Visas: US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens and most other nationalities do not need to obtain a visa, but they do need a tourist card (available from embassies and airlines serving Panama) in advance. Citizens of the UK, Germany and Switzerland can stay up to three months without a visa or tourist card if they have an onward ticket and sufficient funds. Public holidays: New Year’s Day; National Mourning Day (9 Jan); Carnival (Feb); Good Friday; Labour Day; Revolution Day (11 Oct); Dia de la Hispanidad (12 Oct); Independence from Columbia (3 Nov); Flag Day (4 Nov); Independence from Spain (28 Nov); Mother’s Day (8 Dec); Christmas. Good buys: Look out for handicrafts, particularly molas, colourful and intricate textile appliqués sewn by Kuna women of the Archipiélago de San Blás. Also wood carvings, masks, ceramics, clothing and replica huacas, golden objects which were made on the Isthmus centuries before the Spanish conquest and buried with the Indians. Local dishes: Typical dishes include sancocho (a fairly spicy chicken and vegetable stew), ropa vieja (a spicy shredded beef combination served with rice), carimañola (a roll made of yucca which is filled with meat) and deep-fried and spicy ceviches with shellfish.
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