Phone & Internet

Even though Panama is technically a developing country, it already has one of the best communication infrastructures in the World.  

You have nothing to worry about, you will have an easy way to keep in touch.

Phones

If you have the need to call often (local Panama calls) while in the country, the best thing to do is get a pre-paid SIM card that you can use for your mobile phone.  They are as cheap as USD 2 and you will only need to buy a calling card to activate it, as cheap as USD 5. The rates per minute are very comfortable but varies per provider and the card you buy (normally a USD 5 card rates are more expensive than a USD 10). Most of the time they are sold with promotions that give you 2,3 or 4 times your money. And if you need to buy a mobile you can get the basic ones for even USD 10. Hotel phones are very expensive and public phones are not available everywhere so a mobile phone is your best solution. If you will use your own mobile, there is a very important detail to consider: The frequency band that your mobile can work with.  If you have a quadband phone, you have nothing  to worry about. But if that is not the case the providers to look for are:

  • Cable & Wireless Panama (MAS MOVIL SIM CARDS) : 850Mhz ( GSM 850)
  • Movistar: 850Mhz ( GSM 850)
  • Claro Panama: 1,900 Mhz (GSM 1,900)
  • Digicel: 1,800 Mhz / 1,900Mhz (GSM 1,800 and GSM 1,900)
GSM 900 does not work in Panama. 
 
If your phone call needs are International, then your best option is to get a "Telechip Internacional" card. These cards are from Cable & Wireless and you can use them by dialing a code in any fixed phone. They are also as cheap as USD 5 with a very comfortable per minute rate. 
 
Both SIM cards and International call cards are widely available throughout the country in supermarkets and convenience stores. You can also buy them at the airport (ask in the information centre).

Internet

Panama has a nation wide coverage free network called 'Internet para todos' (Internet for all).  Just make sure to activate your wifi and connect to the network called InternetParaTodos.

Even though, the coverage is supposed to be nation wide, in some areas the service is better than in others and it can be the case that you cannot connect in remote locations.  

If you don't have a computer or smartphone, don't worry, there are many internet cafes available in town. Also, hotels normally offer computer facilities for its guests.