Can a submarine travel under a hurricane

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Due to the spread of COVID-19 and the associated restrictions in international air and travel traffic as well as adverse effects on public life.

Before unnecessary tourist trips to Panamais currently being warned.

Epidemiological situation

Panama has been hit hard by COVID-19; Recently, however, the numbers fell significantly. Regional focal points continue to be the metropolitan region of Panama City and the provinces of Colón, Chiriquí and Veraguas.
Panama is classified as a risk area. The Panamanian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide current and detailed figures.


Entry is generally permitted again for all travelers. A negative PCR test or antigen test must be presented, carried out no later than 48 hours before departure. In addition, all travelers must submit a declaration of their health status prior to departure. The corresponding form can be filled out online.

Travelers arriving with no or outdated negative PCR or antigen test must have a test carried out at their own expense (US $ 50) upon arrival at Tocumen International Airport. If the test is positive, people with symptoms or risk factors are initially accommodated for 14 days in a hotel under the care of the Panamanian Ministry of Health. Further tests may be done if symptoms are present.

For travelers who want to enter from Great Britain, India, South Africa or a country in South America or who have stayed in one of these countries in the last 14 days, additional requirements apply: These persons are obliged to complete a PCR no more than 48 hours before departure to Panama - or perform an antigen test. Another molecular test must then be carried out at your own expense at Tocumen International Airport prior to entry. If the test result is negative, a three-day quarantine must then be completed in one's own apartment or in a hotel for travelers under the supervision of the Panamanian Ministry of Health. After the three-day quarantine has expired, another test is carried out in order to be able to end the quarantine if the test result is negative. If the test result is positive, a 14-day quarantine must be completed in a hotel under the care of the Panamanian Ministry of Health.

Entry by land from Costa Rica is again possible for foreign tourists. In this case, too, a negative COVID-19 test carried out no more than 48 hours before entry must be presented.

Transit and onward travel

It is currently not possible to continue traveling to Costa Rica by land. At the moment, entry from Costa Rica to Panama by land is only permitted, but not from Panama to Costa Rica.

Travel connections

International air traffic to Europe and other countries on the American continent is taking place again. However, there may be cancellations or changes to bookings at short notice.

Restrictions in the country

Panama has declared a state of emergency. There is a curfew between midnight and 4 a.m. across the country.

Depending on the epidemiological situation, there may be short-term deviating restrictions in individual regions, such as regional exit closures on weekends. For trips between different parts of the country, a negative COVID-19 test may be required, and corresponding tests can also be carried out by local authorities. The Panamanian Ministry of Health provides more information on regionally specific features.

Hotels are allowed to open, some museums and other tourist facilities are still temporarily closed. Events with more than ten people are prohibited, including trade fairs, concerts, parades, work meetings and sporting events with an audience. Shops are open with restrictions imposed by hygiene and distance rules.

Hygiene rules

Mouth and nose protection is mandatory in all public spaces. Failure to comply can be sanctioned with a fine. Before entering shops, banks or public buildings, the body temperature is checked; visitors must also disinfect their hands. A minimum distance of two meters between people is recommended. In addition to mouth and nose protection, a face shield should also be worn in local public transport.

  • Make sure you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions from local authorities. High fines can be imposed if the hygiene regulations are violated.
  • Find out more about detailed measures and additional information from the Panamanian Ministry of Health or follow them on their Twitter channel.
  • When you return to Germany, note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, test and quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the responsible company or your tour operator, if necessary, and contact the health department at your place of residence or residence if you are entering from a risk area . Further information is available in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.


From stays in the east and south of the jungle province of Darién south of Yaviza, especially in the border area with Colombia, is strongly discouraged.


Domestic situation

Demonstrations and protests for domestic political reasons repeatedly lead to the use of violence and road blockades. Such opportunities are also used by criminals for robbing motorists and looting.

There are high security risks in the east and south of the Darién jungle province, especially in the border area with Colombia. Criminal organizations and a few illegal, armed drug gangs from Colombia operate in this area, and they do not shy away from using weapons. In many places there are access barriers, it is at the discretion of police control posts to allow travelers to continue their journey.

  • It is imperative that you respect police barriers to entry.
  • Find out about the local media.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings of people in large areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local security guards.


