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panama travel and tourism

Transportation

panama metro train service panama canal railway panama ferries to contadora island bus service in panama

All domestic flights in Panama City originate from Albrook (Marcos A. Gelebert) Airport, which is located just 5-10 minutes outside the city district. There are no public buses that service Albrook Airport, so you will need to take a taxi.

Google Map - Albrook Airport

Panama's Tocumen International Airport is located just 30 minutes southeast of Panama City. Direct and connecting flights depart and arrive daily, flying to and from all major destinations. Also, the airports in Bocas del Toro and David service international flights.

Google Map - Tocumen Airport
  • Air Panama – flies to San José, Costa Rica from David and Bocas del Toro.
  • Copa Airlines
  • Nature Air – offers service between Bocas del Toro, Panamá and Pavos Airport in San José, Costa Rica.

Traveling by bus in Panama is both efficient and affordable, and virtually every part of the country is accessible. Larger cities, e.g., David, Santiago, and Colon, are serviced by large, modern buses, whereas much of the country’s interior is serviced by mini-buses. All buses depart from the Albrook Bus Terminal and are privately owned—they are not part of the state-owned Metro bus system.

The metropolitan bus system, known as "'El Metro," has a fleet of large, urban buses that run along most of the city's main arteries. To ride the Metro you'll need to purchase a pre-paid Metro card, which, unfortunately, is not easy to find. The best places to purchase one are at the Albrook or "5 de Mayo" bus terminals—they are difficult, if not impossible, to find elsewhere. Local routes that circulate within the city district cost $0.25, whereas longer routes to the outer-lying areas cost $1.25.

Visit their website for more information — Spanish only.

Bocas del Toro

Buses to Chiriqui Grande, Almirante, and Changuinola depart daily during the late afternoon, early evening hours. The ride lasts approximately 10 hours.

Panama / Costa Rica Border

Buses to the Panama/Costa Rica border (Paso Canoas) depart daily, stopping briefly in Santiago and David. The trip lasts approximately 8.5–9 hours. Also, you can take a bus to David (see above) and then another local bus to the border. On the Caribbean side, buses depart Changuinola daily en route to Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Limon, and San José, Costa Rica.

Google Map - Albrook Bus Terminal

There are two companies that offer bus service between Panama City, Panama and San José, Costa Rica.

Google Map - Albrook Airport

Sightseeing Panama is an international company that offers bus tours throughout Panama City. Your ticket allows you to "HOP ON" and "HOP OFF" at any of their many stops, some of which include Albrook Mall, Miraflores Locks (Panama Canal), Museum of Biodiversity, Flamenco Island (Amador Causeway), Casco Antiguo (Viejo), Multicentro Mall, Panama Viejo, and Multiplaza Mall.

Visit their website for more information.

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Google Map - Albrook Airport

Inaugurated in 2014, at a cost of over $1.5 billion, Panama's Metro is Central America's first and only underground railway system. The Metro operates two lines: the first extends from the Albrook Bus Terminal to the Los Andes Shopping Mall ($0.35,) and a second connecting San Miguelito with Tocumen ($0.50.) You must purchase a Metro card to ride the train, as there is no other form of payment—it is the same card needed for the Metro buses. Unfortunately, Metro cards are not sold at every terminal; most only have machines to recharge them. The best places to purchase them are the Albrook and "5 de Mayo" terminals, and they cost $2.00 per card. The Metro offers visitors an affordable, rapid, and convenient way of getting around Panama City.

Spanning 47.6 miles and considered by many to be one of the world’s great train rides, the Panama Canal Railway offers passengers a memorable way to see the Panama Canal.

The Railway offers passenger service Monday–Friday between Panama City and Colon. The train departs Corozal at 7:15 a.m. and returns from Colon at 5:15 p.m. The trip lasts one hour. The passenger cars are comfortable, well-appointed, and air-conditioned, and their large windows and glass ceilings offer spectacular views of the surroundings.

Along the southern portion of the Canal, between Panama City and Barro Colorado Island, the train tends to run parallel to the Canal and never ventures very far from the channel. It passes alongside Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, and then briefly moves inland as it winds through the lush, verdant forest of Gaillard Cut. Further north, after passing Barro Colorado Island, it drifts east and spends most of its time out in the open, as it makes its way across Gatun Lake.

We hear so much about the Panama Canal, but most people don’t know that the railway was operating for 60 years before the Panama Canal was even built, and it played an instrumental role during the Canal’s initial construction period. The Panama Canal Railway dates back to the mid-1800s, and upon its completion in 1855, was the world’s first transcontinental railway.

Visit their website for more information about their services and the railway’s history.

Getting to Corozal

Google Map - Panama Canal Railway

The Corozal train station is located near the Albrook Airport. Unfortunately, there are no Metro buses that stop at the station, but several Metro buses stop near it. Look for the buses that read Miraflores, Forestal, Ciudad de Saber, and Mercado de Abastos. From the stations where they drop you off, you can walk or take a taxi.

Taxi’s throughout Panama are plentiful and can be easily recognized by their yellow color and numbered markings. All fares are based on zones; there are no meters and cab drivers are required by law to carry a copy of the zone chart with them at all times. Most fares within the metropolitan area average $2.00 - $4.00 and an additional $0.50 surcharge for each additional passenger. One-way trips between Panama City and Tocumen International Airport cost approximately $25.00 - $30.00 for two people. The standard hourly rate hovers between $8.00 - $12.00, depending on the vehicle type and service you are requesting.

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