Facts About Panama

  • Country Telephone Code: 507
  • Country Capital: Panama City
  • National Currency: Panama's official currency, the Balboa, is available only in coins and not in paper bills. The value and size of Balboa coins are equal to those of US coins. Products and services can be priced in both Balboas and US$'s.
  • Independence Day: November 28, 1821 (from Spain), November 3, 1903 (from Colombia)
  • Tourism Web Site: Visit Panama
  • Fire Department: 103
  • Police: 104
  • Red Cross: 228-2187
  • International Calls: 106
  • Directory Assistancee: 102

Geography

  • Total Area: 29,157 sq miles (75,517 sq km)
  • Length: 480 miles (772 km)
  • Width: 37-110 miles (60 - 177 km)
  • Lattitude & longitude: 9° 0' 0' N / 80° 0' 0' W
  • Land boundaries: 345 miles (555 km)
    • Colombia: 158 miles (225 km)
    • Costa Rica: 205 miles (330 km)
  • Coastal boundaries: 1,547 miles (2,490 km)
  • Highest elevation: Baru Volcano 11,401 ft. (3,475 m)
  • Political Map: Panama is coprised of nine provinces - Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí, Coclé, Colón, Darién, Herrera, Los Santos, Panamá and Veraguas, and three Comarcas - Kuna Yala/ San Blas, Ngübe-Buglé, Emberá Wounaan Cémaco and Emberá Wounaan Sambú.

Credit Card Services

In the event that you need credit card assistance, below we have provided contact information for the four major credit card companies.

American Express
  • Banco Exterior Balboa Avenue, 9th Floor
  • Tel: 225-5858
Diners Club International/ Visa/ Mastercard
  • Centro de Tarjetas as del Banco General Marbella
  • Tel: 263-7922

Passports & Visa's

Each country has different requirements and restrictions regarding tourist visas, thus we recommend you consult with your embassy or consulate. For North Americans, entering Panama requires a valid passport, visa or tourist card, the latter of which can be issued through your airline or at Tocumen International Airport. The tourist card is valid for 180 days, at which time you must leave the country for a minimum of 72 hours. Tourist visas can't be extended!

If you find yourself in Panama beyond the 180 day limit and wish to leave the country, you will be required to pay a $50 fine for each month you stayed over the 180 limit. Once the fine has been paid, you are permitted to remain in the country for an additional 7 days before departing. To coordinate your departure, you must visit the Immigration Office (tel: 507-1800) in Tumba Muerto

Once inside, proceed to the front desk and request a ticket number, and then go downstairs and wait for your number to be called. You will need to supply copies of your passport - you must present copies of the pages that show your photograph and reveal your most recent arrival date. Just outside the front door, to the right, there are make shift booths that offer copy services.

(Note: You are not permitted to enter into the Immigration Office with short pants or a sleeveless shirt.)

Embassies & Consulates

  • Argentina: 302-0003
  • Belgium: 301-5200
  • Bolivia: 214-6438
  • Brazil: 263-5322
  • Canada: 294-2500
  • China(Taiwan): 223-3424
  • Colombia: 264-9513
  • Costa Rica: 223-4059
  • Cuba: 223-6250
  • Chile: 294-8901
  • Dominican Republic: 263-6324
  • Ecuador: 264-2654
  • Egypt: 263-5020
  • El Salvador: 209-327
  • France: 211-6200
  • Germany: 263-7733
  • Great Britain: 269-086
  • Guatemala: 269-3406
  • Haiti: 269-3443
  • Holland: 264-7257
  • Honduras: 264-2652
  • India: 226-0012
  • Israel: 208-4708
  • Italy: 225-8948
  • Japan: 263-6155
  • Korea: 264-8293
  • Libya: 227-3342
  • Mexico: 263-2436
  • Nicaragua: 264-8225
  • Paraguay: 215-0238
  • Peru: 268-6809
  • Russia: 264-1408
  • Spain: 227-5122
  • Sweden: 264-5122
  • Switzerland: 279-153
  • United States: 207-7000
  • Uruguay: 264-2838
  • Venezuela: 269-1244
  • Vietnam: 265-4207

Transportation

Airports

  • Bocas del Toro: 757-9208
  • Cap. Alfonso Valderama (Chitré): 996-4432
  • Enrique Malek Airport (David): 721-1072
  • Manuel Niño (Changuinola): 758-8231
  • Marcos A. Gelebert (Albrook): 315-0241
  • Rubén Cantú (Santiago): 998-5252
  • Tocumen International Airport (Panamá): 238-2700

Domestic Airlines & Charters

All domestic flights in Panama City originate from and return to Marcos A. Gelebert Airport (tel: 315-0241) in Albrook, which is just 5-10 minutes from the city district.

Getting to Marcos A. Gelebert Airport

There are no public buses that service Marcos A. Gelebert Airport from Panama City, but you can take the Metro train, a public bus or taxi to the Albrook Bus Terminal, where you can then board a local bus that will take you to the airport.

Once at the Albrook Bus Terminal, you have several different options. You can board one of the buses that read "Paraiso" or "Gamboa", which are operated by a company called La Saca and depart from behind Burger King, or you can board one of the Metro Buses that read "Miraflores" or "Ciudad de Saber". These buses don't pass directly in front of the terminal, but they will stop just up the road. From there it's a short walk to the terminal entrance.

Taxi's charge approximately $4.00 - $5.00 from the city district, and $2.00 from the Albrook Bus Terminal.

International Airlines

Panama's Tocumen International Airport is located just 30 minutes southeast of Panama City. Direct and connecting flights depart and arrive daily, flying to and from all major destinations. As well, the airports in Bocas del Toro and David service international flights, see below.

(•) Air Panama flies to San José, Costa Rica from David and Bocas :el Toro.

(••) Nature Air, a Costa Rica airline company, offers service between Bocas del Toro, Panamá and Pavos Airport in San José, Costa Rica.

Bus Service - Domestic

Traveling by bus throughout Panama is efficient and affordable, and virtually every part of the country is accessible. Larger cities, like David, Santiago and Colon, are serviced by large, modern buses, whereas much of the country’s interior is serviced by smaller mini-buses. All buses depart regularly from the Albrook Bus Terminal (tel: 303-3040), which is located just 5-10 minutes outside of the city district.

The metropolitan bus system, known as "'Metro Bus", has a fleet of new, modern buses that run along most of the city's main arteries. In order to ride the "Metro Bus" you must purchase a pre-paid card, which can be purchased in any of their offices. Bus fares for local routes cost $0.25, whereas routes to the outerlying areas cost $1.25. You can recharge your card at any Metro Bus office, in select stores.

Bocas del Toro

Buses to Chiriqui Grande, Almirante and Changuinola depart daily from Panama City (tel: 303-6326) at 7:00 p.m, 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.. When returning to Panama City, buses from Changuinola at 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and from Almirante 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. The ride to/from Panama City to Changuinola takes approximately 10 hours. Panama City - Chiriqui Grande ($21.75), Panama City - Almirante - Bocas del Toro ($27.80), Panama City - Almirante ($29.10)

Colón & David

Express and local bus service to Colon is available throughout the day (tel: 303-6379). Express buses, costing $3.15, depart every 30 - 45 minutes between the hours of 4:55 a.m. - 9:00 p.m .(the trip takes approximately 1.5 hours). Local buses depart as frequently, between the hours of 3:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m., and cost $1.80 (the trip takes about 2.5 hours).

Regularly scheduled buses travel between Panama City and David throughout the day. The trip lasts approximately 7-8 hours and costs $10 - $11. There are also "Express" buses that complete the trip in just 6-7 hours, and they cost $15 - $16.