Petty crime such as pickpocketing and handbag theft is widespread.
Violent crime is widespread in Panama City. A particularly high risk of robbery exists in the districts of San Miguelito, Tocumen, Juan Díaz, 24 de Diciembre, El Chorrillo, Santa Ana, Curundu, Calidonia and Pacora as well as in the second largest city of Panama, Colon.

Even in districts of Panama City that are considered to be safer or in other places popular with tourists, such as the popular Bocas del Toro island chain or the Valle de Anton, theft or assaults, as well as sexual harassment and coercion, or even rape alone can occur traveling women, come.

There is a risk of accidentally falling victim to clashes by criminal gangs. Weapons are widespread and there is an increasing number of robberies with the use of weapons, which may be used without warning.

When arriving at Tocumen International Airport, taxis registered at the taxi stand in the airport lobby and also radio taxis and driving services registered in the city or booked online are much safer than taxis that can be stopped on the street. Getting into taxis that are already carrying passengers also harbors considerable risks for robberies.

Yachts that are freely anchored near the coast are a potential target for criminal gangs in the Caribbean waters of Panama.

  • Be especially careful in Panama City and avoid going after dark walks and visiting the poor neighborhoods.
  • Take only organized shore excursions in Colon and avoid exploring the city and the port area on your own.
  • Keep your money, ID, driver's license, air tickets and other important documents safe.
  • Prefer cashless payments and only take the cash you need for the day and no unnecessary valuables.
  • Do not offer any resistance in the event of a robbery, but have a small amount of money ready to hand over and, if necessary, hand in valuables.
  • Only take and reserve registered taxis, do not stop on the street.
  • Be particularly vigilant in large crowds such as at airports, bus stations and on the bus and watch out for your valuables.
  • Do not anchor freely with boats near the coast, but use guarded port facilities.
  • Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, profit notifications, offers and requests for help from alleged acquaintances. Do not disclose any data about yourself; if necessary, make sure yourself personally or contact the police.

Nature and climate

Tropical storms

There is a tropical climate. May through November is hurricane season. During this time, tropical storms and intense rains, landslides and floods can be expected, which can also have a significant impact on tourist traffic.


Panama is located in a seismically active zone, which is why earthquakes can occur.

Flood waves in rivers

Every year, when swimming in rivers, fatal accidents occur when swimming in originally shallow and calm waters, when unpredictable rainfalls further upstream lead to a strong tidal wave that can carry bathers away. Even supposed streams and shallow rivers can turn into torrents within seconds.

Travel info

Infrastructure / traffic

Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.

There is an internal flight network and dense bus connections. There are taxis and rental cars in the cities. There is a railway line between Panama City and Colon, which can only be used for passenger traffic on weekdays.
Organized tourism is still developing.

The road network can be classified as good in a regional comparison. Most parts of the Panamericana stretching from Panama City along the Pacific coast to the Costa Rican border are in good condition. The north-south axis from Panama City to Colon is currently being repaired. Away from the main roads, there are only a few asphalt roads; after a few kilometers these occasionally turn into gravel or sand tracks and then prove to be impassable during the long rainy season. The east of the country is hardly developed in terms of traffic, the Panamericana (asphalt part) ends far before the border with Colombia. Buses run regularly to all major towns in the country. Isolated roads in the highlands of Chiriqui, Veraguas and Bocas Del Toro have been badly damaged as a result of floods. It is advisable to find out in advance whether the destination in these provinces can be reached by land.

Driving license

Tourists in Panama are allowed to drive a car with a valid German driver's license for a stay of up to 90 days. For a longer period of time, it is necessary to transfer to a Panamanian driver's license.


Homosexuality is not a criminal offense in Panama. However, social acceptance is not widespread. Hostility can arise, especially in rural areas.

Legal specifics

Drug possession and trafficking are also criminal offenses in Panama and are prosecuted by the local authorities. In the event of arrest, drastic prison sentences can be expected in the country, even for small quantities. Even if there is a mere suspicion of illegal substances being carried, arrest by the police can be expected. The subsequent check can take several days. During this time, incarceration is the norm.

