Packing

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Packing

Think capri pants, skirts, or khakis for urban sightseeing, with something a little dressier for eating out at night. Shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, and bikinis are all acceptable at the beach or farther afield. Leave flashy jewelry behind—it only makes you a target.

"Insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses" is your packing mantra; long-sleeve shirts and long pants also help protect your skin from the relentless sun and ferocious mosquitoes. Panama's rainy season lasts from mid-April to December, and rain is common at other times, too, so a foldable umbrella or waterproof jacket is a must. So are sturdy walking boots if you're planning any serious hiking, otherwise sneakers or flats are fine. A handbag-size flashlight is also very useful: blackouts are more common than at home.

In the Darién, a camping mosquito net is invaluable when staying at places with no screens in the windows (or no windows at all). A water purifier and lots of plastic bags are also helpful in the jungle.

Tissues and antibacterial hand wipes make trips to public toilets more pleasant. Finding your preferred brands of condoms and tampons in Panama can be hit and miss, so bring necessary supplies of both. Familiar toiletry brands are widely available.

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