As we enter a new normal this winter, still grappling with the pandemic, the testing requirements for traveling, especially across borders, remain choppy. This guide seeks to clarify how to get through all the noise and fog with a clear sense of direction on what can be required from a traveler who needs a PCR test to return to Canada from Panama City.

Tips for Meeting the Entry Criteria for Canada Using a PCR Test

When you’re getting ready to come to Canada from Panama City, it’s essential to know that Canada doesn’t allow rapid antigen tests for entry. You’ll need to have a PCR test done instead. Travelers might feel worried about figuring out the time and place to schedule their PCR tests. Even though it might seem challenging to figure this out in a language other than your own, Panama provides trustworthy choices for obtaining your PCR test, ensuring you can fulfill Canada’s entry requirements.

It should be noted that while the airport is convenient, getting tested there is only sometimes convenient. Results from PCR tests typically take about 24 hours, which might mean trouble for anyone who needs a test but isn’t at the airport with enough time before departure. Tango, however, is living proof that testing at the airport can work out.

Panama is a welcoming choice if you’re seeking options in the city. Many labs and medical facilities serving travelers from around the world provide PCR tests that deliver results within the 24-hour timeframe. Hospital Punta Pacifica, located in the San Francisco region, is known for its professionalism and effectiveness. Their service involves sending you the outcomes via email within the agreed-upon timeframe. There is a special offer for Copa Airlines patrons that reduces the price to around $67.00.

Places to Locate PCR Testing Centers in Panama City and Their Operating Hours


Finding a PCR testing facility that operates late is especially helpful to travelers seeking tests who leave a “safe window” before flying that is inside the “72-hour window” when testing is required. There are several labs and clinics in Panama City that operate 24 hours a day and over the weekend, so visitors with a tight schedule can squeeze one in there.

CliniLab on Calle 50 is known for its weekend business hours. It is open from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays and without appointment, which makes it a saving grace for last-minute testing for travelers.

For people who prefer to think ahead or require added flexibility, Switch Health has an innovative solution for travelers. Their rapid PCR tests can be ordered online, delivered to your door, and taken to your destination 72 hours before your flight. Following a video call with a nurse, you’ll have your results emailed to you within 30 minutes. It’s an incredibly convenient and efficient alternative.

Everything You Need to Understand About PCR Test Outcomes and Airline Regulations


It’s essential to know the details of the negative PCR test that airlines need for a hassle-free travel journey. Copa Airlines, for instance, collaborates with labs in Panama to make testing easier for travelers. Contact your airline to confirm the types of test results they will approve. Some individuals may be okay with receiving a version of the test outcome, while others may prefer having a physical copy.

Ask your hotel to print them out for you the day before your trip to offer one less point of potential stress on the morning you travel home. Your physical test results with the appropriate stamps should be in a standard—but usually obscure—format on specific paper stock from a designated institution, signed by someone designated for this particular purpose on a specific day, and offset from the center.

This guide is here to help you understand how to get a PCR test in Panama City, providing choices that suit your requirements and timetables. Travelers have options to fulfill Canada’s entry requirements, including choosing airport testing, visiting city labs, or utilizing services like Switch Health. By preparing in advance and familiarizing yourself with the resources at hand, you can confidently navigate through these testing protocols, guaranteeing a seamless trip back to Canada.

For additional information on travel advisories and testing requirements, visit the official websites such as Test for Travel, the U.S. Embassy in Panama’s COVID-19 Information and Tourism Panama’s Advisories.


Finding PCR COVID-19 Testing Options for Travelers in Panama City

Finding a PCR test in Panama City usually means visiting a hospital, lab, or clinic providing travelers with COVID testing services. Hospital Punta Pacifica stands out thanks to its professional services, English-speaking staff, and association with COPA Airlines, which gives you a $67 PCR test. Results are available within 24 hours. However, CliniLab on Calle 50 offers Saturday and Sunday testing from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm without an appointment.

Where should one book a PCR test if choosing the airport as the location is not feasible?

Airport testing facilities are generally located beyond security checkpoints, which makes access impractical without a negative test result. Therefore, travelers are advised to look into city labs and hospitals where a negative test result could be effectively utilized and—as of recently—are open on weekends, usually with results in 24 hours, per Schumacher. Specific facilities like CliniLab, for example, offer this exact service, with weekend testing available without the need for an appointment to cater to travelers’ emergent needs.

What to Know About Taking PCR Tests at Airports

There is PCR testing at a few airports, but not all travelers will find it works for them. Sites are usually left of security, requiring you to get a boarding pass and check in—which, of course, relies on having a negative test—and results are generally back in a 24-hour window, which rarely jives when tests must be administered a full 72 hours before the flight.

When to Plan Your PCR Test Before Flying

It would help if you planned to get your PCR test within the window your destination or airline requested, typically 72 hours before your departure. That also gives you a bit of wiggle room because of processing times: if you’re planning to go somewhere on a Monday, you should prepare your test for Friday evening to make sure that the 72-hour rule is met but also to be on the safe side if the processing is delayed. There are now places offering rapid PCR tests with results in 30 minutes or less for those with tight schedules.

Essential Guide to PCR COVID-19 Testing for Travelers to Panama City
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