and Internet Service
in touch with family friends is not a problem
in Panama. Panama has an excellent privatized
telephone system, with around 400,000 phone
lines. Cable & Wireless provides telecommunication
coverage nation wide. Presently they offer international
telephone, fax, telegraph, and some e-mail services.
They also offer provide such innovative services
as answering, voice messages and beeper services.
In 1997, they became the first private company
to take over the previously inefficiently run
government phone system. Now they have a virtual
monopoly when it comes to residential and business
a phone line and to open an account in Panama
costs around $50 for Panamanian citizens and
$100 for non-citizens. It usually takes about
a week to have a regular phone connected.
Calls within the country are a bargain. You
can call any place in the country for only a
few cents. If your house or apartment does not
have a phone, do not worry. Public telephones
are just about everywhere in Panama and use
$.05, $.10, and $.25 cent coins. Both Panamanian
and U.S. coins are the same size and interchangeable.
Coin -operated pay phones cost $.15 for three
minutes. Phones accepting pre-paid phone cards
are slowly replacing coin-operated phones.
postal system offers postal services comparable
to that in many countries abroad. Correos y
Telégrafos offers a wide range of services.
Just as in the
United States, mail may be received and sent
from the post office (correo or casa de correos).
Other small cities and towns in rural areas
have their own centrally located post offices.
An airmail letter from Panama to the U.S. costs
$.35; an airmail letter to Europe is $.45. Airmail
between the United States or Europe and Panama
usually takes about five to ten days. A postcard
to North America is around $25.
for mail pick up and door-to-door-delivery are
almost nonexistent in Panama. You will have
to mail your letters from the post office or
from a hotel if you are a guest. Since there
is no home delivery, you will need a post office
box. Getting a post office box is a straightforward
process, but vacant boxes can sometimes be hard
to come by as they are in great demand. Boxes
by sharing with friends, neighbors, extended
family or a business associate. In theory, said
practice is not permitted, but many people do
it and nobody seems to check closely. To apply
for a post office box, go to the post office
nearest your office or home.
Money from Abroad
Do you plan on having money sent to you in Panama?
The fastest and safest way to receive money
while visiting or residing in Panama is to have
an international money order or any other type
of important merchandise or document shipped
to you by one of the worldwide courier services,
such as DHL or UPS. Letters and small packages
usually take about two working days (Mon.–Fri.)
to reach Panama from the United States or Canada.
air couriers have offices in Panama City, such
as DHL (800-DHL1 or 271-3400), Federal Express
(271-3838 or 800-1122), UPS (Tel: 269-9222)
Jetex (Tel: 269-1755).
U. S. banks can
wire money to banks in Panama. This method is
safe, but can be slow at times, as many bureaucratic
delays can develop while waiting for checks
to clear. You are also charged a fee for the
(800-2274) in Panama is another way to make
money transfers in the country.
The U.S. based company Mail Boxes Etc. has six
braches in the Panama City: Paitilla (Tel: 264-7038),
Albrook (Tel: 314-06010 El Dorado (360-2070),
San Francisco (270-13270) El Cangrejo Via Argentina
(Tel: 214-4620) and Vía España
(264-3325). They are mail forwarding services
that provide clients with a mail drop and P.O.
Box in Miami, and a physical address there.
This enables customers living in Panama to have
their mail sent to the Miami address where the
companies forward the mail to Panama. They also
do packaging, have fax and internet services,
and offer photocopying.
(Aerocasillas) (Tel:269-9774 Fax: 269-9396)
in Panama City and (Tel: 775-4512, Fax:774-7496
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) www.airbox.ws) in David
is another company offering a mail drop in Miami.
above provides much faster service than the
regular Panamanian mail system to access mail
order products from the U.S., to enable clients
to subscribe to magazines and newspapers at
U.S. domestic rates, to help obtain replacement
parts from abroad, and to order directly from
mail order catalogs like Land’s End, J.C. Penny
and L.L. Bean. Large automobile parts may also
be ordered from the U.S.