CITY TIPS

Welcome to Panama.
Panama is one of the world's most visitor-friendly countries. Its people are warm and friendly.

Panama has always been an international crossroads; Panamanians are accustomed to meeting people from other lands and English is their second language. It has received the highest ratings for tourist safety.

HOUSING
The most popular housing options for foreigners in Panama City include many condos, most with ocean views, homes in resort communities in the coffee growing highlands, the Caribbean and Pacific islands and homes in golf resort communities.

The three most popular places to live in Panama are Panama City, the beach areas near Coronado and the mountains near Panama City. In the beach areas, beachfront lots are often available as well as homes and condos on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean coasts. Panama's mountain areas, like Boquete, Volcan, Sora and El Valle offer perfect all-year-round spring weather.


EDUCATION
Families with children will find a number of excellent private schools to choose from. Most foreign capitals have just one American accredited school, but Panama has three: The International School of Panama, Balboa Academy and the Oxford International School. Other international schools are available, including the British school among others.

Links of interest
panamainfo.com/en/schools-panama-where-should-i-send-my-kids


MIGRATION
More and more foreigners are settling in Panama. According to preliminary data from 2010, more than 12,000 work permits were given to foreigners, including multinational companies or executives who come from other places in search of better opportunities.

Before going to Panama, you should consider visa requirements. To find out whether you need a visa or a tourist card to enter the country, you should consult the nearest Panamanian Embassy or Consulate in your country of normal residence. Citizens of the US, Canada, and the EU can usually enter with a valid passport, an onward ticket, and proof of solvency. However, it is highly recommended to get up-to-date information well in advance.

The maximum period of stay is 30 days. If you need to stay in Panama for a longer period, you can apply for an extension with the Servicio Nacional de Migración Panamá. Staff at the migration office will ask you to fill out a extensión de turista form (Spanish only).

Expats coming to Panama in order to work for a foreign company, e.g. as an expert or consultant, do not usually require a work permit. However, if you are moving to Panama in order to work for a local company, you will need a work permit.

The Ministry of Labor only grants work permits to people who already have a guaranteed job offer before moving to Panama.

Once the work permit has been granted, an attorney can contact the Migration Department about a visa for your move to Panama. This visa will be issued for one year at a time.

Links of interest
www.panamaenelexterior.gob.pa
www.panamaenelexterior.gob.pa/embajadas
www.panamaenelexterior.gob.pa/consulados

ENTERTAINMENT
Panama city has several different architectural styles from every period of the city’s rich history, from colonial Spanish-inspired buildings to high-rise skyscrapers.

The privileged location of Panama has led to a diverse mix of cultures. Nowhere is this more evident than in the wide variety of restaurants available in the country. In Panama you can try some of the best food in Central America. Experiment with exotic dishes from the Far East, dine at the best European restaurants, or try delicious homemade dishes and seafood

Foreign residents really enjoy the restaurant scene. Due to its status as an international crossroads, Panama City has many fine, reasonably priced restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines. It's fun just trying to decide where you're going to dine.

The Panamanian people love a party - a fact reflected in a wide variety of nightlife spots-bars, discos, pubs and casinos.

Links of interest
www.update-panama.com


TIPS
While in Panama, keep the following information in mind.

Security:
The danger for tourists in Panamá is relative low. Crime against tourists is relative uncommon throughout the country. Of course petty theft happens everywhere so normal safety precautions should be taken. There is usually a large police presence in the streets. You can find street checkpoints in main streets.

Emergency contacts:
Emergency Line: 911
Citizen Center: 311
Police: 104
Firefighters: 103
Operators: 106

Holidays:
1st of January, New Year Day
9th of January, Martyrs' Day (Panama)
Carnival’s Tuesday, The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
1st of May, Labor Day
15th of August, Foundation of Panama
2nd of November, Death Day
3rd of November, Separation Day (from Colombia)
4th of November, Flag Day
5th of November, Colon Day
10th of November, "Primer Grito de Independencia de la Villa de los Santos" (The uprising in the Villa de los Santos against Spain)
28th of November, Independence Day (from Spain)
25th of December, Christmas Day

TRANSPORTATION
The local transportation system consists of bus routes and taxis that circulate throughout the capital. The taxi fares vary depending on the area where you want to go and typically does not exceed US$2 within the city. Outside the city a taxi can cost up to US$10

International transportation is excellent, with most of the major world carriers having a presence in Tocumen International Airport. The transfer from the Airport to the center of Panama City can be done using the service tourist transport that offers two rates: a special US$20 per person with a maximum of two passengers and a bus rate of US$24 with a maximum of three people.

To the see the rest of the country, you can take the Pan-American Highway from Panama City to the border with Costa Rica. Speed limits should not exceed 90km/h, particularly in populated areas. The police provides security throughout this route.

Tips: Tips of 10% to 15% are suggested.

Drver License: Visitors can drive up to 90 days with an international license.

GENERAL INFORMATION


Capital: Ciudad de Panama
Population: 3.405.813 (census 2010)
Weather: Panama is tropical and the temperature is usually uniform throughout the year. The average temperature is 27 degrees C.
Currency: El Balboa, however the American dollar is nationally accepted
Official Religion: Catholic
Language: Spanish
Electricity:The electrical voltage is 110V. 60 Hz, plugs type A are used
Country Calling Code: 507
Economy:From the economic point of view the Panama Canal plays an important role in generating jobs and services. The Services sector, particularly banking and tourism, represent the largest source of foreign exchange earnings. The main export products are bananas, sugar, coffee and shrimp.


Links of interest
www.ipat.gob.pa/informacion-general-sobre-panama
www.panamainfo.com/en