Panama travel advice
Panama can easily be combined with travels to Costa Rica or regarded as a destination in its own right – there certainly is enough to see and do to fill a couple of weeks.
The country also makes for an ideal and alternative stop on the way to or from South American destinations such as Peru, Ecuador or Venezuela.
Panama is still very much in the process of developing its visitor infrastructure and we keep a very close eye on new developments and opportunities as regions open up for travel.
Whether your curiosity principally lies around the engineering feat of the Panama Canal or you wish to venture further afield on paths less travelled, our Panama specialists have the in-depth, on-the-ground knowledge to advise you.
The official language is Spanish, although English is widely spoken.
Food and drink
The standard of food across Panama is good however menus are simple and basic with few choices. White rice is a staple part of restaurant menus and it is usually accompanied by meat, chicken and fish. Vegetarian dishes are hard to come by.
The national currency in Panama is the balboa. Panama is one of the few countries in the world that doesn't issue paper money therefore US dollar banknotes are used exclusively and US dollar notes and coins are legal tender.
When dining out restaurants may include a service charge in the bill however if they do not then tipping 10-15% is acceptable. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, any intended gratuity should be figured in with the pre-trip negotiated fare. Tipping individual hotel staff is at your own discretion, chambermaids are usually the most deserving of a tip and approximately $1 per day is appropriate.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.
When to go to Panama
You’ll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Panama.