In this article we bring a guide with the itinerary and the necessary tips to prepare your very own trip to Panama.
The first country in Central America! Finally, I was able to take a trip to Panama, that country that connects America and unites two Oceans. In this first post of the series of stories on Charcotrip we bring you the itinerary and the necessary tips to prepare the trip to Panama.
Without further ado here we leave you with the practical details of the trip:
Visa for Panama?
Can Mexicans travel to Panama without a visa? Can Europeans travel to Panama without a visa? for both questions the answer is YES. Upon arrival you have to fill out a green form for customs (it is one form per “family”). In this form, you must declare if you carry food items or more than 10,000 dollars. When I arrived I stood in line and it didin’t take long to pass, after the classic questions where they ask the reason for the trip, etc., they put a stamp on my passport and ready Welcome to Panama.
After passing passport control I picked up the suitcase, which came out last and I was a little afraid of having lost my luggage. Then I went through customs, there you have to put the suitcases to be examined with X-rays and then the green form is delivered. Ready, now I do arrive in Panama 😀
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With France / Spain the time difference is 7 hours. An assured jetlag. From Mexico (Baja California time) the difference is 2 hours (no difference from Central Mexico).
The official currency is the Balboa (PAB). The peculiarity of this coin is that it has the same value as the US dollar. In fact, there are only balboas coins and dollars are used for banknotes. All prices are marked in balboas (for example: B / 15), in case the product costs more than one balboa, dollars must be used. In my case I already had some saved from our last trip to the United States so I did not arrive with nothing. Then I took everything out of the ATM and I had no problem, as always I recommend you check before how much the operation costs with your bank as it may vary.
There are many places where WiFi is available but I wanted to be always connected 🙂 so I went to the store closest to my hotel and bought a SIM card. The pre-payment plan with minutes and Internet for the whole week came out to me like 15 balboas plus the cost of the chip, which was about 3 balboas. Either with Claro or Mas Móvil the price was the same, I chose Claro because it apparently had better coverage (that’s what some Panamanian Ingress players told us). No complaint there.
To get to Panama: I traveled by plane arriving at Tocumen airport (with Iberia airline), in Economy class. To give you an idea of the price of a Nice-Panama City was 600 euros.
Within Panama: Within the country I used different means of transportation.
– Internal flights: I made an internal flight during my stay in Panama. You had to save time, the journey was from Panama City to Bocas del Toro and vice versa. I did it with the airline Air Panama. Each trip costs approximately 100 balboas. By bus it can also be done, it takes about 10 hours.
– Car: this means of transportation got me from Panama City to the Azuero region. The journey takes about 4 hours. You can search for a car at the best price here.
Hotels in Panama
During the trip to Panama I stayed in several hotels:
Panama City: Sercotel Panama Princess
Bocas del Toro: Hotel Gran Bahía
Chitré: Cubitá Hotel
Which suitcase should I carry?
The climate of the places I visited was generally hot and humid, so I packed only light clothing. With my 40-liter backpack it was enough for 7 days and without the need to wash clothes.
I left on September 21, to return on September 28. Total: 7 days. Despite being a small country, there are many regions to visit, but I concentrated on Bocas del Toro, Panama City and the Azuero region. Of course, I had to get up early almost every day to take advantage of the time. Here I leave the itinerary to give you an idea and if you have any questions you can leave them in the comments:
Day 0 – Route: Crossing the Charco, arrival in Panama City
Day 1 – Panama City: Panamá Canal, Casco Antiguo
Day 2 – Bocas del Toro: Flight to Isla Colon Bocas del Toro, Bahía Delfines, Cayo Zapatilla, visiting the sloth, Red Frog Beach on Isla Bastimentos
Day 3 – Bocas del Toro: Isla Pájaros, Playa Estrella
Day 4 – Chitré and Guararé: outfit with traditional daily skirt, festival of the Mejorana en Guararé
Day 5 – Azuero region and Panama City: visits to the Azuero, Panama City’s coastal strip
Day 6 – Panama City: visit to the Emberá Quera community, Old Panama
Day 7 – Panama City: BioMuseum and end of the trip
Topics of interest about Panama, which I will talk about:
- Expanding vocabulary: new words are added to my vocabulary … such as pocotón (to say a lot) or ¡Ayala vida! (to show amazement at something).