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Name: San Blas Islands of Panama
Location: Panama
The San Blas Islands of Panama is an archipelago comprising approximately 365 islands and cays, of which 49 are inhabited. They lie off the north coast of the Isthmus of Panama, east of the Panama Canal. A part of the comarca (district) Guna Yala along the Caribbean coast of Panama is home to the Guna people.

San Blas and its surrounding area is a haven for ecotourism because of its pristine environs. The area is also popular for sailing, as it is known for its beauty and lack of hurricanes. Notable locations in the Archipelago are the main capital El Porvenir, the densely crowded island village of Carti Sugtupu, and the two keys, Cayos Limones, and Cayos Holandeses, both renowned for their clear waters.

The islands could be rendered uninhabitable by sea level rise in the late 21st century. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Guna wore few clothes and decorated their bodies with colorful designs. When encouraged to wear clothes by the missionaries, they copied these designs in their molas, which they wore as clothing. Driven off Panama during the Spanish invasion, the Guna fled to the surrounding 378 islands. 

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Blas_Islands
Name: Casco Viejo
Location: Panama City, Panama
Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Quarter), also known as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe, is the historic district of Panama City. Completed and settled in 1673, it was built following the near-total destruction of the original Panamá city, Panamá Viejo in 1671, when the latter was attacked by pirates. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997.

Panama City was founded on August 15, 1519 and it lasted one hundred and fifty-two years. In January 1671, the Governor Juan Perez de Guzman had it set on fire, before the attack and looting by the pirate Henry Morgan. In 1672, Antonio Fernández de Córdoba initiated the construction of a new city, which was then founded on January 21, 1673. This city was built on a peninsula completely isolated by the sea and a defensive system of walls. Today this place preserves the first institutions and buildings of the modern city of Panama. It is known as Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Town).

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casco_Viejo,_Panama
Name: Portobelo
Location: Portobelo District, Panama
Portobelo is a port city in Portobelo District, Colón Province, Panama with a population of 4,559 as of 2010. Established during the Spanish colonial period, it functions as the seat of Portobelo District. Located on the northern part of the Isthmus of Panama, it has a deep natural harbor and served as a center for silver exporting before the mid-eighteenth century and its destruction in 1739 during the War of Jenkins' Ear.

It slowly rebuilt and the city's economy revived briefly in the late-nineteenth century during construction of the Panama Canal. In 1980 UNESCO designated the ruins of the Spanish colonial fortifications, along with nearby Fort San Lorenzo, as a World Heritage Site, named Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo.

Portobelo was colonized in 1597 by Spanish explorer Francisco Velarde y Mercado and quickly replaced Nombre de Dios as a Caribbean port for Peruvian silver. Legend has it that Christopher Columbus originally named the port "Puerto Bello", meaning "Beautiful Port", in 1502. After Francis Drake died of dysentery in 1596 at sea, he was said to be buried in a lead coffin near Portobelo Bay.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portobelo,_Colón
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO PANAMA.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Spanish
Currency: Panama Balboa (PAB) / United States Dollar (USD)
Time zone: EST (UTC−5)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +507
Local / up-to-date weather in Panama City (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Panama travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Panama, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO PANAMA.

Panama has used the US dollar (“$”) as its only currency since 1904 although Panamanians often refer to it as balboa. Panama has its own coins, made by the US Mint, in the same weights and sizes as US coinage, but with Panamanian stampings. The Panamanian coinage is completely interchangeable with standard US coinage in Panama. You may get a handful of change back with a conquistador on the quarter and an Indian on one of your pennies, but Lincoln on the other penny and Roosevelt on the dime. Panama also still mints half dollars. You may hear these half dollars called pesos, but don’t think you’ve accidentally ended up in Mexico.

Many businesses do not accept US$50 or US$100 bills at all. Most of those that do will ask for your passport and store your data/serial numbers of your notes in a special book. The reason is that many US$50 and US$100 bills have been counterfeited.

If you run short on change in the United States, Panamanian coins work in parking meters, payphones, vending machines, etc.

