Panama reopening to international tourism on Oct. 12


A sign marks the entrance to the Quetzal trail in Boquete, Panama. The trail meanders through the cloud forest, past streams and a wide variety of flora and fauna, including quetzals. - Susan Carpenter/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Officials in Panama announced the Central American country would reopen its borders to international visitors from all countries on Oct. 12.

The Panama Tourism Authority worked closely with the Ministry of Health and other government authorities to implement strategic health protocols designed to keep visitors and local communities safe during the reopening process.

As part of the reopening plan, 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 would be required to take a rapid test at the airport prior to customs and are responsible for the cost (around $30).

Travelers must also complete an electronic affidavit before checking in to their flight, where they are required to comply with all sanitary control measures outlined by the Ministry of Health.

“After closing our borders to travelers in late March, we are excited to safely welcome visitors back to Panama,” Panamanian Minister of Tourism Ivan Eskildsen said. “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 WTTC Safe Travels stamp of approval.”

“Our beautiful country, rich in nature, biodiversity and cultural heritage is once again ready to be discovered,” Eskildsen continued.

Facial coverings are required at all times when arriving and walking through Tocumen International Airport and should only be removed for identification purposes. Other safety measures being implemented include temperature screenings, social distancing protocols, hand sanitizing stations and touchless payment options.

Tourists looking to experience Panamanian cuisine may need to make reservations, as restaurants limit the number of diners to avoid crowding. Additionally, tour operators and attractions are required to reduce capacity 50 percent in vehicles and event spaces are limited to 30 percent capacity and four people per table.

With the implementation of the new protocols, Panama has earned the WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) Safe Travels stamp of approval.


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