Panama: Useful Information
Miami of the South
- Panama City is located in the middle of the American continent. Through the east lies Colombia and through the west Costa Rica.
- It is a 100% tropical with temperatures around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit (about 25 - 30 degrees Celsius). There are two seasons: the dry season with a bright sun from December to April and the rainy season from May to November.
- Panama City is situated south of the hurricane track and generally not affected by these tropical storms.
- The most common international credit cards used in Panama are: Visa, Master Card, American Express and Diner's Club. They are widely used and accepted in the majority of establishments.
- Since 1904, the U.S. dollar has been legal tender in Panama. The Balboa, Panama's monetary unit, trades at parity with the dollar.
- Spanish is the official language but most Panamanians speak English fluently.
- Panama City’s water is qualified as one of the purest in the world; it is safe to drink directly from the faucet.
- Panama City has several cyber cafe's from which to choose. Prices vary from one cafe to another, but the average price is between $2.50 - $4.00 per hour.
- Panama City is a shopper's paradise. Via Espana and Central Avenue offer everything from the latest fashions to the most complex computers and low costing handicrafts.
- Panama has a number of very up-to-date private hospitals and clinics the principals being Clinica Paitilla, Clinica Nacional, Clinica America and Clinica San Fernando. For ambulance service call Alerta (tel. 263-4522).
- Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s) are available at many places in the city and in restaurants and pubs, offering 24-hour banking.
- Every visitor needs a valid passport and an onward ticket to enter Panama, but further requirements vary from country to country and occasionally change. UK, Germany and Switzerland citizens and many other nationalities need only a passport, while people from Japan, New Zealand, USA, Venezuela and more need a tourist visa or tourist card (US$5) as well. Contact an embassy or consulate for current details.
- Like all Latin American countries, Panama is predominantly Catholic but other denomination are found throughout the country.
- Bring light clothes. Panamanians are very casual most of the time but a light suit is worn for business and for visit to government authorities.
- Panama’s time zone is GMT-5.