Panama — Transportation
Panama Taxis and Car Rental
Taxis are readily available in Panama City, where you can hail them on the street. Prices are reasonable, although if traveling to and from the airport the cost may be inflated. In any case, you should negotiate the fare before entering, since they do not run on a meter. Many taxis are also willing to take you further afield cross country from the city if you ask.
Panama is a really good place to rent a car, since the country has an extensive paved road network, making independent travel safe and easy. You can rent from a few cities in Panama, although the capital city provides the widest choice of companies. At Panama City airport you can call Avis (+11-507-278-9755), Budget (+11-507-263–8777, or Dollar (+11-507-270-0355).
Panama Ferries and Water Taxis
There are several water taxis to the islands around Bocas Del Toro and the San Blas Islands. Almirante and Changuinola are the main launching points to the Bocas Del Toro. To get to the San Blas Islands head to the bay and go to the city of El Porvenir. There are also plenty of other local water taxi services between mainland Panama and its outlying islands; otherwise you can with a tour company who run regular scheduled services.
Panama Trains and Buses
There is just one active railroad in Panama, which follows the route of the Panama Canal from Panama City to the city of Colon. It was opened in 1855, and today this is an interesting way to travel to connect the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, whilst also gauging the might of the shipping canal in its glory. At around 50 miles in length, the journey takes one hour. Departures leave Panama City at 7:15 a.m. and return from Colon at 5:15 p.m.
Bus is the main form of transport for getting around the rest of the country, and all connect with Panama City since it is conveniently located in the middle of the country. To catch an intercity bus you will need to go to the Grand Terminal in the city, which is a large and modern building. All destinations will be advertised on the bus and you can buy your ticket at the booth before boarding. There are city buses in Panama, which are a cheap but slow way of getting around urban areas. There are two types, the older style which are known colloquially as diablos rojos (literally “red devils.” They are old painted school buses), and newer buses which have air conditioning on some routes.