As with travel to any foreign country, it is important to understand some of the basics of the land before your trip. A Panama FAQ is a perfect way to understand more about this beautiful little country and the questions that you may have.
Is Panama Safe?
Actually, Panama is one of the safest countries in the world and probably the safest in Latin American, according to a Pinkerton Intelligence Agency report. Panama received the same rating as the United States. With the increased threat of terrorism in the US and Europe, Panama may now enjoy a rating above its American counterparts. As with any country, there are areas that experience more crimes and even a remote part of one province that has a US State Department warning against travel, (in the Darien province near the border with Columbia) Panama is extremely safe for travel and living.
When is the best time to visit?
Tourism in Panama is a year-round business. Because of an incredible tropical climate which is below the hurricane line and where the sun shines all year, any time is the best time to be a tourist in Panama. There is a “rainy season”, which runs from June to December, but this usually means an afternoon tropical storm each day that lasts for an hour or two. on” rates.
Spanish is the native language of Panama. Will I have any problems?
Many Panamanians either speak a little English or they are fluent in it, and most Panamanians enjoy the opportunity to try their English with any “extranjero” (foreigner) they meet. Remember that for nearly 100 years, as many as 50,000 Americans lived in the Panama Canal area and as an international business zone, Panamanians are very comfortable with English.
Do I need a visa to visit Panama?
As international terrorism changes the face of international travel, it is more likely that you will need at least a passport, and in some cases a passport, to travel in Panama. Additionally, citizens of many countries need a Panamanian Tourist Card which can be purchased from the airlines. Be aware that the government limits the length of time that a tourist may stay in Panama; it is wise to consult with your embassy prior to departing for Panama
What’s the Government Like?
Panama is probably the most stable democracy in Latin America. Panama’s presidents are democratically elected. The current government is investor friendly and taking effective measures to eliminate corruption.
What is the currency?
The US dollar is the currency of Panama, but called the “Balboa” for nationalistic reasons. There are no currency exchange hassles since the currency is protected by the dollar.
What is the Suggested Ground Travel in Panama?
While rental cars are plentiful, they tend to be expensive and the driving in Panama can be somewhat of an experience for most Americans. (Although citizens of New York City will probably fit in just fine!) The suggested means of transportation are taxis and buses. The buses are extremely inexpensive and offer a unique view of life in Panama. Taxis are also inexpensive and more comfortable. Be prepared to have taxi honk their horns at you as the look for fares; this is normal and quite acceptable.
With just a sampling of FAQ’s about Panama, it is easy to see that the country is both unique and fascinating. Travel here is something that the Panamanian tourist will always remember and cherish.
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