Nice to Know Stuff
Climate: Panama's climate is pleasantly tropical, and temperatures are practically uniform the year around, from 73 to 83 degrees fahrenheit in costal areas. Nights are generally cool. In the highlands, temperatures range from 52 to 65 degrees fahrenheit. There are two seasons - rainy and dry. The rainy season begins in April and ends in December. During the rainy season you can expect a shower about once a day with an occasional all day rain. Panama averages 65 inches of rain annually in the Pacific area and 120 inches on the Atlantic side of the isthmus. During the dry season the trade winds blow steadily.
Wild Life: With over 900 species of birds, more species of mammals and amphibians than any other Central American country, over 10,000 species of plants and more than 1,350 species of endemic plants and animals, Panama has one of the richest tropical environments on earth. It's landmass encompasses a dozen life zones including two of the largest tracts of primary forest standing in Central America. Nearly 14.5% of the total land mass is protected by the Institute of Natural Resources in 26 separate reserves and refuges.
Language: The official language is Spanish. In the principal cities, many people also speak or understand English. Minority groups speak Italian, French, German, Chinese and Hindustani.
Currency: Panama's monetary unit is called the Balboa and is equal to our dollar. In fact American paper bills are used. One dollar is referred to a Balboa. Coins are identical in shape, size, weight and value to ours but are printed with a bust of Balboa and the penny with a bust of Uraca, a legendary Indian folk hero. American and Panamanian money is completely interchangeable with American Money.
Traveler's Checks: TRAVELER'S CHECKS ARE NOT ACCEPTED ANYWHERE IN PANAMA
ATM Machines: ATM machines are available in many locations throughout Panama.
Water: Panama's water is the purest in the world and in the major cities it can be drunk from the tap. Sanitation standards in restaurants are also high. Milk is pasturized.
Medical Services: Medical services are excellent and include some renowned specialists. Many doctors are internationally trained and most speak English.
Entry Regulations: Depending on your citizenship, you must have a valid passport.
Credit Cards: Major credit cards are accepted throughout Panama City.
Tipping: 10 - 15% - Porters and bell boys receive $1 per bag. Guides should be tipped at your discretion.
Telephones, cable, and internet service: Excellent international telephone and internet service. Most hotels have cable TV with U.S. news programing and movie channels..
Time: Eastern Standard (Central Standard during our daylight savings time)