Travelling to Panama? Need Vaccinations?
Central America’s most cosmopolitan capital, Panama City, glitters with glass and steel skyscrapers reflected against the waters of Panama Bay, and is sometimes referred to as the Miami of the South. For all its glitz and glamour, nightlife, and shopping, the city has not forgotten its colonial roots, in recently refurbished charming Casco Viejo, the old quarter. From Panama City, take a train along the jungle to Colón, or, for the consummate hiker, Panama has rainforests, mountains and parks to explore. The Panama Canal, one of man’s utmost engineering achievements, marks its 100th anniversary in 2014, and merits a stop on any traveller’s itinerary. Your first stop on your way to beautiful Panama should be a visit to our Travel Health Clinic, four to eight weeks before departure, so that you will be completely safe and up-to-date with the Vaccinations you need for Panama.
What Vaccinations do I need for Travel to Panama?
The following travel vaccinations are necessary for travel to Panama:
Diphtheria Vaccine (Given as the combined DTP Vaccine)
Tetanus Vaccine (Given as the combined DTP Vaccine)
Polio Vaccine (Given as the combined DTP Vaccine)
Hepatitis A Vaccination
If you intend to visit Bocas del Toro archipelago, there is a risk of malaria. Please discuss this with us when you visit our Travel Health Clinic. Depending upon your itinerary and risk profile, you may also be advised the following vaccinations:
Make sure that you book an appointment with our Travel Vaccination Clinic well before you intend to travel so that we can make sure that you are up-to-date with all of the vaccinations that you require for your trip to Panama.
Further Travel Health Advice for Panama
Heat and Humidity
In Panama you will experience very hot humid weather, in the rain forests and in coastal regions from May to January, except in the mountains which are cooler. Use lots of sun block with an SPF of at least 20, and seek shady areas where possible. Remember that the sun can burn you even when you are in the sea. Make a habit of carrying bottled water with you wherever you go.
Tap water in Panama City is safe to drink, but it is recommended that you use extra care, and drink purified water, especially outside of Panama City. Avoid using ice cubes.
Food and Drink
In Panama, surrounded by the Pacific, and the Caribbean, seafood is the focus of many dishes, including ceviche, made from chopped fish, shrimp or conch, with cilantro and tomatoes marinated in lime juice, and in main dishes, seafood goes Caribbean with exotic ingredients like coconut, mango, and plantains. Favourite mains include Mexican standards empañadas and tamales. Wash down a meal of yummy prawns with coconut juice called Pipa, or quench your thirst with one of Panama’s excellent beers.
Seeking Treatment Abroad
The standard of health care in Panama is very good, but it is best to use a private clinic anywhere outside of Panama City. Arrange in advance to have enough money with you to pay for any health care you might need.
Travel and Health Insurance
Protect yourself, and your family, with comprehensive travel health insurance which will cover your intended itinerary and any potentially risky activities.
You will find the Panamanians warm and welcoming, however, do take normal precautions in the city at night, and when travelling in outer regions, and especially in Darien Province. On jungle tours, wear long sleeves and long pants and use insecticide to prevent insect bites.