Panama Border Town Paso Canoas

Paso Canoas, Panama is the border town panama, chiriquialong the Inter-americana Highway entering into Costa Rica. Located only about 30 minutes past David, Paso Canoas is where many a foreigner goes to renew their tourist visa. Tourist visas for americans are valid for 180 days. For those who do not want to fly out of country, taking a quick trip to Paso Canoas is the best way to update your visa.

The law here in Panama seems to change almost as much as the weather and often times actual procedure may differ some what from the actual law. The procedure at the border is a great example. I’m not sure if the law has actually changed or not, but one use to have to stay out of Panama for 72 hours before entering back into the country. Now one can just check out and back in on the same day with no issue from customs officials. They only require that one show’s a bus or plane ticket to leave Panama in the future or they visually inspect a Panamanian car title in the tourist’s name. It’s quite simple and I know appreciated by those foreigners that are yet to establish permanent residency in Panama.

Paso Canoas is like most Central American border towns, loud and busy. People, cars, busses, tractor trailers and taxis are scurrying around constantly. Paso Canoas is also an established free trade zone so prices for most goods are cheaper. Many Costa Ricans and Panamanians that live close to the border come to Paso Canoas to shop.

When arriving to the border from Panama there is a large customs building right in front of the road, the Inter-americana highway runs right through the building. There are almost always busses or tractor trailers parked under it. This is where you check out and in to Panama. Once on the Costa Rican side you have to walk down, following the Inter-americana, for about 200 yards to find the Costa Rica Customs office on the right hand side. Again, there is almost always a bus or rig there. This is where you enter and leave Costa. The process is easy. If needed there are almost always locals that speak english wiling to walk you through the process for a small tip. Believe me, if these “border processors” spot you hesitating, looking around for where to go, they will be on you quick. Ready to help – for a small fee of course.

Compared to other nations border towns I have crossed in past travels, Paso Canoas is one of the easiest to maneuver and most laid back. If you need to make a run to the border head west to Paso Canoas – you may decide to stay and do a little shopping.