The authorities have declared a national state of emergency and implemented strong measures against the covid-19 virus. The country’s borders are closed. Air traffic is suspended. A national curfew has been introduced around the clock. Colonial businesses, banks and service providers in the health sector can still operate. However, the population only gets two hours a day to make the necessary purchases. An exact time/time is assigned based on ID card/ passport number. It is recommended to familiarize yourself well with measures and local regulations. For more information about coronavirus, see the section Health.
Panama is an interesting and beautiful country, and in most cases staying in the country goes smoothly. Central America generally has a high crime rate, and very high homicide rates in some areas. One must be vigilant for what is going on around them, and be careful about the choice of place of residence and where to travel, especially in the evening. By taking the right precautions, you can avoid being exposed to unpleasant episodes.
Norway is represented by an honorary consulate general in Panama City. The Norwegian Embassy in Bogot¨¢ is responsible for the Norwegian Embassy for Panama. Contact information for consulates and the embassy in Colombia can be found on the embassy’s website.
Panama is considered a reasonably safe place for tourists, with the exception of some urban areas such as Calidonia, San Miguelito, Curund¨´, Santa Ana and Chorrillo. There have been cases of robbery by tourists here and it is therefore not recommended to visit these areas. It is advisable to use caution when using credit cards for cash withdrawals. Passports should be kept safe and that you have a copy with them in case you need to identify yourself, possibly by being stopped by the police.
Some drug trafficking and prostitution occur. There are severe penalties for drug offenses. The possibility of political unrest is considered small. Political demonstrations occur from time to time. Risk of terrorist incidents in Central America is considered low.
- Countryaah: Panama City is the capital of Panama. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
There is right-hand traffic throughout Central America. Traffic accidents are a frequent cause of death and accident that also hit tourists. The roads are of varying quality.
When using a taxi, prices should be agreed in advance and the taxi should not – as is often the case – bring other passengers on the trip. Tourists should also be wary of people begging at traffic lights and generally keep windows and doors closed and locked.
There are no rail networks in Central America. There are frequent flight connections, including to remote locations, but when using small airlines, it is recommended to use those who partner with or are part of the larger international airlines in the region.
The climate and vegetation of Panama is tropical. The temperature is relatively high and stable throughout the year. In certain seasons, there is high rainfall and relatively high humidity.
Panama’s geographical location means that the country is exposed to strong winds and rain from the Caribbean in the period May to October, which can contribute to heavy rainfall, as well as flooding and/or landslides during the rainy season.
With the exception of Belize, relationships between two people of the same sex are legal in all Central American countries. However, most residents have a conservative relationship with homosexuality, and it is recommended that gays exercise discretion to avoid getting into unpleasant situations.
Norwegian citizens staying for a shorter or longer period in Central America are encouraged to register on reiseregistrering.no.
Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance. Make sure that the insurance also covers hospital stays and be aware of the type of activities that are not covered.
The local emergency number is 911. The tourist police «Policia Nacional de Turismo» can be contacted on +507 511 9260.
In crisis and emergency, Norwegian citizens are urged to contact the Norwegian Embassy in Colombia by phone (+57) 1 651 5500. The embassy’s central table is open Monday-Thursday 08: 00-16: 00 and Friday 08: 00-13: 30.
Outside office hours, you can press selection key 5 to be transferred to the UD’s 24-hour operating center. The 24-hour operations center can also be contacted directly on +47 23 95 00 00 or e-mail [email protected]
Norwegian citizens can also contact Norwegian honorary consulates and general consulates for assistance. There are Norwegian honorary consulates in Belize City (Belize), Managua (Nicaragua), Panama City (Panama), San Jos¨¦ (Costa Rica), San Salvador (El Salvador) and Tegucigalpa (Honduras). In Honduras there is also a Norwegian honorary consulate in San Pedro Sula. Updated contact information can be found on the Embassy’s website.
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
Norwegian citizens do not need a visa for tourist and business stays of less than 180 days in Panama. The passport must be valid for up to six months after the scheduled departure date. You can apply for a visa that gives you the right to stay longer than 180 days. Alternatively, one can travel out and inland.
You can be fined or imprisoned if staying in the country illegally. For up-to-date information on entry rules, travelers are encouraged to check with Panama’s nearest embassy.
Although Norwegian citizens do not initially need a visa to travel to Central America, only a passport (including an emergency passport) is the approved identification document. It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that travel documents are valid and that entry and stay regulations are complied with.