Panamá/Costa Rica Border

Direct buses to the Panama/Costa Rica border depart from the Albrook Terminal throughout the day, normally stopping in Santiago and David along the way. The trips lasts about 8.5 - 9 hours and costs approx. $18.00. Or, you can take a bus to David and then hop on a local bus that will take you to the border. Likewise, if you 're at the border you can either take a direct bus to Panama City or a local bus to David, where you'll then need to hop on a bus that travels to Panama City.

Sightseeing Panama
Sightseeing Panama (tels: 392-6000, 392-9999) is an international company that offers bus tours of the Panama Canal and Panama City. Your ticket allows you to HOP ON and HOP OFF at any of their many stops for a specified periof of time. Stops include Albrook Mall, Panama Canal, Museum of Biodiversity, Flamenco Island (Causeway), Casco Antiguo (Viejo), Multicentro Mall, Panama Viejo and Multiplaza Mall.

Bus Service - International

There are two bus companies offer bus service between Panama City, Panama and San José, Costa Rica, Tickets cost approximately $40.00 each way, and the trip lasts between 14-16 hours. Buses depart from and return to the Albrook Bus Terminal.

Car Rental Companies

  • Alma: 236-5777
  • Ancon: 225-1433
  • Arrendadora Economica: 229-5257
  • Automobile Car Rental: 225-8974
  • Avis: 800-2847
  • B&B Rent a Car: 391-7640
  • Barrage: 269-0056
  • Budget: 263-8777
  • Continental Car Rental: 213-0177
  • Dollar: 270-0355
  • Executives Rent a Car: 392-0202
  • Express Car Rental: 225-3200
  • Hertz: 301-2611
  • National Car Rental: 265-2222
  • Panama Rent a Car: 263-7604
  • Panarent Rent a Car: 393-3180
  • Payless Car Rental: 263-2000
  • Prestige Car Rental: 393-9406
  • Shellane’s: 265-3880
  • Sixt: 269-7498
  • Smile Rent a Car: 396-2050
  • Thrifty: 800-2277
  • Truck 4 Rent: 360-1515

Ferry Services

Helicopter Rental & Tours

Metro City Train Service

Inaguarted in 2014, at a cost of over $1.5 billion dollars, Panama's Metro is Central America's first underground railway system. The Metro currently operates one line, which connects the Albrook Bus Termainal and Los Andes Shopping Mall, though there are plans to add an additional line. Covering a distance of 8.5 miles (13.7 km), the ride costs just $0.35 and must be paid for with the Metro card - the same card that is used for the Metro buses. Trains pass every 5 minutes and make several stops along Via España, i.e Via Argentia, Via Veneto and 5 de Mayo. The Metro, a very pleasant experience, offering an affordable, rapid and convenient way of getting around Panama City.

Motorcycle Rental & Tours

Panama Canal Railway Service

The Panama Canal Railway (tel: 317-6070), a 47.6 mile transcontinental railroad operating parallel to the Panama Canal, offers passenger service Monday – Friday between Panama City and Colon. The train departs Corozal at 7:15 a.m. and returns from Colon at 5:15 p.m. The trip lasts one hour and costs $22.00 each way and provides passengers with a wonderful opportunity to see the Canal in its entirety.

(Note: you can not reserve seats in the tourist car, which has a glass ceiling, but if you arrive early you should be able to obtain tickets without too much difficulty.)

Getting to Corozal

Taxis charge approximately $5.00 from the city district, and $3.00 - $4.00 from the Albrook Bus Terminal. If you wish to travel by bus, you will need to take a bus that departs from the Albrook Bus Terminal - buses to Paraiso, Gamboa, Miraflores, Ciudad de Saber and Forestal all pass by the train terminal.

