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By No owner — last modified Apr 10, 2019 01:52 PM

 Panama - Profile


  • For details on the Canal transit see Procedures for a Handline Transit of the Panama Canal.
  • Panama is located on the Isthmus of Panama, the landbridge between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean that connects North and South America. Panama is bordered by Colombia and Costa Rica and is best known for the Panama Canal which opened in 1914 and was incorporated fully into Panama on 31 December 1999.
  • The total population of Panama is around 3.6 million with 1.5 million of those living in Panama City. Spanish is the official language but English is widely spoken.
  • The currency is the dollar. For specifics see General Info.
  • Panama observes Eastern Standard Time all year (GMT-5). For specifics see General Info.
  • Located south of the hurricane zone Panama is rarely affected by tropical storms or hurricanes and the tropical country experiences a dry season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November.
  • Balboa on the Pacific and Cristobal in the Caribbean are the two main ports and gateways to the canal. The port of Cristobal incorporates the town of Colon.
  • Panama has seen a significant expansion in marinas and services in the past 10 years, there are now at least 12 marinas which provide service to visiting yachts: three in Bocas del Toro; Shelter Bay at the Caribbean entrance to the canal and three more on the same coast; five on the Pacific side of the canal including the new Vista Mar Marina and the two marinas at Las Perlas. Several other marina projects are in development with completion TBD.
  • For more information see Yachting Essentials.
  • The main cruising attractions in Panama are the 365 island Guna Yala off the Caribbean coast and the Las Perlas islands on the Pacific side. Like in other isolated parts of the world, sailors are advised to only stop in a remote anchorage in the company of another boat.
  • Navigation Tips: Cruisers have reported half sunk logs on the passage from Porvenir to Portobelo. Care should be taken around the Panama coastline for such hazards. Vessels entering the Bay of Panama from Costa Rica can get out of the opposing current found between Punta Mala and Panama by heading first to the Perlas Islands and then coming up on the current.


There are two Yahoo e-mail groups specifically designed for cruisers to share information. Both groups have cruisers worldwide.

Cruisers Network Online - Caribbean Side of Panama
To subscribe to Cruisers Network Online, email

Southbound Group - Pacific side of middle America going west
To subscribe to the Southbound Group, email

Puddlejump Group - Pacific side of middle America going west
To subscribe to the Puddlejump Group, email

Cruisers VHF Nets - Caribbean side of Panama
Shelter Bay Marina: VHF Channel 77 every morning at 7.30am
Bocas del Toro: VHF Channel 68 at 7.45am

Cruisers VHF Nets - Pacific side of Panama
La Playita / Las Brisas: VHF Channel 72 (sometimes changing due to local traffic) Monday-Saturday at 8.00am

Cruiser Resource Guide for Panama City
Author: Debi Shaimas - SV Serenity.
This guide is updated several times a year.

Rogelio de Hoyos
Tel: (+507) 6717-6745
Contact in Panama for Trans-Ocean e.V., Germany and Seven Seas Cruising Association. Can assist yachts with information and advice covering cruising Panama, Panama Canal transits, facilities etc. Also professional driver and official Canal Agent. Fluent in English.

Panama Cruisers Facebook Group

San Blas Cruisers Facebook Group

See the Communications section for a list of SSB Radio Nets.


Overall Crime and Safety

Panama is relatively safe compared to other Central American countries, but crime including shootings, rapes, armed robberies, muggings, and thefts are noted.

Note: As with most countries it is prudent to carry a copy, not your original passport while off your boat (many copy shops can make you a small laminated wallet-sized version).

Specific areas of concern:

Panama City neighborhoods of: El Chorrillo, San Miguel, Santa Ana, Cabo Verde, Curundu, Veracruz Beach, Santa Librada, Rio Abajo, San Miguelito, Juan Diaz, Pedregal, Panama Viejo, and the Madden Dam Overlook.

Colon is a high-crime area with increased gang activity; travelers should use extreme caution when traveling in this area.

The Mosquito Coast (Caribbean side) and the Darién region (Colombian border) are particularly hazardous due to their remoteness and the presence of criminal organizations.

There is some civil unrest and protests focusing on domestic issues (students’ rights, labor disputes, indigenous issues) are common and have caused road closures on major thoroughfares but are typically non-violent.

