How to Travel in Panama

How to Travel in Panama
Famed for its canal, Panama is also a small, lovely country with a lot to offer travelers in search of a little adventure. For example, it is one of the few places where a mountain biker can ride from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and back again in a single day. Panama offers jungles, beaches and warm equatorial waters.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Valid passport U.S. currency Antimalarial medication (probably) Strong bug repellent Sunblock
  • Valid passport
  • U.S. currency
  • Antimalarial medication (probably)
  • Strong bug repellent
  • Sunblock
Step 1
Check your passport to make sure it will have at least six months' validity from the date of arrival. This is a standard for entry into most countries, including Panama. Unless it has this much validity, even if your passport will not expire during your visit, it will need to be renewed before you leave for Panama.
Step 2
Go get some shots. The Centers for Disease Control recommends bringing your normal vaccinations up to date, plus hepatitis A and B, yellow fever and typhoid shots. They also recommend antimalarial medication for rural areas of Panama, so anyone planning on jungle biking, trekking or tree-climbing should get that.
Step 3
Bring US$30 in cash with you. No documents are required of U.S. citizens beyond a passport to enter Panama, but you do need to buy a tourist card. This is good for 30 days.
Step 4
Bring a bottle of strong, deep woods bug repellent. U.S. insect repellent sprays are allowed to have a much higher concentration of DEET than those found in most other countries. This is important to prevent the contraction of mosquito-borne illnesses that have no preventive medications, like dengue fever.
Step 5
Bring along or purchase a bottle of very strong (SPF 30 or higher) sunblock immediately after your arrival, and wear light clothing that covers much of the body plus a sun hat when you aren't on the beach. Most of Panama sits less than 10 degrees from the equator, so the sun there is very strong. It is easy to underestimate it and get a terrible case of sunburn, so be conservative and take proper precautions.
Step 6
Drink plenty of water. Panama is hot and humid, especially in the rain forest and the mangroves. It is easy to get dehydrated. However, as Panama is a small country, most outdoors activities will not take you too far from a source of bottled water (with the notable exception of deep jungle trekking). A little planning should guarantee never being without adequate water.
Step 7
Try something new. Panama is a great place for bird-watching, snorkeling, scuba-diving, taking a mountain bike from coast to coast, tree-climbing, trekking on the Camino Real, and more. Tack a new activity onto whatever outdoor adventure brought you to Panama.

Tips & Warnings

Panama's paper money is the U.S. dollar, although Panama does mint its own coinage. There is no reason to worry about exchange rates while there.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.