Traveling to Panama During COVID

panama airport covid rules
Last Updated on September 28, 2021

Panama is open and visitors are welcome. Our tours resumed regular operations in February 2021 and are proceeding as scheduled.

During the pandemic, we’ve had over 500 tour guests and have received almost entirely positive feedback. Traveling to Panama is a little more challenging than it used to be but we’re confident you can still have an amazing trip.

Panama’s standard entry requirements apply in addition to the recommendations & requirements listed below.

Travel Insurance

We recommend buying travel insurance. Depending on the policy, travel insurance may cover your potentially non-refundable travel expenses, medical expenses, and more.

Pre-Travel COVID Test Recommended

We strongly encourage all travelers to get a COVID test and obtain a negative result within 3 days before flying to Panama, even if not required to do so by your airline or the government.

If you test positive, it will be much better for you to learn this when you are near home and before traveling. If you test positive in Panama, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days at an authorized hotel at your own expense.

Some ideas for finding testing include:

  • Check with pharmacies in your area (WalgreensCVS, etc)
  • Do a Google search for “COVID testing near me” or “COVID testing” + the name of your city
  • Contact your health care provider

Airline COVID Test Requirements

It’s possible your airline may require you to get a COVID test to board a flight to Panama.

You should pay careful attention to any emails you receive from your airline. They will communicate their COVID testing requirements, if any, to you. If you are unsure of your airline’s policy, contact them for more information.

COVID Test Required for All Tour Guests

All group tour guests and staff are required to show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test performed on or after the Wednesday before their tour. A negative COVID test is required regardless of vaccination or antibody status.

If possible, you should get a COVID test before flying to Panama.

If you need to get a COVID test in Panama, some testing options include:

  • At Tocumen International Airport (PTY) there is a testing center in the unsecured area of the airport. It is open from 5 AM to 9 PM. No appointment is needed. The cost is $50 and results are available in around 40 minutes. This is our recommended option if you are arriving on or after the Wednesday before your tour. Please let us know if you plan to get tested at PTY.
  • If you are arriving on or before the Thursday before your tour and are staying at the Courtyard Multiplaza Mall Hotel, the front desk can arrange a test for you at the hotel. An appointment is required. Call the hotel for details at +507 301-0101.
  • There are a variety of other testing locations in Panama.

Rapid tests are acceptable as long as they are PCR or antigen tests.

You will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test before entering our conference room on Saturday morning.

Policies for Fully Vaccinated Travelers

Panama considers you to be fully vaccinated if you can provide physical or digital proof of a complete vaccination scheme endorsed by the WHO, EMA, or FDA, and the last dose of your vaccine was administered 14 days or more before your arrival in Panama.

Fully vaccinated travelers are not required to get a COVID test or quarantine to enter Panama. However, you are still required to get a COVID test to come on a group tour.

If possible, you should get a negative COVID test before flying to Panama.

To the best of our knowledge, the following vaccines will be accepted: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Jannsen (Johnson & Johnson).

Mixed dose vaccine schemes (ie. one AstraZeneca shot & one Pfizer shot) may not be accepted.

If you have questions about which vaccines are accepted, please contact your airline.

COVID Test Required for Unvaccinated Travelers

To enter Panama, unvaccinated travelers are required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours before their arrival in Panama.

If a test is not possible in that timeframe, you will be required to take a COVID test when you arrive at Tocumen International Airport (PTY). The cost is $50. If you test positive, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days at your own expense in a Hotel Hospital designated by the Ministry of Health.

If possible, you should get a negative COVID test before flying to Panama.

Quarantine Required for Unvaccinated Travelers Who Were Recently in a High-Risk Country (including the United States)

If you are not vaccinated and you are arriving from or transited through a high-risk country during the 15 days before your arrival in Panama, you are required to quarantine for 72 hours at an authorized hotel. The quarantine is required even if you have a negative COVID test.

High-risk countries include the United States, Cuba, Guatemala, Costa Rica, French Guyana, The United Kingdom, Greece, Georgia, Estonia, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Israel, Malaysia, Mongolia, South Africa, Guinea Bissau, Tunisia, and Fiji.

See Safety Guidelines for Your Next Trip to Panama for details. If you are coming on a group tour and are impacted by this requirement, please contact us for additional information.

Health Affidavit Required Before You Fly

When your arrival time in Panama is less than 72 hours away and ideally after you have a negative COVID test result (**if required to get a test), Panama requires you to complete a Health Affidavit. We published some instructions here:

How to Fill Out the Panama Health Affidavit Form

The form asks where you will be staying while you are in Panama (Temporal Address). If you are coming on a group tour, we’ll send you that information approximately 2 weeks before your tour date.

Precautions During Your Trip

In Panama, you are required to wear a face mask covering your mouth and nose in all public spaces – including while on our tour bus & airport shuttles, in taxis, in hotel common areas, and while socially distanced outdoors. Face masks are required regardless of vaccination or antibody status. There are no exceptions to the face mask policy.

Face masks can only be removed while eating or while in your private hotel room.

Panama Relocation Tours is strictly following all biosecurity measures required by Panama’s Ministry of Health, including operating at a reduced capacity. Our drivers, tour guides, and assistants will wear face coverings at all times and will maintain 6 feet of physical distance whenever possible. Every evening the interior of our tour bus will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. All surfaces you might come in contact with will be cleaned with a disinfectant. During our lunch stop, the interior of the bus will be wiped down with disinfectant again.

We ask that everyone please wear a face covering at all times while:

  • In our airport shuttles
  • On our tour bus
  • In the presence of other tour guests or our employees

Whenever possible, please maintain 6 feet physical distance between your party and other parties in our group. This includes while boarding the bus, while getting off the bus, and during meals.

COVID Test Required to Leave Panama

Panama does not require you to get a COVID test to leave the country. However, many countries, including the United States and Canada, require all travelers to get a negative COVID test before boarding a flight that arrives there.

You are responsible for understanding the entry requirements for the country you are flying to when you leave Panama.

During your group tour, the tour guide will tell you where to go to get a test for your return flight. We also have a blog post that covers where to get a COVID test in Panama.