Maritime Issues

Most incidents of theft are petty or opportunistic but several serious robberies/attacks have been reported in anchorages around Panama. Nowhere in Panama should yachts anchor at night in remote areas without being accompanied by other yachts. Always lock up at night and arrange to have your boat cared for if you will be away.

The Caribbean Safety and Security Net provides information by anchorage or by island. If you experience a boarding, robbery or attack on your yacht or have information about a yachting-related security incident, go to the CSSN homepage and click on the "Report an Incident" icon. Also be sure to check the noonsite Piracy & Security Pages

Reported Incidents:

Bocas del Toro, April 201: Dinghy and outboard stolen.

Portobelo, January 2019: Violent boarding and robbery by armed men. See report.

Las Perlas, 2018: Burgled while ashore.

Linton Bay, 2018: Multiple reports including a charter catamaran that was boarded and robbed at gunpoint by three armed men, who arrived at the boat by panga at about 23:00 hrs. Stolen at gunpoint were cash, credit cards, phones, and personal electronics. Linton Bay Marina staff and the Aeronaval have now instituted night-time patrols in the area. See reports for more detail.

San Blas, 2018/17/15: Multiple incidents of overnight theft including dinghy and ipad stolen.

Bocas del Toro, 2017:  Multiple incidents of dinghy and motor theft—arrests were made.

Portobello, 2017: Attempted and successful dinghy and motor thefts.

Rio Chagres, 2016: Break in and theft.

General Emergency Numbers:

For more detail see General Info

Last updated:  December 2018


Panama has a tropical maritime climate with a hot, humid, rainy season (May through to December) and a short dry season (January through to May). Panama’s narrow north to south geography results in competing weather patterns coming onshore from both the Caribbean ocean and the Pacific.

After the dry season ends the rains start gradually with frequent showers. By August, there are daily downpours and thunderstorms which can result in lightning strikes and flash flooding along rivers and roads.

You will find many microclimates throughout Panama: Bocas del Toro and other locations on Panama’s Caribbean Coast receive twice as much rain as the Pacific Coast as strong trade winds constantly blow from north to south. Although outside of the hurricane belt the Caribbean Coast can get the tail of tropical storms.

Panama Weather (in Spanish)

Sailing Advisory Panama to Galapagos

Report on Eastern Pacific Offshore Waters Forecast.

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

Marine Weather Center
Chris Parker
Tel:1-863-248-2702 Fax:1-863-248-4666
Opening hours: Best times to call: Daily 10a-2p Eastern, Weds 10a-1p, or by appointment
SSB Weather Nets and personal forecasting covering the entire Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Coast of C America, Bahamas, entire US E Coast, Bermuda, and Atlantic waters N of the Equator in the area W of about 50W Longitude. Schedule located on website.

Main Ports

Rosalind Laing
Rosalind Laing says:
Apr 10, 2019 12:03 AM

Panama Yachting Services had already decided that it was time for James to retire from heavy physical rigging work, when this job came along. At 76 and with his 77th birthday this month, it was time for James to stop going up masts and let younger, stronger people take over the physical work. Now, Shelter Bay will be providing the people who measure and install Selden products under James' supervision. Panama Yachting Services will continue to help visiting yachts with our local knowledge gained over 40 years in Panama, and, work as a sales outlet for Selden - advising on selection of the Selden range of masts, rigging and roller furlers etc. Our role in future will be to act solely as sales agents for Selden, Rolly Tasker Sails and Lalizas marine products, as well as De-Bug magnetic fuel purifiers.
The stays ordered for Uldis were the wrong length. We are not sure how this happened. First time ever! We replaced them at our cost and paid for his rigging to be installed. We did not consider we were responsible for his marina bill, because delays were due initially to the fact that he had metric turnbuckles that could not be used with the imperial studs supplied by Selden. Sorting that out took time. Uldis did not understand that it was not possible to fly in new studs from Sweden to match his turnbuckles and swage them in Panama. Selden supplies imperial studs and good swaging machines were not available outside the USA. Then there were delays caused by festive events - Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year when the US suppliers closed down. We met his request for a letter for migration and offered any other assistance he needed.

