COVID-19 Panama Update

Ancon Expeditions of Panama is getting ready for welcoming you on your next visit!
The country has been slowly preparing for a gradual re-opening in order to make sure that your travel experience will be a memorable one and especially to give you the peace of mind that your entire trip will be arranged taking into consideration all recommended health and safety protocols by the local Health Ministry and Panamanian government.

We are also proud to be awarded the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel & Tourism Council. Our mission is to make you feel safe and welcome during your stay!


Current updates on COVID-19 for reactivating Panama's economical and tourism activities:

  • August 30, 2021
    • ALL travelers are required to present their completed Electronic Health Affidavit (in physical or digital form) to their airline or carrier BEFORE boarding to Panama.
    • Fully vaccinated travelers with complete vaccination proof (minimum 14 days after their second doses) are exempt from any Covid Test or preventive quarantine to enter Panama.
    • All children younger than 12 years are exempt from any Covid Test or preventive quarantine upon arrival to Panama as long as their parents have fulfilled the entry requirements depending on their country of origin.
    • Non-vaccinated travelers coming from low-risk countries will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama or take a test at their own expense upon arrival to Panama.
    • Non-vaccinated travelers arriving from or that have transited through high-risk countries*  in the last 15 days will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama or take a test at their own expense upon arrival to Panama and quarantine for 3 days at a hotel at their own expense. By proof of a negative test result of a PCR or Antigen test after these 3 days, the quarantine ends. *high-risk countries as of November 30, 2021: Cayman Islands, Barbados, Anguilla, Bonaire, Greece, Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Serbia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Ireland, Montenegro, Croatia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Armenia, Ukraine, Jersey, Georgia, Guemsey and UK.
    • No Covid tests are necessary anymore for domestic air travel within Panama. 


  • July 23, 2021
    • ALL travelers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama.
    • ALL travelers are required to present their completed Electronic Health Affidavit (in physical or digital form) to their airline or carrier BEFORE boarding to Panama.
    • Non-vaccinated travelers arriving from or that have transited through high-risk countries* from in the last 15 days will be required to take an additional, mandatory molecular COVID-19 test upon arrival at Tocumen International Airport before customs (USD $85, at traveler's expense) and quarantine for 3 days. However, travelers arriving from these countries that can present a complete vaccination scheme, equal to or greater than 14 days after the last dose, will be exempt from the 3-day quarantine. More information here
    • *high-risk countries* South America (Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam), India, South Africa, or the United Kingdom 
  • June 7, 2021 
    • Night curfew in Panama City (Panama province) from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. (with the exception in Casco Antiguo from 12:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.). Restaurants and bars open according to curfew. 
    • In the Chiriqui province the night curfew is from Monday through Saturday from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. On Sundays the province remains in total quarantine.
    • Domestic air travel originating from the Chiriqui province to other provinces requires a negative Covid test no older than 48 hours to board the flight. 
    • Entry requirements from other countries to Panama still in place as posted below (May 3, 2021)
  • May 3, 2021:
    • Al travelers arriving from or that have transited through from South America, India, South Africa or the United Kingdom in the last 15 days will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama. In addition, they need to take a Covid-19 molecular test upon arrival to Panama (at their own expense).
      • If the test is negative, travellers need to stay in an obligatory quarantine for 3 days at their house (if resident in Panama) or at a No Covid Hotel in Panama City. If on the 3rd day the antigen test is negative, the quarantine ends.
      • if the test is positive, travellers need to take a genome sequencing test and stay in a 14-day quarantine at a COVID-19 hospital hotel for established treatment.
    • Travelers from all other countries need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen Test no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. 
    • Agua Clara Locks Visitor Center at the Panama Canal's new locks in Colon will reopen on May 15, 2021, with limited opening hours for max. 8 persons per group / 1:15 hrs visit duration

  • April 19, 2021:  
    • Night curfew now only from 12:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. every day (Mon-Sun)
    • Restaurants may extend opening hours through 11:00 p.m.
    • Reopening of bars (open-air) and casinos
    • All travelers entering Panama from South America will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR taken no more than 48 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama (antigen test not accepted)
    • Quarantine for travelers entering Panama from South America is being reduced to 3 days.
    • Travelers from all other countries need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen Test no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. 

