Facts of Panama

Facts of Panama

Below you will find practical information related to travel to Panama

  • Language: Spanish
  • Capital: Panama City
  • Residents: 3, 7 mill.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
  • Currency: Balboa (PAB)
  • Surface: 75,400 km2

Worth knowing

Time difference

The time difference between Sweden and Panama depends on whether it is summer or winter time in Sweden.

Summer time: – 7 hours
Winter time: – 6 hours


In Panama, bars, cafes, nightclubs and hotel restaurants often add a 10-15 percent service charge to the bill. The supplement is stated in the note. In addition to the supplement, it is also customary for the waiter / waitress to receive an additional 5-10 percent in tips. If the bill does not contain a service surcharge, you can leave 10-15 percent of the total amount in tips. The drinking system is part of Panama’s culture and should therefore be respected. For the sake of safety, we would like to emphasize that it is of course highly voluntary to leave tips.


Bus The
buses in Panama do not quite meet the same standard as in Europe, but we use those that are in good condition and are equipped with air conditioning.

When traveling with Albatross, we usually travel the longer distances in Central America with domestic flights. The Swedish tour guide informs the tour participants about all practicalities at check-in at the airport and flight time.

Price level

It is relatively cheap to eat at a restaurant in Panama. A meal (both lunch and dinner) costs around SEK 120. Including drinks, you can therefore do well at less than SEK 350 per day. Souvenirs and crafts are available in all price ranges and much is quite cheap.

Currency and credit cards

Panama’s currency is called Balboa (PAB). US dollars are often used as a means of payment, so feel free to bring them. You usually get the exchange back in local currency, which means that you do not necessarily have to exchange money. You can not switch to balboa in Sweden.

If you bring US dollars with you from home, be careful not to bring denominations larger than 20-dollar bills, as 50- and 100-dollar bills are often prone to counterfeiting.

Larger shops, restaurants and hotels accept VISA cards and you can also withdraw money with them at ATMs. MasterCard and American Express can also be used but are not as viable as Visa.


In Panama, the following power sources are used: 120 volts AC, 60Hz. In Panama, flat blade connectors are used, just like in the US, so feel free to bring an adapter.

Telephone and internet

According to Allcitycodes, Panama’s international country code is +507. It is expensive to call home from Panama, so you may inquire with your mobile operator about coverage and call prices. Most hotels have internet service and the connection is usually very good.

Drinking water and hygiene

In Panama, hygienic conditions do not reach the same level as in Western Europe. However, hotels and larger restaurants have modern / western toilet facilities. In public toilets or in rural areas, the standard can be more primitive without toilet paper and the like. Bring your own toilet paper or a package of wet wipes and possibly. hand disinfection (available at Swedish pharmacies, among other places). Then you can do without water if there is no such thing. In Panama City and Colón, it is good to drink tap water. In other parts of the country, you should drink bottled water or boil the water before using it.

Food and drinks

You will find French, Spanish and American cuisine in all the restaurants in Panama City and Colón, and there are also a lot of oriental restaurants. The country’s national dishes are usually strong and spicy. The dishes often consist of fish and chicken and lots of vegetables. You will also find an unlimited selection in terms of beer, wine and alcohol.


Smoking is prohibited during flights and bus transport. In addition, most restaurants and hotels are non-smoking.

Good tone

Tourists are usually well received in Panama. However, some areas are more accustomed to tourists than others. Although the locals are used to many tourists, it is expected that local customs and practices are respected. Nature conservation is most important of all. The areas we visit are often protected and their preservation often has the highest priority among authorities and local people. Always follow the instructions of the tour guide or local guides.

At religious sites, there may be specific rules for photography.

Facts of Panama

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