June 21, 2024

Panama lifts all travel restrictions

Panama lifts all travel restrictions

Have you already planned your next winter vacation? Panama has been named ‘Upcoming and Upcoming Destination’ by the Wanderlust (UK’s most popular travel magazine) Travel Awards 2022. Panama has become a popular destination for tourists and immigrants due to its warm climate, diverse landscape, advanced health system and relatively low cost of living.

In addition, Panama offers a unique discount system for retirees, which allows, among other things, discounts of up to 50% on flights, hotels and dining out. According to ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), Panama is the second fastest growing economy (7%) in the region for 2022. Competitive advantages as well as its position as a hub for the American continent make Panama an ideal country for foreign investors and expats alike. So it’s no surprise that Panama was named the second best retirement haven for 2022 by International Living (American travel magazine).

Fortunately the government has now lifted all travel restrictions and the country is now open to international travelers again without entry restrictions.

New entry requirements for Panama

The Panamanian government has revised its entry guidelines and welcomes visitors from all countries regardless of their COVID status. Europeans and Americans can travel to Panama without restrictions and stay in the country as tourists for up to three months (EU citizens) or up to six months (American Americans). Entry to Panama now requires no vaccinations, no pre-departure test, no post-entry test, and no quarantine on arrival. In addition, previous online registration and uploading of vaccination certificates are no longer necessary. Travelers are not required to submit negative test results or a COVID vaccination certificate, and no other restrictions apply to entry to Panama.

During your stay in Panama

Wearing a mouth and nose guard outdoors or in closed rooms is no longer mandatory only on public transportation, for people who work or handle food, or when visiting public or private health facilities. Moreover, business meetings are allowed at 100% capacity.

America’s Navel: How to Get to Panama

Getting to Panama is easy. The country has one of the most modern airport infrastructures in Latin America. Most travelers fly into Tocumen International Airport (PTY) in Panama City, which has 2,500 weekly flights and 89 direct destinations (15 in the US), currently more than 21 airlines fly to Tocumen. Tocumen International Airport ranks first in the world for punctuality according to the OAG and was named the best airport in Central America and the Caribbean by Skytrax in 2020.

See also  Great Britain bans flights from Qatar, Oman and Ethiopia

Several European airlines also offer direct flights to Panama. These include Lufthansa (from Frankfurt), KLM (from Amsterdam), Air France (from Paris) and Iberia (from Madrid). Flight time is approximately 11 hours (non-stop). There are also many airlines to and from the USA. For this reason, many travelers combine their stay in Panama with a stop in the United States, for example in Miami.

In addition to Tocumen International Airport, there is also a domestic airport in Panama City called Marcos A. Gelabert, which is located in the Albrook neighborhood (formerly the Canal District). The local airline, Air Panama, flies from Albrook not only to San Jose in Costa Rica and Medellin in Colombia, but also to many beach and island destinations throughout Panama. Copa Airlines also operates domestic flights, flying twice daily from Tocumen Airport to David (Cheriki).

Sights in Panama

Panama has a lot to offer: great beaches, unpolluted nature, great coffee, kind people and a sunny tropical climate with only two seasons (rainy and dry). But Panama is also a country of contrasts: Panama City impresses with skyscrapers, an international financial and banking center, shopping malls and more than 20,000 hotel rooms, ranging from five-star hotels to boutique hotels, and rich hostels and bed and breakfasts. , as well as first-class gastronomic offerings. Outside of bustling Panama City, you’ll find lush mountain areas, hiking trails, stunning landscapes, beautiful coastlines and islands, forest reserves, and indigenous areas offering tourism and cultural activities.

Panama City has been a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy since 2017. While visiting, be sure to try the ceviche (cubes of raw fish soaked in lemon juice), order arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), patacón (fried banana), or order a traditional sancocho soup. .

Panama City

Upon arrival in Panama, you must visit the world famous Panama Canal, which can be visited at the visitor center at Miraflores Locks. I would also personally recommend booking a canal tour to traverse the canal as a day trip and enjoy Panama’s most famous attraction from a new perspective. It will be a great experience for the whole family. While you are in Panama City, you should also visit Casco Viejo (or Casco Antiguo), the historic district of Panama City. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to 1673. Here you will find vibrant squares, colonial-style buildings, and some of the city’s best gastronomy and culture. Be sure to visit some of the rooftop bars as well.