  • March 31, 2021, for all travelers coming from South America to Panama:
    • Passengers arriving from South America must wear a face mask and face shield at all times and maintain a distance of 2 meters upon arrival at the airport.
    • When checking in at the airport of origin: must present a molecular test by PCR swab or COVID-19 antigen with negative result performed 48 hours before arrival in Panama
    • When arriving to Panama: must have a PCR or COVID -19 antigen swab test performed before check-in at immigration, at their own cost.
    • Comply with mandatory quarantine as follows: 
      • Passengers with negative results:
        Must comply with mandatory isolation either at home or in a Hotel Hospital, as provided by the Health Authority. On the fifth day, a repeat swab test for COVID-19 antigen will be performed, and if it is negative, the quarantine ends. The Health Authority will cover the cost of this test.
      • Passengers with positive results:
        Must undergo molecular testing by PCR swabbing for COVID-19 and typing test analysis by +ICGES, and comply with mandatory 14-day isolation in a COVID-19 Travelers' Hospital Hotel, as arranged by the Health Authority. The Health Authority will cover the cost of this test
    • This new requirement for entry into the Republic of Panama will not affect passengers with connections at the Hub of the Americas.

  • March 6, 2021, until further notice (depending on the development of COVID-19)
    • Face masks are mandatory in all public spaces
    • Night curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. every day (Mon-Sun)
    • No more weekend quarantine 

  • February 15, 2021
    • Face masks are mandatory in all public spaces
    • Night curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. from Mondays through Fridays 
    • Total weekend quarantine from Fridays 10:00 p.m. to Mondays, 4:00 a.m. in the provinces of Panamá (City), Panamá Oeste, Cocle, Veraguas, Los Santos and Herrera. All other provinces (e.g. Chiriqui, Bocas, Azuero as popular travel areas) have no weekend quarantine in place, only the night curfew as listed under bullet point 1.
    • Many cultural and leisure sites slowly reopening (NOTE: Panama Canal Transits will start operating again from October 2021. Panama Canal Visitor Centers have not yet announced the reopening date). 
    • Restaurants and cafés with seat-in slowly reopening (close by 9:00 pm)
    • Retail trade, stores, and shopping malls open again 
    • No more restrictions of gender-based movement 

  • January 14, 2021 
    • Night curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. from Mondays through Fridays
    • Total weekend quarantine from Fridays 9:00 p.m. to Mondays, 4:00 a.m.
    • Beaches and rivers remain closed in the provinces of Panama City and West Panama (closest Pacific beach areas)
    • Exercise and sports allowed outside (without other contacts or groups)
    • No events or social gatherings 
    • Business commerce, industrial services, construction companies, professional services, technical & cleaning services, laundry, rental car companies, supermarkets, pharmacies, drugstores, utility stores, and wholesale trade open until 7:30 p.m. 
    • Shopping based on gender: Ladies on Mon/Wed/Fr and Gentlemen on Tue/Thur
    • Retail trade and restaurants only delivery or take-away until January 31, 2021
    • Retail trade, stores, hairdressers, beauty salons scheduled to reopen on February 1, 2021
    • Cultural and leisure sites, cafés, restaurants with seat-in scheduled to reopen on February 15, 2021
    • Gyms, Spa, Massage, and marinas scheduled to reopen on March 1, 2021
    • Beaches and rivers scheduled to reopen in Panama City and West Panama provinces on March 15, 2021
    • Many hotels have their reopening postponed until late March 2021

  • December 18, 2020, through January 14, 2021:
    • Night curfew from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. 
    • Total quarantine from Dec 25, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. through Dec 28, 2020, at 5:00 a.m. 
    • Total quarantine from Jan 1, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. through Jan 14, 2021, at 5:00 a.m. 
    • No events or social gatherings allowed 
    • Supermarkets only permit 1 person per family 
    • Airports, ports, and borders continue operating as usual according to biosecurity protocols
    • Food delivery available until 10:00 p.m.
    • Masks obligatory in inside and outside spaces
  • October 25, 2020
    • Beaches reopen from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily
    • The weekend curfew will be lifted in the entire country 

  • October 12, 2020:
    • International and domestic flights resume operations
    • Tourist activities, national parks, museums
    • Restaurants, cafes 
    • Hotels (many of them are scheduled to reopen by mid-November / mid-December)
    • Curfew on Sundays is still in place until further notice (24hrs quarantine)


BOOK 3 NIGHTS at our Bocas Inn and stay the 4TH NIGHT FOR FREE!

