PANAMA, Things to Know Before You Go

Panama characterizes itself as one of the best destinations in the world – not only because it has been considered a point of intersection for the international trade since the time of the conquerors until today, but also because of its beautiful ecological attractions which are of great enjoyment for national and international tourists.

Panama has turned into a privileged country where the colonial style meets the ultra-modern. Visitors will be amazed at the superb infrastructure of the roads, hotels ad tourist-related services. But also tropical forests, splendid beaches in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean are easily accessible – often times they are just minutes away from each other. Furthermore, Panama offers an interesting history, a mixture of cultures such as Spanish, Indian, Caribbean and Anglo-Saxon and that is what makes Panama such an interesting destination to visit and discover!
Visa Regulations and Guidance
The visitor to Panama is required to be in possession of a valid passport. U.S. citizens and green card holders do not need visas. Nationals of other countries must check the list of visa exempt countries to see if they need to apply for visas.
As a general precaution, all travelers are advised to carry a photocopy of the photo/bio information page of their passport and keep it in a location separate from their passport.

Banking and Currency
Currency
The national currency is the Balboa; however, the US dollar is the currency that is mostly used in the country. Thus the rate of exchange is one Balboa for one US dollar.
Banking
Banks in Panama are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4pm, closing for an hour at lunchtime. On Saturdays the working hours are from 8:30 am to 1pm.
Tipping
10% is normal. Some tips are included in the bill, so check. You don’t have to tip taxi drivers, but it would be much appreciated.
Health and Medical Information
There are no required vaccines or shots. You are unlikely to see a mosquito your whole trip. Panama may be a tropical country but mosquito control is effective. Exceptions would be if you are in the rainforest after dusk or hiking or overnight in the jungle, in which case insect repellent is advised.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Typical Panamanian foods are mildly flavored, without the pungency of some of Panama’s Latin American and Caribbean neighbors. Common ingredients are maize, rice, wheat flour, plantains, yuca (cassava), beef, chicken, pork and seafood. Travelers in Panama should have no problem staying healthy, as standards of hygiene are high, and tap
water is safe to drink in most areas. Those with sensitive stomachs will want to drink bottled water when outside major hotels and cities. *We recommend drinking bottled water only.
Climate and Weather
Panama has a tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 75 F to 95 F. Humidity average is 70% CC. The country has two seasons: Summer/dry season from December to mid-April, and Winter/rainy season from mid-April to November.
Electricity and Plug Standards
The voltage is the same as the United States and Canada; 110V.

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