Even so, there is a lot of crime to contend with in this Latin American nation. Even though you’ve got this whole tick list of things to do (probably), know that you don’t have to do everything your guidebook recommends. Crime in these areas isn’t going anywhere. These are usually big, air-conditioned, Mercedes Benz buses – some even come with reclining seats. It definitely pays to do your research when it comes to where you’re staying. We have used World Nomads for years now and I have personally made several claims. You can travel at your own pace, do what you want to do, and leave yourself open for an amazing experience. Accessing your money may seem simple, especially if you’ve just got one bank account and one card to get to it, but you should consider having multiple bank accounts. To sum up, taxis in Panama are pretty good, but usually things like agreeing on fares beforehand and not using unlicensed cabs definitely apply here. Independent travel, however, is possible: just be sensible with how you go and you’ll be fine. In other parts of the country, there are fancy highway buses that can take you comfortably from east to west, or north to south. If you are travelling to Panama be warned that the Pan American Highway is very dangerous. An internal investigation into an international arms trafficking network in October 2018 illustrated the country’s ongoing challenges with confronting corruption and organized crime.” In summary: Is Panama safe? On the whole, crime rates are actually pretty high; mugging and pickpocketing is a common issue, especially in the capital. The pickpocketing, the violent crime and the drug trafficking could all add up to a place that you don’t want to live in. The rainy season is something you should know about too. Traveling to Panama is generally safe for solo women, but bear in mind that you should generally hike and explore in a company, never alone. Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way! Most tourists come from the US, Canada and Europe. Taxis. Yes there are some areas to avoid like Colon, the Columbian border area and some neighborhoods in Panama City. I have been to Colon, Panama City and places in between. “We loved it. Similarly, try not to wander into areas where people will be drunk or otherwise under the influence. In cities, traffic can be very heavy and clogged by construction work. With that in mind, having good medical travel insurance is a must. As a general rule, you should always – no matter where you are in the world – go to places that are frequented by locals. These old school, former US school buses – once ubiquitous in the country – were the classic way to get around, and only for around 25 cents (US). There’s nothing wrong with doing that, and may make your trip more rewarding – and more interesting – in the end. Panama is hot and doing this will leave you a sweaty, exhausted mess by the time you get to where you’re going. There are certain areas you don't want to venture in, Chorillo for example but no reason for you to be in that area. No, take it from a professional mariner, there are no hurricanes in Panama. Usual benefits apply: track your journey, read reviews of drivers, no worries of having to converse in a language you’re not proficient in, no need to fumble around for correct change (paying in app and all). Only one Hurricane recorded in Panama, Hurricane Martha, category one in 1969. Things like high chairs in restaurants, as well as children’s menus, don’t really exist – neither do baby changing facilities. Other improved conditions have been reported in Panama. There’s enough going on to keep you busy, and enough in terms of other travellers and friendly locals that you won’t feel lonely, but it won’t be 100% awesome all the time. It’s an amazing destination. Be wary of taxis. Don’t walk around at night – at all. All other things being equal, for each 1,000 feet … One of the most common questions we received when we decided to move from the USA to Panama was “is Panama safe to visit?” This is also a common It also makes for a convenient place for drug trafficking gangs to use. In 2017, an estimated 1.8 million international tourists visited Panama; that’s a fair rise from 2011 when just 1.5 million visitors found themselves here. Is Panama in general an unsafe country to travel? Where Is The Toilet? if anyone helps me I can. Pickpockets are common on the streets, but as with most places, the more touristed areas are generally safer than others. Overall a wonderful country. Panama City is generally as safe as any large city in the US,. Unless you want to stay put in a resort, we wouldn’t recommend bringing children any younger than 4 as this could end up being a very stressful way to see the country. Have traveled there a few times now and it felt very safe. We call these areas, “zonas rojas” (red zones). Make sure you bring a refillable water bottle so that your trip to Panama is a sustainable, planet-friendly one. Panama is a very diverse country and you can’t see it all in one visit. Be wary of pickpockets and bear in mind that mugging and violent crime are also part of this country's street life. If you’re going out hiking by yourself, make sure you go well prepared and pack enough supplies. The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. You have to buy a Rapi-Pass; hit up trajetametrobus.com or buy at supermarkets and bus stops (costs USD $2). the whole of Panama based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. When it comes to what to wear, you should dress more towards modest than not. Tourists should stay out of Santa Ana, Curundu and San Miguel, watch their belongings and use licensed taxis to avoid over-charging and problems with some drivers. Coming back to the airport a man wanted money to let us get in the road to the airport. All in all, we wouldn’t recommend driving in Panama. Not only that, but they’re also very cheap. There are, however, some things that you should be aware of to make sure that you’re as safe as can be. Panama has loads on offer for any kind of traveller. Much better than a lot of major countries especially the US. When it comes to getting around, we wouldn’t recommend a stroller