will be better off if you buy a vehicle locally.
New car prices are real bargain in Panama. Prices
are not as high as neighboring Costa Rica or
many other countries in Latin America. All of
the major U.S. and Japanese manufacturers have
dealerships in Panama. Furthermore, shipping
a car can be a real “pain in the neck.”
reason to buy locally is to ensure your vehicle
will be under warranty in case anything goes
wrong. Most local dealers offer good warranties
on new cars.
majority of automobiles in Panama are made in
Japan. Most replacement parts are for Japanese
automobiles. Spare parts for U.S. cars have
to be imported, are expensive and sometimes
hard to come by. If you do decide to bring a
car from the U.S. or Canada, it is best to bring
a Toyota, Nissan, Honda, or some other Japanese
import for the reasons just mentioned.
an Automobile to Panama
you have sufficient time and enjoy adventure,
drive your automobile to Panama. The journey
from the U.S. to Panama (depending on where
you cross the Mexican border), takes about three
weeks if driving at a moderate speed. By road
it is about 4000 miles from Panama to Brownsville,
Texas, the nearest US city.
Take your time so you can stop and see some
of the sights. We recommend driving only during
the day since most roads are poorly lighted,
if at all. At night, large animals—cows, donkeys
and horses— can stray onto the road and cause
Your car must be in good mechanical condition
before your trip. Carry spare tires and necessary
parts. Take a can of gas and try to keep your
gas tank as full as possible because service
stations are few and far between.
Bringing Your Boat to Panama
As you may know,
Panama is a boaters paradise. The country has
oceans on both sides, a canal, lakes, and offshore
islands. If you have a yacht or sail boat you
can dock at any of the of country’s yacht clubs.
In Chapter 5 there is a list of some of the
county’s yacht clubs.
If you enter
Panama in a foreign vessel, you will be able
to keep it in the country for 90 days. Beyond
90 days, you may apply for an extension, which
essentially is a rubber stamp process. You are
given a photo ID enabling you to keep the vessel
in the country for an additional 90 days. However,
you must obtain the proper form the Panamanian
Maritime Agency (Tel: 507-232-5396) if you plan
to visit Panama for a limited time only. The
charges are listed on the form for obtaining
a permit in order to legally navigate in Panamanian