ISLA PALENQUE has special offers available:
Book 3 nights, get 4th night for free (valid from April 30 - Dec 20, 2021)
Book 5 nights, get 6th + 7th night for free (valid until Dec 20, 2021)
Book 7 nights, get 8th + 9th night for free (valid until Dec 20, 2021)

For US travelers the Buenaventura Resort offers complimentary on-site Covid-19 Antigen tests for stays of 3 consecutive nights or longer before the guests' return flight back to the US. Tests take place at the in-house laboratory and are limited to one test per person, max. two tests per room. This offer applies to the following confirmed room categories: Deluxe Pool View, Premier, Suite, and villas). Offer valid until December 31, 2021.




June 9, 2014 ~ The second embarkation with the new lock gates arrived!


History is being rewritten all over again at the Panama Canal as it is expanding its capacity to allow for more than double the traffic it currently serves. To be completed in 2015, the project that includes a third set of locks, larger and wider than the existing ones, will cost $5.6 billion (US).

The Panama Canal has played an integral part in history as it provided an option of traveling between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean’s without having to sail a greater distance and through perilous Cape Horn. Trade and people movement boomed almost a century ago as a result of the opening of the Panama Canal. And now, history and Panama have come together to give people from all over the world an opportunity to see this great modern wonder of the world be enlarged. Read more...


Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism 2020-2025

The Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) announced the unanimous approval of its Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism 2020-2025 (PMTS) by the National Tourism Council, the main public-private body for the management of the tourism sector in Panama. The five-year plan outlines ATP's strategy for relaunching the country as a tourist destination, following its post-pandemic reopening on October 12, 2020.

"The Sustainable Tourism Master Plan is a differentiation strategy, through innovation and sustainability, that highlights the natural and cultural heritage of Panama," said the Minister of Tourism of Panama, Ivan Eskildsen. "Our assets offer a safe value in the current uncertain world environment, which is expected to be very competitive and to which our country responds with the strength of its authenticity".

The plan reactivates Panama's Tourism, Conservation and Research (TCI) strategy that was applied more than 20 years ago by the prestigious ecologist Dr. Hana Ayala. The TCI Strategy places the country's conservation and sustainability efforts at the forefront, along with its unique nature, culture, and historic offerings, and capitalizes on the overall safety that Panama offers.

The updated heritage routes strategy now features three focus areas: cultural heritage, green heritage, and blue heritage. Comprised of 19 circuits that tell the stories of Panama, the plan was developed through extensive analysis and research conducted in multiple workshops with the help of local and international consultants, including the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the academic team of the Biomuseo, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Culture, the Panamanian tourism industry and other key organizations.

The Heritage Routes are unique in what they offer:

Cultural Heritage: Narrates the history of Panama as the Bridge of the World, connecting world-class attractions such as the Old Town (UNESCO World Heritage), the world-famous Panama Canal, the first interoceanic railway, among others. In addition, the cultural circuits show the multicultural diversity of Panama, offering experiences through the three main cultures of Panama: its 7 living indigenous groups, its Afro-Panamanian heritage, including the culture of the Congo (UNESCO Intangible Heritage) and its colorful culture. Spanish colonial. Panama's cultural diversity is also experienced in its gastronomy, with UNESCO recognizing Panama City as a creative city in gastronomy.

Green Heritage: Since the Isthmus of Panama was formed 3 million years ago, there has been a great exchange of species between North and South America, providing the country with extraordinary biodiversity: it is home to more species of birds, reptiles, mammals and trees than the United States and Canada together. The Green Heritage routes take the visitor through National Parks, protected areas and private reserves in the neotropical rainforest of Panama (one third of the country is protected), including experiences through the visitor centers of the Smithsonian Institute for Tropical Research, one of which is the Barro Colorado Natural Monument in the Panama Canal basin, considered the most studied tropical forest in the world.

