Upon Arriving at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City
As soon as you leave customs, there is an official taxi stand. These taxis are safe and reliable. It costs about $15 to go anywhere in Panama City from the International Airport and takes about 15-20 minutes depending on where you are going. There are also several car rental agencies including National, Thrifty and Dollar Car Rental.
From your hotel or any downtown street, taxis are easy to get, numerous and cheap. Getting to most places in Panama City by taxi won't cost more than $5. There are no taxi meters.
Tip: It is best to negotiate the price with the driver before you get going. If you take a taxi from a hotel or airport, or call a taxi agency to pick you up the cost increases significantly. To avoid this, just walk out to the street and hail a regular taxi.
For organized tours, there excellent tour operators with tours beginning with half-day excursions to see the local attractions. See our What to Do and See section for ideas. Go to our TOUR OPERATORS page in the Business Services section for information on where, when and how much.
There is regular bus service to most parts of the country with round-trip tickets usually no more than $20. You may have to change buses a couple of times for the more remote destinations like Pedasí and Catalina. Ask a taxi driver to take you to the Albrook Bus Terminal. Buses leave periodically every 20-60 minutes starting early in the morning.
To go to the Colon Free Zone or Colon, the bus stop is at Avenida Peru between Calle 29 Este and Calle 30 Este.
For bus travel to Costa Rica daily trips are provided by Panaline (262.1618) and Tico Bus (262.2084). Call in advance for reservations. There is a daily Tico bus leaving from Albrook Terminal at 11 am.
City Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus
A brand new bus service that makes stops at all the major touristic hot spots in Panama City: Casco Viejo, the Miraflores Museum at the Panama Canal, business district, Albrook Mall, the Amador Causeway and Panama Viejo. Get a 24 or 48 hours pass for unlimited use—a great way to get around everywhere you need to go in Panama City. For more information visit the City Sighteeing Bus page.
Travel To and From Panama
The only way to go to and from Panama is by plane, car or bus. There is an excellent bus service between Costa Rica and Panama. To go to South America, the only way is to take a plane. There are no roads that connect Panama to Columbia but in early 2012 a ferry service was announced by Aventuras 2000 that will go from the port city of Colón to Cartagena in Colombia. If you want to bring your car to Panama, it is easiest to have it shipped to a Latin American port.
GPS in Panama: Waze
There are a few companies who are developing gps systems for Panama, but our experience is that none of them are completely dependable, yet. Panama is undergoing a frenzy of construction at the moment which makes it hard to keep up. For those of you with smartphones, Waze is a user generated gps map which we have found to be quite dependable for getting around Panama City and David. Google maps is also pretty good in general but many aspects, such as street names, are not up to date.