Country-specific safety information
Crime In Panama City, violent crime must be expected in some parts of the city. Travelers should not wear flashy jewelry on the street, have little cash and at most one credit card with them. There is a high risk of robbery in Panama City, in the districts of San Miguelito, Tocumen, Juan Díaz, 24 de Diciembre, El Chorrillo, Santa Ana, Curundu, Calidonia and Pacora as well as in the second largest city of Panama Colon (also during the day). If you walk after dark, you are at a higher risk. Cruise ship passengers docking in Colon should join organized shore excursions. We strongly advise against exploring the city of Colon and the port area on your own.
Theft or robberies can also occur in areas of Panama City that are considered to be safer or in other places popular with tourists. It is therefore always necessary to exercise caution – even in the case of seemingly harmless contacts. There is a risk of accidentally falling victim to clashes by criminal gangs.
Weapons are widespread and there are occasional robberies with the use of weapons, which may also be used without warning. Resistance from the victim can provoke the perpetrator and increase the risk to life and limb. Quiet surrender of the valuables or amounts of money requested by the perpetrator can reduce the risk. It is advisable to always have a small amount of money with you.
ID has been mandatory for foreigners since August 2008. It is therefore advisable to have the original passport with you – or at least a copy that also includes the entry stamp. ID checks are carried out regularly.
When arriving at Tocumen International Airport, you should request registered taxis from the taxi stand in the entrance hall of the airport and only registered radio taxis in the city. Stopping a taxi on the street carries risks. There are high security risks in the east and south of the jungle province of Darien, especially in the border area with Colombia. It is strongly advised not to stay there. Criminal organizations operate in the area and they do not shy away from using weapons. There are also incursions by illegal armed groups from Colombia.
There is also a risk of dengue fever, cholera and yellow fever. Medical care is very poor. Police barriers to entry should be respected. It is at the discretion of these checkpoints to prevent the traveler from continuing their journey.
As a country located in North America according to oxfordastronomy, Panama can be hit by the storms during the cyclone season (June to November). Heavy floods occurred in the provinces of Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro (November 2008) and in the provinces of Panama, Colon and Darien (December 2010). In Panama earthquakes can occur due to the regional plate tectonics, but they have been harmless in recent years.
1 balboa = 100 centésimos. Currency abbreviation: B, PAB (ISO code). The US dollar is also legal tender. Banknotes are only available in US dollar notes. There are coins in denominations of a tenth, quarter and 1/2 balboa as well as 5 and 1 centésimos.
MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Diners Club are accepted in Panama City in fine restaurants, hotels, and larger stores. Details from the issuer of the credit card in question. Outside of Panama City, you are usually dependent on cash. Cash can also be withdrawn from ATMs (red “Sistema clave”) with a credit card; the daily limit is currently 200-500 US dollars.
ec / Maestro card / Sparcard
cards with the Cirrus or Maestro symbol are accepted throughout Europe and worldwide. Cards with the Cirrus or Maestro symbol are accepted in Panama at many ATMs (with red “Sistema clave” inscription), but not in shops. The daily limit on withdrawals is currently between $ 200-500. Further information from banks and credit institutes.
Attention: Travelers who pay abroad with their bank customer card and want to withdraw money should find out about the possibilities of using their card from their bank before starting their journey.
Bank opening times
Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Sat 8.30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Foreign exchange regulations
Unrestricted import and export of local and foreign currencies. Amounts from the equivalent of US $ 10,000 must be declared.
Banks and exchange offices exchange money. There is no need to exchange US dollars.
Note: Some stores do not accept banknotes with a value greater than US $ 20. Therefore, you should always carry cash with you in smaller denominations. Western Union has branches across the country that can be used to send money.