After a long shutdown, Panama has announced it will reopen its borders to international visitors. Panama will open the proverbial doors on Oct. 12 and there will be several new pandemic related precautions in place.
Travelers to Panama must present negative COVID-19 test results, taken within 48 hours of arrival. Those whose results are older than 48 hours will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 test at the airport, at a cost of about $30. There are no arrival restrictions based on country, anyone can enter Panama.
Ivan Eskildsen said in a statement, “After closing our borders to travelers in late March, we are excited to safely welcome visitors back to Panama. The new health and safety protocols reflect our continuous hard work and dedication in protecting both Panamanians and our visitors, and through our efforts, have earned the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp of approval. Our beautiful country, rich in nature, biodiversity, and cultural heritage is once again ready to be discovered.”
Before checking in for a flight, passengers must complete an electronic affidavit, agreeing to comply with the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 measures in Panama.
All incoming travelers are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test, which must be taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival.
If the test was taken over 48 hours before travel, passengers will be required to take an additional rapid test at the airport prior to customs. Travelers are responsible for that cost which is around $30.
If a tourist is deemed to have contracted COVID-19 upon arrival, they will have to quarantine for seven days at a hotel. This quarantine period will be paid for by the Panamanian government. They will be tested again at the end of the quarantine period.
Face masks are required in all public spaces.
Electronic payments at shops and restaurants are preferred to reduce person-to-person contact.
Social distancing measures will be encouraged and enforced. Signs will serve as a reminder to visitors that social distancing is in place.
Reservations are encouraged for all dining establishments as seating is limited to ensure social distancing.
Event spaces are limited to 30 percent capacity and four people per table are permitted at all establishments.
Tours will be operating with a limited capacity of 50% in ground transportation vehicles.
Travel health insurance isn’t required for entry into Panama but is highly recommended.
This could be good news for cruise travel and Panama is a port of call for many cruise lines including Disney. Similar ports of call are reopening their borders to travelers with the same sort of protocols.
If you are looking to trvel to Panama be sure to stay up to date on all travel requirements and any changes made to these policies prior to travel. It is also important to note that unrelated to COVID-19, the U.S. Department of State has issued a red warning for travel Panama for United States travelers due to increased risk of crime.