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Panama City Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Panama City, Panama in 2024?

Traveling to Panama City requires safety awareness; it combines modern and colonial areas, with typical urban safety considerations.

Tobi Miles
March 28, 2024
Panama City Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Panama City, Panama in 2024?

The good news is, Panama City is generally considered safe for tourists. However, knowing the ins and outs of staying safe can make your visit more enjoyable. Let's dive into what makes Panama City a destination worth visiting, while also keeping your safety a priority.

Crime Rates in Panama City

When considering a trip to Panama City, it's crucial to examine the crime rates that might impact your stay. Understanding these figures can guide your preparations and set your expectations about safety in this bustling metropolis.

Panama City's crime scene isn't uniform; it varies significantly by area. Generally, the city enjoys a reputation for being safer than other Latin American capitals. However, like any urban center, it sees its share of crime, with petty theft and pickpocketing being the most common issues faced by tourists. These incidents are particularly prevalent in crowded areas and on public transport, so keeping your belongings secure and staying vigilant is key.

Let's look at the numbers to get a clear picture:

Crime Type

Rate per 100,000 inhabitants*









*Latest available data

Though the table shows a snapshot of criminal activity, it's important to note that significant efforts have been made by the local government to reduce these numbers, including increased police presence in tourist areas and the implementation of neighborhood watch programs. These initiatives have contributed to a gradual decline in crime rates, enhancing the city's overall safety profile.

For those planning to explore beyond the city's safer districts like Punta Pacifica or the historic Casco Viejo, it's wise to stay informed about the areas you plan to visit. Certain neighborhoods are known hotspots for criminal activities, and it's best to avoid them, especially after dark.

Arming yourself with knowledge about Panama City's crime rates and understanding which areas to avoid can significantly minimize risks. Preparation, awareness, and adhering to safety advice from local authorities will enhance your security, allowing you to fully enjoy the unique experiences that Panama City has to offer.

Safety Tips for Tourists

When embarking on an adventure to Panama City, being alert and cautious can significantly elevate your travel experience. As the city wins hearts with its vibrant culture and breathtaking scenery, it’s essential to tread wisely to avoid the shadows of crime that may lurk. Here are some must-know safety tips to keep you guarded and ensure your visit remains positively memorable.

Keep Personal Belongings Close: Petty theft, including pickpocketing, is the most common crime affecting tourists. Always keep your belongings secure and within sight, particularly in busy areas like public markets, transportation hubs, and popular tourist spots.

  • Use cross-body bags that zip securely
  • Avoid displaying expensive jewelry or gadgets
  • Utilize hotel safes for valuable items

Stay Informed About Safe Areas: Not all parts of Panama City are created equal when it comes to safety. Before venturing out, it’s wise to research or inquire about the neighborhoods you plan to visit. Areas such as Casco Viejo and the Panama Canal Zone are known for their higher safety levels, while caution is advised in regions like El Chorrillo and Curundu after dark.

Rely on Reputable Transportation: Opt for officially marked taxis or trusted ride-sharing apps over unmarked vehicles. This simple choice can drastically reduce risks related to transportation, ensuring you reach your destinations safely.

Transportation Options

Recommended Action

Official Taxis

Confirm the taxi is registered

Ride-Sharing Apps

Use apps with trackable routes and ratings

Stay Connected: Keep your phone charged and consider purchasing a local SIM card for easy access to maps, transportation apps, and emergency contacts. This not only aids in navigation but also ensures you can reach help or inform someone of your whereabouts at all times.

Each of these tips, grounded in awareness and precaution, is designed to shield you from potential harm while allowing you to immerse fully in the splendors of Panama City.

Areas to Avoid in Panama City

While Panama City boasts a plethora of attractions and is largely considered a safe destination for tourists, like any major city, there are areas that require extra caution or are best avoided, especially after dark. Your safety is paramount, and being aware of these locations can help you navigate the city more securely.

