Panama : Safety by CityPanama - safety as a country
Being the capital city and the largest city of Panama, Panama City is the most modern city not only in Panama but the rest of Central America.
Panama City is very attractive for tourists since it is considered a cheap city.
However, the growth of skyscrapers and the increasing number of wealthy people in the city lately, made it expensive, but at the same time, more luxurious and interesting.
Its large population comes from many different parts of the world and the citizens are friendly and helpful and would love to give you some advice. It is a great city for shopping, entertainment, and nightlife.
Nowadays, Panama City is well known as The Dubai of Latin America.
Warnings & Dangers in Panama City
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Panama City has a high crime rate. Wherever you go, use licensed taxis, be careful in la Vieja ruins area, especially at night and avoid poor neighborhoods like El Chorillo. Avoid Santa Ana, Curundu, and San Miguel. It is advisable to keep an eye on your belongings at all times due to the high levels of criminal activity.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
As long as you use the licensed taxis, you will not encounter any problems. But bear in mind the fact that there have been reports of traveler being robbed and assaulted by taxi drivers. Taxis do not have a meter since fares are set by the authorities. During rush hour some buses can get crowded, but it is a safe means of transport in Panama City. If you decide to walk, pay attention when crossing the street since Panamanian drivers are aggressive, they do not slow down on a crosswalk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Tourists in Panama need to be aware that petty crime, such as pick-pocketing and bag-snatching is common, to watch their possessions at airports, bus terminals, and public transport. There are high-crime areas where you need to be especially attentive such as California, San Miguelito, Rio Bajo, El Chorillo, Ancon, Curundu, Veracruz Beach, Parque Soberania, Tocumen, Panama Viejo, Casco Viejo and shopping areas on Avenida Central.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
When it comes to natural hazards, heavy rains may cause flooding and landslides. The hurricane season lasts from June to November. Panama is subject to earthquakes, too.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
There have been reports that travelers have been targeted by armed criminals, especially at Madden Dam and that muggings have happened. The usual targets are people walking alone. The best advice is not to resist and hand over your valuables or give them what they are after. Incidents often happen near the ATMs.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Terrorist attacks are not likely to happen in Panama, but you need to avoid protests and demonstrations and pay attention to any suspicious activity since terrorism attacks which cannot be predicted.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scam risk in Panama exists and it is very developed. Starting from taxi drivers will try to overcharge you, tap on the shoulder or getting something spilled on you to distract you and rob you. Pay special attention when in crowds. Credit card skimming is also frequent, so remain attentive around ATMs or when paying by your credit card.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Women cannot feel completely safe in Panama, especially at night, and they should not walk alone. Even though many female travelers had no problems in Panama City, there have been reports of an assault.
So... How Safe Is Panama City Really?
Even though an experienced tourist would say that Panama City is not a dangerous place, there is a need to be careful in some parts of Panama, certainly in the evening.
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.
As long as you stay away from these areas and practice common sense, you can stay safe in the city since most people are outstandingly friendly and helpful.
Just be a smart traveler as anywhere in the world.
How Does Panama City Compare?
|Belize City (Belize)||37|
|La Paz (Bolivia)||52|
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||45|
- Visas - The entry requirements besides the valid passport and a visa for the countries that it is necessary to obtain it before coming to Panama, some airlines may require passengers to have a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board the flight, since Panama is listed by the World Health Organization as endemic for yellow fever. The countries that need a visa to enter Panama are Australia, Canada, Japan, and the US.
- Currency - The official currency in Panama is the balboa. ATMs are widely available and credit cards are accepted. Beware the ATMs which might "cancel" transactions at the last moment while still debiting money from your account. Counterfeit currency exists in Panama, so pay attention when getting the change.
- Weather - Panama City has a tropical savanna climate, which is characterized by the wet season from May through December and the dry season from January through April. Temperatures are constant at around 27 °C.
- Airports - Tourists who want to come to Panama City can come via Tocumen International Airport in Panama City. Another airport is Gelabert/Albrook Domestic Airport, used only for domestic flights or Panama Pacifico International Airport, located about 20 minutes from the city center.
- Travel Insurance - Travelers are always advised to get travel insurance before starting their journey, no matter where they travel and how dangerous that place is.
Panama City Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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4 Reviews on Panama City
Very safe city, you would have to go out of your way to be in danger
Extremely safe city. Been there a couple times to visit local friends. I’ve walked around casually in various neighborhoods like San Francisco to grab food at various times of day. I feel safer here than I do back in the states. There are low income neighborhoods prople know are “the hood”, and as long as you stay out of those areas at night, you are fine. You would be safe going into those neighborhoods im the day time. At night we took shortcuts through poor and mostly black neighborhoods near casco viejo. And guess what? We were fine, the locals are just hanging out and minding their own business.
Be cautious and you'll have no issues
Having been to Panama 3 times in the last two years, I think it is a lovely place to visit. I know there are risks here but this is the case for places all over the world. Unless my home country warns not to travel someone I feel it is safe to assume the likelihood of something bad happening is rare.
Gets a bad rep, perhaps unfairly
While I had no issues during my trip, a few family members who went along with my wife and I were uneasy for a large portion of the trip. This was mainly due to them seeing something on social media about a woman being abducted in the area we were in days prior. Nothing bad happened to any of us, well aside from a bit of a stomach issue. Not down to the food itself, but a few of us have some weak stomachs.
I’ve been to Panama 5 times in the last 3 years and was there once for 6 months. I’ travelled all over this planet and it is the safest place i’ve been. It is safer than USA. Every time i go i carry large amounts of cash seemingly at all times and i’ve never felt threatened or in danger. Just be smart. Don’t put yourself in high risk stuations. This applies to not only Panama but any country in the world. If you are not vigilant about your safety you can end up a victim. But the chances of it happening in Panama are far less than it happening to you in the USA.