As a rule, it is not worth booking a car during your stay in Panama City, with Uber you can explore the city without any worries and reach all excursion destinations in the city. Fares are much cheaper than those of regular taxis (this also applies to transfers to / from Tocumen Airport).

Caribbean coast of Panama

The territory of the San Blas Islands (also known as Guna Yala) consists of 365 islands (only 50 are inhabited) and is governed by the indigenous Guna group. It is considered one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Panama for its protected natural beauty, white beaches and crystal clear waters.

If you are looking to immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant Caribbean culture while in Panama, be sure to head to Bocas del Toro. Bocas del Toro offers stunning coastlines and stunning national parks, and is one of the best places to visit in Panama for kids. Visit Red Frog Beach, Starfish Beach, Isla Zapatilla, explore a chocolate farm or go dolphin watching. There are plenty of things to do in Bocas del Toro. My personal knowledgeable tip: book a boat trip that will take you to Escudo de Veraguas. It’s a real insider’s tip on Panama which is without a doubt one of the most beautiful islands in Central America.

Chiriqui highlands

Panama’s biodiversity and incomparable landscape are unique. Heading west, you’ll find Chiriqui County, home to the country’s second largest city (David) and Boquete, which is popular for expats, located in the highlands. Nestled in a small valley at the foot of Mount Baro, Boquete is a charming mountain town with a year-round “eternal spring” climate, one of the world’s most exclusive and expensive coffees (the famous geisha coffee) and some of the best restaurant offerings in Panama.

Book a coffee tour (I recommend Cafés de la Luna), visit Finca Lerida (one of my wife’s favorite places), have one of the best breakfasts at Sugar & Spice Café (I love the “Burrito breakfast”), and stay at the Panamonte (this is the place where the president of Panama sleeps when he visits Boquete), take a canopy tour of the Boquete Tree Trek (don’t forget to grab a coffee at the restaurant and grab some fresh trout) and discover one of the many hiking trails like the Quetzales Trail, Pipeline Trail, or climb up the Volcan Baru.

See also  A special coronation gift from Pope Francis

Gulf of Chiriqui: Panama’s Pacific coast

October and November are the best months for whale watching in the Gulf of Chiriqui. Our family loves to stay at Hotel Bocas del Mar in Boca Chica, which provides an ideal starting point for a tour of the island (Isla Bolaños, Islas Secas) or other water sports activities.

Azuero Peninsula

Rich in history and tradition, the Azuero Peninsula offers you a peaceful and relaxing vacation experience: the small town of Pedasí is surrounded by some of the best beaches in the country, such as Playa Venao (world-surfing), and attracts international tourists and expats alike.

Riviera Pacifica: Panama Beach Resorts

If you’re looking for a resort-style beach vacation in Panama, look no further than the Pacific Coast Riviera Pacifica. There are a variety of hotel and resort options here. If you want to end your trip to Panama with a bit of luxury, you should stay at one of the upscale all-inclusive resorts in Bijao, Playa Blanca or Buenaventura. Cham (Playa Caracol) has excellent spots for surfing and kitesurfing, while the beach town of Coronado is another popular destination for expats, with plenty of opportunities for golf, fishing, snorkeling, water sports, restaurants, and more.

For a hassle-free return trip

In order to travel back home without delay, please check the travel restrictions in your destination country and airport before your return flight. A COVID-19 testing center is available at Tocumen Airport for departing passengers. The center is open from 5 AM to 9 PM and provides express COVID-19 testing for travel purposes within 40 minutes ($50 USD). If you need a PCR test, there are many laboratories in Panama City, such as VIDATEC. Business hours are Monday through Friday from 7 am to 4 pm and Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm. The service is also available to customers without prior reservation (no appointment required). PCR tests cost between $78 (results in 12 to 24 hours) or $125 (quick service in 4 to 5 hours), and a rapid antigen test costs $33.

If you want to spend a night near the airport before your departure or right after your arrival, I recommend the Riande Airport Hotel, which also offers a free airport shuttle.