INTRODUCTION Known as "Bridge to the World and Heart of the Universe", Panama is a very privileged country, geographically positioned in the narrowest and most central part of the American continent, where the history of many
Known as “Bridge to the World and Heart of the Universe”, Panama is a very privileged country, geographically positioned in the narrowest and most central part of the American continent, where the history of many nations, ethnic groups and cultures have lived here for many decades.
The Republic of Panama (extension of 77,082 km².) is made up of ten provinces and six indigenous regions. It limits to the East with Colombia, to the West with Costa Rica, to the North with the Caribbean Sea and to the South with the Pacific Ocean.
Due to its geographical position between two seas and its narrow shape that looks like an inverted “S” or a “Boomerang”, Panama has a humid tropical climate, with a dry and a rainy season. Panama has a tropical climate throughout the year in its lowlands and a temperate climate in its highlands. At sea level the average temperature is 29°C
The official language of the country is Spanish, although a good part of the population has an intermediate or advanced knowledge of English.
DRIVING IN PANAMA
When you come to Panama as a tourist, you can drive with your country’s license for a maximum of 90 days, that period counts from your last date of entry that appears in your passport, both documents must be presented if you are stopped by the authority of transit.
TAXIS: Panama City fares are based on a zoning system. A cabbie must show you his zoned map of the city if you challenge his charge. If you have a bunch of places to visit round town, the easy way is to hire a cab by the hour, negotiable. Prices differ between small taxis and large taxis. Between Tocumen Airport and Panama City´s hotels the official rate is $30.00 for two people to the same destination, $20.00 per person for different destination.
In Panama you can call for a taxi by clicking your smartphone. Today you have Digital Apps Line Uber, Cabify, Tu Chofer and Easy Taxi. The best thing is that they accept credit cards and the service is monitored by GPS, offering great security and peace of mind. Aldo, various Apps accept cash payments if you don’t have a credit card.
BUSES TO THE INTERIOR
Buses of all shapes and sizes orbit the nation. The interior, which in effect means all the country west of the Canal, is served by buses ranging from Greyhound quality, for the trunk route to David, to mini-buses which hop, skip and jump to and between the beach resorts and about everywhere else. To stop the bus, Yell “parada”. Buses leave from the Gran Terminal at Albrook.
BUSES IN PANAMA CITY
A fleet of modern buses (Metrobus) dominates the streets nowadays. You can only pay with a card, available at Metro stations or the Albrook bus terminal. The same card can be use for the Metro. Por more información on shcedules and tours visit: www.mibus.com.pa
Panama City has a metro system with two lines and a third under construction. Line 1 runs from north to south starting from the large Albrook station to the San Isidro station (it runs for 14 stations and 16 kilometers). Line 2 begins at the San Miguelito station (here it interconnects with line 1) and passes through 16 stations to Nuevo Tocumen in the outskirts of the city on a 21-kilometer route. The inauguration of the station at the Tocumen international airport is scheduled for early 2023, which will facilitate mobilization to the city center with ease.
Line 3 of the metro will connect Panama City with the peripheral sectors of Arraijan and La Chorrera in Panama Oeste. It will travel 24.5 kilometers and 14 stations. It is estimated that it will start working at 100% between 2024 and 2025. For more details visit www.elmetrodepanama.com
LAUNCHES TO TABOGA- CONTADORA
Barcos Calypso 314-1730
Taboga Express 6261-1740
Contadora y Saboga – Sea Las Perlas Fast Ferry 391-1424
Airlines with Schedule passenger flights
Tocumen International Airport: Phone: 238-2700
Air France – France: Phone 340-5800
Air Canada – Phone 269-6444
American Airlines – North America : Phone 269-6022
Avianca/Taca – Central & South America, Miami: Phone 206-8222
Conviasa- South America: Phone 6049-4911
Copa Airlines – North, Central, South America: Phone 217-2672
Delta Airlines – North America: Phone 214-8118
Iberia- Spain – Phone 836-7001
KLM – Holland- Phone 340-5800
United Airlines- Phone 265-0040
Panama Pacifico Airport (former Howard Airforce Base) – Phone: 316-1567
Wingo Airlines www.wingo.com
Marcos A. Gelabert Airport – Phone 501-9272
Nature Air – Costa Rica www.natureair.com
Domestic airlines fly from Marcos A. Gelabert Airport at Albrook with scheduled flights to all parts of the country. They also offer charter flights to any of the republic´s 150 or more airstrips.
AIR PANAMA: Phone:316-9000 Perlas Islands: Contadora, San José, San Blas: Achutupu, Playón Chico, Puerto Obaldía y Muletupo. Darien: Bahia Piñas, Jaque. Bocas del Toro, Changuinola, David, Chitre.
COPA AIRLINES – David 217-2672
Aircraft and Helicopters: Personal Helicopters 315-1542/315-0612
A tourist can remain in Panama for 90 days. This is normally not extendable but exceptions can be made for such valid reason as visiting familly members or for medical reasons. In these cases visitors must apply for a Short Term Visa. Citizens of the U.S., Canada y Great Britain do not need tourist visas.
PANAMA NATIONAL HOLIDAYS
It is wise to be aware of Panama´s National Holidays when the whole country closes down and businesses and bank are closed. Most are fixed dates but Good Fridays and Carnival vary each year since they are calculated from the date of Easter.
Jan. 1 – New Year
Jan. 9 – Martyr´s Day
Feb. 21 (2023)– Carnival
April 7 (2023) – Good Fridays
May 1– Labor Day
Nov. 3 – Independence from Colombia
Nov. 5 First Cry of Independence (from Colombia) in Colon /
Nov. 10 – First Cry Independence from Spain in Los Santos
Nov. 28 – Independence from Spain
Dec. 8 – Mother´s Day
Dec. 25 – Christmas Day
CURRENCY: The U.S. dollar. Panama´s own coins match U.S. coins in size and value, and are thus acceptable in casino slot machines.
CINEMA Movies are in English with Spanish subtitles. Cost $5.25 per person.
HOSPITALS Panama has a number of very up-to-date hospital the principals being Centro Medico Paitilla (Phone. 265-8800), Clinica Hospital San Fernando (Phone.305-6300, Hospital Nacional (Phone.207-8100), Panama Clinic (Phone. 310-1111) and Hospital Punta Pacífica/ Pacifica Salud (Phone204-8000)
AMBULANCE SERVICE Emi Panama Phone 236-6060
ELECTRICITY 110 voltios; 60 cycles
TIME ZOME Eastern Stardard time. Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Panama
CURRENCY EXCHANGE Red Plus. In the banking area, Calle Manuel Maria Icaza, Torre Magna Corp, Ground Floor, Locale 2. Phone: 209-5793 , Multiplaza Pacific Mall. www.gruporedplus.com