uldinch says:
Mar 29, 2019 08:52 PM

Warning to sailboats considering standing rigging repairs while in Panama. On top of the cost of materials shipped from the US, Messrs. James and Rosalind Laing of Panama Yachting Services S.A. allowed themselves so much unprofessional errors and sloppiness to cause my sailboat 'Single Malt' to remain moored at Shelter Bay marina for 4 months instead of the promised 3 - 4 weeks. My claim of thus inflicted USD2748 (most of it marina fees) was declined by 'We are a small business and we simply don't have those funds.' Luckily, the marina (who witnessed all this nightmare of 3 consecutive shipments due to measurement and judgement errors) has been extra friendly and accommodating. Kudos, Shelter Bay!
With ruined sailing schedules already and no mood/time for litigation, all I can do is advise you all to learn from my mistakes.
Uldis Ozolants, skipper single-hander/retired lawyer.

Diane Selkirk
Diane Selkirk says:
Mar 27, 2019 10:21 PM

Posted on behalf of SV Kandu.
The $185 Permit is required for all yachts navigating Panamanian waters for more than three days. Acquiring one:
1) Linton Marina, the Port Captain provides you one on the spot without additional charge.
2a) Shelter Bay Marina, for $50 cash, no receipt, the Port Captain will arrange and provide you your permit through the Linton Port Captain, 1-2 days. You provide him the $185 cash.
2b) Shelter Bay Marina, for $25, receipt provided, and $185 cash, the marina office will process your permit through the Colon Port Captain, who in turn, sends the request to Panama City. Once complete, the marina driver collects the permit from Colon, 5-10 days in total.
3) Solo, you can take the Shelter Bay Marina shuttle bus to Colon Port Captain’s office and initiate the process yourself, communicating directly with the office yourself, and boarding the shuttle yourself to collect your completed permit.

Line Handlers
Recommend volunteering for another’s boat transit and then hiring at least one of your agent’s professional line handlers, $100 per handler all in. Not only do they prep and handle lines and fenders, they can also re-enforce your preferences with the advisors and canal workers. Note: For your volunteers, a pre-arranged taxi back to Shelter Bay from Balboa is $100.

Lines & Fenders
Recommend renting them. No more tires, only real fenders are provided now, 8 of them. Four extra long polypropylene 7/8” lines. For $12 cash tip, a Balboa Marina tender will collect them from you as you pass by.

After Transit
Balboa Marina; If you can get a mooring ball, per night is ~$50. Marinas are expensive. Playitas said $150 first day, $2/ft/day after that. Anchoring, remember they have a 15-foot tidal range here.

Erick Galvez is a popular agent here in the marina. We’re using him and are very happy with his service. English speaking, quick and thorough email responses.

All the best,

s/v Kandu
Shelter Bay, Panama

CaprichoII says:
Nov 26, 2018 04:21 PM

Unfortunately Karsten Staffeldt mentioned in Sources of Panama Information has passed away. We received this email from his wife: "This is Karsten wife Nellie. Karsten passed away July 14th 2018. Pls let his friend know. Tks." He has been a hero to so many sailors dedicating his life to help other people. RIP

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 12, 2018 04:35 PM

Feedback from Robert Burn:
We are now in Shelter Bay Marina near Panama where the tariff for our 16.7 vessel is US$80 per night. We are funnelled here because we are transiting the Canal, and it is all much easier this way!
Erick Galvez has been very good, and has us going through in five days from arrival. We had to weld up our stern fairleads to satisfy the PCA inspector Jose, a cheerful fellow.
The transit for our vessel is $1300 and with fenders and ropes and one experienced line handler it came to just over $2000. The boat measured more than two feet longer than the registered LOA, which may explain why I am spending more on paint.
South America is better than the Caribbean in many aspects, much to do with the people. Peru is reputed to be most convivial.
We are heading to French Polynesia and there seems there are a couple of others heading that way too.

