Panama can be an affordable destination, while also boasting luxurious resorts. Visitors can access public buses or taxis within cities as well as tourist shuttles, private cars, or Air Panama domestic flights for transport within Panama. If you prefer flexibility and convenience, consider exploring the country by opting for car rentals in Panama. This option allows you to experience Panama at your own pace, ensuring a memorable and hassle-free journey.
Panamanians use buses as their primary mode of transport and they run regularly. On longer journeys, buses often make pit stops along their routes to refuel and let passengers purchase food items or snacks from roadside stands.
Panama offers much to travelers visiting Latin America, despite being one of the more compact countries. Thanks to its extensive bus public system, large urban areas in Panama City and elsewhere can often be navigated easily without needing to rent a car; however, those seeking out more remote spots will require one.
Panama’s buses are affordable and run daily from dusk to dawn. Albrook serves as Panama City’s main bus terminal while Santiago and David in Chiriqui offer major hubs. Long distance coach services also operate across Panama for trips across the nation.
To take the bus, simply purchase a metro card at any station or supermarket and add money. A single ride costs between $0.25 and $1.25; buses also feature red buttons along their aisle ways that passengers can press to notify drivers that they want off.
Taxis in Panama are readily available and can be easily hailered on the street or at taxi stands in busy cities. While most popular routes have set prices, it is wise to negotiate an appropriate price prior to getting in to ensure no scammers take advantage of your trust and take you for an inflated ride. Upscale “tourist” taxis may also be found clustered near hotels for added luxury travel experience.
Panamanians may seem laidback until they get behind the wheel. Add aggressive drivers, flash floods, road obstructions, random diversions and an often befuddling one-way system into the mix and driving in Panama City can become quite challenging. Although car rentals are available from Tocumen International Airport or nearby in downtown areas of Panama City, driving will still require patience, GPS technology, a map and some prior knowledge to navigate safely through its streets.
Taxis are a staple in Panama City and most other smaller towns, and typically sport bright yellow colors. Though they don’t use meters, local zoning laws do set some fares for popular routes; therefore it is best to negotiate an upfront price and remember that drivers do not expect tips. Uber services have also become widely available throughout Panama City although its presence often sparks protest from taxi drivers protesting against its undercutting tactics.
Panama City Metrobus buses offer an attractive alternative to taxis. Use the MiBus website or app to plan your trips and hop aboard at one of their designated stops; be sure to bring along a Metro card – available at Albrook bus terminal as well as most metro stations and outlets (such as supermarkets) around town – which costs $0.25 for most rides and $1.25 on highway journeys to and from airport.
Rental cars are readily available for those who enjoy driving in Panama City and some tourist towns. Private transport companies provide vehicles which meet high standards of maintenance and come equipped with special passenger insurance – providing extra peace of mind as the roads of Panama can often prove treacherous in rural areas.
Buses are the primary mode of transportation for most Panamanians and tourists alike, making them an economical and reliable means of travel. From large cities to rural towns, you’ll see buses everywhere from central stations and roadside concrete shelters, flagging down passing vehicles or flagging them down themselves. Diablo Rojos are old school buses decorated with electric graffiti art and flashing lights; for longer distance travel there is also the Panama Metro as a fast alternative.
The 6-kilometer (4-mile) Causeway provides an interesting way of getting around Panama City, with views across the canal. Walking early morning when temperatures and humidity levels are at their lowest is recommended; alternatively you can rent bikes on the bridge or use one of many taxis that wait at its terminus. If traveling to Bocas archipelago it is simple using water taxis or car ferry from Almirante on mainland Panama to the islands.
Panama’s air links are adequate, though many visitors opt for bus and taxi tours over flights as an enjoyable travel experience. Domestic flights tend to be quick and economical with minimal connecting stops – though direct flights into Panama City then directly heading out for Isla Colon are possible; though this usually costs $150-200 USD one way.
Buses are a reliable form of public transport in both major cities and rural areas, offering long distance rides at a reasonable cost. Long distance fleets offer comfortable yet cost-effective service; alternatively you may consider taking one of Panama City’s iconic red devil buses which feature hard benches with tarpaulins attached, often decorated with electric graffiti art adornment; alternatively you could take one of Panama City’s “chivas”, converted pickups that carry hard benches with tarpaulin covers and hard benches or “chivas” converted pickup trucks which carry hard benches and tarpaulins on board, often decorated with electric graffiti art; alternatively you could opt for Panama City’s iconic “red devils”, retired school buses featuring flashing lights, flashing lights, garish artworks adornments; most towns feature central terminals while smaller destinations have concrete shelters where passengers can flag passing buses as you pass them!
Panama City features its inaugural modern subway system – an inexpensive and efficient means of traversing its ever-congested streets. Yellow taxis are plentiful despite not having meters; before entering one it is wise to negotiate an agreed rate beforehand. Luxury “tourist” taxis may charge more and tend to cluster near upscale hotels.
Bicycle enthusiasts looking for adventure can cycle in Panama City and David, though road conditions can be perilous. Riders should keep in mind that city drivers often view cyclists as easy targets, so be extremely visible, remain constantly alert, and muster up all your courage before setting out onto the roads.