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5 Best VPNs for Panama That Work in 2017

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

September 29, 2017

Panama is a great base for a VPN because the country has no data retention laws. This is one of the reasons that NordVPN is based there. The privacy conditions in Panama enable NordVPN to implement procedures that ensure the privacy of its customers. Curiously, however, NordVPN does not have any servers in Panama. This could be because of the country’s draconian copyright laws. These seem to serve as a get-rich-quick scheme for civil servants.

Our 5 Best VPNs for Panama:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. VPNArea
  3. VyprVPN
  4. NordVPN
  5. LeVPN

If you live in Panama, or intend to visit it, you need to be aware of the risks that downloading copyrighted material or even streaming videos can entail. You can read more on this below. First, let’s look at a solution to these risks.

You don’t want the authorities to catch you downloading copyrighted material in Panama. You also have to be careful about streaming videos there, even if you’ve paid a subscription for access. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) means you can cover your tracks. This system hides the true nature of your connections as messages pass back and forth between your computer and the servers that you contact over the internet.

If you’re new to VPNs and want to learn more about how they work, you can find all the information you’re looking for in our beginners guide to VPNs.

The protection offered by VPNs is two-fold. They divert all of your internet traffic to a nominated VPN server and hide the real destination of the connection. The VPN also encrypts all of the messages that pass between your computer and the VPN server. As a result of these two methods, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) that you’re connected to has no way of knowing that you’re downloading or streaming. Governments lean on ISPs to cooperate and hand over details of the traffic that they handle. This is how the authorities find out about illegal activities.

You really need to use a VPN when you’re in Panama, but which one should you choose? At BestVPN.com we assess VPN services all the time. We’ve created a list of the five best VPNs for Panama. Limiting your search to these five providers will save you a lot of time investigating the hundreds of VPNs out there – many of which are terrible.

Best VPNs for Panama: Summary

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
Nomination
ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Deal: Save 49% Today!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Kill switch
  • Fast network
  • Uses stealth technology
  • No logs
CONS:
  • Expensive

ExpressVPN has very strong security measures and is able to evade detection in China, which has the most stringent VPN detection methods in the world. If you want protection to access Netflix while you're in Panama, you'll do well with ExpressVPN. Using a VPN can help you get into the Netflix service for another country, but if your requests are blocked because the VPN was spotted, your VPN subscription will just be a waste of money. Very few VPNs can get past the Netflix detection systems, but ExpressVPN can.

The company is based in the British Virgin Islands and keeps no logs. ExpressVPN has no problems with its customers using the network for torrent downloading and won't hand over any customer details to copyright holders. The fast network will help you with both streaming and downloading. The ExpressVPN network includes servers in 94 countries. There is a kill switch to ensure that your apps don't connect to the internet without the VPN turned on. You also get automatic WiFi protection.

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Visit ExpressVPN »30-day money-back guarantee
Nomination
VPNArea Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 60 countries
  • Allowance of six simultaneous connections
  • Kill switch
  • No logs
CONS:
  • Not the fastest VPN on the list

Like ExpressVPN, VPNArea works very well in China, which is a good indication that it will protect customers in Panama. This company has no problem with its customers using the network for peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading. The VPNArea headquarters is in Switzerland, where the downloading of copyrighted material without paying is legal for personal viewing.

The VPN has servers in 60 countries and can get into most streaming services, including Netflix. You get an allowance of six simultaneous connections with VPNArea, which gives you the option of sharing an account with friends. Security measures include a kill switch and an IP switcher, which changes your visible IP address periodically to confound snoopers.

Nomination
VyprVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Three-day free trial
  • Servers in 58 countries
  • Proprietary cloaking technology
  • Kill switch
  • Automatic WiFi protection
CONS:
  • Low encryption security with Basic plan

VyprVPN is a good choice for torrenting. The company has a good track record at evading detection and it can get past Netflix's VPN detection systems. This VPN uses its own proprietary cloaking method, called Chameleon, to avoid detection. Steer clear of the basic plan with this service, because it doesn't include Chameleon - go for the Premium plan instead.

Most VPNs offer a refund period to give you a chance to try the system. Our review of VyprVPN found it has a three-day free trial period instead. Security options include a kill switch and automatic WiFi protection.

