PANAMA TRAVEL GUIDE
Panama is a country on the isthmus linking Central and South America. The Panama Canal, a famous feat of human engineering, cuts through its centre, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to create an essential shipping route. In the capital, Panama City, modern skyscrapers, casinos and nightclubs contrast with colonial buildings in the Casco Viejo district and the rainforest of Natural Metropolitan Park.
The ease of travel and a wide array of experiences make Panama one of the most attractive emerging tourism destinations in the world. In just one week, visitors can enjoy two different oceans, experience the mountains and rainforest, learn about native cultures and take advantage of vibrant urban life. The capital, Panama City, is a modern, sophisticated metropolis that resembles Miami and has established commerce, arts, fashion and dining.
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PANAMA QUICK FACTS
- Capital: Panama City
- Currency: US dollar ($, USD; banknotes only) Panamanian Balboa (PAB; coins only)
- Area: 78,200 km²
- Population: 4,177 million (2018)
- Language: Spanish (official), English
- Religion: Roman Catholic 85% Protestant 15%
- Electricity: 120V, 60Hz
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PANAMA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 9 January, Martyrs’ Day
- 1 May, Labor Day
- 3rd Sunday in June, Día del Padre (Father’s Day)
- 15 August, Founding of Old Panama
- 3 November, Anniversary of Separation from Colombia
- 4 November, Flag Day
- 5 November, Colon Day
- 10 November, 1st Call for Independence in Los Santos
- 28 November, Anniversary of Independence from Spain
- 8 December, Mother’s Day
Holidays falling on a Sunday are observed the following Monday.
PANAMA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Panama has a hot and humid, tropical climate, with a long rainy season from May to January and a short dry season from January to May. The rainy season is between May and December and brings an estimated 250-700 millimetres of rainfall across the country. Average annual temperature for the country is 27°C and average total rainfall is 1900 mm annually. However, these statistics vary by region and altitude. Maximum mean temperatures across the country oscillate between 31.1°C and 34.5°C. Minimum temperature ranges from 20.1°C and 22.4°C. Occasional severe storms and forest fires in the Darien Gap are common. Climate variability in Panama is driven mainly by the El Niño Southern Oscillation, tropical cyclones, and sea surface temperatures.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
HIKING & CYCLING IN PANAMA
The best time for outdoor activities in Panama is during the dry season, from December to April. It can get really wet from May all the way through to November.
BEACH OPTIONS IN PANAMA
The beaches in Panama are best enjoyed during the dry season from December to April. It can get really wet from May all the way through to November.
SURFING IN PANAMA
Panama has pretty decent surf all year round. The best time for surfing along the Pacific side is during the wet season from April to November. The Caribbean side is best between December and March, during the dry season, but swells are generally smaller.
KITESURF IN PANAMA
The season with consistent wind in Panama for kitesurfing is from December until April, which is also the dry season. Punta Chame is great for beginner and advanced riders. Another well known kite spot is San Blas Islands.
For more details on kite surfing in Panama expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN PANAMA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.