Passports and Immunization
:·You need a valid U.S. passport to enter Panama. Tourist visas are no longer required. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of your departure from the US.
Immunizations are not required, but are recommended. Check with an international travel clinic in your area, or your health care provider. Malaria treatment is recommended based on the area that you will be working. Please refer to the CDC Traveler’s Health site for more info.

Unaccompanied Minors: Minors(children under 18) if not accompanied by parents, must obtain documentation via an APOSTILLE Stamp.This documentation is required at all sea and air ports as well as at all border crossing points. Simply stated, signed by child’s legal guardian giving permission to travel unaccompanied by guardian to Panama. This document is equivalent to a U.S. Notary authenticating documents being requested. Each state or district should have a Panamanian consulate. For Tx: The office is located in Houston. 24 Greenway Plaza, Suite.1307 Houston, TX 713-622-4451

Even if minors are not documented as Panamanian citizens and are documented as U.S. citizens, they may be denied departure without the consent letter and birth certificate.  If your consent documents are notarized in the United States, they still need to be authenticated in the U.S. with an Apostille stamp  before being accepted at immigration entry and departure points.

Medical Care: Medical care is available in Panama. In most clinics and hospitals, payment may be made by credit card as well as cash. We highly recommend that all groups take advantage of the medical insurance offered through UMVIM.  (www.missionvolunteers.org) Medical services are much cheaper than in the U.S., though medicines themselves may be more expensive. Pharmacies generally accept credit cards as well.

Water: Tap water in Panama is of generally high quality in the urban areas. It may be safely consumed. However, bottled water is widely available if you so choose. We have coolers and ice chests for VIM use.

Clothing: Short pants, short sleeve or sleeveless shirts are acceptable attire for both men and women. Dress for church is casual, though it would be preferable not to wear shorts to church. Pants are acceptable attire for women even at church services.

Exchange Rate: The official currency of Panama is the Balboa which is on par with the dollar. However, Panama has no paper currency of its own, so even though prices are listed in balboas, the currency actually used is the dollar. Panama does have coins which are the same size and value of US coins. Both may be used in Panamá

Electrical Power:
110 just like in the USA.

Cell phones: We provide a cell phone for the teams use. Prepaid cards may be purchased according to need. This is much less expensive than use of USA based cell phones. Average cost of calls to USA: 10 cents per minute. Note: Cell phones in Panama have eight digits. UMVIM Team phone number: 011-507-6762-7393, For Santiago: 011-507- 6055-6510 calling direct from USA.

Toilets Facilities:
All sites have access to sanitary toilets. Please note that all wastepaper must be placed in the waste baskets NOT the toilets.

RESTAURANT TIPPING IN SANTIAGO (Hotel David) We encourage teams that are utilizing the Hotel David restaurant meeting room for their breakfast and suppers to consider tipping the waiters that serve you AFTER each meal rather than at the end of the day or week. Shift changes occur during mid-day and this assures that the staff that serve you do in fact receive their tips. Suggested rate is somewhere around .75/p/person as a rule of thumb. This can be given directly to the waiter, left on the table, or placed in the tip glass located by the coffee bar. THIS SUGGESTION IS FOR SANTIAGO ONLY!

TOUR DAYS: In past years, we have been able to provide staff and transportation means in providing teams tour day assistance. Because of the number of teams we are experiencing in Panama, we may not be able to provide these resources to teams. Our priority regarding the use of our buses and drivers is relocating our teams upon arrival or departure to and from the airport and place of work for the week. However, if a bus is available during the day(s) your team is doing a tour day, you may contract the bus and driver for that event. (For example: If there is a team preparing for tour day but there is an arriving team, the priority for transportation is the arriving team). Teams will normally be responsible for securing those resources for their teams. We will do all that we are able to help facilitate arrangements, tours, recommendations, etc. for your tour days but cannot commit providing those resources to teams.
For transportation availability for tour days, please contact Rhett Thompson.