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Panama City

The emerald blue seas of Panama

Practical Info about Panama City

Getting around the city

Panama City can be difficult to navigate at first. The city has a public bus system, but signage is only in the local language, and although the city is currently upgrading its fleet, the old buses can be crowded and confusing for newcomers. Taxis are the most common way to get around in Panama City, as an average ride should be under $10 to most parts of the city. Taxis are not metered, and can be hailed on the street or ordered by phone (although a dispatch fee is often charged). Taxis can also be hired at an hourly or weekly rate, which can be cost-effective for frequent sightseeing and dining trips. Rental cars are available, but the local driving is very aggressive and self-driving can be the source of frustration rather than convenience.

Time

GMT -5.

Electricity

Electrical current is 120 volts, 60Hz. Flat two-pin plugs are the norm. Type A/B.

Currency

The official currency is the Panamanian Balboa (PAB), equal to 100 centesimos, but the US Dollar is accepted everywhere at a rate of PAB 1 = US$1. Balboa are available only in coin denominations. The only paper currency used is US dollars. It is easy to exchange currency in Panama at banks, exchange shops, hotels and the airport. Avoid the black market. The best rates are offered at the larger banks. Old, creased and dirty foreign notes may be refused for exchange. Most major credit cards, American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Diners club, are widely accepted. There are about 300 ATMs in Panama City.

Communication

The international access code for Panama is +507. Coin and card-operated public telephones are available, cards being sold at stores and vending machines. Cell phone providers offer GSM and 3G networks, and there are roaming agreements with most international mobile operaters. There are several internet service providers in Panama and internet cafes are widely available in Panama City.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 104 (Police); 103 (Ambulance).

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2015 2016
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Martyrs Day 9 Jan 9 Jan
Carnival Monday 16 Feb 8 Feb
Carnival Tuesday 17 Feb 9 Feb
Good Friday 3 Apr 25 Mar
Labour Day 1 May 1 May
Independence from Columbia Day 3 Nov 3 Nov
Flag Day 4 Nov 4 Nov
Colón Day 5 Nov 5 Nov
The Uprising of Los Santos 10 Nov 10 Nov
Independence Day 28 Nov 28 Nov
Mothers Day 8 Dec 8 Dec
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec

Climate

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Panama City has a tropical climate, with temperatures staying constant all year round, ranging from 90°F (32°C) during the daytime to 70°F (21°C) in the evening. Humidity is generally high, especially during the rainy season, which is between May and December. The best time to travel to Panama City is between December and March.

Tocumen International Airport

www.tocumenpanama.aero

Getting to the city

The only public transport into Panama City is provided by minivans dubbed Taxi de Turismo, which can be booked from the Information Booth in the arrivals hall. The transfer time is about half an hour.

Car rental

Car hire companies represented in the arrivals hall include Alamo, Avis, Barriga, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

Airport taxi's

Regular taxis operate day and night at fixed prices depending on the number of passengers, but are not metered.

Transfer between terminals

Ther terminals are within easy walking distance of one another.

Facilities

There is a bank and ATM on the departure level. A restaurant and coffee bar are situated on the mezzanine overlooking departures, and snack bars in arrivals. Last-minute gifts can be bought at several stores on the first and second floors, including duty-free. Baggage storage is available, and information booths are located in arrivals.

Parking

Parking at Tocumen International Airport is plentiful and very cheap.

Internet

No wifi services are currently available, but internet services are available at the business centre on the ground floor.