Here are a few details you may want to know prior to registering for the conference or before coming to Panama.
The official language is Spanish, but English is spoken in Panama City. Learning the basics will help you greet people, order food, and ask for directions when traveling outside of the city. Sessions at the conference are conducted in English.
Tropical Panama has two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. The rainy season runs from late April until November, but October and November are the wettest months. You may encounter brief rain in August. The average temperature in August in Panama is 86°F (30°C). Please be sure to check the weather prior to traveling. Click here for the estimated temperature in August.
Panama’s official currency is the balboa. However, the American dollar is equivalent in value and of common distribution. The rate of exchange for the balboa has always been tied to the US dollar—one dollar equals one balboa. While shopping or eating out, you may see prices with either a “$” or a “B/” before them, corresponding to dollars or balboas. They mean the same thing and have the same value.
Currency Exchange: Travelers with pounds or euros may exchange money at Banco Nacional, which has branches in the airport and across the nation. To save time, you may want to convert your money into dollars before arriving in Panama.
ATMs: The easiest and best way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (automated teller machine), available in banks and supermarkets, and identifiable by a red SISTEMA CLAVE sign with a white key. ATMs, called cajeros automáticos, can be found in larger towns only, so if you’re visiting out-of-the-way destinations such as an offshore island, plan to bring extra cash.
Credit Cards: Businesses that accept credit cards always accept Visa and Mastercard and to a lesser extent American Express. Most businesses in Panama City and other major commerce centers accept credit cards. In small towns and more remote destinations, be sure to bring enough cash.
Panama observes Eastern Standard Time (EST) all year. There are no Daylight Saving Time clock changes.
Panama uses 110V, 60 Hz AC power.
Panama City: +507-2 / +507-3
The AMCIS 2023 discounted hotel rate includes complimentary wireless internet access in guest rooms.
If you are not familiar with the culture in Panama, you may want to familiarize yourself prior to traveling.
Attire at AIS Conferences is business casual. Since meeting room temperatures and personal comfort ranges may vary, a light sweater or jacket is recommended. Here is an article, with illustrations regarding business casual.
Panama City is cosmopolitan and people tend to dress casually but smartly. In the city, generally, men pair long pants with a collared shirt; shorts and sandals are usually considered too casual. For women, a dress or jeans paired with a nice top is appropriate. During the day it’s hot, the advice is to pack lightweight, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics such as linen, silk, cotton, and bamboo that will keep you cool and are easy to wash and dry.
When dining out, a minimum of 10% tip is customarily given. Taxis add a tip to the price, as do hotels, which are required by law to include a 10% tourism tax.
Panamanians generally greet each other with a handshake or hug. Men shake hands with one another, unless they are related or close friends, in which case they may hug. Depending on the person they are meeting, women will either shake hands, hug, or kiss each other along the side of the cheek. Panamanians value personal space, and thus touch during a conversation is somewhat unusual. Maintaining eye contact is also important and is seen as a sign of integrity.
Titles are important in Panama. When addressing someone directly, use Don for men and Doña for women, followed by a surname. This practice is similar to saying “Sir,” “Mister,” or “Mrs.” This is especially important if the person you are greeting is a professional – a doctor, lawyer, or professor, for example. This practice may seem formal, but it is a sign of utmost respect for Panamanians.
Bargaining is not widely practiced in Panama, although you may be able to get a discount when buying handicrafts at local markets.
Once the conference registration opens, you may complete your conference registration, and then complete the Invitation Letter Request Form. After completing both, please email the completed request form to the AIS Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Note: Prior to receiving a letter of invitation you will need to complete and pay for your conference registration. As Visa requests can take several weeks, registrants are strongly encouraged to apply for the Letter of Invitation no later than two months prior to the conference.
A visa is not needed for international students in the USA (as well as several other countries, including Australia, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the UK, Northern Ireland, Singapore, and EU nations) IF a multiple entry visa is stamped on their passport (which is usually the case for F1 visas). In cases where a visa is required, it is expected to take less than 30 days for visa processing.
Click here for complete visa requirements.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six (6) months from the date of exit from Panama. Your passport must also have an unused page.