There is at last a fair amount of useful information about Panama on the web. However, most websites are badly designed, rarely get updated, and don’t work well with any browser other than Internet Explorer.
Be especially wary of booking through websites, as their forms often don’t work well. There are also plenty of easy-to-find community forums on the Web by and for tourists and resident expatriates.
- Bocas del Toro
- This visitor-information site for Bocas del Toro contains listings for many hotels, restaurants, and services as well as some background information on Bocas.
- Bocas Marine & Tours, S.A.
- Bocas Marine & Tours is a Bocas del Toro water-taxi service, but its site also contains useful, updated maps of the Bocas archipelago and mainland, transportation schedules, and facts about Bocas. However, it is no longer regularly updated.
- Boomers Abroad
- This is an overview site for those interested in retiring or investing in Panama. It takes a more measured approach than similar sites, which can be aggressive about hyping Panama.
- Journey Latin America
- Journey Latin America is a London-based tour operator and travel agency that’s a good place to start for those going to Panama from Europe and points east.
- LegalInfo Panamá
- This site contains detailed legal information for those interested in moving to or doing business in Panama, as well as listings of lawyers and law firms. It’s in Spanish with some English content.
- The official site of Panama’s government tourism institute, IPAT. It’s in English and Spanish. IPAT also has another, Spanish-only website: www.ipat.gob.pa .
- Panamainfo is a frequently updated Panama-promotion site that accentuates the positive; it’s not the place to go for critical reviews of places or services. Its visitor information is geared primarily toward traveling on a moderate-to-high budget, but it also contains general information for various regions of Panama.
- This is the website for a very cool volunteer-run project to build a trail across Panama from Costa Rica to Colombia. It is also creating a GPS map of the route, which hopefully it will eventually put on this site, which is in English and Spanish. The project welcomes volunteers.
- U.S. Department of State
- The website of the U.S. State Department contains general entry requirements and travel warnings for U.S. citizens traveling abroad, listed by country.
- The Visitor
- The Visitor/El Visitante is a bilingual tourist newspaper published every two weeks and widely available at tourist haunts in Panama City . Contents include information on upcoming festivals and events, features on destinations, and reviews of restaurants, primarily in Panama City. Current and back issues are on its website.
- Almanaque Azul
- The “blue almanac” is a wiki-style guide to the beaches and coasts of Panama meant to raise awareness of conservation issues while providing useful practical information for visiting even the most remote beaches. Anyone can add to the almanac. In Spanish only.
- ANCON is Panama’s largest environmental organization. The site contains some information on the country’s national parks and a list of endangered species. In Spanish only.
- Panama Audubon Society
- The Panama Audubon Society organizes frequent bird-watching trips that are open to foreign visitors and listed on its site, which is in Spanish and English.
- Long-established, thoughtful website on ecotourism issues, with practical advice on low-impact travel. It contains some Panama-specific information.
- Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
- The website of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) contains information on its projects and installations, including Barro Colorado Island . It also shows live video from user-controllable web cams set up on Barro Colorado and Parque Natural Metropolitano .
- Bajareque Times
- Similar to the Bocas Breeze, but covering Boquete and the surrounding area.
- The Bocas Breeze
- A print and online newspaper run by resident expatriates living in Bocas del Toro . It covers tourism and environmental issues likely to interest visitors. Stories are in English and Spanish. The print edition appears monthly.
- The best and most balanced online source for news articles in English, including articles translated from Spanish-language Panamanian newspapers. It’s the place to start for information on Panama that is neither promotional nor overly cynical. Though it grinds its share of axes and engages in occasional online feuds, it does a good job of separating news and opinion.
- La Prensa
- Panama’s best Spanish-language newspaper. Free registration allows access to its extensive archives.
- Rob Rivera
- Interesting and articulate English-language blog by an up-and-coming Panamanian writer. Rivera offers rare insight into Panamanian life from the perspective of a well-educated young guy who speaks perfect English. Or, as his blog’s tagline puts it, “This is where first-world mentality meets a third-world country.”
- Dirrección Nacional de Migración y Naturalización
- The official website of Panama’s immigration and naturalization service contains useful information (in English!) on visa laws and procedures. Note: The pulldown menus for which country’s citizens need which visa are “sticky” and don’t update properly, sometimes producing misleading results.
- Panama Canal Authority
- The website for the Panama Canal Authority contains news and history about the Panama Canal , and tide tables for Balboa and Cristóbal. But its coolest features are the live video feeds from the web cams set up at Miraflores Locks , Gatun Locks, and the Centennial Bridge over Gaillard Cut .
- República de Panamá
- General Panamanian government site with telephone listings and links to government ministries and organizations, including the tourism and culture institutes. In Spanish.
- Centers for Disease Control
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control lists comprehensive immunization information and health advisories for destinations around the world.
- Central Intelligence Agency
- The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency lists statistics and background information on Panama here.
- CZBrats and the Lost Paradise
- Nostalgia sites for Zonians, containing photos, stories, and memorabilia from the former Canal Zone.
- Paginas Amarillas
- Online telephone book for Panama and other Latin American countries.