or pushchair; sidewalks are narrow, damaged or nonexistent in some places, and traffic can be dangerous in cities. In 2012, Connie and Mikkel Moller hopped on a bus from Panama City. This way you can tell that the food has been cooked freshly. There’s a lack of funding in the countryside, which means a lack of beds and a shortage of equipment and doctors, as they prefer to be based in Panama City for their lifestyle. It runs from April to November and can result in flooding and landslides, especially in rural areas. Make sure that you park in a safe space and don’t leave anything on display in the car; don’t leave anything valuable in the car, just in case. That change my mind, Where you got that information from Because in my life time station in Panamá Never heard of too many people from different countries coming missing.. Panamá is safe to visit and to retire. Losing your money anywhere in the world sucks. This can be a combination of your own online research – hitting up travel groups on Facebook as well as forums – and asking locals. As you might be able to guess, Panama is family friendly society. Although there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Panama's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out so remain vigilant at all times. Panama is perfectly safe to travel alone. Outside of the large cities, however, the level of medical care can be very limited. The people are very helpful if you need directions or something and it’s much safer than the surrounding countries, likely because of how stable the government is in comparison. Whilst Cuba has dealt with the pandemic successfully so far, commercial flights to the island remain scarce. Far from wanting to warn you off the country, it’s better to know what’s out there to better prepare yourself, we’d say! Adventurous jungles, glorious beaches and both the Caribbean and Pacific lapping its shores! In general, it’s not a good idea to go hiking by yourself or exploring remote areas alone. Look at reviews from other female travellers, make sure they’re positive, and choose according to what suits you. Trafficking is a serious business, and as such poses a real threat to unwitting travelers.\"No me mates, esas drogas no son mías!\" which translates to, \"Don't Shoot, the drugs aren't mine!\"You may not get shot by the police for drug possession, but it is a serious crime to be in possession of even very small quantities of … Public transport is generally safe in Panama, but do be careful on buses and bus stops since that's where pickpockets and petty thieves operate. Note that these were taken from our Backpacking Costa Rica guide and that they are still applicable in Panama. It’s best to give these sorts of people a wide berth and do your best to simply ignore their behaviour. Panama has a reasonably good road system, except in Darien Province where there are very few surfaced roads. Ocean currents, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods are only some of the natural disasters that sometimes hit Panama. Pick-pocketing and mugging is a common issue in Panama City, so tourists are advised to exercise caution, particularly in crowded areas such as train and bus stations, airports and on busy streets, as well as in public transport. But apart from maybe Bocas del Toro you can always find a hostel for $10. Be sure to ask staff at your hostel or hotel where is recommend to explore, and where’s not so safe. Without further ado, let’s look into the details of what makes this country tick…. If you’re unhappy with this, just say so, but you will have to pay more; this, however, will also mean it’s safer for you. Note, however, that this is an IC card affair – no cash here, people. You could even take children as young as 4 years old to Panama, especially if you’re an adventurous family. Another area of Panama to be wary of is the central province of Colon. Metrobuses have dedicated bus stops, with rides costing anywhere between 35 cents to $1.35 (US); routes that use the highway are at the higher end of the fare scale. More information. First off, visiting the country will help. The biggest health risks in Bocas are dehydration, sunburn, and minor infections; or can be related to the inherent dangers of the ocean or partying too hard. It seems like the simplest ever thing, but your hands pick up a lot of bacteria and germs even just on a normal day, so – especially if you’ve been on public transport, or trekking – ensure that you wash your grubby mitts before you eat. You can get around the country quite easily and without too much trouble, being able to get to most destinations you want to see with relative ease. Whilst COVD 19 has not gone away, the world is opening up again to travellers. English should be somewhat common around all of the major tourist attractions in Panama. If you’re travelling with a child in your car, and they’re under 5 years old, then they have to be in a car seat in the back of the car. Panama has a surprisingly good standard of roads and a good system to go with it – in general, that is. Home to the famous Panama Canal, as well as the very infamous Darien Gap, Panama is the place to go for you if you are looking for proper adventures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Panama due to COVID-19. Panama has the third lowest murder rate in Central America, behind Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I have traveled many areas of the country and no problems. There’s nothing much to worry about. If you want to want to travel to Darien Province, you should only travel with an organised group – even then, you’ll only be allowed to areas where Panamanian police are surveilling. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You can live very well at half the price. It’s common for taxis to be shared, but this can be risky. I have visited Panama twice in the past two years. Be extra careful at beaches and ensure that your children don’t go too far from you at any time. In general, you should only eat it at coastal locations where you can ensure that it’s been caught the same day. It’s really just not worth driving in any Panamanian city. Accommodation wise I always stay in Hostels, but I also do not mind paying two/three dollars more a night to stay in a hostel that is better located or has more tours to offer. So naturally, this may lead you to wonder about how viable a trip to Panama really is. Colombian guerrilla groups and drug traffickers are present in this area. There are some no-go areas in the country which are home to drug trafficking gangs and Colombian rebel groups. You may have already heard about expats living in Panama. Response re politicians. I have more fears walking the streets in the U.S. than in Panama. Not like Mexican tortillas, they’re also made from corn dough but are generally thicker. Although visitor numbers are increasing, there’s still a fair bit of crime going on in this Latin American country. Signs are usually not to be found anywhere, so a good GPS is very important. As a solo traveller, anywhere in the world, you should make sure that you keep in touch with people back home. Healthcare in Panama is some of the best in Latin America. But as we plan to take the Panama City <> Colon train, we've read about the unsafe conditions in Colon. The tap water in Panama is mostly safe to drink. These are all reputable radio taxi companies that you can use in Panama City. There’s nature to explore, beaches to admire, culture to soak up, locals to meet. The position of Panama, sandwiched between Central America and South America, occupying both Caribbean and Pacific coasts, is both a blessing and a curse. Kidnapping is not rare, it’s common. It’s a great way to introduce this region to your children. Of course have your wits about you in any big city (Panama City and L.A. alike). Kidnapping? Basically, it’s not worth it. Tourist police in the most visited areas (including Panama City, of course) make sure that visitors not only feel but are more secure. Natural disasters, man thanks goodness, I don’t remember the last time we faced a natural disaster in the country. This way, there’s no big shock – or disagreement – when you get to your destination. You may well be asking, “How Safe is Panama?” and this is why we have created this insider’s guide to staying safe in Panama. It operates in Panama City and Panama City only. You can even catch the Metrobus from Albrook International Airport to pretty much any community around the capital. When you’re travelling on a long distance bus, it’s a good idea to sit next to a female or a family. Vast swathes of Panama are safe to visit at the moment, but there are still areas which are best avoided. It’s normal for a taxi driver to pick and choose who they drive around, depending on their destination, of course. To really tap into the local scene and impress the Panamanians, you should try and speak a little Spanish. Generally, Panama is a safe country to visit. It costs more for a few things, such as the number of passengers, luggage and how late at night it is. Keep away from these. Facts regarding safety in Panama. An infinity scarf, for example, with a secret pocket for your money can do just as good a job as a belt! These are often large, American-type cars, these usually cost twice as much as a regular taxi and are unmarked. However, crime rates are high, and it’s not just the petty crime that’s the issue: violent crime is a common issue in Panama, though it’s on its way to getting eradicated. Avoid the risk and pay a little more to have the taxi all to yourself instead. Panama's legal and tax structures make it a pure tax haven. Was ready to move back to Panama when Biden got elected. While Panama’s murder rate is certainly lower than countries link Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, it is still much higher than in most countries. It’s possible for you to just hail a cab on the street – just wave your arm. The risk of street crime in these areas, specifically to an unsuspecting tourist, is relatively high. You might want to consider making friends with some fellow travellers at your accommodation, so you can travel around and explore the country together. Panama is pretty safe for a solo female traveller. Can you please explain by what you mean by saying, “For average the American, retiring here is not worth it.” Thanks! In general, as a solo traveller, Panama is surprisingly safe. Like everywhere in the world, public transport isn’t your own private chauffeur, so you’ll have to ensure your own security, and that of your money and your belongings/luggage, on any given service. There’s a lot of chances to get access to good healthcare in the capital, as well as good clinics and pharmacies. The most important thing is to pay attention of your surroundings, try not to stand out too much, and trust your gut when it comes to exploring the country. As of May 2017, The U.S. Department of State does not have an official travel warning for Panama. However, you should definitely pay attention to your surroundings and not make yourself vulnerable to being a victim of crime. When it comes to Panama, due to the relatively high rate of street crime and pickpocketing around tourist areas, the risk of losing your money here is relatively high here when compared to many other countries around the world. In Panama City, it’s best to stock up on supplies for your children such as nappies and baby food. Their destination, the fishing village of Pedasi. Generally, Panama is a safe country to visit. Choose your hotel, hostel or Airbnb ahead of time so you’re not last-minute booking a less-secure place. With all those tourists coming in, obviously it’s in Panama’s interests to keep them safe. Do not get into taxis that wait outside of hotels or malls. Otherwise, you could be wrongfully charged for this later. Panama perhaps isn’t as “unsafe” as some of its neighbours, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything that you should pay attention to here. Panama is on the route from the cocaine growing areas of South America to the largest consumer country, the USA. The people here are friendly and the medical services, especially in Panama City, are great. © 2020, The Broke Backpacker. Some tips to make your trip to Panama a safe one. Avoid outskirts of urban areas. 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