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It may have taken a while, but the gem of Central America Panama has finally lifted all of its Covid travel restrictions, which has kept thousands of travelers from visiting during the pandemic. Essentially they have returned their pre-2020 entry guidelines, allowing normal tourism to resume. Since this week, everyone is welcome, vaccinated or not.
Panama is a transitional nation straddling the narrowest strip of land that connects the Americas. Much like its popular neighbors – Costa Rica and Colombia to name a few – it has seen a surge in demand lately. Although this can be attributed to its high price compared to other destinations in the region, one factor that comes into play is nature.
Panama’s is simply magnificent, and restriction-conscious travelers are eager to brave the great outdoors and experience more freedom. Finally, the country rich in nature has changed sides to welcome its young explorers:
Panama reopens fully after more than two years of strict border measures
Managing Covid in Latin America has been complex to say the least. At one point, the collective had some of the simplest travel rules in the world, especially compared to Europe and the United States, where borders were completely closed for extended periods. Then the tables turned and a once-conservative Northern Hemisphere suddenly opted for normality.
Borders fell, economies reopened and Covid began to be treated as a community disease in the majority of European countries, causing a cascading effect. At the same time, the southern half of the American continent remained frozen in time, or even temporarily tightened rules by enacting bans on the unvaccinated.
It almost seemed like the geopolitical group had even forgotten that these strict rules were even there, seeing as they were among the first to allow tourists back as early as 2020, but are now among the most restrictive in the Americas. Curiously, even Australia and New Zealand, models of the Zero Covid approach, have come ahead of them.
Fortunately, Latin America has begun to gradually relax mandates, starting with Argentina, which officially became the first of the collective to abandon all Covid policies in favor of unrestricted tourism. While it didn’t mirror Argentina’s decision, close partner Brazil also lifted a nine-month ban for those who chose not to get vaccinated this month.
In line with its predecessors, it’s Panama’s turn remove its bureaucratic shackles. As of September 15, as published by IATA, the country no longer requires Americans, or any other foreign visitors for that matter, to show valid Covid proof of entry. Previously, this normally included either a vaccine or a negative test.
Despite relying heavily on dollars from tourism and maritime trade, Panama has subjected the unvaccinated to stricter controls – until now. However, with reports confirming Central America, of which it is a part, as the world’s new favorite travel destination, we can see why the Panamanian government would take a much more relaxed stance.
Panama has no entry rules as fall approaches
On the way to autumn, Americans are totally free to rediscover Panama regardless of their Covid status:
- No vaccine requirement
- No pre-departure tests
- No testing after arrival
- No quarantine once landed in the country
Previously, the unvaccinated could complete all stages simply by presenting a valid vaccination certificate. Specifically, one that had been issued at least two full weeks before their travel date, and a vaccine whose manufacturer had been approved by either the World Health Organization (WHO) or the United States’ own CDC.
Sure, non-immune faced much tougher rules. They had to show a negative PCR or rapid antigen test issued up to 72 hours before arrival, or alternatively take a test once they landed, although there have been reports of passengers being denied boarding when they opted for the latter. Worse still: they risked undergoing a mandatory quarantine.
Those who tested positive upon arrival were ordered to isolate in their designated accommodation for a full 10 days, only being able to leave quarantine earlier by presenting a negative PCR test on day 4 (but no sooner). Understandably, these requirements have discouraged millions of American citizens from traveling.
On the bright side, they are now a thing of the pastsuch as mandatory mask use, abolished in the country on July 1.
How long can Americans stay in Panama?
Americans can stay in Panama for 90 days out of 180 days without applying for a visa first. Those planning to stay in the country for a longer period should contact the Panama Embassy to inquire about extended stays. Panama may be open for business as usual, but it has yet to announce its own Digital Nomad visa.
Regardless of, three months is more than enough for short-term visitors and nomads who want to immerse themselves in Panamanian culture and connect with nature, one of the country’s most treasured assets. If you are looking for flights to Panama City, you can find great deals with Copa Airlines, the Panamanian airline, United Airlines or EVA.
These are all major airlines flying direct from the United States to Panama.
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This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest breaking news that will affect your upcoming trip, please visit: Traveloffpath.com
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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions may change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes to travel conditions before travelling. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice