Site Meter
Send Us An Email
Panama Guide

Welcome to Panama Guide
Wednesday, September 18 2019 @ 01:33 pm EDT

View Printable Version

The Tourism Authority Has Started A Campaign Against Illegal Rentals

Travel & TourismThe Tourism Authority of Panama is putting up fliers around the Tocumen International Airport informing tourists that renting out apartments for less than 45 days in Panama is illegal.

These announcements will be placed at information desks in the ATP at the Tocumen International Airport, and at the taxi services desks.

The second step will be putting up banners and videos on other places frequently transited by tourists who enter the country through this airport.

The announcements are published with a specific logo stating that illegal rentals are banned by Law 80 from 8 November 2012.

The ATP is still studying this offense to design an efficient strategy to control it.

The Tocumen Airport is the main entrance to the country in the tourism sector. A total of 1,016,241 visitors have entered the country between January and August, representing an increase of 1.7% and 16,590 more tourists than in the same previous period. (Critica)

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

New study confirms trend of growing tourism to Central America

Travel & Tourism SITCA, (the Secretariat of Central American Tourism Integration), together with the tourism authorities of the seven Central American countries - Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama - have conducted a study on the evolution of the tourism sector in the region over the past twelve years (2000-2012) and made a positive forecast of expected 6.1% growth for this year based on the results.

The study shows that, in the period between 2000 and 2012, tourism to Central America has grown by 122.8% from 4.23 million visitors in 2000 to 9.39 visitors in 2012, an annual increase of 7% on average.

The American continent is the main source of visitors to the region. Domestic tourism from within the region accounts for 40% of the total whereas North America brings between 35% and 40% of visitors. Europe and South America represent 10% of the total.

Costa Rica and Guatemala are the countries that received the highest number of visitors, but it is Nicaragua and Panama the ones that have registered the biggest growth in the period covered by the study, moving from 5th and 6th position (in terms of the total number of visitors received) to 4th and 3rd respectively.

The average spend by tourists has also grown considerably over the last twelve years, mainly thanks to an increase in the amount of products consumed, moving from an average spend per person of US$700 in 2000 to US$1016 in 2012.

FORECAST FOR 2013 - Based on the results of the study, it is expected that the number of visitors will increase by 6.1% this year compared to last year, with an expected total of 9.96 million visitors. According to this forecast, Costa Rica and Guatemala will be the two countries that will receive the highest number of visitors, with around 2 million each.

For 2013, the average spend per tourist is expected to reach US$1016.63, compared to US$1016.18 in 2012. Tourism revenue is expected to be highest in Panama and lowest in Nicaragua.

The data revealed by SITCA shows that the tourism sector in Central America is becoming a main source of revenue for all seven countries and a true motor for the economic growth of the region. (

Editor's Comment: Tourism has increased sharply in Panama over the time period covered by this report, mostly thanks to the implementation of the Torrijos-Carter treaty, the departure of the US military from Panama, and the return of democracy to Panama. In the 80's and 90's most Americans associated Panama with the dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega, and no one really saw or thought of Panama as a potential destination for tourism. Once democracy returned to Panama it took more than a decade for some infrastructure to be built (like the Decameron resort, for example) that would be of a quality to draw tourists to Panama. These days Panama sees more than 2 million tourists per year, which is not bad for a relatively small country with a population of 3.5 million. Those people leave behind a whole lot of money - making even more of an incentive to build even more infrastructure. There is now a "glut" of hotel rooms in Panama City, and developers are reaching out to build new resorts in places like the upper coast of the province of Colon, past Portobelo and out on the Caribbean - which is actually a much better beach than anything on the Pacific side. Anyway, more tourists and tourism dollars for Panama is a good thing. And we're now halfway through September. Once the temperatures start dropping up North, then people start to turn their attentions towards the South, and to seek out destinations where they can thaw out and avoid the snow and ice...

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

San Blas: One Island For Every Day

Travel & Tourism

The newspaper El Espectador from Colombia published information on San Blas. In the note they talk about the incredible potential of the island and how it has been highly exploited through tourism.

The article says the following:

Between the sky, the sea and the sand from San Blas, there is a timeless paradise, drawn between corals and infinite blue waters. Each island receives its visitors with majestic landscapes ideal for holidays, adventure and art.

