Mail in Panama is not like it is in the USA. There are mailing services like Mailboxes Etc which for money, will get your packages and mail to and from the US or other countries. There is also the Panamanian mail system which is not fast, but is much cheaper. When we first arrived we had something mailed to us in David at general delivery, and it took almost three months! (this may be unusual) If you need something quickly you would probably want to use a mailing service.
I had a little dress for my granddaughter that I forget to take out of my suitcase when I was there, so I decided to try the Panamanian mail service to get it sent to Washington state. It was a hand made dress I bought from this woman in Cuba so something unique, but not a disaster if it gets lost.
I had heard that mailing a package is a process but didn’t remember any details so I tried to be prepared. I put the dress in a manila envelope with my card inside with contact details, and the destination name and address, and then the destination name and address outside, unsealed in case they wanted to inspect the contents. I folded this envelope and put it in another manila envelope with the destination name and address, again unsealed. I had tape in my purse just in case.
At the post office, my package was weighed, and then there was some shouting between employees to determine the correct price. I was asked what was inside, the price of the contents, but she only removed the inner envelope and didn’t open it. Then, of course there was paperwork. We had to fill out a form for customs that was stuck to the back, and then another form. That had my phone number, invoice number, office number, destination name and my name, price, date, an official post office stamp with the date, and a sticker with a bar code. I was given the original of this as a receipt and a copy was left in their book. I was also asked for a copy of my passport, and was thankful that I had tucked a copy in my wallet “just in case” a long time ago. I was also asked to write my name and address on the back of the package. Since there are no addresses as we know them here, my address is just the name of my neighborhood, David, Panama.
Then I was sent to another window where a woman had a bottle of glue, and she glued the package closed, telling me “shhhh” like she was doing me a favor and I should have brought my own glue. I remembered there was something about closing packages a certain way, not with string or tape, but glue and my vague memory combined with this experience tells me that yes, I should have brought glue with me to the post office. They used the white glue like kids have in school, and it can be found for sale pretty much anywhere.
Then, I returned to the first lady, she collected my $2, gave me the receipt document, and we were done! This was on Tuesday June 6th so we will see when the package arrives. I was told by a Panamanian that packages to the US can take 2-3 weeks, and if this is true the Panamanian postal service would be a good option for things that aren’t time sensitive.
I will let you all know what happens