Travel Facts

US State Dept Travel Advisory

The US Department of State currently recommends US citizens exercise increased caution in Panama due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Consult its website via the link below for updates to travel advisories and statements on safety, security, local laws, and special circumstances in this country.

Passport/Visa Requirements

US citizens should make sure their passport will not expire for at least 3 months after they enter the country even if they do not intend to stay that long. They should also make sure they have at least 1 blank page in their passport for any entry stamp that will be required. A visa is not required.

US Embassy/Consulate

[507] 317-5000; US Embassy in Panama City, Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue, Clayton, Panama;;

LGBTQIA+ Travelers

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) travelers can face unique challenges when traveling abroad. Laws and attitudes in some countries may affect safety and ease of travel. Legal protections vary from country to country. Many countries do not legally recognize same-sex marriage. Approximately seventy countries consider consensual same-sex sexual relations a crime, sometimes carrying severe punishment.

Telephone Code


Local Emergency Phone

Ambulance: 269-9778; Fire: 103; Police 104


An International Certificate of Vaccination for yellow fever is required for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission and for travelers having transited through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. See WHO recommendations.


Tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season (May to January), short dry season (January to May)

Currency (Code)

Balboas (PAB)

Electricity/Voltage/Plug Type(s)

120 V / 60 Hz / plug types(s): A, B

Plug Type APlug Type B

Major Languages

Spanish, indigenous languages, Panamanian English Creole, Arabic, French Creole, other (Yiddish, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese)

Major Religions

Roman Catholic 48.6%, Evangelical 30.2%, other 4.7%, agnostic 0.2%, atheist 0.2%

Time Difference

UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Potable Water

Opt for bottled water

International Driving Permit


Road Driving Side


Tourist Destinations

Panama Canal; Bocas Town; Coiba Island; San Blas Islands; Santa Catalina; Panamanian coral reefs

Major Sports

Baseball, soccer, boxing, basketball

Cultural Practices

It’s traditional to greet people using ‘Buenas’. When shaking hands, don’t use too tight a grip as this can be perceived as slightly aggressive.

Tipping Guidelines

A 10% tip is appropriate at restaurants. Taxi drivers do not expect tips.


Mola- and embroidered-cloth items, woven baskets, pre-Columbian inspired gold jewelry

Traditional Cuisine

Sancocho de Gallina (Chicken Stew) - chicken, corn, and root vegetables such as ñame, yuca, and otoe, flavored with culantro (an herb similar to cilantro); typically served with a side of white rice

Please visit the following links to find further information about your desired destination.

World Health Organization (WHO) - To learn what vaccines and health precautions to take while visiting your destination.

US State Dept Travel Information - Overall information about foreign travel for US citizens.

To obtain an international driving permit (IDP). Only two organizations in the US issue IDPs:
American Automobile Association (AAA) and American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA)

How to get help in an emergency? 
Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate, or call one of these numbers:
from the US or Canada - 1-888-407-4747 or from Overseas - +1 202-501-4444

Page last updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2023