Guide to Transportation in Panama: What you need to know




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Transportation, and knowing how to get around, is essential no matter where you live. When you relocate to Panama, or to a new country, you’ll need to get around efficiently, and in a way that is both comfortable and suits your budget. Transportation in Panama is diverse, busy, and with lots of variables that go into the logistics and day-to-day tasks to get where you need to go. Before arriving here, you should check out all of your options, and decide how you want to get around, and how much you want to spend to do so. Here are some tips on how to maximize your Panama transportation experiences.

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“Should I buy a car?”

If you’ve been reading about Panama, and planning on moving to Panama, you’ve asked yourself this before. For lots of people who live and work in Panama, owning a car is vital to their everyday needs. For other people, it’s not. This all depends on how much you’ll need a personally driven vehicle, and how much you budget for travel. In all honesty, and despite popular opinion amongst expats, if you live in the center of Panama City, and work/play in the center of Panama City, you don’t need a car.

Traffic in the capital is brutal, and even if you live in the suburbs, you will have lots of traffic to deal with around working hours. Now, even if you don’t have your own car, you’ll still experience this traffic if you commute. The question is, do you want to drive through it?

When you do need a car

If you live far enough outside of the city, like the “Playas” area, the western mountains, the Caribbean beaches, and even some of the further out parts of the suburbs, you will probably want a car. If you’re on a budget, you can buy a decent used car for around $4,000. A low-range new car will cost you about $10,000 (at least), and a mid-range new car will run about $20,000, with nicer cars going up significantly after that. In areas where public transportation is sparse, and taxis are not very common, a car will save you a lot of time, and is totally worth the investment, even if you’re only in Panama for a few years.

Taking public transportation

Public transportation in Panama is improving, yet still far behind many countries in the region, and the world as a whole. Panama City has a relatively new bus system (5 years or so) which is OK, but not time efficient as it schedules are hard to find, and often delayed due to traffic/weather, etc. Public transportation in the capital is safe, buses have A/C, and rides can be purchased through Metro Bus cards that you can charge at verified stations and kiosk locations.

If you live in the interior of Panama, even in a larger populated town or city, public transportation becomes much tougher. It is still incredibly affordable (around 50 cents for a normal ride), however you’ll find that timetables and frequency of stops may not be as convenient. Nevertheless, public transportation is a great way to learn the local area, and save a significant amount of money each month.

Finding the right fit for you

When it comes down to it, getting around in Panama is not difficult. No matter what you choose as your form of transportation, you can find a rhythm, price, and comfort zone that will match your needs perfectly. It’s all about perspective, and how you want/need to travel.

About POLS Attorneys Staff Writer


As one of the leading Panama Law Firms, and one of the regions most reliable offshore service providers, POLS Attorneys brings a wide range of professional knowledge to our clients needs. Our staff is made up of professional offshore consultants, Panama attorneys and immigration specialists who are experienced in offshore business, understand international investment and asset protection strategies, and are experts in providing a seamless Panama immigration process.

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