Travel Facts

City Codes
PTY: Panama City (international airport)
PAC: Panama City (downtown domestic airport)
ONX: Colon
NBL: San Blas
DAV: David
OTD: Contadora Island
Entry requirements: Valid U.S. passport
Taxes/Surcharges: International departure tax: $20.
Hotel tax and service charges: 10% hotel tax; 10% service charge usually included in price of tour.
Tipping: Usually not included on restaurant bills; normally 10 to 15% additional. Taxi drivers expect 10%.
Currency: Official currency is the Balboa, however, Panama is one of a few countries that issue no paper money. The U.S. dollar is the currency here (although it's often referred to as a Balboa). Both U.S. and Panamanian coins circulate. Credit cards accepted widely, ATMs in major cities.
Shopping: Many bargains here are duty-free: Swiss watches, French perfume, Swedish crystal, English china and Japanese electronics are popular purchases. Best selection of goods is found on the Av. Central. Duty-free shopping is also good at Panama's International Airport. The folkloric handicraft that symbolizes Panama is the mola. This reverse appliqué needlework is made by the Cuna Indians on the San Blas Islands. Also unique to the area are excellent reproductions of pre-Columbian Panamanian goldwork and jewelry.
Food and Drink: Best bet here is Panama's excellent seafood with lobster the favorite. A popular dish is sancocho, an exceptionally savory, moderately spicy stew made of chicken, corn, yucca, potatoes, plantain, dasheen, onions and local seasonings. Another favorite is ceviche, usually raw sea bass marinated in lime or lemon juice, and served with fiery red and yellow peppers and onions. Also try arroz con coco - a tasty rice dish of coconut and shrimp. Sopa Borracha is a popular dessert made from rich sponge cake soaked in local rum.
Telephone Area Codes:(507) country code, no city codes.

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