Credit cards:

You can typically use a credit card at all hotels in the capital, and in medium-sized regional cities (David, Las Tablas, Colon, Santiago, Bocas del Toro, etc.) Restaurants, grocery stores, and department stores in major cities will also usually take credit, or even debit cards. However, outside the capital using your card could be difficult.

ATMs:

Though Panamanian ATMs function on the Cirrus/Plus system, they may not take cards with the Interlink symbol. Make sure you’re carrying a lot of cash (especially small bills) and understand how to take cash advances out on your credit card. Travelers checks are not widely used.

There is generally a withdrawal fee of $5.25 for withdrawing cash from ATMs with a (Visa) credit card. Hence, it makes sense to withdraw larger amounts to keep the fees low.

Banks:

Opening hours vary widely from bank to bank. On weekdays, all banks are open until at least 3PM, and some until 7PM. On Saturdays many banks are open until noon, and some branches located in shopping centers are also open on Sundays. Note that most banks will not allow you to enter wearing shorts and/or flip-flops.

BY BUS:

There are two kinds of buses in Panama: the ones you find on the highway, and “city buses” (Metrobuses, which replaced the Diablos Rojos (Red Devils).

The highway buses are constantly making journeys from terminals in Panama city to different destinations along the Pan American Highway, and back to the terminal. They’re pretty frequent, and the buses will pick you up or drop you off at any point along their route, and most of them are air conditioned. The roughly linear shape of the country makes it ideal for a bus system, so ideal in fact that you don’t really need to rent a car to get around most areas. Take a bus to the intersection on the Pan American highway that you want. You can get on a bus any place on the Pan American highway going towards Panama City, but all trips originating from within the city require a ticket. The Grand Terminal in the city is large and modern, and will remind you of an American shopping mall or airport (it actually is a shopping mall, Albrook Mall, too). Schedules for all Panama are listed here.

The highway buses are very cheap, count on a fare of about US$1 per hour traveled, sometimes less. One exception is fares from Tocumen airport, firy which both buses and taxis charge through the roof (by Panamanian standards), simply because they can.

If you want to get on a bus, stand by the side of the road, hold you out your arm and make obvious pointing motions toward the ground. If you’re on the bus and want to get off, yell “parada!” or tell the driver in advance. You’ll get the hang of it pretty quick. The locals are very helpful with tourists on buses, and may offer help.

Never ask for the fare in the bus: the bus drivers will most certainly always round up numbers in that case. Instead, know the fare beforehand (by asking the locals) and give the exact change. Or give a round number and look as if you expect change or demand it holding your hand forward, pretending to know the right fare.

BY METRO:

Inaugurated in 2014, the Metro de Panama is now one of the major means of transportation for many locals. A single ride costs $0.35; you can pay with a Metro card which you can buy at any of the stations for $1 (the same metro card works for both the Metro and the Metrobuses. The Metro de Panama operates M-F from 5AM until 11PM, Saturdays from 5AM until 10PM, and Sundays from 7AM until 10PM.

The Metro de Panama has two lines:Line 1 starts from the Albrook Bus Terminal, with stops at Iglesia del Carmen and Via Argentina connecting you to the city center. Line 1 is connected to the Line 2 (inaugurated in mid-2019) through the San Miguelito station. The Line 2 passes through major parts of the Via Jose Domingo Diaz or the Via Tocumen, but it does not stop at the Tocumen Airport.

Follow general safety guidelines while riding the metro during peak and off-peak hours.

BY TAXI:

If your destination is far off the bus route, or if you just want to be lazy, taxis are also a decent way to get around in Panama. Taxi rates are negotiated and vary depending on location. Most short taxi rides are $2.50 and going across town is about $5. Unlike the urban taxis you may be used to, they can take you way out into the country.

A taxi ride from Tocumen airport to Panama City, at a minimum of $30, can easily exceed your taxi fares for the rest of your trip combined. If you share a taxi ride with other passengers going from the airport to the city, your fare per person can be cheaper, at around $12. You can save quite a bit of money by taking the bus to the Gran Terminal, but even the bus fares will be higher than normal.