In the autonomous comarca of Kuna Yala, the tribal chiefs rule according to indigenous law. Even minor incidents can result in severe penalties. Boat owners should exercise particular caution here.

Boat owners must also obtain authorization from the Congreso General Guna and the Panamanian migration authority before entering the waters of the comarca.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages on the street / public places is prohibited and can lead to imprisonment.

Money / credit cards

The public tender in Panama is the Balboa (PAB), which is pegged to the US dollar at a ratio of 1: 1. The balboa only exists in the form of coins; otherwise, dollar bills are used for payment. International credit cards, including Eurocard / Mastercard and above all VISA, can usually be used to pay in hotels and shops in Panama City and the larger inland cities. Cash euros can hardly be exchanged. It is therefore advisable to carry US dollars in cash with you. The use of bank (Maestro) cards does not always work without problems.

Money transfers can be initiated within a short time via "Western Union"; there are branches across the country.

Entry and customs

Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.

Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without notifying the Foreign Office beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information going beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app, or you can inquire about them by telephone.

Travel documents

Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:

  • Passport: Yes
  • Temporary passport: Yes
  • Identity card: No
  • Provisional identity card: No
  • Children's passport: Yes

Comments / minimum remaining validity:
Travel documents must be valid for at least 3 months at the time of entry and, in the case of a planned longer stay in Panama, the entire intended length of stay.

The requirements of individual airlines for the documents to be carried by their passengers differ in part from the state regulations. If necessary, please inquire with your airline before commencing your journey.


German citizens do not need a visa to enter Germany and stay for up to 180 days.

Either a return ticket to Germany or a valid onward ticket (land / air) must be presented. In addition, it must be proven that the legal entry requirements for the country of onward travel are met. Sufficient financial means for the stay must be made credible. This means either US $ 500 in cash or the availability of the corresponding amount on the credit card account (verifiable by credit card statement).

Entry by sea

There are special provisions for entering and leaving Panama on ships of any kind (sailing ships, yachts, catamarans, etc.): An entry fee of 100 to 200 US $ will be charged upon entry.

Tourist travelers only receive a visa for 72 hours when entering by ship. If you want to stay in Panama for more than 72 hours, you should contact the responsible migration authority at the port of landing to find out how a regular tourist visa can be obtained. A stay in Panama for longer than the permitted visa period will be punished as a violation of the Residence Act with heavy fines and possibly expulsion from the country.

When entering by sea via the territory of Guna Yala (San Blas Islands), it is essential to ensure that the passport is properly stamped by the immigration authorities (Migración). Otherwise travelers can be treated as illegally immigrants.
If there is no official from the migration authority on site when arriving by ship, it is up to the traveler to ask for the office of the migration authority and to get an entry stamp immediately, even when entering with a private ship / too early and too late.
Once the traveler is in the country (e.g. in Panama City), this formality can no longer be made up and the traveler is considered illegal without exception.

Entry from Costa Rica

When entering Panama from Costa Rica by land, care should be taken to ensure that both the Costa Rican exit stamp and the Panamanian entry stamp are attached to the passport.

Travelers must first buy tax stamps from the municipal administration (Municipalidad) and then obtain an entry stamp at a separate counter from the immigration authorities (Migración). In general, travelers should always check whether they have received an entry stamp and request it if necessary. Without an entry stamp in the passport, considerable difficulties must be expected when leaving the country or during roadside checks. Since this is a violation of the law, it is punished with imprisonment and payment of a very high fine as well as expulsion from Panama.

Entry and exit via the USA (also applies to San Juan / Puerto Rico) or via Canada

When entering and leaving via the USA, the entry regulations for the USA must be observed; when entering and leaving via Canada, the entry regulations for Canada.

Long-term stay

For longer stays (internships, volunteer work, starting work, etc.), you should contact the Panamanian embassy in Berlin in good time. Information is available from the Panamanian Migration Agency.

It should be noted that German citizens who want to stay longer than the permitted 180 days in the country must apply for an appropriate residence permit (Residencia). The Panamanian migration authority is tightening compliance with the residence regulations. Foreigners who live in Panama without a valid residence permit can be refused entry to Panama when leaving the country, even if they have sufficient cash.

Identification required

In Panama, foreigners are required to provide identification. It is therefore advisable to always have the original passport with you - or at least a copy that also includes the entry stamp. ID checks are carried out regularly.


