Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 10 August 2018, 08:40 NZST
  • Still current at: 11 December 2018

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Do not travel

Do not travel to the Darien Gap, south of the town of Yaviza, due to violent crime and the presence of drug traffickers and armed guerrilla forces. This includes the Darien National Park, nature reserves and tourist resorts.

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Panama due to criminal activity and the potential for civil unrest.

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Crime
Violent crime in Panama, such as armed robbery and assault, is not common but does occur. There have also been reports of “express kidnappings”, where individuals are forced to withdraw funds from automatic teller machines (ATMs) to secure their release. To reduce the risk of this occurring we recommend you use ATMs located inside banks during daylight hours and exercise vigilance while doing so.

Petty crime, such as bag-snatching and pick-pocketing, is common, especially in urban areas such as Panama City, Colon and in airports, bus terminals and on public transport.

We advise New Zealanders travelling in Panama to be safety conscious at all times and take steps to secure personal belongings. As victims of robbery are often targeted due to their perceived wealth, it is advisable to avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as electronic devices, cameras and jewellery. You should avoid walking alone at night in Panama City. Only use registered yellow taxis and avoid sharing a taxi with unknown passengers.

Civil Unrest
Protests and demonstrations occur occasionally in Panama City and are often focused near the university and on major streets and highways. New Zealanders in Panama are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and marches, as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning. Monitor local media and be aware that these events could cause travel disruptions.

General Travel Advice
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

Authorities may ask for proof of your identity, so carry official identification at all times.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Panama should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Panama are encouraged to register their details their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips


The New Zealand Embassy Mexico City, Mexico is accredited to Panama

Street Address Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510 Telephone +52 55 5283 9460 Fax +52 55 5283 9480 Email nzmexico@mfat.govt.nz Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/mexico Hours Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

See our regional advice for Central/South America

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Mexico

Street Address
Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510

Telephone: +52 55 5283 9460

Fax: +52 55 5283 9480

Email: nzmexico@mfat.govt.nz

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/mexico

Hours: Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

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