BY CAR:

Panama can easily be discovered independently. The road system of Panama is in very good condition (for Central and South American standards). You can rent a car and drive it around the country if you are an excellent defensive driver. While traveling by car you can discover attractions that are hard or impossible to reach with public transportation.

Panama City is more difficult to navigate than any big city in the United States, with terrible traffic jams at rush hours, few signs for names of streets, poor street design, and a lack of traffic lights at busy intersections. You must be aggressive about positioning your car to get anywhere, yet highly alert to erratic and irrational behavior by others. Drivers have little respect for or even knowledge of traffic laws, and drivers from North America or Western Europe will be stunned by their recklessness. In the rest of the country, driving is mostly stress-free.

The Pan American Highway is paved for the entire length of the country, and has many roads which branch off to towns off the highway, most of which are paved, and most of the rest are still easily navigable in a sedan. However, road engineering standards are low, so be on the lookout for off camber turns, deep potholes, and sharp turns with no warning. It is highly recommended to drive well informed about your route. Use the detailed information which cochera andina provides on its site when planning your trip and check out road conditions, distances and travel times. On the road, don’t forget to take also a good road map with you.

For driving in Panama you need the driver’s license of your country but to avoid trouble at police controls it is better to have an international driver’s license with you as well. The traffic rules are almost the same as in Europe or the U.S. Road signs are frequent. The speed limits are 40 km/h within cities, 80 km/h outside and 100 km/h on the highways. You will find gas stations all over Panama. A lot of stations are open around the clock. Three types of gasoline are available: unleaded, super and diesel.

Panapass:

For driving in the Corredor Sur and Corredor Norte highways, both toll roads, the only accepted payment method is the Panapass sticker; not having one will incur in a fine.

BY PLANE:

Local airlines serve many airports in Panama. Aeroperlas and AirPanama are the two local companies. Flights leave Panama City from Marcos Gelabert Airport in Albrook.

Private aircraft charters are available through online and local companies.

It is advisable to check the tail number of any aircraft chartered in Panama. All registered aircraft authorized for public charter work (air taxi) will have a letters after their numeric tail number (e.g., HP-0000TD). This signifies the aircraft is insured for charter work and is subjected to more inspections and increased maintenance requirements.

BY TRAIN:

Take the Panama Canal Railway from Panama City to Colón or vice versa. The first train made this trip in 1855 (though the line has since been abandoned and rebuilt in standard gauge) and it was the first interoceanic railway in the Americas, predating the transcontinental railroad in the US by a decade and a half. While the primary purpose of the railroad is the cargo business, a passenger train runs once per day and direction and is very much marketed as a luxury train, trying to justify the $25 one way fare.

EAT:

In the larger cities you can find all types of food ranging from the French haute cuisine to the freshest sushi. There are Arabic restaurants, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Mexican… whatever you’re in the mood for.

Outside of the cities, the selection is largely Panamanian with bountiful seafood and beef due to the abundance of cattle farms and the fantastic fishing in the area. Panamanian cuisine is a mix of several cultures. Reminiscent of the country’s Afro-Caribbean, French and Spanish influences, the dishes take on a complete character of their own. If you get tired of eating beans or gallo pinto in the rest of Central America, you might want to head towards Panama. Since Panama has a little more Caribbean influence than other Central American countries, you’ll see a lot more plaintain than beans here. Most dishes are served with coconut rice and a type of squash or other native vegetable. If Panamanian food has to be summed up in one word, that word would be culantro, which is a local plant that tastes like cilantro, except that it has a much stronger flavor.

