As Frommer's Panama author Nicholas Gill writes, "Panama is home to a staggering array of natural landscapes, each beautiful in its own way."
That includes lovely beaches, perfect spots for snorkeling and scuba diving, mile after mile of pristine rainforest, rugged mountains laced with top whitewater rivers, state-of-the-art golf courses, mangrove swamps, coffee plantations, dozing volcanoes, coastal lagoons, and tropical islands.
Panama is no slouch on the cultural front either, with well-preserved colonial towns and neighborhoods, a sophisticated and skyscraper-filled capital, and the Comarca Kuna Yala, an archipelago of islands that is still run by an indigenous population, supplying vacationers with a wonderfully authentic view of one aspect of Panamanian life.
And, of course, the country is home to one of the greatest engineering feats in history: the Panama Canal.
This is all a long way of saying that we're mighty lucky that the Panamanians have decided to start allowing us to visit once again.
The plan is for Panama to reopen to international tourists on October 12, but there are some caveats. Museums, casinos, nightclubs, and bars will not yet be open at that point. No date has been set for when those will return.
Beaches, spas, golf courses, and gyms will be open, but social distancing measures will be in effect.
There are entry rules. Visitors will be required to show a negative Covid-19 test or antigen test that was taken within 48 hours of arrival. If a visitor shows up without that in hand, there will be tests available at the airport for roughly US$30–$50. If that test comes up positive, the government will pay for the visitor to quarantine for a week.
Masks are required in all public spaces in Panama, and temperature checks are common. Before arrival, visitors are expected to sign an affidavit promising they will comply with all of the local coronavirus regulations.
Full, updated official entry information can be found at VisitPanama.com.