COVID-19 testing in Panama and Bocas del Toro – the details are explained here.
DISCLAIMER: This article was published on January 20, 2021 and last updated on June 6, 2021. We will update it as much as we can and with the most accurate information possible, but it is always best to confirm travel guidelines, testing requirements and boarding procedures with your airline and the country’s most recent laws to which you are traveling. It is the responsibility of the traveler to know and comply with all requirements according to each destination.
As of January 26, in order to enter the US, passengers will have to present a negative COVID test before boarding their flight. The CDC is accepting either an antigen or PCR test. Many countries around the world are requiring COVID-19 negative tests before entry- including Panama.
Is there COVID-19 Testing in Panama at the Tocumen International Airport before leaving?
Yes, as long as it is the antigen test that is required before boarding. If you need a PCR, you will need to get it from one of the private clinics in Panama City (see below).
Tocumen International Airport has had rapid antigen testing available since October 12, 2020, however only for incoming flights as the facilitates were placed after the check-in counters and security. On February 1st it was announced that in Tocumen International Airport would relocating one of their testing laboratories to the level 100 in the terminal, before security, so that passengers who require an antigen test before boarding may do so.
On February 3rd we were able to confirm that the antigen testing at Tocumen is operational, accommodating both incoming and outgoing passengers. “A great fast service,” was its first review on Facebook by Cat Patri. We recommend arriving even earlier to the airport than usual, of course, to account for the test, check-in and security time. The test was first priced at $50, but as of June 2021 is now $85 for the rapid antigen test in Tocumen International Airport.
Antigen Tests in Bocas del Toro: Not For Travelers Right Now
Previously, anyone who needed a test for travel purposes could go to Guillermo Sánchez Borbón Hospital on Isla Colon for a test, however as of April 16, 2021, that is no longer the case. COVID-19 testing at the public hospital -at least for the time being- is exclusively for patients with symptoms of COVID-19 or those who have come into contact with a COVID-19 positive patient. If the Isla Colon hospital is able to provide tests for travel documentation again, we will announce it on our Facebook, Instagram and update this article.
Testing for patients with symptoms or those who have come into contact with someone with the virus is everyday from 7am to 9am. It is recommended to arrive at 7am. The test is free of charge. There are no appointments for the tests; they are fist come, first serve.
JANUARY 25TH UPDATE FOR U.S. BOUND PASSENGERS: It has come to our attention that in addition to the proof of negative COVID-19 test, passengers traveling to the United States will need to fill out this form before boarding: PASSENGER DISCLOSURE AND ATTESTATION TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. This is a written and signed declaration and agreement between the passenger and the airline that all COVID-19 testing and boarding requirements have been fulfilled. In other words, the passenger is swearing they they have taken a COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours, or have the proper documentation stating that they have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 3 months and are cleared to travel.
We are unaware if these forms will be made available at Tocumen International Airport by the airlines themselves. You are able to download the file here, print it and fill it out before checking into your flight and presenting it to the airline ticket agent.
Antigen and PCR Tests in Panama City and David
Panama City / Panama Province
We have heard a lot of good first hand testimonials from our readers about Laboratorio Vidatec, which is the first one listed.
Laboratorio Vidatec: 226-1533
PCR: $95 12-24 HRS (M-F), 24-36 HRS (Sat. and Sun.)
Antigen: $40 3-6 HRS
Laboratorio Clinico Genetix – Panama City, Calle 63G Oeste: 260-2999,
David – 775-3702, Herrara – 996-1148
Antigen – $40, 2-4 HRS
PCR – $95 8-24 HRS. Same day results if test before 9AM or guaranteed by next day
Laboratories Clincos de Sedas: 297-5050, WhatsApp: 6407-6677 In-home, by appointment
PCR: $100 24-48 HRS
Antigen: $45 4-6 HRS
Laboratorio Clincio LB: 260-6742, WhatsApp: 6316-0221 In-home appointment
PCR: $85 24-48 HRS (M-F) –
Antigen: $40 4-8 HRS
(Longer on weekends. Also extra cost for Saturday and Sundays and in-home)
Complejo Medico Marbella: WhatsApp: 6245-7330
Antigen: $40 3-5 HRS
Hospital Santa Fe – Av. Simon Bolivar- 360-7400 WhatsApp: 6675-1203
PCR: $100 24 HRS
Antigen: $45 4 HRS
Laboratorio Clinico Fernandez: 212-5353, WhatsApp: 6906-4141
PCR-RT: $100, 24-48 HRS
Hospital Punta Pacifica:
PCR $95.00. If you want this done inside your car, you visit the Punta Pacifica drive-through testing center. Appointments are made at in the following link:
Results take 24 to 48 hours.
Boquete / David and Chiriqui Province
720-1790, David: 774-2164,
Laboratorio J&C Especializado – David/Home Service 730-4779
WhatsApp: 6303-7389, 6272-6105
Antigen – $45 1-2 HRS
Todo Salud Panama- David:
Antigen – $60 2-4 HRS
PCR – $120 24 HRS
Hospital Mae Lewis – David: 775-4616
Walk Up/Drive Thru
PCR- $125 24-48 HRS
Antigen-$50 Approximately 1Hr
Hospital Chiriqui – David: 774-0128
PCR: $95 24-48 HRS
Antigen: $50 4-6 HRS
Regional Hospital Dr. Rafael Hernandez – David: 777-8400
FREE, 2-3 Days
Hospital Dionisio Arrocha – Puerto Armuelles: 728-1000
FREE, 4 HRS
Hospital Regional de Chriqui Grande – Rambala: 756-9314
FREE – Same day
Laboratorio Mónica Ríos- David: 730-5765, 730- 3638
Paso Canoas: 727-3638
PCR: $95 24-48 HRS
Antigen: $35 45 Minutes-1 HR
For more options on testing in COVID-19 testing in Panama, check out a great article by Panama Relocation Tours.
For any COVID-19 testing Panama, we recommend double-checking the following:
- Any writing is clear and legible (though any written tests may not even be considered without the printed document backing it up)
- Your name and all personal information is written correctly (as it appears on your passport)
- Both the date and the time of the sample collection are included
- The type of test is indicated: “antígeno,” to which the abbreviation “Ag” is commonly used
- Negative result is confirmed as “negativo” or “no detectado”
- Always confirm the latest regulations with your airline and destination’s government
If You’ve Had COVID in the Last 3 Months and Are Traveling to the US
From the CDC website:
“CDC does not recommend getting tested again in the three months after a positive viral test, as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have had a positive viral test in the past 3 months, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”
Procedures If You Are COVID-19 Vaccinated
On March 18, Health Minister Luis Sucre announced that Panama is planning to allow vaccinated passengers to enter the country without having to present a negative COVID-19 test, though it has not been officially drafted into a law yet and as of March 22, there has been no clarification as to which date that policy might start. At the time of this publication, there are currently 14 countries that have made travel exceptions for vaccinated passengers. However, if you are traveling to the US and are COVID-19 vaccinated, you will still need to present a negative antigen test before boarding. These rules are ever-changing, so please check with your airline and destination country before traveling.
For information and tips on requirements for entering the country, check out this article.