Blue Heritage: Three million years ago, with the creation of the Isthmus of Panama land bridge, the Caribbean and Pacific oceans separated, becoming two different oceans in terms of tides, climate, and marine fauna. The experiences offered in the various ecosystems on the Blue Heritage routes include whale watching in the surroundings of the Coiba National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the admiration of turtle conservation projects in the Pacific Ocean. , as well as the exploration of the turquoise Caribbean waters of Bocas del Toro, recognized as a “Hope Spot” by Mission Blue, the initiative led by Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer.

Panama's PMTS renews the country's tourism strategy and hopes for a progressive reactivation of the industry after the pandemic. The first international appointment of the destination for the relaunch of tourism was the Experience Panama Expo, a virtual fair that took place from September 25-27, 2020, with local exhibitors and international buyers, and also coincides with a virtual meeting of ministers of the region.

The PMTS also includes an important component of community tourism, which is connected to a flagship project of the administration of Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo - Plan Colmena, which seeks to improve the development of the 300 municipalities with the greatest socioeconomic vulnerability in the country. Paradoxically, some of these communities have a rich natural and cultural heritage, and they are mainly indigenous and Afro-Panamanian communities. These communities can offer the most demanding travelers the interaction with authentic and living cultures, which are surrounded by pristine ecosystems, within the Heritage Routes.

The five-year plan focused on the reactivation of the country's tourism industry represents an estimated investment of US $ 301.9 million that includes investments made through the Tourism Promotion Fund (PROMTUR), and financed with a loan approved with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).


ANCON needs your help!

ANCON needs your precious help in order to protect and preserve Panama’s rich nature and biodiversity, particularly in areas under continuous unsustainable threats of deforestation, fires and illegal hunting. Your contribution will help safeguard the Punta Patiño Natural Reserve in the eco-region of the Darien Chocó, an area rich in biodiversity and unique species.

Punta Patiño in Darién is the first and largest private natural reserve in Panamá with an extension of over 30,000 hectares (86,000 acres) and a range of ecosystems such as mangroves, beaches, dry forests (scarce in Panama) and humid forests. The reserve is home to a variety of endangered species like the jaguar, puma, harpy eagle, carey turtles among others.

Once you have made an online donation, you’ll receive a certificate with your name and be able to see in the map of the Reserve, the number of hectare (s) you are preserving.

Click HERE to donate!


Panama - What is Hot in Central America - by Laura Madrid 

Panama City and What You Might Not Know About the Panama Canal by Fiona Tapp 

Following in the Footsteps of Balboa by Franz Lidz (Smithsonian Magazine)

50 Best Tours of a Lifetime: Camino Real Trek (National Geographic Traveler Magazine)

Panama: Eco wonderland - Best Trips 2012 (National Geographic Traveler Magazine)

Guide to Panama: What to do (Condé Nast Traveller Magazine)

The Value of Good Hiking Poles (especially on a Panama jungle trek)  by Sue Freeman

Panama City (Holland Herald)

Weekender:  Panama City in 48 hours (TNT Magazine)

10 Quick Winter Getaways: Panama by Deborah Kirk (Travel & Leisure)

Ancon Expeditions´program blazes trail to natives by Carla Hunt (Travel Weekly)

Panama: paradise is open for business by Paul Croughton (Times Online)

Travel Stories - Panama´s Darien National Park by Hernan Arauz

Birds of Panama by Elise Faike

Cruising the Panama Canal by Sue Attwod (The Telegraph)

Sorprende la diversidad by Andrea Paola Irizarry

Panama Gone Wild by Emily Grey

Panama’s Islands: Emulating the Wise Sloth  by Denis Horgan

Panama´s Secret: Everything You´d Want in Travel in Vast Abundance  by Denis Horgan

Panama Highlands: Birds, Coffee and the Scary Zipline  by Denis Horgan

Panama: The Route to Prosperity by McKenzie Funk (Audubon Magazine)