When leaving Panama, Panamanian children (including dual nationals) and foreign children residing in Panama are regularly required to provide the birth certificates of their accompanying children. Families with children who live in Panama should therefore carry (international) birth certificates of all children with them. If one parent wants to leave the country alone with one or more children residing in Panama, the submission of a notarized power of attorney from the other parent - in Spanish - is mandatory.

Import regulations

The import and export of local and foreign currency is possible without restrictions, but must be declared for a value of 10,000 US $ or 10,000 PAB or more.

Items for personal use may be imported duty-free.
The import of fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and flowers in potting soil is not permitted.


When dogs and cats are imported, they must first be quarantined for 30 days, which can, however, also be carried out at home. In any case, a vaccination certificate with proof of a rabies vaccination and a confirmation from the veterinary office about the health of the pet, certified by the responsible Panamanian embassy, ​​is required. It is recommended to contact the Consular Section of the Panamanian Embassy beforehand.



The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.


In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health. In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.

  • As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.

Vaccination protection

Proof of a yellow fever vaccination is required for all persons from the age of 1 year who are entering from a yellow fever area.
No proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for direct entry from Germany, but vaccination is strongly recommended for all travelers aged 9 months and over before traveling to an area in Panama where yellow fever occurs. These include the regions east of the Panama Canal: the Emberá and Kuna Yala territories, the Darién province and the sub-areas of the Colón and Panama provinces east of the Panama Canal.
No yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travelers west of the Panama Canal (Panama City, the direct vicinity of the Panama Canal, Pearl Islands, San Blas).
When traveling on to a third country, the vaccination can also be requested from Panama.

  • Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the Robert Koch Institute's vaccination calendar up to date.
  • Vaccinations against hepatitis A are recommended as travel vaccinations, and also against hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid for long-term stays or special exposure.
  • Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
  • The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.

Zika virus infection

The predominantly diurnal AedesMosquito-borne infection with Zika viruses can lead to malformations in children during pregnancy and neurological complications in adults.

Dengue fever

Dengue viruses are nationwide by diurnal Aedes- Mosquitoes transmitted. The disease is usually accompanied by fever, skin rash and pronounced pain in the limbs. In rare cases, especially in children, serious complications, including possible death, occur. Overall, however, complications for travelers are rare. There is neither a vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy against dengue fever, see information sheet on dengue fever.

  • To avoid dengue fever, protect yourself consistently against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day.

Chikungunya fever

Chikungunya viruses are diurnal Aedes- Mosquitoes transmitted. The disease is characterized by a high fever and possibly prolonged joint and muscle pain. The symptoms can often not be clearly distinguished from other mosquito-borne diseases. Chikungunya fever does not always heal without consequences, and there are seldom long-term rheumatoid-like symptoms. There is neither a vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy, see leaflet Chikungunya fever.

  • To avoid Chikungunya fever, protect yourself consistently against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day.


Malaria is caused by crepuscular and nocturnal anophelesMosquitoes transmitted. If left untreated, the dangerous one in particular is Malaria tropica often fatal in non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after your stay in the risk area, see Malaria leaflet.

  • If you develop a fever during or even months after a corresponding trip, see the doctor as soon as possible and inform him about your stay in a malaria area.

There is little risk all year round in the provinces east of the Panama Canal. There is a minimal risk all year round in the provinces west of the canal, especially in Ngöbe-Buglé. Panama City and the Canal Zone are considered malaria-free, see recommendations of the Standing Committee on Travel Medicine of the DTG.

To avoid malaria, protect yourself consistently against insect bites as part of exposure prophylaxis. You should pay particular attention to the following points:

  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers the body (long trousers, long shirts).
  • Repeatedly apply insect repellent to all exposed parts of the body, during the day (dengue) and in the evening and at night (malaria).
  • If necessary, sleep under an impregnated mosquito net.

Depending on the travel profile, in addition to the necessary exposure prophylaxis, emergency self-treatment (NSB) is also useful.

  • Discuss the need for a UCB as well as the choice of medication and its personal adjustment, including side effects or intolerance to other medications, with a tropical medicine doctor or travel doctor before taking it