Panama’s territory twists in an S-curve for 480 miles, linking Costa Rica to Colombia. To the north, lies the warm Caribbean Sea. On its southern side, the sunny Pacific. Down its length, the misty peaks of the Cordillera Central slope to lush coastal plains. Woodlands cover approximately 30% of the mainland, with 1,500 islands sparkling offshore.

Trips to Panama:

8 Day Customized Vacation to Panama

9 Day Customized Vacation to Panama

Home to several Native American peoples, such as the GuaymíKuna, and Chocó, Panama became the first Spanish colony on the Pacific. Celebrated as “the door to the seas and key to the universe,” it served in the 1530s as the staging point for the Spanish conquest of the Inca empire, and until the 19th century it was a transshipment point for gold and silver destined for Spain. With the independence of Colombia, which once controlled Panama, from Spain, Panama came to serve as another staging point, this time for oceangoing migrants to the gold fields of California.

The tropical nation is renowned as the site of the Panama Canal, which cuts through its midsection. A central spine of mountain ranges extends almost the entire length of Panama, dividing the country into Atlantic and Pacific facing slopes. The two principal ranges, the Tabasará Mountains (Cordillera Central) in the west and the Cordillera de San Blas in the east, are separated near the centre of the country by a saddle of lower land. This depression (the Panama Canal site) divides the country again—roughly into western and eastern halves. Of the four quadrants thus formed, the southwestern has the largest number of settlements; however, the surroundings of the canal account for most of Panama’s population and commerce. The highlands and mountains in Panama are made up primarily of igneous (volcanic) rocks.

Entry Requirements

A valid passport is required for entry to Panama and re-entry into the United States. Each passenger should be sure that his or her passport has at least six months of remaining validity from the date of return to the USA. Currently, no advance visa is required for US citizens. Prior to arriving at your destination, the airline flight attendants will give you an immigration form that must be completed and presented to a national immigration officer in order to be granted a tourist visa. You must save a copy of this stamped form, as you will have to surrender it to immigration officials when you check in for your flight home. A customs declaration form for both the outbound and inbound international flights will also be handed out by the airline flight attendants and should be completed before landing. You only need to fill out one form per family.


No unusual immunizations are required for travel in Panama, so long as you are not coming from a country with yellow fever risk. If you have questions regarding immunizations or a health concern, contact your personal physician or local County Health Department.


Panama has a tropical maritime climate with a hot, humid, rainy season (May till December) and a short dry season (January till May). Geographically Panama is a narrow country from north to south. This results in competing weather patterns coming onshore from both the Caribbean ocean and the Pacific.

Panama is situated less that 10º north of the equator. Although the country has at least a dozen microclimates, temperatures generally range from the low-90s to high-70s year-round near the coast.


Panama – The international access code for Panama is +507, and the outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00507 for Panama). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (00 507 2…) for Panama City. A mobile phone operator provides a GSM dual band 850/1900 network that covers most of the country. Only certain operators have coverage in the San Blas Islands and Darién Privince. Pay phones have been replaced with internet calling services. Kiosks in malls and most chinitos (Chinese-run convenience stores) sell pay-per-use phones, and many come with minutes loaded. 


Panama’s official currency is the balboa. The rate of exchange for the balboa has always been tied to the US dollar—one dollar equals one balboa. Panama does not, however, print its own paper currency and instead uses the US dollar as legal tender. While shopping or eating out, you may see prices with either a “$” or a “B/” before them, corresponding the dollars or balboas. They mean the same thing and have the same value.

ATMs are located in Panama City and larger towns. You might want to use cash when traveling in smaller towns and for day-to-day dealings such as food and tours and activities

Credit cards are often but not always accepted. The farther one gets from a city, the more difficult it is to use a credit card. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards. Please confirm your travel dates and destinations with your card issuers before you leave the USA.


Electrical current is 110 volts, 60Hz. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type so US travelers will not typically need a converter or adapter. Outlets not always have 3 holes so if your device has a third prong, bring an adapter.


Panama is a constitutional democracy. 


Roman Catholic 63.2%, Protestants 25.0%, other 4.2%, unspecified or none 0.4%

Ethnic Groups

Diversity is a recurring theme in Panama, at least eight distinct indigenous groups populated this part of the isthmus before the arrival of Europeans and Africans. About 65% are Mestizo, 9.2% Black, 6.8% mulattoes, 13% White and 6% Native Americans. Among the Amerindian (indigenous peoples of the Americas) ethnic groups present in Panama nowadays, you can find the Ngäbe, the Bunglé, Kuna, Emberá, Wounaan, Teribe, Bribri and other with lower populations.


Spanish is the official language of Panama and is spoken by the vast majority of the people. Although fewer than one-tenth of the people speak American Indian languages, all of Panama’s Indian groups preserve their native tongues


Nearly three-fourths of Panama’s gross domestic product (GDP) is generated by the service sector—a greater proportion than in any other Latin American country—and services employ the majority of the workforce. Services have grown mainly because of offshore banking and canal traffic; public administration and other services are also important. Agriculture and fishing account for less than one-tenth of the GDP but nearly one-fifth of the workforce.

Prior to the 1990s U.S. forces stationed in Panama supported approximately 5 percent of the GDP. The Panamanian government, recognizing that the U.S. troop withdrawal would remove hundreds of millions of dollars from the national economy, has attempted to compensate by redeveloping formerly U.S.-controlled properties, including prime real estate in Panama City. The government has also promoted ecotourism and the repair of rail and road systems. In recent years large investments from China, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as from the United States, have helped boost economic growth.


Panama is generally quite safe; however, common sense precautions are still important. As a general rule, you should not be out in the streets alone after dark. Stay in well-lit areas. Keep money out of sight and in a money belt. Keep your travel documents in the hotel safe or concealed in your money pouch. Please consult your tour guide for additional safety advice.

Travel Advisories

Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travelers’ cheques.  Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

Be sure to inform your credit card company as well as your bank you will travel internationally into Central America. This will eliminate any credit card holds for fraudulent activity.


We strongly recommend travel insurance for each traveler. Travel insurance is not provided in your tour package.