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.
Electrical current is 120 volts, 60Hz. Flat two-pin plugs are the norm. Type A/B.
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.
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.
Emergencies: 104 (Police); 103 (Ambulance).
|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|
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.
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 hire companies represented in the arrivals hall include Alamo, Avis, Barriga, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Thrifty.
Regular taxis operate day and night at fixed prices depending on the number of passengers, but are not metered.
Ther terminals are within easy walking distance of one another.
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 at Tocumen International Airport is plentiful and very cheap.
No wifi services are currently available, but internet services are available at the business centre on the ground floor.