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Visitors should be on guard while visiting the port city of Colon. Since the late 1960s the city has been in an economic decline, and the unemployment rate is quite high, and this is one of the most impoverished cities in Panama. While pickpockets tend to be among the biggest threats, especially in the crowded street markets, violent crime has been on the rise with tourists as easy targets. When on the go you should watch your possessions while you’re on the crowded buses, and after dark it is advisable to take a taxicab. Be sure to negotiate the fare prior to beginning your trip. Otherwise, stay in lighted areas and avoid dark and unpopulated streets. Female travelers should avoid heading out alone after dark if at all possible.
If you’re using a rental car make sure to lock the doors while visiting tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels, beaches, trains, train stations and airports. Photocopies of travel documents and credit cards should be kept separate from the originals and key telephone numbers maintained to contact banks if credit cards are stolen or lost.
Panama is generally safe however, but there is some risk of malaria, dengue fever, hepatitis A and yellow fever, so visitors should consider preventative measures before visiting. Likewise, the tap water should be avoided, and visitors should stick to bottled water throughout Panama.