Three-toed sloth - Bradypodidae - Luiaard by Martha de Jong-Lantink via Flickr Creative commons

Citizens of USA, Canada, Britain, other EU countries, and many other nations do not require a visa to enter Panama. You must have six months validity on your passport, possess US$500 in cash or traveler’s checks, and have a round-trip ticket out of Panama and you will be granted a 180 tourist visa for a nominal fee at the airport.

Health and Safety

You do not require a yellow fever certificate in order to enter Panama from the US, but you will if travelling from neighboring Latin American countries (or other affected regions). Not necessary, but recommended, are routine vaccinations of tetanus, MMR, diphtheria, polio, and hepatitis A and B. If your vaccines are not up to date you should renew six to eight weeks before your intended travel date. Some of Panama, including the capital city and the region around Santiago has an extremely low risk of malaria, however in other areas this rises, with an increased risk in the area around the Darien rainforest in the east. If intending on travelling throughout these areas of Panama it is recommended to begin taking preventative malarial medicine.

Panama is well known for being a safe country, with very low crime levels. However, precautions should be taken to protect your valuables against opportunistic crime if visiting poor districts, or best avoid these areas unless necessary. Outside of the city people in rural areas are extremely friendly and helpful, and you are unlikely to have security problems there. One exception is the area on the Panamanian-Colombian border, which is a hotbed for drug trafficking and sheltering Colombian rebel groups, and so should be avoided. However, it is unlikely that you will be able to go anywhere near this area since there is no infrastructure or road access into the jungle.

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