A typical plate in a humble, family restaurant can range from $1.25 to $5.00, including your choice of meat: mondongo (beef stomach), fried or baked chicken, pork, beef and sometimes fried fish; rice, beans, salad: cabbage, carrot & mayonnaise; beet salad; green salad; potato or macaroni salad; and patacones (fried green plantains). The Panamanians also enjoy their chichas (fruit, water & sugar), of which there is always a selection, ranging from tamarindo, maracuya (passion fruit), mango, papaya, jugo de caña (sugar cane juice), or agua de pipa (juice from young green coconuts). If you like your food picante, Panama may not be the place for you. They definitely have several hot sauces, but the emphasis is not on the heat.

You can get excellent food really cheap if you look around. A quick and cheap lunch can be found at the so-called fondas, which are small eateries located near schools, sports stadiums and in industrial areas where workers and students will have their afternoon meal. There are often several of these fondas clustered together so just look for the one with the longest line and you can count on it having the best food for the money. A full plate of rice and beans with a large piece of chicken and a small salad will cost around $2-2.50 plus the cost of a Coke (Squirt is very popular with lunch). If you choose to eat your food at the fonda you will be given a real plate and silverware, and a glass bottle of soda with a straw (be sure to return the empty bottle). The local food is far more tasty than the typical Subway sandwich, Whopper or KFC meal and a lot cheaper. If you eat at the same location often enough you will move from the status of a crazy gringo who must have gotten lost on the way to the Burger King to just another one of the locals enjoying lunch and casual conversation (in an industrial area the patrons will be mostly men and the subject of conversation mostly football and women).

The equivalent of a 5-star meal with drinks can be $8-30 in some places.

DRINK:

National beers are produced (Balboa, Atlas, Soberana, Panamá), but don’t measure up to a good import. Balboa is probably the best of the domestic brands, however, Atlas is the most commonly purchased; many women favor Soberana. Beer can cost as little as $0.30 per 12-oz can in a supermarket or anywhere from $0.50 in a local town bar up to $2.50 in upscale bars.

Carta Vieja and Ron Abuelo are the main domestically produced rum. Seco, a very raw white rum, is the national liquor. Seco con leche (with milk) is a common drink in the countryside.

Panama’s hotel accommodations are as diverse as its geography. Panama City has as much glamour and glitz as New York City, without the high price tag. You can find 5-star high rise hotels in the heart of downtown; or you can venture out to the smaller neighborhoods, where old Canal military barracks have been converted into B&Bs. In terms of an authentic Panama experience, the historic district of Casco Viejo provides the charm of yester-year with modern amenities of today. Because tourism is so new to the district, lodging accommodations are largely limited to the fleet of short term apartment rentals at Los Cuatro Tulipanes.

Bocas del Toro has typical island cabanas and small hotels, some literally right on the water (similar to the cabanas in Bali). The Chiriqui Province, in the western lowlands, has small hotels on some of the outer islands, and an Eco-Preserve in Chorcha where you can spend the night in Jungle Hammocks with the monkeys. In the western highlands, around Boquete, there are hostels for $5 a night, and 5-star hotels for $300 a night or more. No high rises here, but small very artsy boutique hotels and casitas. David Panama, capital of the Chiriqui Province, has become a destination and a hub for backpackers crossing from Panama City to Bocas Del Toro and Costa Rica.

Panama is home to the Colon Free Zone, which is the largest in the hemisphere. There are also large, American-style malls, such as Multicentro, Albrook Mall, Multiplaza Pacific, and the latest Metromall. However, prices vary widely from mall to mall – Albrook is quite cheap, while Multiplaza is home to designer boutiques and very high prices. Generally Panama is a good place to buy consumer electronics, clothing and cosmetics.

Traditional Panamanian crafts can be found most cheaply at artesania markets, such as the YMCA in Balboa and the market in Panama Viejo. In Panama City, the best handicrafts can be found at REPROSA. Panama’s best-known craft is the mola, intricate reverse-applique handwork made by the Kuna. Molas can also be bought from vendors on the seawall in Casco Viejo. Other Panamanian crafts include carved tagua nuts, cocobolo carvings of animals, and woven palm-fiber baskets. There is a smaller craft market in El Valle, which specializes in soapstone carvings and other central Panamanian crafts.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Panama
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Name: San Blas Islands of Panama
Location: Panama
The San Blas Islands of Panama is an archipelago comprising approximately 365 islands and cays, of which 49 are inhabited. They lie off the north coast of the Isthmus of Panama, east of the Panama Canal. A part of the comarca (district) Guna Yala along the Caribbean coast of Panama is home to the Guna people.

