Best hotels in Panama

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Best hotels in Panama


Panama is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in Latin America. Panama is gaining popularity as a premier destination for ecotourism, retirement and for its cosmopolitan lifestyle. The greatest asset of Panama is its diversity of activities, which make it absolutely worth a visit.

Panama city, the capital, is lively, modern, cosmopolitan, and fast moving. Hip and smart bars and restaurants, great shopping, beautiful Casco Viejo, Old Panama ruins, and the metropolitan park all make Panama City a destination unlike any other. The Panama Canal, one of the Eight Wonders of the World, is one of the most fascinating sites to see in ones life time. With the beaches and coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea, and the more playful waters of the Pacific Ocean, sun seekers are sure to find an ideal spot to relax and have fun in.


ROYAL DECAMERON PANAMA 4* ALL INCLUSIVE

RIU PLAYA BLANCA PLAZA PANAMA 5 * ALL INCLUSIVE

Playa Blanca Beach Resort 4* All Inclusive Kids Free

RIU PLAYA BLANCA 5* ALL INCLUSIVE

DREAMS PLAYA BONITA PANAMA 5* ALL INCLUSIVE

THE WESTIN PLAYA BONITA PANAMA 5* ALL INCLUSIVE

THE BUENAVENTURA GOLF AND BEACH RESORT 5* ALL INCLUSIVE

GAMBOA RAINFOREST RESORT 4* ALL INCLUSIVE

RADISSON DECAPOLIS PANAMA CITY 4* INCLUDES BREAKFAST



Banks & Money

Although the Balboa is the country's currency, the US dollar is legal tender in Panama and is the preferred currency since Panama only mints coins. Carry small bills since you may have difficulty changing US $50 and US $100 bills in shops and restaurants.

Banks are located all around Panama City and some of them have branch offices in the interior of the country. ATMs are increasingly available throughout the more populated areas of the country. Major credit cards are accepted in most large hotels, restaurants, and shops. Smaller shops and hotels often only take cash.

Climate

panama vacationThe climate is pleasantly tropical with temperatures oscillating between 25° C and 30° C. The rainy season is from May to November. The country also experiences climate changes according to altitude, with temperatures around 14° C at the highest points.

For monthly average temperatures please refer to your destination of choice.

Communication

The international code for Panama is 507. There are no area codes in Panama. You will find that the telephone network is quite modern and sophisticated.

You will find basic internet set ups in most resorts, or in internet cafés usually found in major cities. Fax machines and telegram services are easy enough to find as well. Mail to North America takes up to one week. There are several domestic newspapers and magazines, such as the Epasa and Prensa.

Health

panama hotelsAlthough the water in the cities is potable, you should always drink bottled. Gastro-intestinal complaints, known as the turista, can occur in the first few days. It is advised to avoid uncooked foods, fruits and vegetables, and all dairy products. Make sure to protect yourself against sunstroke and heatstroke, especially in high altitudes.

There are no required vaccines to enter the country, unless you are arriving from a yellow fever affected destination. The following vaccines though are highly recommended for any tropical destination: hepatitis A and B, rabies, typhoid, tetanus and yellow fever. Less frequented areas of Panama may also be prone to Cholera, Polio, Dengue fever, Diphtheria and Malaria. If you plan an adventure trip, it may be a good idea to get inoculated.

Official Holidays

January 1 - New Year's Day
January 9 - Martyrs' Day
February/March - Carnival
March/April - Good Friday, Easter
May 1 - Labour Day
August 15 - Anniversary of the Founding of Panama City
November 3 - Independence Day from Colombia
November 3 - Colon day (Colon only)
November 10 - First Call for Independence from Spain
November 28 - Independence Day from Spain
December 8 - Mothers' Day
December 25 - Christmas

Safety

Although Panama is safer than many other Latin American countries, the rate of criminality is slowly rising. Tourist areas are safer of course but certain precautions need to be taken.

Use good judgement, keep money and travel documents well hidden in a money belt and take advantage of the safety deposit boxes provided by the hotels. Always lock your hotel door or your rented car. Never leave any luggage unattended and be inconspicuous with jewellery, cameras, or anything of value. Walking at night is not advised.

Note: Bandits, smugglers, Colombian guerrillas and paramilitary forces make the area of Darien Province between Yaviza and the Colombian border along the upper Tuira River unsafe. There have been reports of armed criminals targeting travellers at Madden Dam in Chagre National Park.

Shopping

panama shoppingPanama stores and modern shopping centers offers all the latest in electronics, cameras, crystal ware, chinaware, perfumes, designer clothes and fine jewellery. Duty-free shopping is available in the Duty Free Zone of Colon.

Traditional souvenirs and handicrafts include the brightly coloured molas, a multilayered textile, tightly hand woven baskets capable of holding liquids, wood and tagua carvings, and replicas of pre-colonial spiritual objects know as Huacas.

Taxes & Tips

The departure tax of around US $40 cash, per person, must be paid when leaving the country, if it is not already included in the ticket

Hotels and restaurants charge a service fee of 10%. These are usually included in your bill so make sure to inquire first. Sales tax is generally 5% on goods and services, a 10% tax on alcohol, and 15% of cigarettes.

Chambermaids are tipped $1 per day and bellboys should receive $1 per bag. Taxi drivers do not expect tips. When the service charge of a restaurant is not already included on the bill, tip 10 to 15 percent.

Transportation

panama transportationInternational flights arrive at Tocumen International Airport. Panama has a number of domestic airlines and a good domestic flight network. Taxis are inexpensive and almost constantly available. The fares vary according to the number of zones you travel. Taxis waiting at hotel entrances are air-conditioned and a little more expensive but some of the drivers are trained guides and speak English or can understand it. Buses to the interior are also comfortable, air-conditioned, with reclining seats and stereo music and very affordable. Car rentals are available but can be expensive.


panama map
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