Nomination
NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 61 countries
  • No logs
  • Up to six simultaneous connections allowed
  • Kill switch
CONS:
  • Customer support can be slow

As mentioned above, NordVPN is based in Panama, but doesn't have any VPN servers there. However, it has servers in 61 other countries. Despite Panama's draconian copyright laws, the country's lack of data retention laws enables NordVPN to give top privacy to its customers by implementing a no logs policy.

Our NordVPN review highlights that you get good encryption protection and there are lots of interesting VPN configurations that you can try, including creating a double VPN. Other security measures include a kill switch and automatic WiFi protection. You get an allowance of six simultaneous connections with this service and account sharing is allowed.

5. Best VPN for Panama: LeVPN

LeVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Servers in 114 countries
  • VPN blended with a Smart DNS
  • No logs
  • Good for getting into streaming services
  • Selective security protection
CONS:
  • Only allows two simultaneous connections

Le VPN is a French-owned, Hong Kong-based service that has servers in 114 countries. This is the largest server network on our list of the best VPNs for Panama. The company's server locations include Panama and many Caribbean countries.

If you're particularly interested in subscribing to a privacy system in order to get into streaming services from abroad, you may have heard of an alternative system called a Smart Domain Name System (DNS). Le VPN offers a combination package with both systems included. You can turn them both on at the same time. This combo will encrypt all of your traffic to make it secure, but only when you're engaged in activities that may have legal repercussions, such as torrenting or streaming. For web surfing, your connections are transferred as if the VPN was turned off.

Using a VPN in Panama: Considerations

Panama’s Copyright Laws

The United States has a special interest in Panama. It is a vital crossing point for sea routes from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. As such, there is a longstanding relationship between the two countries. Panama offers very generous tax incentives for US companies and expats to move there. Meanwhile, the Panama Canal encourages the US government to keep an eye on political moves in the country.

Panama created a comprehensive copyright law in 1994, which complied with the standards expected by the World Intellectual Property Organization. However, US pressure forced the Panamanian government to introduce tougher legislations in 2012. The law that this American intervention created is now notorious among internet freedom activists. It is called Bill 510. This law makes it essential that you use a VPN when in Panama.

If you’re caught downloading files through P2P networks, the Panamanian authorities can fine you $100,000 for the first offense. The fine for each subsequent offense is $200,000. The law is a money spinner for the government agency in charge of enforcing copyright law – the General Department of Copyright (DGDA). That department has the right to pay the money that it raises through fines as staff bonuses. Thus DGDA staff have a huge incentive to enforce the law with vigor.

Paying a DGDA fine doesn’t get you off the hook. The department won’t wipe your record. It will inform the copyright holders of the material that you downloaded, giving them all the evidence they need to prosecute you. Those found guilty of copyright infringement also have to fund a press announcement naming and shaming them for the crime of internet piracy. These vindictive measures smack of spite. US copyright holder legal action groups, rather than government legislators, probably insisted on them.

Criminal Streaming

The technical procedures of streaming services mean that your computer stores part of each file as it processes it for playback. In some methodologies, your computer actually downloads the entire file that you stream to your browser or media player and stores it in a hidden temporary folder. Even though you don’t know about the existence of that file, and your computer will delete it automatically the next time you reboot, the vague wording of Bill 510 regards that temporary storage as a download.

The law gives the DGDA the right to fine users of streaming services as internet pirates because of this temporary storage. This is the case even if you download the file through a legal, paid-for streaming service, such as Netflix. Given that the DGDA staff all get to share in the money they raise from fining copyright violators, they’re not interested in dismissing potential infringements because of technical niceties. The department is always going to err on the side of severity because it is in its financial interests to do so.

Best VPNs to Use in Panama: Conclusion

If you think that the implementation of copyright law in Panama is outrageous, you’re not alone. The Electronic Frontier Foundation dubbed Bill 510 as incredibly unbalanced. Another observer called it “the worst copyright law in history.

Be very careful about streaming video or downloading with torrents in Panama, even if you have paid to do so. Even using a legal torrenting service that pays copyright holders could land you with a $100,000 on-the-spot fine. Make it impossible for the authorities in Panama to discover your activities by installing and using a VPN.

Best VPNs for Panama: Side-by-Side Summary

Image Credit: bobby20/Shutterstock.com

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