San Blas and its surrounding area is a haven for ecotourism because of its pristine environs. The area is also popular for sailing, as it is known for its beauty and lack of hurricanes. Notable locations in the Archipelago are the main capital El Porvenir, the densely crowded island village of Carti Sugtupu, and the two keys, Cayos Limones, and Cayos Holandeses, both renowned for their clear waters.

The islands could be rendered uninhabitable by sea level rise in the late 21st century. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Guna wore few clothes and decorated their bodies with colorful designs. When encouraged to wear clothes by the missionaries, they copied these designs in their molas, which they wore as clothing. Driven off Panama during the Spanish invasion, the Guna fled to the surrounding 378 islands. 

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Blas_Islands
Name: Casco Viejo
Location: Panama City, Panama
Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Quarter), also known as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe, is the historic district of Panama City. Completed and settled in 1673, it was built following the near-total destruction of the original Panamá city, Panamá Viejo in 1671, when the latter was attacked by pirates. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997.

Panama City was founded on August 15, 1519 and it lasted one hundred and fifty-two years. In January 1671, the Governor Juan Perez de Guzman had it set on fire, before the attack and looting by the pirate Henry Morgan. In 1672, Antonio Fernández de Córdoba initiated the construction of a new city, which was then founded on January 21, 1673. This city was built on a peninsula completely isolated by the sea and a defensive system of walls. Today this place preserves the first institutions and buildings of the modern city of Panama. It is known as Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Town).

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casco_Viejo,_Panama
Name: Portobelo
Location: Portobelo District, Panama
Portobelo is a port city in Portobelo District, Colón Province, Panama with a population of 4,559 as of 2010. Established during the Spanish colonial period, it functions as the seat of Portobelo District. Located on the northern part of the Isthmus of Panama, it has a deep natural harbor and served as a center for silver exporting before the mid-eighteenth century and its destruction in 1739 during the War of Jenkins' Ear.

It slowly rebuilt and the city's economy revived briefly in the late-nineteenth century during construction of the Panama Canal. In 1980 UNESCO designated the ruins of the Spanish colonial fortifications, along with nearby Fort San Lorenzo, as a World Heritage Site, named Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo.

Portobelo was colonized in 1597 by Spanish explorer Francisco Velarde y Mercado and quickly replaced Nombre de Dios as a Caribbean port for Peruvian silver. Legend has it that Christopher Columbus originally named the port "Puerto Bello", meaning "Beautiful Port", in 1502. After Francis Drake died of dysentery in 1596 at sea, he was said to be buried in a lead coffin near Portobelo Bay.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portobelo,_Colón
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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

Please do also view our introductory video at the following web link:

https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

Global Immigration Leader, Big 4

“Manny. You have really gone the extra mile in supporting the US Business Visitor Service. You have demonstrated real commitment and energy, working a late shift night while we try and find others to fill the position. I know that the other night you stayed until 4am. You are always so positive and your cheerful disposition and attention to detail has resulted in excellent client feedback. On Monday the key client came to London and she was effusive about the service. This is largely due the cover you provide.”

Internal stakeholder, Big 4

“Manny is a big reason why the move from (external provider) to the UK firm’s passport and visa provision has been so smooth. He’s an extremely likeable honest hard working guy who takes his role very seriously. We’re very fortunate to have him leading our dedicated team”

External client, Private practice

“Most of my contact was with Manpreet Singh Johal. He did the best job someone could imagine. Extraordinary service from his side.”

Team member, Big 4

“Working on two priority accounts is naturally pressurised especially where he has also been responsible for billing on both accounts; yet Manny delivers every time and this I believe is an exceptional quality.”

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