El único Panamá - Week 5

Welcome to our weekly series about the uniqueness of Panama!

Mail Call or Not!

Panama, one of the most developed countries in the region has a plethora of things, daily mail service is not one of them. Having no traditional street addresses makes it difficult to deliver door to door. This may seem odd for those relocating from North America. However, there are ways of sending and receiving mail – even the envelopes you don’t want!

Interestingly, utility bills are delivered by courier each month and slid under your door or placed in the front gate. Of course you can get them online as well. Most businesses rely on a hired driver or messenger service to pick up and deliver.

The national postal service is Correos y Telégrafos de Panamá (or COTEL). It does not deliver to homes but provides a post office box for a small yearly fee. You can register for a box to receive and send mail. The biggest challenge is being lucky enough to get one. Many post offices do not have enough for everyone. Domestic mail can take two to three days depending on the destination and international packages can take several weeks to arrive.

There are several other options for mail forwarding; Uno Express, Mail Boxes, Etc. Airbox Express, Miami Express. FedEx, and DHL to name a few.

Think of it this way, Panama is way ahead of the recycling curve. No need to fill up the landfills with that junk mail you never read anyway, and the internet works great!

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