Panama-Borders and Roads

Border Crossing Information

Entry Requirements

Necessary documents

  • Passport
  • Vehicle Title
  • One photocopy of each


  • $1 sticker for passport
  • $15 obligatory insurance
  • $1 fumigation (maybe)


At the migracion window you will need to pay $1 for a sticker for your passport. (Note that there used to be a $10 toursit card, but this is no longer the case). Get the stamp and then you can proceed to the aduana to start the car import process. They need a photocopy of your title and passport, as well as the originals. If more than one person will be driving the car, make sure to give them photocopies of their passports as well. They will process your paperwork and give you your vehicle import permit, which should not cost anything. A D.F.A. official will then inspect your car with your paperwork before you can finalize the process. You will also need to pay $1 at a separate window for the fumigation station.

Exit Requirements

For information about shipping your car from Panama to South America around the Darien Gap, please see the Darien Gap Shipping page.  For information on how to travel by boat or plane across the Darien Gap, read the Traveling Across the Darien Gap page.  

Individual Experiences

People's experiences vary depending on crowds at the border, corrupt or honest border officials, and rules can also change. People's individual experiences are included in the Panama-Additional Border Crossing Information page. 

Roads and Driving

The Pan-American Highway is the main road in Panama. In general it's in good condition, well paved, wide, with shoulders. Apparently they don't really believe in signs in Panama though, so get ready to do a lot of stopping and asking around.

Gas Prices

June 2012 -
Premium Unleaded - $4.40 per gallon
Regular Unleaded - $3.90 per gallon

Wed, 08/21/2013 - 17:30

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Costa Rica-Panama, Sixaola Border: Border crossed 24/9/12.

No gas stations on the Costa Rica side. Note: this border isn't a 24hr job. It closes around 6pm, so get there early. I nearly didn't make it, getting there at 430pm and just finishing at 6pm and there was only 2 people in line ahead of me. The Panamanian dollar had the same exchange rate as the USD so everyone pretty much uses the currency which the ATM's distribute.


Exit Costa Rica:

Immigration gave exit stamp (no charge). Vehicle permit was taken and cancelled (no charge), nothing stamped in passport.


Enter Panama:

Crossed over bridge. Paid kid USD$0.50c to watch bike as it was out of sight. Get insurance first (was told it was necessary by some police, but they were a little unsure) upstairs at the nearby building in the shop, cost USD$15. Then up the stairs to a small combined Aduana and immigration building. Got stamped in to Panama (no charge), then 2 doors down to Aduana #1 to get a little sticker in my passport for vehicle. Paid USD$3 then the guys joked and said no its $5 for a moto, seemed pretty dodgy guys. I paid the $3 and they handed back my passport. I asked for a receipt but they wouldn't give me one. Then next door to Aduana #2 where the guy took forever and eventually handed me the temporary vehicle import paper (no charge). There's not really any hotels, gas stations or ATM's until around Changinola. Whole process took 2 hrs.


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