Taxi Service

Taxi’s throughout Panama are plentiful and can be easily recognized by their yellow color and numbered markings. All fares are based on zones, there are no meters; cab drivers are required by law to carry a copy of the zone chart with them at all times. Most fares within the metropolitan area average $2.00 - $4.00, and for each addition passenger there is a $0.50 surcharge. Trips between Panama City and Tocumen International Airport cost $25.00 - $30.00 for two people (one way), with each additional passenger required to pay $10.00. The standard hourly rate for taxi rental in Panama City hovers between $8.00 - $12.00, depending on the vehicle type and service you are requesting.

Newspapers & Online Media

Panama has several Spanish and English newspapers and magazines, most of which are readily available in stores, hotels and street vendors. Below we have listed the major national periodicals, which are followed by tourism oriented publications.

Spanish

English

Spanish & English

Italian

Museums & Exhibits

Panama’s diverse Indian culture, and pivotal role in providing transoceanic passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, has lead to the creation of numerous museums. For those visiting Panama, these museums provide visitors with an interesting perspective of the country’s past and its contributions. Below we have listed the frequented museums, along with a description, their location and phone number.

Afro Antillian Museum
  • Location: Calle 24 este y Ave. Justo Arosemena (in front of the Metro train station)
  • Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Tuesday - Saturday
  • Cost: Adults - $1.00
  • Biodiversity Museum
  • Location: Causeway
  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday - Sunday (Closed Tuesday)
  • Cost: Adults - $22.00 / under 18 yrs. $11.00 (non - residents)
Contemporary Art Museum

There are a permanent exhibitions displaying artwork using the different techniques of oil, frescoes, watercolor, pastels, tints and engravings.

  • Location: Calle San Blas, Ancon y Ave. de los Martires
  • Open: Tuesday - Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Cost: Adults - $1.00 | Children: $0.50
  • Gold Factory Tour (Reprosa)
  • Reprosa offers a one hour tour of their gold exhibit, which includes a refreshment and "goodie bag". Make your reservations 24 hours in advance.
  • Location: Corner of Samuel Lewis Ave & 54th St. (next to Plaza Obarrio)
  • Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Cost: $10.00
  • Panama Canal Museum
  • An outstanding exhibit of Panama’s historic role as interoceanic route from pre-historic times to the building of the Panama Canal. Guides can be hired, but you must call and make a reservation in advance. For groups of up to ten people, guides cost $5.00 per person.
  • Location: Plaza Cathedral, San Felipe (Casco Antiguo)
  • Open: Tuesday - Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m
  • Cost: Adults - $2.00 | Children: $0.75
Panamanian History Museum

This museum offers visitors a detailed collection of objects dealing with Panamanian history. The collection spans from colonial times up to the Torrijos-Carter treaty of 1977.

  • Location: Building "Palacio Municipal" Cathedral Plaza in Casco Antiguo (the building just to the right of the Panama Canal Musuem)
  • Open: Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Cost: Adults - $1.00 | Children & Students: $0.75
Religious Colonial Art Museum

This museum dates back to the early 1700’s. It’s structure is a treasure unto itself, as it is located in one of the old chapels of the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo. View a collection of religious paintings, silver religious pieces and the golden altar.

  • Location: Casco Antiguo, between Ave. A y Calle 3
  • Open: Tuesday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Cost: Free
Museum of Natural Science

It exhibits geology, paleontology, mammals, reptiles and national flora and fauna.

  • Location: Ave. Cuba, between 29th & 30th
  • Open: Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Adults - $1.00 | Children - $0.75 | Groups (5 or more) - $5.00
National Bank Museum

It houses a fine and valuable collection of coins and paper bills, metallic coins and other financial papers, dating back to the sixteenth century.

  • Location: Calle 34 y Ave. Cuba
  • Open: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. | 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Camera/Video - Service & Repair

Professional camera/video repair service is available at the following authorized repair service center.

Fotoser S. A. (Canon/Olympus)
  • Location: Building "El Paical", First Floor, Office #3 - behind Banismo Bank in Transistmica
  • Tel: 261-0436

Language Schools

Bocas del Toro

Boquete

Panama City

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

Bocas del Toro

Colon

Isla Flamenco / Panama Canal