FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Frequently asked questions

GENERAL

When is the best time to visit Panama?


Panama has a dry and a rainy season. The dry season typically runs from December thru March. Temperatures all year round hover in the high 80s to low 90’s. When it does rain from April through November, it will usually be for a short downpour and then remain hot humid the rest of the day.




In what time zone is Panama located?


Geographically, it is in the Eastern Time zone. However, since Panama does not change their clocks for Daylight Savings Time, they are 1 hour behind or on Central time from March thru November.




How do I get to the city from the airport?


There are plenty of choices to choose from when you are ready to leave the airport. You can choose to use Uber, take a taxi or you can arrange for a driver prior to your arrival. You can also rent a car from one of the many companies operating in Panama. See our Transportation page for more options.




Are the car rental prices advertised accurate?


The daily rates are accurate however there are mandatory third party insurances that can range from $18 - $25 per day. Be sure to check with the rental agencies when making reservations.




Are there hotels near the Jewish neighborhoods?


Yes, there are many hotels within a short walking distance to the synagogues and kosher restaurants in Paitilla, Punta Pacifica, Marbella & Bella Vista. See the Hotels page for the ones that are listed in Panama City.




Are there daily minyanim at the synagogues?


There are regular services throughout the week and Shabbat. You can check on the minyan times on Godaven.com and enter Panama City, Panama. You will need to pre-arrange your security clearance in order to enter a number of the synagogues. Please complete the following form prior to arriving in Panama: Visitors Registration Form Due to the current Covid situation, visitors are not being cleared for entrance into the shuls.




Are there any Kosher establishments near the beach resorts?


There are currently no restaurants outside of Panama City. There is a supermarket in Coronado that carries a wide selection of kosher packaged items. Many of the restaurants and caterers in Panama City have also begun to deliver to the beach areas on a limited and scheduled basis.




Do any hotels offer Shabbat meals?


Not yet! We are working with several hotels and caterers to provide for arranged meals. At this time, many of the restaurants will be able to provide take out orders for Shabbat meals.




How far is the Panama Canal from the city?


The Miraflores Locks is less than a half hour ride by car from the center of Panama City.




What is the best time to see boats coming through the canal?


The most popular question without a guaranteed answer. The general consensus is to get there as early as possible. The visitor center is open from 9:00-5:00PM. As a general guideline from a travel site - “ The best times to see big ships are 9:00am to 11:30am and 3:00pm to 5:00pm.”




Can I go to the beach just for the day?


Yes - there are a number of islands you can visit. See the Things To Do and Transportation pages for destination and ferry travel times to and from the islands.




How far are the beach resorts from Panama City?


The resorts are approximately 1.5 to 2 hours by car.




What is the best way to get to the beach resorts?


You can arrange with a private driver or use Uber




How many days should we spend in Panama City?


You can plan for 2 or 3 days to see the sites in and around Panama City.




How do we get to Bocas Del Toro, San Blas, where can we stay?


  • The best and fastest way is by flying.
  • You will take a short boat ride to reach the island when you arrive at the airport.
  • There are plenty of places to stay, but you will need to bring your kosher food from the city.




Do we need to get shots before we travel to Panama?


No shots are required at this time. (Consult with you medical professional)




Do we need to change currencies to use in Panama?


  • Panama’s local currency is the Balboa, but the dollar is an accepted currency all through the country.
  • When you do pay with dollar bills, it is likely you will receive coin change in Balboas.




Do I need to bring Cash and/or Credit Cards when traveling out of the city?


The Beach resorts and the larger supermarkets will accept credit cards. When travelling to any of the islands make sure to have cash as the hotels, tour operators and local merchants may not accept credit cards.




Are the electric outlets the same as the US, or do we need adapters?


Yes, they are the same (110 v) and no adapters are needed.




Can I use my cell phone?


  • You can either subscribe to your US carriers travel plan or purchase a SIM card at the airport from one of several local carriers.
  • If you do purchase the SIM card, all instructions and customer service once you leave the airport will be in Spanish




Who can I contact in event of a medical emergency?


You can call Panama Hatzalah - (507) 294-5000. There are also several hospitals in the immediate Panama City vicinity. Pacífica Salud Hospital Punta Pacífica: Boulevard Pacífica y Vía Punta Darién https://www.pacificasalud.com (Affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medical Center ) Centro Medico Paitilla: Avenida Balboa con calle 53 https://hospitalpaitilla.com/





COVID

Do I need to take a Covid test before I fly?


As of October 27th, all travelers need to present a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours of arriving in Panama. A rapid Antigen (aka Sofia) test will be accepted. You must bring the official test result and present it after departing the plane and before reaching customs. If you cannot obtain a negative test, you will be given (cost of $50) a rapid test at the airport in Panama. The results should be returned in about 30 minutes and assuming it is negative, you will be able to proceed to customs & immigration. A positive or even a false positive test result will require a period of quarrantine. Definitely not how you want your vacation, so best to come to Panama with your negative test in hand.




Do I need any other forms required by the government?


An affadavit confirming your health and understanding of the Covid control measures can be completed on-line at https://www.panamadigital.gob.pa/Registro. If you are unable to complete the electronic form, do not worry, the airline should provide you with a paper form to fill out.




Do I need to take a Covid test in order to leave Panama?


No tests are required in order to leave the country.




Will I have to quarrantine when I arrive back in the United States?


You should check with the local state requirements to determine what you will be required to do when you return.




Are masks required to be worn all the time?


Face masks are required in all public spaces for locals and visitors alike.




What should I expect at the airport when I am departing Panama?


Your temperature will be taken upon entering the terminal. You may also be guided to sanitizing mats to disinfect shoes and luggage wheels.





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PANAMA HATZALAH: (507) 294-5000