First and foremost, El Chorrillo, Curundu, and Santa Ana are neighborhoods with a higher incidence of crime. Despite their proximity to popular tourist spots, these areas have struggled with issues related to gang activity and street crime. It's advisable to avoid these neighborhoods, especially if you're unfamiliar with the city or don't have a local guide.

Another area to be cautious in is Calidonia. During the day, Calidonia is bustling with shoppers and vendors; however, it transforms after sunset. The nightlife in this area can attract pickpockets and petty thieves, so it's wise to keep your personal belongings secure and to stay vigilant if you find yourself here in the evening.

For a safer experience, consider visiting well-trodden, tourist-friendly areas like Casco Viejo or the Cinta Costera. Both offer beautiful views and a multitude of activities, ensuring you experience the best of Panama City without compromising your safety.


  • Stick to well-lit, populated areas.
  • Always keep an eye on your personal belongings.
  • Consider using reputable transportation options when moving around, especially at night.

Being informed about which areas to avoid is just as important as knowing the top spots to visit. By taking these precautions, you're more likely to enjoy a safe and memorable trip to Panama City.

Emergency Contacts in Panama City

While exploring Panama City, it's crucial to have essential emergency contacts on hand. Knowing who to call in case of an emergency can make all the difference. Here are key contacts you should save in your phone before embarking on your Panama City adventure.

National Emergency Number: 911
Immediately accessible and operational 24/7, dialing 911 connects you to police, fire, and medical services. Panama's emergency response teams are well-trained to assist in various crises, ensuring help is just a phone call away.

Tourist Police:

  • Phone: +(507) 511-9260
  • Location: Multiple, including major tourist areas.
    The Tourist Police are specially trained to assist travelers. Whether it's a lost passport or you've fallen victim to theft, they provide immediate assistance, ensuring your safety and helping you navigate the legal process in Panama.
  • Phone: +(507) 317-5000
  • After-hours Emergencies: +(507) 317-5000
    For U.S. citizens facing emergencies, the American Embassy offers a range of consular services. From legal troubles to lost passports, they're ready to assist, ensuring American tourists receive the support they need.


Contact Number

National Emergency


Tourist Police

+(507) 511-9260

American Embassy

+(507) 317-5000

Remember, in addition to these contacts, many hotels and resorts have dedicated security staff to assist with any issues. Don't hesitate to reach out to them for help or information during your stay in Panama City.

Having these numbers at your fingertips ensures you're prepared for any situation, letting you focus on enjoying the beauty and vibrancy of Panama City. Prioritize your safety, stay informed, and you'll have a memorable experience in one of Central America's most exciting destinations.


Panama City's allure is undeniable, with its vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes. Armed with the right emergency contacts and an awareness of the resources available, you're set to explore this gem safely. Remember, having the Tourist Police, the American Embassy, and emergency numbers at your fingertips isn't just about precaution—it's about peace of mind. So, pack your bags, set your worries aside, and get ready to immerse yourself in all the adventures Panama City has to offer. Your journey is not just about the destinations you'll explore but also the confidence and safety with which you'll travel.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the national emergency number in Panama City?

The national emergency number in Panama City is 911. It can be dialed for immediate assistance in emergency situations.

How can tourists contact the Tourist Police in Panama City?

Tourists can contact the Tourist Police by calling +(507) 511-9260. They provide specialised assistance to tourists in need.

Is there an American Embassy contact for U.S. citizens in Panama City?

Yes, U.S. citizens can contact the American Embassy in Panama City at +(507) 317-5000 for assistance.

Do hotels and resorts in Panama City provide security assistance?

Yes, many hotels and resorts in Panama City offer dedicated security staff to further assist guests with safety and security concerns.

Why is it important to have these emergency contacts while exploring Panama City?

Having these emergency contacts is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of tourists, allowing them to receive immediate assistance in various situations and enjoy their visit with peace of mind.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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