Building the Ultimate Panama Road Trip, A Step-By-Step Guide




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Panama is a small country, geographically speaking, which makes going end-to-end a reasonable goal for adventurers. You can literally travel from one border to the next in less than a full day. This makes Panama perfect for road trips, and allows for seeing so much the country has to offer, without ever having to board a plane, or go long distances. Road trips are fun, and if you plan them out right, can be an extremely efficient way to see the most of Panama, and get to know its people. All you need to do is set your goals for what you want to get out of it, schedule the right amount of time, and be prepared for surprises all along the way. Here are some pointers to get you on the right track (or better yet, road)!

Check out a variety of terrain/attractions

Variety is the spice of life, and it’s no different when you’re planning the ultimate road trip through Panama. Of course, everyone has their tastes when it comes to traveling, and that’s fine. Some people love the beach, others love the countryside and mountains, and others like cities and urban areas. That being said, you won’t get a full picture of Panama, especially on a road trip, if you don’t get a little slice of each. Luckily, Panama has all of the above, and none of it is very far from the others. This means, you can be in Panama City for breakfast, have lunch on a Caribbean beach, and end your day high up in the mountains, all in a matter of 10-12 hours, and all by road.

Try to leave ample time to get from place to place, even if they are close

Now, just because we say you CAN go from the city to the beach to the mountains in 10-12 hours, doesn’t mean you should. In fact, we recommend budgeting a lot of extra time when you’re traveling from destination to destination. Panama prides itself on a slow pace of life, and by rushing through things, you won’t really get the full experience. Take time to walk around each location where you stop. Have a delicious cup of Panama coffee, or a meal. Talk to local shopkeepers and/or other travelers. Also, Panamanian highways tend to have a number of heavy traffic periods throughout the day, so it may take longer to go between places than the distance suggests. If you space your day out with plenty of extra time, you’ll find that your stress levels will be much lower, and you’ll run much lower a risk of missing something you want to see.

Use a 4WD car or truck, and if you rent, make sure to take out insurance

Panama is a diverse country with lots of varying terrain, temperatures, roads, and altitudes. That means, no matter where you’re planning your road trip, you’re going to need a good car. Due to these circumstances, we highly recommend you use a 4-wheel-drive car, SUV, or truck, and make sure there’s high clearance between the ground and the undercarriage. Panama’s main highway (the Panamericana) is in mostly good shape, but when you venture off to smaller, more rural roads, you’ll find that without a well-tractioned, larger car, you may get stuck. This is why it’s not only important to have a good car, but make sure you have good insurance as well.

If you do enough planning ahead of time, you should be able to see most of the entire country of Panama, without much hassle, or taking up too much time. Go explore this wonderful country for all it has to offer, and soak in as much of it as you can in the process. You won’t regret it. We guarantee that!

About Manoj Chatlani


Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, Panama Offshore Legal Services offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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