What are Panama's border crossings like?


Panama’s border crossings with Costa Rica are fairly straightforward and painless. At any border crossing, be prepared to show officials a passport, proof of US$500, and an onward ticket out of Panama. The last two are not always asked for, but it’s good to be prepared regardless. Coming during regular business hours will allow you to avoid lengthy waits.

There are three different border crossings with Costa Rica: Paso Canoa on the Pacific side of Panama, Sixaola-Guabito on the Caribbean side, and Río Sereno in the highlands. Paso Canoa is along the Interamericana (Interamerican Highway) and is the most frequently used crossing. Sixaola-Guabito is used mainly by travelers coming to or from Bocas del Toro. Río Sereno is used infrequently and does not always allow foreigners to cross.

Travelers should be aware that there are no overland crossings with Colombia. The Interamericana ends in the town of Yaviza, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the border with Colombia. Most people get to Colombia by plane.