From the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office –
Latest update: Entry requirements section
British nationals don’t need a visa to visit Panama except if arriving by sea. You must have a return or onward ticket and the equivalent of US$500 or a credit card.
If you enter Panama by land from Costa Rica, and are not a legal resident of Costa Rica, the immigration authorities may ask you to show proof of onward or return travel to your country of legal residence.
You may be detained by immigration officials if you attempt to renew your tourist visa by visiting a neighbouring country, including Costa Rica. You must follow the relevant rules and procedures when seeking to extend a visa. The British Embassy can’t intervene in decisions made by the immigration authorities. For more information visit the Panama National Migration Service website.
An initial stay of 180 days is granted on entry to Panama. Extensions are not normally allowed unless you apply to change your immigration status within the 180 days (for business purposes, marriage, etc). For further information on entry requirements, check with the Embassy of the Republic of Panama in London.
When transiting the Panama Canal, if you disembark the ship, your passport will be stamped by the immigration authorities. You do not need a visa unless you are staying in Panama for more than 90 days. Immigration officials do not board transiting cruise ships to check passports.
If you arrive in Panama by sea, except via a cruise line, you will need a visa. There is a fee of $100 plus $5 registration per person for passengers and crew members of vessels. Other fees may be charged, for example for cruising permits. Make sure immigration officials properly stamp your passport with the date of entry into the country. Check with the Embassy of Panama in London for further details.
from Travel Advice Summary, which can be found at: http://ift.tt/11mnLGp
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