How Safe Is Panama for Travel?

Panama
Safety Index:
65

Panama FlagPanama : Safety by City

Panama is located in Central America, boasting two coastlines: one on the Caribbean Sea and one on the North Pacific Ocean, with Colombia (and, of course, entire South America) to the southeast and Costa Rica (and the North American continent) to the northwest.

The most interesting part about it, both geographically and from a touristic point of view, is that it’s located on the isthmus that forms the land bridge connecting North and South America and controls the Panama Canal – the world-famous canal that connects the North Atlantic Ocean via the Caribbean Sea with the North Pacific Ocean, probably the most important and best known shipping routes in the world.

Panama slowly grew into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world: tourists can visit two different oceans and coastlines, go climbing mountains, hiking through rainforests and enjoy the impressive city life which offers to its visitors’ contemporary art, fashion and fine dining.

However, the central marvel and the biggest attraction is still the Panama Canal and it can be seen via an aerial view through the local operator, and you can even enjoy stunt and trick flights with veteran air force pilots and skydives over this engineering miracle.

Warnings & Dangers in Panama

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Panama is generally safe, but you should take precaution on the streets of major cities, and after dark. Be wary of pickpockets and bear in mind that mugging and violent crime are also part of this country's street life.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

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. Bear in mind that bus stations tend to be high crime areas, and whenever possible opt for calling a taxi instead of hailing one on the street.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Pickpockets are a common occurrence on the streets of Panama and tourists are recommended to remain vigilant at all times when on the street. Make sure you don't flash your valuables on the street, be careful when withdrawing money from ATMs and of course, keep all your valuables in a safe place in your accommodation or safely by your side.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Ocean currents, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods are only some of the natural disasters that sometimes hit Panama.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Violent crime exists in Panama and mugging and kidnapping isn't uncommon on the streets of Panama. In such a situation, hand over all your possessions immediately and do not resist. Avoid poorly lit and deserted areas.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

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.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

Scams are very common in Panama, so double check your change, never pay anything upfront and negotiate everything in advance. Watch out for people sending you free drinks and never leave your drink unattended.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

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. Stay away from poorly lit and deserted streets and areas and from people that are visibly intoxicated or under the influence

So... How Safe Is Panama Really?

Generally, Panama is a safe country to visit.

When you visit Panama, you can count on friendly people offering you help with anything you need, especially in rural areas.

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.

There are parts of this country that you should definitely avoid such as the border region between Panama and Colombia, (considered to be extraordinarily dangerous due to the presence of Colombian rebel groups and drug traffickers), most of the city of Colon, El Chorrillo neighborhood of Panama City, and Curundu and El Marañón neighborhoods which are poor and crime-ridden areas.

Although at night the main streets and plazas and districts with bars and restaurants are safe, visitors should be more cautious after dark, especially if they’re moving north along Avenida Central towards El Chorillo.

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.

Useful Information

  • Visas - Many countries need a visa in order to enter Panama, while some, like the U.S and Australian nationals, do not need a visa for stays of up to 180 days. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 3 months beyond the date of arrival. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - There are two official currencies in Panama: United States Dollar and Panamanian balboa. ATMs are mostly available throughout the country, except in some isolated areas, while credit cards are accepted in some establishments such as restaurants and upscale hotels, but may not be accepted everywhere.
  • Weather - The climate in Panama is tropical maritime climate, which is characterized by a hot and humid season with plenty of precipitation (which lasts from May to December) and a short dry season (lasting from January to May).
  • Airports - Tocumen International Airport is the busiest international airport of Panama City, the capital of the country of Panama. It is, also, at the same time the busiest airport in Central America at the moment.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Panama, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Panama Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 28° C
Feb 29° C
Mar 29° C
Apr 29° C
May 28° C
Jun 28° C
Jul 28° C
Aug 28° C
Sep 28° C
Oct 27° C
Nov 27° C
Dec 28° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
323232323130303030293031
Low
°C
242525252525252525242424
High
°F
909090908886868686848688
Low
°F
757777777777777777757575

Where to Next?

8 Reviews on Panama

  1. great website

    great website i am doing a school project on panama and this helped my mom a lot

    1. J
      Jim Lowe says:

      Your mom is doing your report?

  2. E
    Esther Barrera says:

    Only one Hurricane recorded in Panama, Hurricane Martha, category one in 1969. Kidnapping is a rare crime.

  3. my experience

    I have traveled to Panama 12 times and I have never had a problem. I travel alone and meet a friend or friends that live there. I have traveled many areas of the country and no problems. As a female, I am always cautious.

    1. Rena, what brings you back to Panama so many times? Do you have a list of places that are a must for first-time visitors?

  4. S
    Sarah P says:

    Safe for couples travel

    Have traveled there a few times now and it felt very safe. Of course have your wits about you in any big city (Panama City and L.A. alike)

    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.

  5. A
    Anonymous says:

    Panama is a safety country, there are not natural disaster , the crime is low and people vey kind. I liked it a lot.

  6. M
    Michael says:

    Been to Panama about ten times and liked it so much I decided to purchase some land and build a house, never felt unsafe in Panama, I actually feel safer there than in the states

Rated 4.25 / 5 based on 8 user reviews.

Share Your Experience