The archipelago of San Blas is located in the northern coast of the country, to the east of the Panama Canal. 49 of its islands belong to the Guna indigenous people who have their own authorities and laws since 1925. 78 years later they keep their culture pristine, giving the opportunity to tourists to know their simple lifestyle and enjoy the experience of spending a night in a “bohio” (small hut).

The beaches surrounded by coral reefs, some of them the oldest in the world, are perfect for snorkeling, diving and kayak. In the heart of the indigenous community, women, who wear jewelry garnished with geometric patterns of bright colors, long skirts, gold rings in their nose and necklaces, sell the visitors blouses made with “molas;” pieces of colorful fabric that outweigh and reflect the worldview of the Gunas and their spiritual lives.

Besides the fabrics, the economy of the island fully depends on fishing and selling coconut. In the Guna region, there are many touristic destinations, most of them focused on ecotourism (part of them in Carti and in the region of Ailigandi). Even though San Blas is a hot destination, whoever wants to visit the archipelago must be authorized by the leader of the tribe before they spend a night at the place.

Among the most visited islands are Achutupu, Kagantupu, Yandup and Coco Blanco, perfect for sunbathing and appreciating majestic formations of coral reefs and a wide variety of fish. Besides, you have the option of touring with the fishing boats from Colon to have your breath taken away by the landscapes.

Annually, approximately 100 thousand tourists come to this place from all around the world who want to experience how is it to live in the past but in the present, enjoying the nature of each and every island and enjoy the perfect environment for contemplation and meditation.

Hot; temperatures are relatively high (87 ºF) and slightly change over the year.

Area code

How to get there
You can get there in 30 minutes by flying through Air Panama, who takes you from the Marcos A. Gelabert Airport in Albrook, until El Porvenir island in the region.

Where to sleep
Ukuptupu huts, five minutes away from the El Porvenir airport in San Blas.
Kuanidup huts, located in the area of Rio Sidra in the islands of San Blas, they are one hour away (travelling by sea) from El Porvenir.

Don’t miss
The Isla Tigre fair from October 7 to October 10, to commemorate the moment when the Gunas revealed against the Panamanian authorities. They do crafts, agricultural and touristic samples.

What to eat
Lobster with rice and coconut with chicken in marinade, served cold.

You must go to Isla Naciente to do snorkeling or diving.
Visit Isla Caledonia to know about the culture and dances of the Gunas.
Enjoy the beaches and relax while you are in contact with nature. (Critica)

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Hundreds Of Tourists Stuck In The Border With Costa Rica

Travel & TourismHundreds of tourists wishing to enter or leave Panama through its border with Costa Rica were very upset due to the poor conditions they face to have their documents stamped to enter or exit the country.

Tourists from different nationalities said they had to wait over seven hours until they were assisted, because there are only two officers working and the system kept going down all the time.

"The system is down," is what they were saying every minute, said Jazmin Castillo, foreign from Costa Rica who was very upset for having to wait so long.

"There are no restrooms, they have us packed like animals in these long lines, with a very poor customer service and lack of staff to speed up the process,” said Ana Lorena Madrigal, a Costa Rican woman who said she was waiting since five o'clock on Saturday.

Another U.S. citizen said she was “very angry, upset and impatient," and said she is leaving Panama with a bad impression.

The only members of the staff present at the place were the two officials providing the service, who said they are not authorized to give statements.

They did say they had problems with the Internet and the long lines were due to the amount of people going in and out from Panama on Saturday to go on different trips. (TVN)

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panama Invests Over 870 Million Dollars In Airport Infrastructure

Travel & TourismThe Government of Panama invests 877.7 million dollars in the construction, expansion and remodeling of airports, including Tocumen, the country's largest airport, in which 8 million people go through every year.

The Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) reported the millionaire investment “seeks to place the country in the main port of access and transit of the continent” through the “hub of the Americas."

The Hub relies on Copa Airlines, the local private airline, which covers 64 destinations in 29 countries with a fleet of 78 Boeing and Ebraer aircrafts, said the government source in a statement.

The Panamanian government also aims to promote the "tourism boom in the country,” which was reflected in Panama in the year 2012 after a total of 2.08 million tourists arrived and left 2,216 million dollars, according to official data.

The International Airport of Tocumen was built in the 1970s with a capacity for 1.5 million passengers; it was then expanded with the construction of a northern pier, a two-story building of 21,000 square meters and 12 gates, with a total investment of $100 million and has already started operations.

A southern pier is currently under construction, and it is expected to start operations next year, with an investment of 674 million dollars which will help the Tocumen Airport increase its capacity to 18 million passengers, and will position it as "the second largest airport of Latin America."

Currently, the international airport of Mexico City and Sao Paulo (Brazil) are considered the two largest airports, receiving over 26 million people per year.

In Panama's Atlantic coast the new airport Enrique Jimenez is being built, with an investment of 58,3 million dollars, which will serve the city of Colon, city in which the most important Free Zone of the continent is located, and the second largest of the world after Hong Kong.

"This work will make the Colon Free Zone continue in its position of being a tax free area of import and export with great advantages,” said the ATP through its public relations office.

There is also another airport under construction in Rio Hato, Cocle, which is the Scarlet Martinez. This is located to the southeast of the country, and is aimed to benefit the flow of foreign tourists and locals of this area. (Dia A Dia)

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Red Frog Beach Rainforest Resort - Special Offer

Travel & Tourism Discover this unique island oasis and enjoy one night complimentary, including breakfast on the beach each morning, when you book 5 nights by August 31 and stay by December 19, 2013.

Bocas del Toro – Take advantage of the resort’s special offer and enjoy one night “on the house” when you book five nights by August 31 and stay by December 19, 2013.

The Red Frog Beach Resort is located in the beautiful Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro, off the scenic northern coast of Panama.

Red Frog Beach features miles of lush rainforest, an adjacent national marine park, outstanding recreational activities and, of course, a spectacular island location with several fabulous beaches including its namesake beach—designated as “One of the World’s Best Secret Beaches” by The Travel Channel and “One of the Hottest Beaches in Central America” by Frommer’s Travel.

Tucked within the resort’s unspoiled natural beauty are its luxurious accommodations, Bocas del Toro’s finest.

The upscale Villas have two to six bedroom floor plans, private pools and sweeping ocean views.

The Jungle Lodge is an authentic, eco-friendly accommodation set inside a secluded Jungle Village.

The Inn at Red Frog Beach allows guests to stay in a private room in a large shared Villa at the top of the island.

The hill-top Honeymoon King Suite has an infinity edge pool with lush garden surroundings and fabulous views of the turquoise blue Caribbean below.

All the accommodations feature direct access to the beaches, stunning nature paths, and an activity center.

Guests arrive at the resort via a 10 minute water-taxi ride from Bocas town that glides around mangrove ecosystems and puts in next to the beautiful yachts at the Red Frog Marina. From there, guests pick up the keys to their own electric Jungle Cart that can be used to quietly explore the island oasis during their stay.

Accommodations include daily Jungle Cart use:

  • The Villas; Two to six bedroom floor plans from $365/night

  • The Jungle Lodge; from $235/night

  • The King Honeymoon Suite; from $285/night

  • The Inn at Red Frog Beach; King and Queen Suites from $195/night

Other resort amenities include a beachfront bar & grill and activity center, picturesque IGY marina for sailors and mega-yachts, a new Spa just feet away from a stunning waterfall (set to be completed this fall) and a Zip Line Canopy Tour.

Discover the island’s unique biodiversity while gently soaring through the rainforest canopy or hiking its expansive scenic trails that lead to secluded beaches.

Resort guests encounter playful Capuchin monkeys, slow-moving tree sloths, squawking parrots and hundreds of other bird species, giant morpho butterflies, vibrantly colorful frogs and other indigenous wildlife.

More adventurous visitors can rent surfboards, snorkeling equipment or boogie boards right on the resort beach.

Rounding out the opportunities to explore are many boat tours offered in Bocas — including the unforgettable underground island cave tour.

“Our guests like the wide variety of activities and beautiful scenery we have here,” said Red Frog marketing associate Jarisa Garcia. “Nowhere else in Panama will you find such an abundant rainforest coupled with some of the best, white-sandy beaches in Central America.”

