“I am writing about travel to Panama from Canada. Our government has advised all Canadian travelers to avoid travel to your country for the foreseeable future. Just wanted to advise you of this.” – Edwin, Canada
Dear Canadian reader, we’ve checked the Voyage.gc.ca site and don’t see where it warns Canadians to avoid travel to Panama. It issues a warning to avoid travel to the eastern part of the country, the Darien province, between the town of Yaviza and the Colombian border. I’d suggest you avoid this area, too; however, both cautions are a little silly, as the Pan-American Highway ends at Yaviza and there’s no easy way to get into this remote region of the country. You couldn’t readily travel there even if you wanted to.
Generally speaking, these kinds of warnings issued by governments are made to cover their own backsides. On this Voyage.gc.ca Panama page, for example, it’s stated in red at least twice that, “The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveler.” They also warn you against hurricane season in Panama. However, Panama hasn’t experienced a hurricane since before 1900. And, in case you’ve any doubt, they explain that you need a passport to travel internationally. These kinds of government information pages are geared toward the initiate, rather than the experienced traveler and should be read in that context.