Getting around Panama City is very easy. Colon is a little more dangerous so it is not recommended to stroll around too many areas.
- Taxis are plentiful but beware, you will get ‘stung’ if you are located at the southern end of the Causeway (La Playita Marina and Flamenco Yacht Club and Marina)
- You can negotiate an hourly rate with a taxi driver
- We use Jorge who charges $10 an hour 6414-6210
Taxi drivers are notorious for charging a ‘Gringo tax’, making the fares much more than they should be. Some recommended drivers that speak some English and (hopefully) won’t rip you off are listed in the Panama City Guide for Cruisers as follows (please note that we have not used any of these drivers):
- Alfonso 68009139 Normal taxi or nice little bus available. Speaks English.
- Carlos 6449-4066 Has a small tour bus. Good for provisioning. Speaks English.
- Diose 6778-6399, 6492-6807 English comprehension good. Spoken English not so good. Has a PriceSmart card. Knows his way around. Can get propane tanks filled overnight.
- Fernando 6640-1838 Has a pick-up truck.
- Geronimo 6366-4858. Clean mid-sized car. Knows his way around the city for things cruisers need. Speaks some English. $10 per hour, 2015.
- Horatio Dockins 6630-3896 Has a 14-person van. Speaks English. Good for several boats to share a provisioning run.
- Isreal 6688-3579 Very reliable. Clean and well maintained vehicle. Good English comprehension, is shy about speaking English. Has worked with cruisers for well over a decade. Asks for higher prices.
- Juan 6735-7742
- Roosevelt 6513-6949 Speaks excellent English. Has PriceSmart card. Has worked with cruisers for years. Does propane runs by appointment. Normally picks up at 09:00, returning at 11:30.
- Roger (Rogelio) 6717-6745 Has van and car. Speaks excellent English. Has a PriceSmart card. Can help with Canal crossing (see “Agents”). In great demand.
- Taxi Tony 6520-0272 Excellent English. Has worked with cruisers for many years. His vehicles are not always in the best of shape. Can help with tires and lines for Canal crossing.
Uber & Lyft
- If you are only going from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ then we would highly recommend using Uber (although they are still not properly accepted by the authorities)
- Trips are very cheap and you avoid the “gringo tax” where taxi drivers overcharge foreigners, no matter how good your Spanish is!
- An account set up in the US works fine in Panama
Metro Bus and Train
- From the Causeway you can catch a bus to Albrook Mall, and then buses to anywhere, including all over the country, and the Metro train into town
- There is no schedule, but the buses should appear at least every 20 minutes during the day
- There is only one train line so you won’t get lost!
- The rush-hour traffic in the city is diabolical, so the train is a great way to get into the business district of El Cangrejo
- You will need a RapiPass card to use any Metro bus and the Metro train, which can be purchased at the Albrook Transit station
- Bus drivers do not accept cash. On your first ride there is a good chance that a local will swipe their card to get you on board
- In 2019 the bus costs 25c and the train costs 35c, so getting a card with a few dollars on it is worthwhile
- You can get between Colon and Panama City, actually Albrook, on an air-conditioned coach for under US$4.
- In Colon, catch a taxi to the bus station and join a bus that says Panama Expreso on the front.
- The trip will be around 75 minutes.
- You pay cash onboard to a conductor half-way through the trip
- There is no apparent schedule but they generally depart every 30 minutes, or when they are full
- The last ones run around 9-10 pm
- They will pretty much stop anywhere along the route
There is a sightseeing bus that loops around the city and goes out to the Miraflores Locks Visitor Centre. It also goes out on the Causeway near the marinas, and will take you to Albrook Mall and MultiCentro Mall. HOHO Bus
There is a great cycle path along the Causeway, around the Cinta Costera 3 (the bridge thing that goes around the old town) and right along the waterfront of the city. Unfortunately, cycling the city streets would be somewhat suicidal.