Coronavirus (covid-19): The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged all Norwegian citizens traveling abroad to consider returning home as soon as possible, in a safe and quiet manner, in consultation with their travel or airline. Norwegian citizens who live abroad should heed the advice and guidance of local authorities.
Norwegian travelers should generally stay abreast of the development of the corona virus. Follow local authorities’ advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. Information from Panamanian health authorities can be found on the Ministry of Health’s website.
You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD’s answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.
Other important information:
- The authorities have declared a national state of emergency and implemented strong measures against the Covid-19 virus.
- With the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies and other health enterprises, other commercial enterprises are closed, as are schools and universities.
- State security forces are set to ensure compliance with the rules.
- The airport is kept open, but flights between Europe and Panama are suspended for 30 days from March 14.
- The situation is constantly changing, so it is important to keep up with travel/airline companies, airport websites etc. on whether it is possible to travel by air out of the country again.
- Some departures are reported. Travelers are encouraged to contact their travel or airline to confirm flight reservations, or to find alternative itineraries.
- The status of flights can also be found on the airports’ websites.
There is good medical and hospital quality in the larger cities. Offers outside cities are limited. Public hospitals often lack basic medicines and equipment, so Norwegian citizens are advised to use private services. It is common to have to pay before treatment takes place.
There are several reputable hospitals in Panama, including Hospital Cl¨ªnica Paitilla, Cl¨ªnica San Fernando, Hospital Nacional and the modern hospital, Punta Pac¨ªfica. Foreigners will normally have to use the private hospitals instead of the public ones. It is possible to pay by credit card (usually Visa, Mastercard or American Express) – which usually has to be done in advance.
No vaccines are required for visitors. It is currently unknown that there are special diseases in the country.
It is permissible to introduce medicines for personal use, but it is recommended to check with Panama’s nearest embassy for updated rules on the import of medicines.
Panama is one of seven countries that form Central America. The Norwegian embassy in Bogot¨¢, Colombia, covers two of these countries. The official language is Spanish.
Panama is a tropical country and it is common to walk lightly. In Panama City, however, relatively formal. For men, it is sufficient in formal occasions with guayabera, a loose short-sleeved shirt on the outside of the pants.
The Kuna people with their colorful and beautifully woven and embroidered suits (mole), are sought after photo objects. However, one should always ask for permission before taking pictures/filming the locals, and preferably ask an adult before taking pictures of children. It is not uncommon for these to expect payment to pose for a photo.
Three places in Panama are on UNESCO’s World Heritage list: Forties of San Lorenzo and Portobello on the Caribbean Coast and Panama Viejo in Panama City, as well as the National Parks of Darien, Talamanca and Coiba. The authorities are strictly considering violations of the laws and regulations that apply in these places. Criminal proceedings can also be prosecuted for violating the provisions of other natural parks and archaeological sites in the country.
Spanish is the official language of Panama. English is also common in the Channel Zone, Panama City and Col¨®n. Other languages are kuna (San Blas Islands and mainland in the east) and ngabe bugle in western parts of the country. It is therefore advantageous to have some Spanish skills if you are considering a longer trip in Panama.
Credit cards are accepted in most places and easy to use (usually Visa, MasterCard or American Express). Card cloning occurs.
The offer of train journeys within the country is good, but one should be careful about using a boat if the company is not well known.
When driving on country roads, caution must be exercised, both in terms of poor road conditions and lack of road signs or warning. Stop along the road should also be avoided – due to the danger of robbery.
According to allcitycodes, the area code for Panama is +507. The telephone and mobile networks are stable. The Internet domain is.pa.
Normal opening hours for shops are 0900-1700. There are also several major shopping malls that are open 1000-1900. Most banks are open Monday-Friday 0900-1500. Closing times vary somewhat from bank to bank. Most also hold Saturdays 1000-1400.
Public Holidays: January 1 -1. New Year’s Day, January 9 – Holiday to commemorate national heroes, May 1 – International Workers’ Day, August 15 – Establishment of Old Panama City (celebrated only in Panama City), November 3 – Independence Day (from Colombia), 5. November – Commemorative day for Colombian forces to flee from Col¨®n, November 10 – First action against independence from Spain, November 28 – Independence Day from Spain, December 8 – Mother’s Day, December 25 – Christmas Day.