There are two seasons in Panama. The dry season (Panama’s tourist season) lasts from January to mid-April and the rainy season from mid-April to December. Rainfall is heavier on the Caribbean side of the highlands, but most people live on or near the Pacific coast. Temperatures are typically hot in the lowlands (between 70F and 90F) and cool in the mountains (between 50F-64F.
The weather can be hot and steamy in the lowlands during the rainy season, when the humidity makes the heat more oppressive. Rain in Panama comes in sudden short downpours that freshen the air and are followed by sunshine. The dry season is the most comfortable time for hiking. The Darién Gap can be crossed only at that time.Currency
Panama uses the US dollar as its currency. The official name for it is the balboa, but it is exactly the same bill. Panamanian coins are of the same value, size and metal as US coins; and are interchangeable with those from the US.
Variable – either 110V or 220V
Weights & measures: Metric
Tourism and Internet Café Avenida Central between Calle 8 Este and Calle 9 Este, tel. 228-9903, tel./fax 228-7006, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. Management can arrange for local guides to give a three-hour walking tour of the neighborhood. The guides have lived in Casco Viejo all their lives. A map painted on the wall highlights important sights in the district. There’s also an Internet café, a place to make international calls for a low per- minute rate to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, fax and copying services, and a separate video-game center for children. English and Spanish are spoken.
Tocumen International Airport Tocumen is a large facility and center of flights heading to and from the Caribbean, South America, North America and all of Central America. Also, one European city (Madrid) is served. Tocumen is the hub of Panama’s international airline, Copa Airlines. A $21 million expansion of the facilities is currently underway to enlarge the passenger terminal. Panama has flights to all Central American countries and to both North and South America; Miami is the principal hub for flights to Panama. Copa is the national airline. There is a US$20 departure tax on international flights, payable only in cash.
By Cruise Ship
Cruise ships dock at Fuerte Amador Marina and passengers go ashore by tender. Here is a large, duty free shopping center at dockside.
There are three land border crossings between Panama and Costa Rica; Paso Canoas, on the Interamerican Highway, is the most popular, followed by Guabito-Sixaola near the Caribbean coast. There are buses to the border that connect with local services on the Costa Rican side.
The Centennial Bridge of Panama is only the second major road crossing of the Panama Canal, the first being the Bridge of the Americas. (Small service bridges are built in to the lock structures at Miraflores and Gatún Locks, but these bridges are only usable when the lock gates are closed, and have limited capacity.) The Centennial Bridge is located 15km (9 miles) north of the Bridge of the Americas, and crosses the Gaillard Cut close to the Pedro Miguel locks. New freeway sections, connecting Araijan in the west to Cerro Patacon in the east via the bridge, significantly alleviate congestion on the Bridge of the Americas.
Panama has a number of domestic airlines and a good domestic flight network. There is an inexpensive bus system servicing all accessible parts of the country.
Panama has good roads, cheap and frequent public transportation, clean water, and a modern infrastructure.
There are many excellent tours that can be arranged through the hotel concierge or the Tour Desk on your cruise ship. Tours cover Panama City, Colon; the outlying areas; and the Canal.
There are numerous taxi services in and around the cities in both Colon and Panama City. There are fixed rates from the hotels to the city, and vice versa. The average city tour costs $35 for the first 4 hours. You can negotiate extra hours after that.
Outside the City: Boats are the principal mode of transportation in several parts of Panama, particularly between the San Blas and Bocas del Toro archipelagos. Kuna Indian merchant vessels carry cargo and passengers along the San Blas coast, between Colón and Puerto Obaldía. Cars can be rented in Panama City.