Panama Starts Opening Borders

Panama is Open to Tourists with PCR Test Required to Enter

Panama is open to tourists from most countries but a negative COVID-19 test taken 48 hours prior to their arrival is required. Otherwise, travelers will need to purchase one at the airport and, in case of a positive result, undergo mandatory quarantine at a government-designated facility. 

As of today, the entry of travelers who come or have transited through the UK and South Africa within 20 days of arrival remains strictly forbidden.

It’s uncertain how long this air, land and sea ban will remain in effect. Returning Panamanian nationals and residents are allowed to come back but need to follow all the biosecurity protocols.  

Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.

Panama Reopening – Latest Updates

Panama reopens for tourism - travel restrictions

March 17

Authorities have decided to lift some of the strict local restrictions they had been applying over the last few months at national and regional levels. 

Starting March 6, the local government lifted the full curfew weekend in Panama, Panama Oeste, Herrera, Cocle, Veraguas, and Los Santos provinces. Unfortunately, the nationwide nightly curfew that goes from 22:00 to 04:00 will be still in place until further notice. 

Restaurants are now allowed to open for business until 21:00. Beaches, rivers, and swimming pools can open from 06:00 to 17:00.

February 25

Businesses have been reopening according to the plan that authorities announced back in January. Beaches, retail stores, and restaurants are open. Casinos, theaters, gyms, spas, fishing and racetracks are scheduled to reopen in March.

Authorities have put in place a nationwide curfew Monday through Sunday from 10 pm to 4 am. Some provinces have a full lockdown on weekends. During curfew, businesses, beaches and parks are closed and only people with a written permit can be outside. (Source)

Panama’s vaccination rollout has finally picked up in February. To date 70.578 doses have been administered to the population. (Source)

February 1

Panama is open to visitors from all countries with the exception of individuals who reside or have recently been to the UK and South Africa. 

All arrivals must bring a negative COVID-19 test result no older than 48 hours or agree to pay to take one on arrival (USD $50).

Recreational activities like fishing or going to movie theatres, theatres, casinos, gyms, spas, and race tracks are expected to resume in March.

Is Panama open for American Tourists?

Panama is open to all American tourists who can submit a negative COVID-19 test taken 48 hours upon arrival in the country.

Entry restrictions to visit Panama

Travelers who reside or have been to South Africa or the UK in the 20 days prior to their trip to Panama will be denied entry.

  • Arrivals must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR or Antigen) taken within 48 hours prior to traveling to Panama.
  • In case of not having a test, or the test was done more than 48 hours before traveling to Panama, the traveler will be required to take a test at the airport at their expense (US $50.00). 
  • Travelers who turn out to be positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine for 7 days and obtain a negative test result on day 7 to end their quarantine.
  • Sign a sworn affidavit. Find it here.

What places are open?

  • Beaches and rivers are open during mobility hours, from 6:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. 
  • Stores, barber shops and hair salons are open with reduced capacity and/or appointment only. 
  • Restaurants and shops are open.
  • You must wear a mask at all times, except when within your family bubble or when entering the water.  
  • Drinking alcohol at beaches and rivers is forbidden.

What’s the current COVID situation in Panama?

As of March 17, Panama has reported 348,580 positive cases and 6,009 deaths

Daily cases have been declining since December and now are ranging around 1000-1600 new cases per day.

How safe is it to travel to Panama?

According to the CDC organization, Panama is at level 4 warning and any king of traveling to Panama is not recommended. The risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 is very high. (Source: CDC.gov)

Top reasons to visit Panama

Beach in Panama

The country is rich in history, culture and biodiversity. In the early part of the 20th century, the United States built the Panama Canal.

It is considered one of the hardest engineering projects in history. Opened in 1914, the canal continues to operate today. Control was given from America to the Panamanian government in 1999. For a unique experience, visitors can take a tour around the canal.

Panama also offers opportunities for adventure. With miles of coastline and hundreds of islands, Panama is great for those who love water sports.

Travelers can scuba dive, snorkel, go sailing or kayaking, or simply enjoy the beautiful beaches. There are also trails to hike through the rain forest.

Its position as a corridor between North and South America gives Panama an amazing variety of plant, animal and bird species. For those who enjoy more urban pursuits, Panama City provides nightlife, shopping, theaters and museums and fine dining, all for very reasonable prices.

All of this is so convenient for Americans to experience, as a direct flight from Miami to Panama City only takes 2.5 hours. The main currency here is the US dollar, though there is also a local currency called the balboa which is pegged to the dollar.

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