The good news is you don't have to go far, nor do you have to be gone long. You just need to leave the country and get a re-entry stamp. This is where a Costa Rica border run comes into play. The whole process of leaving Panama and getting a new entrance stamp doesn't take long--usually only about an hour to stamp out and then stamp back in. The tricky part is that the border guards don't always say the same thing.
I experienced this firsthand during a recent border run to Costa Rica. I have my residency visa, but my fiance does not. I was along for the proverbial ride. I didn't need to go, but I rationalized it as gaining experience to share. After all, how am I supposed to get good meat for my blog if I don't experience everything Panama has to offer... the good, the bad, and even the bureaucratic.
You can arrive at the border crossing station between Costa Rica and Panama by bus or by car. If you drive, note that there is no parking lot for immigration, so just find a place to park nearby. Check the alleys nearby and be sure not to leave any valuables in your car. If you arrive by bus, they will drop you within a few feet of where you need to be.
If you want to know the exact process of getting your passport stamped and extending your tourist visa, click here to request a copy of my upcoming book, "Panama Uncorked: Everything You Need to Know to Visit, Live and Invest in Panama." I'll give it to you for free if you are one of the first 99 people to request it.