By: Maudy Bom
Can I drink water from the tap?
Tap water is safe to drink in almost all of Panama. 

The water in the mountain areas is clean, fresh, tastes great, and couldn’t be safer to drink. 

In Panama City you can drink the tap water, however you will notice that there is definitely some chlorine in there. It might not taste great, but you can drink it. 

One particular area in Panama where you should NOT drink the tap water is in Bocas del Toro. It will make you sick, they don’t have a good water treatment system in Bocas del Toro, and remember that Bocas is an island. Everything it has, comes from the mainland, and has to be stored. You’ll have to either buy bottled water, or take advantage of the few smart businesses who collect rainwater and filter it. 

In the Panamanian rural and jungle areas there are cases of Malaria but there is no prevention requirement necessary. Malaria is not common and it’s quite easily treated. The areas where you should pay attention to during and after visiting are: the provinces of Bocas Del Toro, Darién, Veraguas, San Blas and San Blas Islands.

Dengue is an other illness that comes from mosquitoes, you hear cases from time in populated towns where people leave a lot of still standing water in their yards. It’s is a personal responsibility, to keep your surroundings clean. The Health department does fumigate through towns when there is a spike in cases, but as more education and campaigns are been held for prevention, cases have dropped. The symptoms are similar to Malaria, and easily treated when you catch it early.
If you visit rural areas, it would be wise to use a mosquito net and use repellent as a prevention but you do not have to take medical measurements before going for a visit. Just keep an eye on any symptoms that might arise after. 
Chitras are little tiny sand flies, some people call them nosee’ems as they are so tiny, you can’t really see them. Chitra are harmless  to your health, however the bites become very itchy. Don’t freak out when a fews days after having visited the beach you find your legs to be full of little red spots. Chitras usually come out for about an hour just before sunrise and during sunset. Most typical places are the beaches, jungle and bushy areas. You can use repellent to protect yourself. You will notice along the way that your body starts becoming immune to the nasty itchy side effect of the bites. Your body will react less and less to them. 
Again, they are harmless.
Protect yourself from the sun
Panama, throughout the year has high temperatures and the sun is hot. It very important that you stay protected especially if you spend a lot of time in the ocean. Get your family a bunch of long sleeve licras to wear on the water. Stay hydrated, you loose a lot of water during the day. Humidity and heat will make you sweat, so wear comfortable clothes. Avoid any synthetic materials on your body.
Ocean creatures and riptides
I love the beaches here, it’s a great playground for all kind of activities. From surfing to paddle boarding, kite surfing and kids jumping in the waves. 
The cold current during summer time Jan-April brings along jellyfish, which are typically harmless. Yes, you might get stung, it will burn a bit but nothing a little rub of vinegar can’t solve. They also say the burn will relief by peeing on yourself.   
The cold current also brings along the migration black and yellow see snakes. They are considered to be one of the most poisonous sea snakes if they manage to bite. However, their mouth it so small and the teeth are so deep in the back that it would really have to bite you between your fingers or grab your ear. A lot of these snakes wash up on the shore and if you find them on the beach they have most likely not survived. Still, be cautious with your kids when having a closer look. These snakes are not aggressive but it’s always better to keep a safe distance.
Some beaches are attractive to small stingrays along the shore… It’s important to teach your kids to use the shuffle method when entering the water. Shovelling with your feet will spark movement in advance and the sting rays usually get out of your way. 
The are cases of stings, and it hurts. The best remedy is to run for a bucket of hot water and put your foot in there and let is soak. It will be easier to pull the sting out… Painful but it happens some times. It’s always good to see a doctor afterwords to make sure the sting has been removed completely and to avoid infection.
Most surfers, run right back into the ocean to continue their surfing session.
The Panamanian oceans are home to many times of sharks, considered most dangerous is the Bull Shark which roams around the river mouths especially during rainy season. They strategically place themselves there waiting fish to come down stream. Just avoid crossing deep rivers as your left toe might be confused for a yummy fish. 
During heavy rainfall it is absolutely important to stay away from big rivers, any where. Not just by the ocean. Water heads rushing down from the mountains towards sea can be quite strong and dangerous. 
When all the conditions are perfectly aligned: high tide, swell, moon etc.. It can be quite dangerous on the beach with powerful waves crashing onto the shore. Water coming up higher than normal and powerful pull backs from the waves. Some beaches in Panama are below high cliffs and rock formations, you have to be careful that you don’t get stuck as the tide raises. It takes 6 hours from low 
You must learn some basic facts about the functions of the ocean no matter where you are. 
When you get stuck in a riptide, remain calm and DO NOT try to swim against it. Riptides can occur at any given moment, the conditions don’t have to be perfect as described above. 
Learn the following steps to Stay Safe when stuck in a Riptide.


Follow us in our Social Media / Síguenos en nuestras Redes Sociales