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Panama

Continent: North America
Region:

Ideal Duration:

Best Time: Mid December to Mid April Read More

Currency: Panamanian Balboa (PAB)

Budget: Moderate

"Discover the shrouded beauty "

Panama Tourism

Panama is a nation in Central America, sharing its borders with the Caribbean Sea, North Pacific Ocean, Colombia to the Southeast side, Costa Rica to the Northwest side. Panama offers a plethora of options for tourists. Visitors can experience oceanic views, rainforests, mountains, old towns, adventurous activities and also learn about its rich culture. It is also home to a large US expat community.

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Best time to visit Panama

Mid December to Mid April is the best time to visit Panama

It is the most ideal time to visit the country as the temperature is pleasant and hence makes way for indoor activities and outdoor excursions.

Photos of Panama

Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Good infrastructure. Friendly locals. Affordable destination. Tropical rainforests, beaches, ecological reserves. Travel safety. Adventures.

What's Not So Great?

Poor health care in rural areas. Exorbitant taxi fares. Costly flight tickets for Asian travellers due to long distance.

For Whom?

Water activity enthusiasts, trekkers, nature admirers, cultural and archaeological observers.

Read More on Panama

Currency of Panama

PAB and USD have same currency value. So, its sufficient if you pay using USD and carry PAB only if you have to pay a very small sum which includes parking meters, payphones and vending machines. Credit cards are accepted in all major and medium-sized cities. Restaurants and grocery stores also accept credit cards and debit cards. The transaction fee is usually 3 USD.

Exchanging Money in Panama

Since Panama and USA have same currency and just the name being different , it's suggested to bring enough cash as you might end up withdrawing same currency in ATM s with additional transaction fee.

Nightlife in Panama

Panama offers various nightlife options to choose from. There are three major sectors which are known for nightclubs and vibrant ambience. They are -  Calle Uruguay, Business District, Amador Causeway - known for hosting sea side lounges and clubs, Casco Viejo - the most popular area which is usually crowded because of the abundance of night clubs. It is advisable to use a taxi or walk on foot as the parking lots are full most of the time.

Shopping in Panama

Panama offers plenty of choices for shopping. The prices of electronic items and clothes that are sold are considerably cheaper than that of USA though they may be outdated when it comes to fashion. There are various shopping malls, boutiques and department stores. Among all the shopping malls, Albrook Mall provides better prices. Artisanal goods can be bought at YMCA in Balboa and the market in Panama Viejo. Reprosa is a famous store for handicrafts in PanamaÊCity.ÊEl Valle is a village which specialises in soap carvings and art works. Molas ( intricate handwork ) and traditional palm fiber baskets are very popular craft items.

Festivals of Panama

The dates of the annual events vary every year and the festivals are known for their vibrancy and extravaganza. The most popular festivals are - Feria de las Flores y del CafŽ ( flower festival), Jazz Festival, Festival Corpus Christi ( religious festival for two weeks ), Festival Patronales de La Virgen de Santa Librada, Mejorana ( folklore festival ) and Independence day on November 3.

History of Panama

After Vasco De Balboa crossed from Atlantic to Pacific across Panama, this voyage helped in establishing Panama as one of the major trading and shipping routes. Though Panama was under Spanish rule initially and later on in 1903, it declared itself as an Independent nation and signed a treaty with the USA according to which the USA gained rights to build a canal that can be used to go across Panama. Panama government was later handed over the canal after its completion in 1999.

Hygiene in Panama

Mosquito-transmitted diseases occur every now and then. The best way to prevent it is to use DEET (active insect repellant). If you wish, you can also get yourself vaccinated before you arrive. Carry first aid kit. Check with locals or your hotel for medical assistance as it is hard to locate clinics in the outskirts of the city. Carry prescription if you intend to buy any medicines here. Public toilets are generally very clean even in remote places.

Customs of Panama

Tipping is not compulsory. No tipping is required for taxi drivers. However, tipping servers in restaurants is appreciated. If you feel that the service was excellent, you can tip generously. Avoid wearing shorts if you aren't spending time at the beach as the conservative dressing is liked by locals. You might be refused entry into public places, banks and stores if you don't wear modest clothes.

Tips for visiting Panama

Chorrillo and Santa Ana are infamous areas for travellers. The crime rate is very high and it is generally advisable for travellers not to visit any dim lit areas after dusk. Beware of some policemen as they may stop you for passport and license and refuse to let you move further if you don't bribe them.Carry passport and ID wherever you go.

Culture of Panama

Spanish is the official language of Panama. The Spanish varies quite considerably from Mexican and European Spanish. Sometimes, English is mixed with Spanish and spoken. English is also spoken by many people. The native indigenous languages are - Kuna, Guaymi and Woun Meu. Panamanian culture is a mixture of African and European culture. The majority of the population follow Christianity. Catholic Christians are settled in all levels of the country. Common phrases to know: yes - si, no - no, thank you - gracias, welcome - De nada, please - por favor, hello - hola, goodbye - adios , I don't understand - No entiendo, English - Ingles, Spanish - Espanol, Do you speak - Habla usted? , how are you - Como estas?, good - bien, bad - Mal

Food of Panama

Panamanian food scene is diverse and the influence of American, Spanish and African cuisine is profound. Panama abounds with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Beef and fresh sea food are popular because of cattle farming and fresh water sources. The flavours are mild and not over powering. Most of the dishes are served with rice, meat and vegetables. Other common ingredients used for cooking are wheat, carrot, potato, greens, pork and chicken. Famous dishes are Sancocho (beef and chicken soup), tostones ( fried green plantations), carimanolas (pie stuffed with ground beef ), chicheme (almond and vanilla drink), Panamanian Corn tortilla, hojaldras (fried bread with sprinkled sugar), tamales ( Boiled chicken wrapped in plantain leaves).

Regions in Panama

Panama is majorly divided into - Central Panama, Caribbean West, Pacific West and Eastern Panama (forest and swamps). The major cities are Panama City (the capital city), Balboa, Boquete (known for adventure), Colon (port for cruise ships), Coronado (Coastal town), Santiago, Portobello, David and Gamboa.

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