Panama Travel Tips

Panama Travel Planning Tips

It’s All About You!

There could be a number of reasons you’re wanting to know more about Panama. Perhaps you have heard about Panama in the press and you are interested in exploring the Isthmus which bridges North and South America; Maybe you have friends who have been to Panama and their praises have pushed you from curiosity to seriously planning your own Panama Tour; – Or – maybe you are further down the road and you’re looking for those final bits of information that confirm a Panama Retirement is really for you. Regardless of your motivation I know one thing for certain – there is an endless amount of information you could read and review but I bet you would really rather just cut straight to the ‘right information‘!

Goods News – that’s exactly what my goal is with Learn About Panama.

Now, I have to preface that last statement by saying, I would really like to give you a simple ‘cheat sheet on Panama‘ – Everything you ever wanted to know on one page! The reality is, although I could summarize my opinions on one page, that is likely not  exactly what you’re looking for. Your needs, wants, values and life experiences are unique and different from mine. So, all I can do is share my Panama experiences and give you a step by step guide to help you avoid the mistakes I made while taking advantage of the opportunities I was able to discover. Throughout our journey together I will be recommending quality resources which can and will accelerate your learning curve dramatically. I know for certain these steps and resources will save you countless hours of research and a lot of money.

As you read through this and my subsequent ‘Letters from Panama‘ you may or may not find what you are looking for. So, I will always include some external links to help. If you are wanting more or different information just click on any of the Panama links or Quick Tips I include so you can learn about that particular item in greater detail. In fact I encourage you to do this anyways as you can never get too many perspectives.

The Better the Research the Better the Outcome

It is my hope that a few dollars invested now, before you Travel to Panama, will make for the best possible outcome. Whether you are thinking about spending less than a thousand dollars on a Panama vacation -OR- your life savings on the ultimate retirement home – your investment is substantial and is worthy of some quality research to insure everything meets or exceeds your expectations.

When I first started exploring the possibility of living in Panama a decade ago I was surprised at the fact there was very little information. One example – I could only find a few Panama hotels listed on the internet! There were no books specifically related to living and investing in Panama and none on retiring to Panama either. Fortunately the attention Panama has received over the past past decade has brought about the creation of some great resources. I encourage you to take full advantage these. It will save you time, money and frustration. Do your homework before you go, invest a few dollars in research now and the outcome will be far better than anything you could ever experience ‘flying by the seat of your pants!’

The Big Picture: An Overview of the Steps

1. The Basics – where and how to get started on a solid plan to insure your best trip and the best return on your investment.
2. Tools – great resources to build your knowledge of Panama and what you really want.
3. Short Cuts & Savings – key links to products and services which will save you hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars.

Let’s Get Started!

Yet another of my favorite sayings, “In order to get where you want to go. First, you need to know where you are!”

Yes, I’m talking about geography. In one of my upcoming letters I will confess to you that I didn’t know exactly where Panama was. In fact I didn’t even know Panama was in the eastern time zone until I landed in Panama City and realized I didn’t have to change my watch!

Step 1 – Study Where You Are and Where You Are Going

Order these maps:

1. The National Geographic Central America Wall Map.

Learn About Panama with the National Geographic Central America Wall Map

Put this on the wall in your study or the room where you will be doing your Panama planning and research. It will really help to ingrain the layout of Panama and it’s neighbours in your minds eye.

National Geographic Central America Wall Map

Known the world over for their detail and accuracy, National Geographic Maps set the standards we have all come to expect. Used by US Presidents and foreign dignitaries alike, these same maps represent exhausting research. NG Maps make great use of color and extensive detail for type placement to aid readability. This outstanding Central America map contains extensive political information, focusing on countries, capitols, and other cities. Political boundaries are presented very clearly, with different color-bands for each country.

2. The Panama Travel Map

This tear-resistant and waterproof travel map this will be an indispensable resource for your visit to Panama. This is an excellent map for really getting into the details of Panama. I will be referring to smaller Panama communities which you can easily locate on this Map of Panama.

Panama Travel Map

Quick Tip – Pack this in your carry-on luagge so it’s handy as soon as you hit the ground.

Panama Travel MapThe Panama Travel Reference Map by ITMB is the most detailed map of Panama published to date. This Panama map is double-sided, fully indexed, and printed on tear-resistant, waterproof paper.
The Panama Travel Map includes: 
Inset map of Panama City
All roads, highways and railways
International & Provincial borders
National Parks & Indian Reserves
Archaeological and Recreational sites
Points of interest
Hot Springs, View points, ruins, and oil pipelines

Soon you will get my next ‘Letter from Panama‘ where I will introduce you to Panama City and our first impressions and experiences in this cosmopolitan city. After that I’ll send you Step 2 with more Panama Travel and Planning Tips including additional ‘Tools”

Be sure to watch your inbox for my next “Letter from Panama” .

Hasta Luego! PanamaMark


2 Responses to Panama Travel Tips

  1. Mark, We would like to know how to email Chris. From one of you letters we learned he’s the go to guy for Las Tablas if we want to find a rental home in that area. By the way we have ordered and read a great deal of the Live and Invest in Panama in 2011. Great information….. But we would like to know if any changes have been made as far as additional time to the 90 day visitor visa?

    • Hey Barry,

      Here’s the scoop on the Tourist Visa for American’s –

      “As of April, 2010, U.S. tourists are allowed to stay in Panama for 180 days, without extension. If you want to stay longer, a “change of migratory status visa” should be requested through a Panamanian lawyer before the expiration of the 180 days in country. An initial fee of $250.00 must be paid for the “change of migratory status visa.” Please note that the approval of the change in migratory status falls under the Panamanian Immigration Office’s discretion.” as found on