credit cards in Panama, followed by American Express. Most hotels and restaurants accept all of these, especially in tourist destination areas. Discover and Diners Club is far less commonly accepted.

Panama has a widespread network of ATMs connected to the Cirrus and Maestro Network. ATMs can be found in all but the most remote tourist destinations and isolated nature lodges. If you are visiting smaller towns and more remote places then it is advisable to withdraw cash.

What are the plug sockets like in Panama?

Panama’s electrical system is compatible with that of North America and Canada, 110 volts.

What do I need to know about domestic flights?

You will need to check in one hour before. Security is strict on baggage checking. Hand luggage is restricted to 3.5 kg/8lb.
You can’t take liquids more than 100ml in your hand luggage however you can take a bottle of water. Ensure you don’t have any sharp items in your hand luggage, tape is not permitted either.

Hold luggage is restricted to 14 kg/30 Ibs per bag therefore some thought into what you really need to take with you is needed.

You are given a number at check-in for your checked bag which you need to listen out for when collecting your luggage on the other side.

Bear in mind that Panama City domestic airport does not have many facilities.

Are there any customs regulations?

No customs duties are charged on personal luggage, which includes a series of items for personal, professional and non-commercial use. Panama laws require checked luggage to be screened and travellers to fill out customs declarations declaring the value of any item in their possession, including fruits, vegetables, meat and by- products, biological products such as vaccinations, serums, etc.

How much should I tip?

Most restaurants will add a tip to your bill, so read your bill carefully. It is common to tip guides and drivers – the tipping ranges depending on the services, length of the tour and primarily, if you feel you have received a good service.

Tipping guide:

Shuttle driver: $2 per person, per day
Sightseeing tour driver: $5 per person, per day
Tour guide: $10 per person, per day
Tour boat driver: $5 per person, per day
Bellboys and airports: $1 per bag
Restaurant: 10%-15%

The Explorer Blog