Panama - Panama Tourism Facts
In an era of “try it before you buy it”,
nothing could be truer than the decision-making process of someone
nearing retirement. As more retirees seek to leave the high cost
of living in Europe and the United States, the lure of countries
such as Panama has become apparent. If fact, Panamanian tourism
has now enjoyed a period of extended growth and offers very appealing
benefits to retirees. Knowing the tourism facts of Panama can be
all it takes for tourists planning that fact-finding, Panamanian
trip to decide to visit this tropical paradise. These are among
the interesting tourism facts on Panama:
• Time Zone – Minus Daylight Savings
Time, Panama is in the same time zone as New York and Washington
DC, an important fact for the Panamanian tourist from the US.
• Currency – While the national currency is the Balboa,
Panama does not print its own paper money. The United States Dollar
is the paper money there, as it has been for over one hundred years.
Therefore, for visitors from the US, no currency exchange is necessary;
which is a welcomed tourism fact of Panama. Panama has coinage,
but the denominations are identical to those in the US, and are
accepted interchangeably. It is wise to avoid using denominations
larger than $20; with Panama’s fight against money laundering,
it is difficult to change larger bills and many places require signature
and passport numbers for anyone wanting to do so.
• Entry requirements – For much of Europe, a valid passport
and an onward ticket are the only requirements for entry. For most
of the Western Hemisphere, including the US, these items, plus a
tourist card, are required. This card costs $5.00 and can be purchased
upon entry into the country. Visitors are allowed to stay for 90
days, although this can be extended up to one year by meeting certain
requirements and applying at an immigration office in Panama City,
David, or Chitre. It is wise to check with either the airline or
embassy prior to departure for any additional tourism facts about
• Methods of travel to Panama –
As the land bridge between two continents and the division of two
oceans, one can obviously visit Panama by boat. Land crossing is
only possible in three locations from Costa Rica; there are no land
crossings with Panama’s southern neighbor, Columbia. The most
common means of transportation are via air, with Panama City being
an excellent international hub. There are domestic flights to the
provinces, and these flights are assessed by the US FAA and are
in compliance with international standards. The fact is Panamanian
tourists enjoy air travel very similar to the US.
• Travels inside Panama – The domestic flights provide
excellent travel within Panama, as do numerous bus lines. Once in
the cities, it is wise to review travel requirements because the
cost of rental cars is quite high and travel in the cities can be
an adventure for people from the US and Europe. There are modestly
priced city buses, and a large number of reasonably priced taxis.
It is common for taxis to use their horn to inform potential fares
that they are available.
• Modern Comforts – ATMs and credit cards becoming commonplace
and easy to use. Most ATMs are compatible with the providers in
the US. The standard electricity is 110v, with the same outlets
as found in the USA. Such Panamanian tourism facts make spending
time in Panama very easy.
• The major events in Panama are Easter celebrations, highlighted
by Carnaval, and Independence Day, which has celebrations from November
2nd to the 4th. There are many regional fairs and festivals, including
the October 21st Festival of the Black Christ in Portobelo. This
festival includes a parade of a famous, life-sized status of the
Black Christ and it attracts pilgrims from all over the country.
• Things to see – The Panama
Canal, one of the modern wonders of the world, and its Miraflores
Locks are a must-see. Panama City is the only city in the world
with a tropical rain forest inside of its borders. The ancient ruins
of “Panama La Vieja” (old Panama) are also in Panama
City. The “Zona Libre” is the second largest free-trade
zone in the world, after Hong Kong. There are numerous world-class
beaches (location of the TV show “Survivor” for 12 countries)
and trips to the interior feature such sights as the extinct volcano,
Volcan Baru, and the mountain town of Bouquete. Water sports, wildlife,
and unique plant life abound in this tropical paradise.
All in all, Panama is not only an incredible
tropical paradise; it is an adventure for the tourist to absorb
all that this unique country has to offer.Many are choosing to invest in Panama and buy property With all of the interesting
facts about tourism in Panama, it is no surprise that many people
come for a visit, but stay for a lifetime!