For more information about Red Frog Beach or to book your vacation, visit, call 1-888-655-9573 or 507-836-5501 or e-mail

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

The Airline Air France Announces New Route Between Paris And Panama

Travel & TourismThe French-Dutch airline Air France-KLM announced today they will open on November 25 a new route between Paris and Panama, with a frequency of three flights per week.

This is the 25th destination of the company in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, said the company in a statement.

The three weekly flights will be operated from the airport Paris-Charles de Gaulle, with Boeings 777-200 equipped with 309 seats, said the company.

"This new route will complement the offer of KLM which already has a daily flight from Amsterdam-Schiphol and will offer customers of Air France and KLM even more connections, thanks to the Copa Airlines hub at the airport in Panama City-Tocumen, and in particular to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala and Nicaragua," he added.

The opening of the Paris-Charles de Gaulle-Panama City route was possible "thanks to the support and cooperation of the government of Panama, including the Minister of Tourism Salomon Shamah," said the airline.

France-KLM believes the economic expansion of Panama "is supported by major projects such as the expansion of the canal in 2015 and the construction of the Panama City metro in 2014, as well as tourism development."

He also recalled that "over 80 multinational companies have set up their headquarters for their activities in Central and South America and the Caribbean." (Panama America)

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panama's Income From Tourism Increased in 17.3% During 2012

Travel & TourismPanama received more than 2.2 billion dollars from tourism in 2012, 17.3% more than in the previous year, reported the Tourism Authority of Panama.

"Panama has the most productive tourism in the region," and within this context they prepare the fourth version of an international fair for September 20-21, according to the report issued from this authority through their Public Relations office.

They expect to receive approximately 150 companies from several countries, which will present their products and services in the event Expo Tourism 2013, organized in the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City.

The fair will be directed for airlines, hotel chains, tour operators, golf clubs, general entertainment companies, travel agencies, shopping malls, companies dedicated to different services or to sell Panamanian touristic products or from other touristic destinations in the region.

At this event, several wholesale buyers from Germany, Spain, England, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Netherlands, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Canada, United States and Mexico will participate, among others.

"In recent years, Panama has established itself as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world because of the quality of service and facilities provided," according to the official information.

According to official data, more than 2 million tourists visited Panama in 2012, a country of 75,500 square kilometers, with about 3.5 million inhabitants, and coasts in the Atlantic and the Pacific. (Critica)

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Surf is One Of Panama's Best Tourism Allies

Travel & TourismThe recent world surfing games, REEF ISA 2013, left around $270,000 for Santa Catalina, Veraguas, in concept of hotel expenses and consumption in restaurants.

24 countries participated in the championship, with approximately 140 competitors and coaches, as well as the production staff, which added up to 100 people. If you add up to this total the amount of people in the public that attended, you can get an idea of how much the community of Santa Catalina earned during the 10 days of this contest.

Fernando Aguerre, President of the International Surfing Association (ISA), said they seek for three basic elements when it comes to organizing these events: constant waves, a supporting government and capable organizers.

When an event of this type is organized, they create informative content that travels around the world. And if an assessment is conducted for the total of web publications, printed material or audiovisual content appearing in the international media, we can appreciate this ends up being advertising for Panama, which generates five times the total of the investment. (Estrella)

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

New York Times Highlights Tourism in Panama

Travel & TourismPanama has gone from being a boring business center in the Pacific shore to become a major tourist destination in the blink of an eye, states a report in the New York Times, where they take a tour through Casco Viejo, Clayton, Calle Uruguay and other sites.

In 1999 only 457,000 international tourists visited Panama, according to the figures from the World Bank. In 2011, this figure has increased up to 1.4 million. Americans, Venezuelans and Colombians buy second homes and retirement properties throughout Panama.

The journalist says he checked in the Canal House Hotel in Casco Viejo, which did not look very special from the outside, but it was another world inside, a quiet colonial retreat with elegant wooden floors, large windows and a cozy lounge.

On a shelf in the bar downstairs was a framed note from the actor Daniel Craig, who had stayed while filming scenes for the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace", which said: "We would have stayed longer". (Critica)

  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks