International Driving Permit Panama

What is an International Driving Permit?

What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?

An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.

On the other hand, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.

How does an IDP work in Panama?

If you have an International Driving Permit (IDP) you can drive a motor vehicle from a rental car agency in the nation using your U.S. driver’s license. However, if you intend to stay longer and continue driving, you mustnavigating a driver’s license for Panama.

Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Panama

Functionality as an ID

If you have security concerns and want to keep your passport under lock and key, your IDP can serve as an identification document. Most countries will allow you to use your IDP instead of your national ID card during traffic stops. This is useful if your ID card is in a language not recognized by the country you have traveled to.

Quicker traffic authority stops

Due to language or formatting differences, some processing issues may arise when deciphering the information on your driving license. An IDP allows traffic authorities to identify your details quickly. This is especially useful during emergencies.

Car rental companies

Most car rental companies, irrespective of the country they operate in, require you to have an International Driving Permit and a valid driving license to rent a car. This is because the United Nations recognizes IDPs as valid driving permits. Having an IDP will ensure that your valuable vacation time isn’t wasted on trying to convince a conservative car rental agency of the validity of your foreign driver’s license.

Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Panama City

For the first 90 days of your visit, foreigners are permitted to drive legally in Panama city using their home country license.

You must leave Panama city for at least thirty days if you intend to travel for more than 90 days. A fresh entrance stamp will be placed in your passport upon your return, starting the 90 days one more.

All around Panama there are checkpoints where offical traffic officers will stop you and request to see your passport and IDP. To ensure you are driving lawfully in Panama city, they check for the date stamp from your most recent entry. However, this will not be an issue for travelers merely on a vacation.

Car Rental Companies in Panama City

  1. Thrifty

Founded in 1958 in Oklahoma City, in the United States, Thrify provide their customers with better service and greater accessibility thanks to their 472 sites throughout 77 countries.

They provide quick and straightforward rental options that may also save you money. To guarantee that you have the greatest possible experience on your trip when you rent their automobile, they also keep their vehicles in the finest possible condition and uphold strict standards of cleanliness.

When clients have trouble understanding a step in the recruiting process, Thrifty’s courteous staff is typically a big help. To ensure you fully comprehend everything, the team clarifies and explains every required detail. Rarely do people have to deal with uncomfortable automobiles, delayed pickups, and awkward drop-off sites.

This business can provide extremely affordable rates to help you finance your travel itinerary. Therefore, regardless of whether you visit Panama for leisure or business, this can always be the finest option for you because it reduces your expenses without compromising your preferences.

  1. Budget

Budget was founded in 1958, in Los Angeles, California, United States. With a vast network of 3,400 locations throughout 128 nations, they can offer dependable and effective service to their clients anywhere in the world.

It would be great to rent a car in a country that provides you with the best cost and benefit perks when visiting Panama for the first time. And Budget is the ideal car rental business for you if you want affordable car rental rates with top-notch services.

Customers have occasionally had issues with pick-up and drop-off delays due to the lengthy queue of packed addition to this, the nation is well-known for the Panama Canal, a man-made aqueduct that acts as a commercial shipping route for huge cargo ships bound for the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Panama has historically been one of the most fascinating nations to travel to in Central America. There is always something surprising in this location, from the grand mountain communities and coffee plantations to the pristine beaches. But if you ever wish to travel to this location, you will undoubtedly want to do so by car.

Top 6 Places to Visit in Panama

El Valle de Anton

This charming Panamanian village is situated in the Cocle Province of Central Panama and makes for an idyllic escape. It is regarded as one of the top tourist destinations in the nation. Additionally, it is well-known for its singularly alluring ancient calderas, which have consistently displayed the area’s lovely villages. It has a long history of serving as a popular local tourist destination for families to go swimming and rock climbing.

Most locals will direct you to the numerous canyons and breathtaking ridge hikes surrounding the area if you inquire about El Valle de Anton. The ideal months to go there are April, March, and February because those are the months with the warmest average temperatures. In general, these months are good for outdoor activities.

Pearl Islands

The Pearl Islands are a collection of islands noted for being southeast of the capital. The area is notable for its forest-covered islets and crystal-clear beaches, which have appeared in some reality TV programs. The remote Contadora Islands, home to two opulent resorts, are another option for those seeking a singular travel experience.

While exploring the historic shipwrecks in Playa Larga, you may unwind and engage in sunbathing activities nearby. Amazingly, April and February is the best time to visit the Pearl Islands. As the weather is ideal for island hopping activities, visiting the area during these months is advised.

Gulf of Chiriqui

The Azuero Peninsula and Costa Rica are separated by the Gulf of Chiriqui, situated along the Pacific coast. Because of its lush tropical rainforests and impressive mountain ranges, the area is especially well recognized for its thriving tourism industry. Hiking, trekking, scuba diving, snorkeling, and sightseeing are just a few outdoor activities available to tourists.

Visiting this location is highly recommended if you enjoy water rafting sports, and adventure. The region is typically best visited between December and July when temperatures are at their highest. As a result, since there will likely be a lot of rain in the chilly month of October, it is advised that you avoid any outside activities.


The western Pacific region’s Boquete town is close to the Chiriqui province. The area attracts visitors because of its stunning coffee plantations and upscale spas. The region is known as “The Land of Eternal Springtime,” and visitors may engage in various enjoyable outdoor pursuits there, including white water rafting and zip line. You should consider going here if you’re up for an exciting trip.

It is ideal for visitors to travel there by land during the warm months of mid-December to mid-April to take in the stunning scenery and mesmerizing sights completely. Even if you are free to visit the location whenever you like, you should stay away from it in the winter.

San Blas Islands

There is a group of islands in the Caribbean called the San Blas Islands. The native Kuna Yala tribe, who are Tulekaya speakers and administer them themselves, are in charge of them. On the way between Colombia and Panama, the islands are a well-liked stop for backpackers, and tourism is gradually growing. Even yet, it’s still possible to observe how a group of indigenous people go about their everyday lives in locations devoid of ATMs and with erratic access to electricity. Visitors advise you to bring a lot of cash on your vacation.

Bocas del Toro

In the Caribbean Sea, between Almirante Bay and Chiriqui Lagoon, there are islands, islets, and cays known as the Bocas del Toro Archipelago. The island group, which is part of the district and province of Bocas del Toro and home to a sizable city by the same name, is situated northwest of Panama.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you drive with a US country license in Panama?

Suppose an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is also present within three months. In that case, you can drive a motor vehicle from a rental car agency in the nation using your U.S. driver’s license. However, if you intend to stay longer and continue driving, you must obtain a driver’s license for Panama.

How do I get an IDP to drive in Panama?

You can apply for an IDP through our website. It is a sraightforward process that only takes you 2o minutes to complete, and will be worth the time. A digital IDP takes up to 2 hours to land in your inbox. Alternatively, if you want a faster processing time, you can choose an Express Order, in which you will receive your IDP in 20 minutes. 

A printed IDP can be delivered to your doorstep, with the estimated delivery date varying between 2-30 days, depending on the selected delivery method. 

How long is an IDP valid for in Panama?

An IDP is valid for one year in Panama.

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