Panama - Tourism, travel, and recreation

Travel facilities within Panama are good; Panama City and Colón are only one hour apart by road or rail. In addition to the Panama Canal itself, tourist attractions include Panama City, beach resorts in the Pearls Archipelago and San Blas Islands, the ruins of Portobelo, and the resort of El Valle in the mountains. Water sports, tennis, golf, and horse racing are popular. Visitors to Panama must have a valid passport and visa. Visitors who possess a valid passport can obtain a tourist visa from a Panamanian consul or buy a tourist card from a transportation company; both card and visa are valid for up to 90 days. Visas are available free of charge to US citizens.

The government encourages tourism through the Panamanian Tourist Bureau and is promoting investment in some of the most remote parts of the country, including Coiba Island, Rio Hato, and Amador. In 2000, 467,228 tourists arrived in Panama, with about 90% of travelers from the Americas. Revenues from tourism totaled about $576 million. That year there were 13,663 hotel rooms, 27,326 bed-places, and an occupancy rate of 40%.

In 2000 the US government estimated the cost of staying in Panama City at about $164 per day. Estimated expenses in Colón are $164 per day.

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