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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Panama City

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Panama City each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

Mid-January: Panama Jazz Festival (local event)

Each year, the Panama Jazz Festival welcomes artists from all over the world as well as music students from the local schools. Major cultural event that attracts each year thousands of spectators.

Second week in February – Carnival de Panama (celebrated nationwide)

During four days, Panama lives for the various festivities organised all around town. Among the features specific to Panama's carnival celebrations are beauty contests (in Northern and Southern parts of the city), parades, traditional costumes and salsa shows.

Second week in April: International Film Festival Panama (IFF Panama, local event)

The festival showcases local and regional talent. The program consists in film screenings, debates with actors and filmmakers, and Q&As with the audience.

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

October 21: Festival del Cristo Negro (local event)

For this festival, tens of thousands of pilgrims converge on Portobelo, some even walking the 53 miles from Panama City, to pay penance, perform other acts of devotion, and celebrate their faith at the Iglesia de San Felipe. This church is home to an eight-foot wooden statue of the Black Christ, thought to have washed up on a nearby shore in the 17th century. Legend has it that the residents of Portobelo were spared from a cholera epidemic sweeping across the isthmus by praying to the Black Christ on this day in 1821. Following a mass held in the church, 80 able-bodied men begin a four-hour procession carrying the statue around the town, amidst a carnival atmosphere.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Panama City

Panama has a tropical climate, with very high humidity. The dry season extends from January to April and the rainy season runs from May to December. Heavy rains, although often of short duration, contribute to the development of a magnificent array of flora on view in the Panamanian capital and throughout the country.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 22/72 31/88 25/1.0 Good period to go Good period to go
February 22/72 32/90 10/0.4 Good period to go Good period to go
March 22/72 32/90 18/0.7 Good period to go Good period to go
April 23/73 31/88 74/2.9 Good period to go Good period to go
May 23/73 30/86 203/8.0 Not the best period to go
June 23/73 31/88 213/8.4 Good period to go Good period to go
July 23/73 31/88 180/7.1 Good period to go Good period to go
August 23/73 30/86 201/7.9 Good period to go Good period to go
September 23/73 29/84 208/8.2 Not the best period to go
October 23/73 29/84 257/10.1 Not the best period to go
November 23/73 29/84 259/10.2 Not the best period to go
December 23/73 31/88 122/4.8 Not the best period to go
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Tocumen International Airport

Panama City's Tocumen International Airport is located about 24 kilometres (15 miles) east of the city centre.

  • One terminal

Getting from the airport to Panama City and back:
  • By car
    • Accessible via the Corredor Sur or National Road 1.
    • Parking facilities are available at the airport (PAB 0.50 for 1 hour, PAB 24.00 for 1 day).
    • Several car rental companies have offices on the airport property.
  • By bus
    •  Several bus routes connect the airport with the city centre. A single ticket costs PAB 0.25.
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks outside the terminal. The trip to the city centre takes about 30 minutes and the fare ranges from around PAB 25 for 1 or 2 persons to PAB 35 for 3 or 4 persons.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: : +507 238 2761
  • Website: http://www.tocumenpanama.aero

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GETTING AROUND Panama City

Panama City is often congested with traffic. For this reason, public transport is the best option for getting around the city, which also has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive.

By rail

Panama City's Metro system currently has three lines, operated from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. The fare for a single ride is PAB 0.35.

By bus

More than 1,000 metrobuses operate daily in Panama City.

By taxi

Taxis are plentiful in the Panamanian capital. For safety reasons, it is best to book taxis by telephone, rather than hailing a cab in the street. Expect to pay about PAB 10 for a trip within the city centre.

By car

Renting a car is possible in Panama, provided you are over the age of 25 and in possession of an international driver's licence. But it is highly recommended that you drive very carefully, because traffic rules are not always observed by local drivers.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Panama, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Autoridad de Turismo Panama (ATP)

Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

  • Address: Samuel Lewis Ave. and Gerardo Ortega st. – Central Building – Panama
  • Telephone: +507 526 7000
  • Website: http://www.visitpanama.com

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Currency and Exchange Rates

Panamanian currency is in the Balboa (PAB).

1 RUB = 0.02 PAB

1 PAB = 50 RUB

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

It is recommended that you obtain insurance covering health care expenses as well as medical evacuation or repatriation before you leave home.

Vaccinations

It is strongly advised to see your doctor before travelling to Panama.

Visitors arriving from countries where yellow fever is endemic must show proof of yellow fever vaccination, usually documented on an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), and is recommended for all visitors intending to spend at least part of their stay in the inland areas to the east of the Panama Canal Zone. The following vaccines are also recommended:

  • booster doses for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio
  • typhoid, hepatitis A and B, rabies (depending on the length of your stay)

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Panama City.

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Administrative formalities

For a stay of less than three months for tourism purposes, travellers from the countries of the European Union, Australia, Canada and the United States need only be in possession of a passport valid for the duration of their stay in order to enter Panama.

Travellers from all other countries need to obtain a visa and must be in possession of a passport valid for the duration of their proposed stay.

Restriction: As from October 22, 2014, travellers from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are no longer allowed to enter Panama.

For further information, visit the website of the Panamanian Immigration Service: http://www.atp.gob.pa/requisitos-de-entrada-panama

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Spanish phrases that will make your stay in Panama a little easier:

Good day / Good morning: ¡Buenos días!

Good afternoon / Good evening: ¡Buenas tardes!

Good evening / Good night: Buenas noches

Good-bye: Adiós

See you (later): ¡Hasta luego!

Yes:

No: No

No, thank you: No, gracias

Thank you very much: Muchas gracias

I don't understand: No entiendo.

Could you repeat that?: ¿Puede repetir?

Please: Por favor

What time is it?: ¿Que hora es?

Excuse me: Disculpe (to say sorry) / Con permiso (to get past) / ¡Por favor! (to get attention).

Airport: Aeropuerto

Train station: Estación de trenes

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hotel

Hospital: Hospital

Bank: Banco

Telephone: Teléfono

I'm (…): Yo soy (…).

I'm looking for (…): Estoy buscando (…).

How much is it?: ¿Cuánto es?

Do you have (…)?: ¿Tiene (…)?

Where can I find (…)?: ¿Dónde puedo encontrar (…)?

Where can I buy (…)?: ¿Dónde puedo comprar (…)?

I'd like (…): Quisiera (…).

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Good to know

00 507
+ phone number
-8 : 00
of time difference with
Moscow

BANKS

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon
GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
120 V / 60 Hz

Tipping
In Panama, tipping is not necessarily required, although always appreciated if you are satisfied with the service. It is customary to leave a 10 percent tip in restaurants and cafés.