Living the GOOD LIFE for the REST OF YOUR LIFE!
The first thing you’ll notice (hopefully) about Panamanian taxis is that they don’t have meters. All fare negotiation must take place before the car departs the curb. But these charges won’t be high because there is an official zone rate, plus an additional fee per passenger. Think about $1.50US per ride. You don’t have to tip your driver, either. An hourly rate for a taxi should run about $7.00US, which makes it an ideal source of inexpensive transport.
Taking a taxi from the airport into the city should run about $20US, and you can share your ride with other passengers. You can also hire a taxi to take you to the suburban areas.
Hail your taxi from the street, and not from in front of a hotel. Some drivers overcharge for hotel pick-ups to compensate for having to return to the hotel for the next passenger. Don’t let it happen to you.
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to all those colorful “hippie busses” from the Woodstock generation, think Panama City. The city is teeming with transcendentally painted school buses which pass for city buses.
Crowded, unairconditioned, playing loud music and cheap, they are worth at least one trip! Just beware of an element that may want to relieve you of your tourist wallet. A flat rate of about $.25US will get you from one end of Panama City to the other, with an “experience” thrown in! After your first trip, take a taxi!
The Pan American Highway crosses the nation of Panama from East to West (or West to East, depending on your orientation). Highway buses crisscross the country daily.
If you are leaving from Panama City, you will need a pre-purchased ticket from the terminal. If you are traveling TO Panama City you can pay on the bus.
A good way to see the country without renting a car is to take a highway bus to a point along the highway and get off. To get back onto the bus, stand by the side of the road and wave your arm toward the ground. When you’re on the bus and want to get off, either tell the driver where you need to disembark or yell “parada” NOT Prada, but par-a-da!
Highway buses are inexpensive. Think about $1.00US for an hour’s worth of travel.