PANAMA CITY - GETTING AROUND

By Bus

Panama City has late model, comfortable and effective MetroBuses and soon they will have a Metro train. In order to use the MetroBus (about 25 cents) or Metro (about 35 cents), you will need a Rapid Pass card which will work for the terminal, MetroBus, and Metro. These cards are available at the Albrook Bus Terminal and can be charged and recharged with cash at the terminal and at some grocery stores and some retailers. MetroBuses gather at the Albrook Station and go to various parts of the city. MetroBuses are not numbered, but they do show their destinations clearly on the front. Get on any bus that says, 'Albrook' in its name, and you will end up at the main terminal.

By Taxi

Most guests to Panama City use taxis to get around. Always negotiate the fare before getting in the taxi. If you think the cost is too much, then ask another driver. You will more than likely get a much better fare if you catch a taxi away from the tourist areas. Feel free to negotiate or suggest a fare to the driver; the worst that can happen is the taxi driver will say no. A taxi to most parts of the city should be about $10. For very short trips, expect to pay only a couple dollars. The fare may increase slightly for extra passengers. Many available taxis will honk at pedestrians as they pass by which means that they are available for a fare. Just hold out your arm to express interest. Remember to ask the driver about the fare before getting in.

If you call to have a taxi dispatched they may add an extra fee. Amber Moon Panama Taxi Service (tel. +507 6664-0171) and Panama Your Way (tel. +507 836- 5693) are two popular taxi dispatch numbers. During rush hour they may inform you that there are no taxis available in your area. They will not seem bothered, however, if you call back every five minutes until they have one. Another option is to inform them that you will hire the driver for one hour ('para una hora'). If you're planning a lot of excursions and dining out it could be worthwhile and cheaper to negotiate a weekly rate for 24/7 service.

By Boat

If you plan on a boat trip to view the famous canal, try to avoid the packed, and sometimes dangerous, Kuna merchant boats and charter a private boat instead for a little more money, especially if you are traveling with children, as the merchant boats are known to traffic illegal drugs from time to time.

By Rental Car

Renting a car is also always an option, though again, getting lost is a possibility for visitors and can become quite a hassle when asking for directions. The driving is very aggressive. If you plan on visiting other Central American countries, be advised that if you plan on re-entering Panama, you must bring your passport and tourist visa, as Panama will charge an extra $5-20 to issue a new travel visa.

By Walking

Panama City is walkable, but not very walker friendly. Between construction, uneven sidewalks, big curbs, no crosswalks/cross lights, drivers entering/exiting streets with no turn signals, and the heat/humidity, it's not an ideal walk, unlike most major cities. We suggest that you use taxis to get aroound the city.