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Panama

Republic of Panama/República de Panamá

Region: South America

Area: 75,517 thous. sq. km

Capital: Panama City

Major cities: Panama City, Colon, Tocumen, David,

Climate: tropical with two seasons: dry months from December to April and rainy weather from May to November; average temperature range is 21°C in the evening and 32°C during daytime

Languages spoken: Spanish

Religion: Roman Catholics

Local time: GMT -05

Calling code: +507

Currency: balboa

Credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club

Visa: not required for EU, US, Israeli, and Japanese nationals for a stay up to 90 days; required by CIS nationals. For more details please visit http://www.learn4good.com/travel/panama_visa.htm

Transport: air transport, rail transport, motor transport, water transport

International airports (cities): Tocumen

In the past Panama was known to the world only due to its transportation waterway, the Panama Canal. However today this country can be rightfully proud of its health care system. Many medical centres of Panama have received wide recognition not only in Latin America, but in the USA and Western Europe as well.

A world-renowned edition Nuwire Investors possessing investment data made a rating of the leaders of international medical tourism in 2010. The information is derived from the research study on the quality and financial side of medical care in different countries. By the company’s estimation, Panama occupies the leading position among the countries providing the highest standards of medical services, followed by Brazil, Malaysia, and Costa Rica.

Overseas patients visit Panama for the whole range of reasons: most medical specialists graduated from major Universities and colleges of the USA and Western Europe. Medical centres are facilitated with state-of-the-art equipment and apply vanguard technologies. At the same time, high quality medical service costs twice as less than in the USA or Canada.

The medical field of economy, both state and private, is largely supported by the government. In order to meet international standards, specific attention is given to personnel training and professional improvement abroad, as well as to implementing innovative technologies and treatment methods.

Panamian doctors are well reputed in the sphere of organ transplantation: the kidney transplantation surgery was first conducted in 1990, eye cornea transplantation — in 1996, and bone marrow transplantation — in 2000.

The following fields are especially popular among overseas tourists in Panama today: aesthetic dentistry, plastic surgery, orthopaedics, respiratory disease treatment, as well as infertility treatment.

Since 2011, a new government programme is implemented in Panama for attracting overseas patients and holidaymakers. According to the established rules, all tourists and citizens of Panama residing in other countries will receive a medical insurance policy covering all expenses for medical services during the first month of stay in the country. This insurance provides payment in the amount of USA 20,000 in case of death, about USD 6,500 for hospitalisation resulting from accident or contagion on the territory of the country, and USD 2,000 for a visit to a dentist.

Recommended time for treatment: second half of December to first half of April.

Panama has long been famed for its beauty industry, which combines ethnic traditions with cutting-edge Western methods of body purification and rejuvenation. Not surprisingly, Panama attracts the most savvy and demanding clients coming here to enjoy the highest standard of services.

El Valle de Anton has now become the oasis of recreational tourism, because many patients of Panama City clinics most times arrive exactly to this resort for rehabilitation after plastic surgeries or other medical interventions. El Valle de Anton is the most favourable spot for quick recovery owing to warm climate and oxygen-enriched air inflowing from tropical forests.

In Panama most spa procedures are conducted in the afternoon before the evening walks. To relax muscles and increase their tonus, specialists recommend wine therapy or wraps. In wine therapy all parts of grape plant are used — from leaves to seeds. Research studies conducted in Panama gave proof that they effectively purify the organism of toxins, slow down aging processes, and strengthen blood vessels. Local spa centres offering wine therapy, along with the miraculous properties of grapes, also apply aloe vera, agave, and coffee grains. Such an unusual combination of components has for many centuries provided effective results, in particular, improved overall health of patients.

After a night of fiery cocktails and breathtaking Latin American dances you can regain strength in a pearl bath with coco milk and essential oils. Spa centres also provide you an opportunity to enjoy the procedure called “amber peeling”, where this sun-filled stone is ground into dust adding various cosmetic ingredients for scrubs and peelings. Amber peeling makes your skin smooth and luminous. After literally a few days of complex approach to recovery patients see the long desired improvement and the personnel receive the most positive feedback.

3*- from €45,

4*- from €80,

5*- from €110.

Sancocho (chicken soup containing meat chunks, corn, coriander, and other spices), ceviche (cool, spicy dish of raw fish or seafood marinated in lime juice with onions and hot peppers), tamales (popular Panamian dish made of corn dough filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables boiled in a corn leaf wrapper), arroz con guandu (rice with peas, beans and other spices).

Metropolitan Cathedral (the cathedral took more than a century to build and is one of the largest in Central America; it can be easily recognized by its contrasting gray facade with two white neoclassical bell towers), Presidential Palace (a gorgeous Spanish mansion with a Moorish interior, patio and fountain), National Theater (opened in 1908 with a presentation of Verdi's Aida and best known for the frescoes rendered by Panama's most famous painter, Roberto Lewis, it hosts excellent theater and classical-music and ballet performances), Museo de Arte Religioso (collection of paintings and multicolour shapes as well as objects made of silver, stone, and gold). 

Soberanía National Park (humid forest of this park offers a variety of activities like fishing, eco-studies, bird watching and hiking along the many trails of the park), the Panama Canal (fascinating 80km long water line offering numerous bus and boat trips), San Blas Islands (archipelago which comprises 365 islands and is the home of the Kuna Indian people, the most politically organized of the native groups in Panama, who live on about 40 of the islands and who administer their own autonomous province).

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