Michael Schrodter
Michael Schrodter says:
May 08, 2018 12:20 PM

Sending items to Panama.
I can't be more appropriative of Coray Ward of mailboxes ect. An incredible help in assisting clearance of parcels. I would definitely call or contact him first and he will be able to give appropriate advise on the courier to avoid any delays in processing in Panama. His communication is excellent and really goes the extra effort. Hands down the best service experience while in panama.
Mike S/Y Alba

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 14, 2018 12:28 PM

Reported by S/Y Sannsipapp of Norway:
Panama Agent for packages.
I have the pleasure of recommending a good agent that makes all the hassle with receiving packages etc. from abroad go away. What this company does is having all sent through a PO box address in the USA, making import to Panama a lot easier. They charge not much for doing it, and the service is priceless. They take care of all paperwork, customs, clearance etc. for you and come to deliver the goods to on your boat, nearly wherever you might be. We had such a good experience with this guy.
The company has at least two offices in Panama City. Coray A Ward, Mail Boxes Etc, tel 507 2256254 or 66243216,,
Axel H K Wold
S/Y Sannsipapp of Norway

Avant says:
Mar 11, 2018 04:44 PM

Affordable Marinas on the Pacific coast of Panama?
A report from friends of ours on MY Crossroads is that Vista Mar Marina in San Carlos is cheap and brand new with great facilities.

Marina location is approximately 8°29.0N, 79°56.6W

Check out all the information and our friends' feedback on the San Carlos page here on noonsite -

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 21, 2018 04:01 PM

Reports from cruisers in the San Blas Islands are that for about a week now, the Congresso that governs Kuna Yala has banned the travel of non boat owners into the region. As the charter trade is totally unregulated here, large numbers of Charter vessels have proliferated, possibly outnumbering the private boats. Any business venture by anyone other than a Kuna in the region is illegal per Congresso law.
No charter guests can be transported by taxi to charter boats at the mainland docks or by water taxi to boats at anchor. Offending operators are being fined up to 500 usd.
Returning boat owners who have either pensionado cards for legal residence in Panama, or have their Cruising Permit and crew list, are managing to get back to their boats.
Air travel to the two airports in the Western San Blas has not been available for the past 2 years,so SUV travel from Panama City on the Carti road is the only method of visiting Kuna Yala.
The resolution of this problem is unclear at this time and one larger tour operator is involved in a legal battle over this, but they do not think it will be resolved for at least a month.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 19, 2017 09:45 PM

San Blas Ustupu EVENT: Theft
DATE: 2017-11-06 08:00
Stolen Items: 40 ft. of port headsail sheet
SECURED: Not Locked
DETAILS: When departing, owners anchored just west of Ustupu discovered their port headsail sheet had been cut just behind the track car and the remaining 40 ft. of line stolen. It had been coiled and secured to the lifeline. Their buddy boat reported that sunscreen and bugspray had been taken from their dinghy while tied to the Ustupu military dock. The theft will be reported to the local officials at their next stop westbound.

roycereid302 says:
Oct 06, 2017 05:07 PM

I wanted to give some positive feedback for Puerto Armuelles as an entry and exit port for the Pacific side of Panama.
We cleared in and out of Panama there with no hassle at all. The port captain filled out all the forms, copied all our documents and helped us with our crew list.... We obtained all of our exit papers in about 45 minutes and when we came in it took about an hour to clear.
There is good holding in about 25 feet of water by the banana dock. Basically an easy in and out stop with good shopping, diesel available at $2.00usd a taxi ride away and friendly efficient service.
I don't speak Spanish.. but they all understood what I wanted and helped a lot. Very positive experience there.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Aug 11, 2017 09:33 AM

The increase in transit tolls for commercial vessels, effective October 2017, does not affect small crafts (up to 125 ft. LOA). All information on the Customer Form "Procedures for securing a Handline
Transit of the Panama Canal" from 2012 is still current, and can be seen on the Panama Canal

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Aug 02, 2017 05:17 PM

Further report from Karsten Staffeldt - 1 August, 2017
Transit of the Panama Canal - Small vessels inclusive yachts (Less than 125 Ft. LOA)

Please be advised that the Pilot Organization at the Panama Canal has notified the Canal Authorities that they should have more control of the transits by small crafts inclusive yachts, which presently only requires an Advisor.

The negotiations are in the early stages, but if the Pilot Organization is successful and a regular Pilot will be required, no doubt the transit cost for small craft will increase considerably.

Shall keep you advised of developments.

Karsten Staffeldt

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 20, 2017 08:36 PM

Report from Karsten Staffeldt: Contact in Panama for noonsite & various Scandinavian Ocean Cruising Associations and the OCC.
Panama up date:

Our Summer, Dry-Season, is over and the Rainy-Season started, which will last to
November. May is also the end of the sailing season Panama and in June the
Hurricane Season in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific is expected to begin.

In the Pacific El Niño is presently neutral and La Niña conditions is expected later this year.

As far as the Panama Canal Transits for small crafts, inclusive yachts, we have seen some delays during the past months, but with the season being over this situation is not expected to continue in the coming months.Furthermore at present no indication that the transit cost for small crafts will increase this year.

As far as Panama is concerned - some changes.

It seems that the situation at San Blas Islands has normalized somewhat, it is now possible again to clear in with both Port Captain and Immigration at Porvenir.

Also Immigration requirements have changed and crew on non-commercial yachts will be
grated minimum 90 days tourist permission at no cost, which can be extended, but in such case a visa is required costing around $ 105,00.

Otherwise no significant changes relating to clearing in and cruising Panama, however it must be pointed out that Rules and Regulations are subject to frequent change and often with different interpretation by the various Port Captain and Immigration Offices.

For Galapagos, obtaining permission to call required as well as use of an agent.
It is recommended that yachts wishing to call Galapagos contact any agent well
in advance of their planned visit in order to arrange the necessary permits. It
should also be noted that Rules and Regulations are frequently changed and at
times the interpretation of same up to the local Authorities attending the
clearing in!

Golden Glow
Golden Glow says:
Apr 13, 2017 01:36 AM

Panama Canal delays have only gotten worse since February. We were measured on Monday April 10th and were given a date of May 9th, 29 days out. Our agent says next week, after Easter, there may be an improvement, so I'll update you if things change.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 22, 2017 12:12 PM

Panama Canal - Transit delays February / March 2017
Transit delays are now anticipated through the end of this month (Carnival Season) and into the first half of March (arrival of rallies). They are expected to be extensive.

Max Terragni
Max Terragni says:
Jan 02, 2017 04:46 PM

We used immigration in Porvenir last December 28th, 2016.
The officer ask us for 105 USD per person to obtain the visa for 6 months.
With the help of our friends, who had obtained a visa a few days before, we were able to enter for free - as the new law permits.
Beware that not all the officers are aware of the new law.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jul 08, 2016 09:44 PM

The latest from our contacts in Panama:

1: Apparently little is going on as far as discussions between the Central Government and the Kuna Yala Congress.

2: Reports from several yachts indicate that they are cruising the San Blas without problems and collection of fees/charges at anchorages is inconsistant. In most reports no Kuna Yala Fee and anchoring fees have been collected.

3: Also some yachts coming from Colombia or the east have reported that agents in Panama are advising them to cruise the San Blas if they so wish before proceeding to Linton, Portobelo or Colon for clearance (which is contrary to regulations).

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 21, 2016 11:54 AM

18 June 2016: Reported on the San Blas Cruisers Facebook Group

The Port Captain at Linton Bay Marina (Puerto Lindo) has all the stamps required to check you in for a year.
The cost to check in is $195 payable in cash only.

The Port Captain in Portobelo does not have the stamps for the cruising permit, therefore you would have to go to Colon or to Linton Bay Marina for that.

There is no immigration office at Linton Bay Marina as of today, but it is coming soon.
The closest immigration place from Linton Bay is in Portobelo where you can check into the country.
If the immigration office in Portobelo does not have the special visa, the one that costs $100, then you have 72 hours to get it, either in Colon or in Panama city.

The stamp obtained in Portobelo will be good for you to travel in the country for 72 hours.

There is no bank in Linton Bay (Puerto Lindo) or in Portobelo, but there are banks and ATMs in Sabanitas, which is on the way to Colon or Panama city.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 31, 2016 02:12 PM

Posted on behalf of Javier Palacios Fenech:

1 - Panama border is closed in Puerto Obaldia and El Porvenir due to the amount of immigrants wanting to reach the US from Colombia.

2 - Be careful with non-official Agents. The stamps they offer are not valid to stay in Panama, and not entered into the inmigration office system.

3 - Armed robbery in Portobello to a french yachtie. Be careful, also in Puerto Lindo. Several cases of robbery in the last few weeks.

4 - Bureaucracy to enter Panama is not so bad as in Colombia, but as the business between Cartagena and Panama is growing and there is an immigration conflict, official agents are becoming more strict with crowded boats. i.e. they may ask for a reservation of a flight out of the country and proof to be financially independent to each passenger. i.e Portobello, Colon.

Vaguebond says:
May 02, 2016 05:22 AM

If you're short in time to provision in Panama-City, we could surely recommend Chris Burillo (emal: to,take care for provisioning.
All fruits and vegetables (coming from fresh market) wer of excellent quality and price, meat comes vacuum packed and cooled, and all supermarket items were delivered according to our request.
Chris is a great person with big interst in sailing...
Delivery was made exactly on time, everything well packed.

If contacting him, do not forget to order some honey, this is really delicious!

Vaguebond says:
Apr 15, 2016 11:59 PM

We would like to hihem as well. When both pilots came on board, both of the said they were relaxed as they know that we had 2 knowledgeable linehandlers on board (based upon our experience during crossing the locks, at least 2 linehandlers with prior Panama Canal experience are an absolute requirement :-)

zoonie says:
Mar 29, 2016 03:39 PM

Rob and I aboard our Oyster 406 used the services of AYS, Associated Yacht Services to arrange our Canal Transit. Alessandro RisI and Josimar of AYS were professional and friendly and did all the running around for us including clearing out and our Zarpe on leaving. Their email responses were prompt enabling us to sent scanned documents to them while we were still in Curacao. Shelter Bay is a safe and friendly place to stay, with good haul out and boat yard facilities and John Hallen, the manager, and his staff are welcoming and can organise most things. Our Advisor, Regis, directed us to the free anchorage on the canal side of Flamenco Marina, which although noisy at times is an adequate spot near the La Playing harbour end. We dragged in fine silty mud when we anchored further south. Most yachts take their tenders in to La Playita pontoon, but since January the charge for leaving it there has been $57 per week and you CANNOT pay by the day.

Murphy says:
Mar 13, 2016 04:24 AM

A correction re dogs arriving in Panama. We arrived by boat to Boca's Marina. No advance check in. We declared our dog and then paid 50 dollars in town and he was allowed ashore. He does have a UK pet passport and all relevant vaccinations/ microchip. By plane from the USA...we saw a USDA vet who completed the paperwork, then went to the Dept of Agriculture who confirmed the paperwork and vet were genuine. Then we took the paperwork to the Panamanian consulate and they checked the paperwork again. When we arrived in Panama the quarantine people checked our dog and the paperwork. He was given a 40 day quarantine which can be done on the boat. The whole process cost about 350 dollars! Not cheap but so be it. Secondly most dogs are friendly in Panama, especially Kuna dogs. A warning if landing your dog for a walk at Linton Bay. There is a restaurant in the right hand corner that has 5 white dogs who are very unfriendly and bit our dog badly. The owner just said it was his dogs right to attack ours unprovoked even though we werent near their restaurant.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 23, 2016 12:28 PM

Portuguese Man 'o War
At this time of year these creatures can be seen in this area.
If you are stung by one (also applies to a lion fish, coral, stingrays etc.), the best remedy is HOT seawater.
Any chemical agent, or change in PH, or Salinity, or chemical composition, will trigger the stinging cells to fire more venom. For many millions of years, these things have evolved to exist in a narrow temperature band, but by increasing the temperature, it simply turns the cells into protoplasm, like soup.
Target temperature is about 50 C or 122 F, but just try to get as hot as you can tolerate.

Inchcailloch says:
Feb 23, 2016 01:06 AM

Emmanuel Agencies S.A. Roy Bravo's main aim in his professional career is to make sure you do not work have no worries and to make your transit totally trouble free. Ironically out of all the forms, permits, payments fees, visas etc that have to be paid, this is the only one that is not necessary and the one that is most useful. Being single handed he arranged ropes fender, rope handlers who were the most pleasant you could wish for. Roy was always there at the end of the phone for me and responded to emails often within minutes. Admeasurer was arranger within 2 days and within 2 days of that my transit was underway. Of all the monies spent transiting the canal Roy's was the best value and the most friendly and the one very reasonable amount that I did not mind paying. Thanks very much Roy a pleasure doing business with you. Bob Redley Tiger Lily

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 11, 2016 10:04 AM

From San Blas Cruisers Facebook Page:
We arrived in the San Blas 2 weeks ago, and we have paid:

105 USD P.P. for Visas (our 12 year old daughter was free)
200 USD cruising permit for 1 year
20 USD P.P. / month park fees (our 12 year old daughter was free)
20 USD per boat/month park fees.

WoC says:
Jan 16, 2016 02:34 AM

Roy Bravo: agent
I selected Roy Bravo to handle our entry, exit and canal crossing based in the many recommendations from other cruisers. He promptly responded to email well in advance of our arrival and handled every detail of our stay. The canal transit went as per the detailed schedule he provided along with competent and pleasant line handlers, good fenders and ropes. He met us in person at the Balboa Yacht club were he had arranged a difficult to get mooring for a few days. All charges were detailed in his invoice with no surprises. Based on the above I can join the other cruisers before me who had the pleasure to meet Roy and benefited from his extensive experience in handling transiting yachts and confirm our recommendations from all the crew of "Wind of Change"

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 29, 2015 04:44 PM

Posted on behalf of SY Two Oceans:
Filling water in San Blas, Panama is a bit of a problem. The options we found were:
Look for Paco’s house in the anchorage between that island and Corazon de Jesus. His man, Apollo, brings water from Rio Diablo and using a bucket fills your tank. Typical cost – 8$ for 50 gallons. They also sell gasoline.
A small concrete dock, very close to the beach at position 09 27’.301 N 78 59’.947 W has a tap. Desperate for water we agreed to pay 25$ for 70 gallons.
Rio Azucar
A busy dock at position 9 25.846 N 78 37.72 W has a tap. They charged 5$ for tying to the dock and 15$ for the water, regardless of quantity.
There used to be a working tap near the dock of Carti Tupile at approx. position 9 28.56 N 78 57.71 W, but we found its pipe broken. No water available in Carti Sugdup too.
Miki Barzam on “Two Oceans”

ZewOceanu says:
May 31, 2015 02:50 PM

We made a google map with important adresses in Panama (Portobelo, Colon & Panama City). You can see it here:

Now is onli on polish but we try to translate it :)

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 01, 2015 03:59 PM

Information from Karsten Staffeldt:
Yachts going to Panama simply to transit the Panama Canal
Regulations are somewhat "cloudy" with reference to the 72 hour rule mainly being applied to commercial vessels transiting the Panama Canal, which most do within 72 hours, and for which no navigation permit is required and no crew visa. Vessels transiting the Canal also do not need to undertake domestic clearance between the Caribbean/Pacific Terminals. Some yachts using agents have been able to pass the Canal handled the same way as commercial vessels, however this is only possible if the yacht in question has transited previously and registered with the Canal and is ready to transit on arrival in Panama.

nautinauti says:
Apr 28, 2015 10:46 PM

Panama City Cruisers Net now meets Monday thru Saturday at 08:00 on CH68 and also uses this frequency for hailing.

KingsLegend says:
Apr 21, 2015 04:36 PM

We worked with Roy Bravo from Emmanuelle Agencies and it was great. We had some problems, parts were cleared quickly, the canal transit went smoothly and he solved our problems when we were not correctly checked in at the San Blas Islands. Thanks to Roy we were able to leave in time.

By the way, we thought Colon to be much nicer than Panama City. You just have to know where to go and where not to, and you have to speak Spanish or ask someone to help you out.

frank says:
Apr 04, 2015 05:01 AM

Oliver Yacht Services assisted me for my canal transit in January 2015. Many thanks to Oliver, the agent who assisted with the paper work, lines, tires and line handling. He is very helpful, reliable, punctual and professional. He responds quickly to emails at any time, speaks fluent english, german, french, dutch and spanish. Provides advice on the transit details. Highly recommended.

Twiganauten says:
Mar 24, 2015 04:36 PM

PANAMA CANAL –Passing March 2015
Our agent was Oliver – we can his service highly recommend!
Oliver is a multilingual yacht agent from Belgium, offering his services in Shelter Bay, Porto Lindo, Porto Belo and Panama City. We met him in Porto Belo, that save money for taxi and marina. Oliver is a great help for spare sourcing, provisioning, gas filling, local information and other logistic needs. He speaks fluent german, french and dutch. It was nice to communicate with him in our mother tongue,
Oliver is punctual, reliable and reachable anytime by phone +507 6602 0498 or by email

Bregt says:
Mar 20, 2015 07:00 PM

I can recommend Oliver Yacht Services for helping with canal transits and provisioning. He arranged our transit very fast as we where in a hurry and for a decent price. He is very punctual and correct. He is a real polyglot speaking, spanish, dutch, german, english and maybe more which makes all the paperwork and formalities easier. The linehandlers he arranged spoke english and where nice company. Also filling my dutch propane tanks with non standard fittings was arranged in one day. highly recommended. Phone +507 6602 0498

mrsannelloyd says:
Mar 13, 2015 07:16 AM

Agent for Canal- March 2015
We would thoroughly recommend Roy Bravo of Emmanuel Agensies. He replies promptly to emails. His fees and costs are very transparent with no surprises. he was very helpful on other non related matters and went the extra mile to ensure the canal crossing was smooth and fun.

He can provide excellent linehandlers , and we wuld recomend having at least two " professional, for their experience, language [dealing with pilot etc]. If you can have Daniel as lead linehandler he is a top guy.

Roy even drove me to hospital on our arrival, and spoke to the reception to organise my treatment. Later on when we decided to go to Galapagos he organised afumigation certificate at short notice.
Thoroughly recommend

David Green
David Green says:
Feb 12, 2015 12:11 AM

We needed to transit the canal within four days of arriving at Shelter Bay marina in January, 2015. Many thanks to Roy Bravo, the agent who made it possible by organizing all the paper work, ropes, tires, and line handlers. Very professional, experienced and helpful.Responds to emails at any time of the day or night. Provides advice on the transit details. Highly recommended.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 09, 2015 09:15 PM

Posted on behalf of Karsten Staffeldt:
Lately the question of holding tanks has been brought up and that the Canal Authorities prohibit discharge of any "dirty water" in the Canal area, which in fact indicates that a Holding Tank is required. However generally the question of holding tanks is seldom mentioned during inspections and that some yachts have rented portable units (which requires a fair amount of space). Also the Canal regulations state that the Advisor they place on bord must have the necessary "facilities"!

Oliver Yacht Services
Oliver Yacht Services says:
Feb 14, 2015 03:17 PM

It is true that very often the shops do not have items in stock, however you can always let spares fly in from US / Miami at reasonable shipping rates. There are weekly flights so waiting times are mostly not too long.

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Apr 30, 2014 07:20 AM

On our way around the world we have reached Panama. Now having read a lot about re-stocking here either side of the canal, we thought this is the place. However we are very disapointed to always hear the sentence "no lo tenemos" we haven't got it. So sailors be adviced to purchase spare parts before arriving here. On the other hand, if you are lucky to find what you need, than the price you have to pay is quite reasonable.
Patrick Heini

josborne says:
Feb 14, 2014 09:37 PM

Don't bother with Stanley Scott
Taking the ARC through seems to have gone to his head. His charges were hard to understand, but he is charging at least $500 as agents fee. Roy Bravo is recommended by the marina and seems a much better bet.

gentlerain says:
Jan 11, 2014 04:30 PM

I have just had a sail repaired in Portobelo bu Casa Vela which is located on the water front to the right of town, looking fro. the water. Good service and the repare well doene, Catherine s/v Gentle Rain II

brucegoforth says:
Nov 02, 2013 04:41 PM

Panama City Cruisers Connection, Deb Meh 507-6153-2089

Provides reasonably price Bed and Breakfast in Bella Vista, transport throughout the country including personal taxi service in Panama City. Will purchase food and beverages by order and deliver. Locate and purchase parts and provide guidance on where to get boat work done.
All excellent services at reasonable rates.

ppappas says:
Sep 19, 2013 05:06 PM

Roy Bravo: agent
Hi Would like to highly recommend Roy Bravo. He not only did an excellent job arranging my clearance but also in my canal transit. Roy is also a great resource for any needs you might have for service or repairs; he is well connected only recommends "the best of breed". Roy is a great person, very professional, very respectful, and beyond reproach. You will not be disappointed. Peter Pappas "Callisto" Amel sm2000 #369

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