General Information

Banking Hours
Most banks are open Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m, to 1:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m. There are a few that are open on Saturday.
Churches
As in most of Central America the majority of the population is Catholic, but all other denominations are represented and respected throughout the country.
Climate
Panama lies very close to the equator and enjoys a tropical climate Temperatures vary between 80-90 Fahrenheit (25-30 celsius). Humidity is very high. Panama has two seasons. The dry season lasts from January to mid-April and the rainy season from mid-April to December.
Clothing
Bring light-weight clothing A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are important if you are hiking or at the coast. Dress for business is formal so bring your suit - lightweight if you have one.
Communications
Telecommunications are first-class and direct-dial service to anywhere in the world is available. Fax, telex. internet and other telecommunication services are available.
Credit Cards
All major credit cards are accepted throughout the country and in most of the tourist areas.
Currency
The official currency is the Balboa and is equivalent to one US dollar. US dollars are widely accepted everywhere in Panama.
Departure Tax
A US $20 departure tax is charged when you exit the country.
Electricity
Panama has 110 volt and 60 cycles service.
Entry Requirements
A valid passport is needed to enter. The requirement for visas to enter Panama has been waived for many countries. It is best to check with a Panamanian consulate before traveling. A tourist card is sometimes needed to enter and can be bought at the airline counter or before entering immigration if you are going to overstay your allotted time extend your visa or tourist card with immigration. Heavy fines are levied for late exiting.
Government
Panama is a democratically elected Republic and elections are held every four years.
Holidays
January 1st
January 9th
February 28th
March-April
May 1st
October 12th
November 3rd
November 10th
November 28th
December 8th
December 25th
New Year's Day
Martyr's Day
Tuesday of Canaval
Easter Friday
Worker's Day
Columbus Day
Separation from Columbia
First Cry of Independence
Independance from Spain
Mother's Day
Christmas Day
Hospitals
Panama has some of the most modern and best-equipped hospitals in Central America.
Language
Spanish is the official language but English is spoken in most of the larger cities and tourist areas.
Population
The population is a variation of many different cultures, 62% mestizo, 14% African descent, 10% Spanish descent, 5% mulatto and 5% Indian. Panama had a total population of 3.2 millions.
Time Zone
Panama is in the Eastern time zone and does not observe daylight savings time.
Tipping
A tip of 10 to 15% is common in Panama. Some restaurants include the tip in the bill so check with management before tipping.
Topography
Panama consists of three different landscape areas. The lowlands (below 2,300 ft.), make up over 85 percent of the country's territory, the temperate lands (2,300 to 4,900 ft.) and the highlands at elevations higher than 4,900 feet above sea level. There are more than 1,600 islands within the territorial area of Panama Over 500 rivers run through the country and more than half of Panama is still forested.



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