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Transportation in Panama

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Getting there by Air

International Airports

Panamá City (PTY, Tocumén International Airport) - located about 27km (17 miles) northeast of the city. Transportation to and from the airport by buses or taxis. Airport facilities include: duty-free stores, bank, farmacy, restaurant and car rental.

Airlines servicing connections to Panama City include: American Airlines (Miami), Copa Airlines (Los Ángeles, Orlando, Miami, La Habana, México, Guatemala, San Salvador, San José, Tegucigalpa, Kingston, Port Au Prince, Santo Domingo, San Juan, Caracas, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Quito, Guayaquil, Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Cancún, Newark, Houston, New York), Delta Airlines (Atlanta), Aires (Cartagena, Barranquilla), Iberia (Miami, New York), Continental Airlines (Newark, Houston, New York).

David Airport (DAV; Enrique Malek International Airport) - located near David, a former US Air Force Base, servicing limited number of international flights, mostly from Costa Rica and domestic flights; airlines include: Air Panama, Aeroperlas, Aviatur, Mapiex.

Getting there by Road

The main route to Panama is the Pan-American Highway from Costa Rica and crossing at Paso Canoas (which is a very busy crossing). Other routes are via Rio Sereno, north of Paso Canoas and via Sixaola/Guabito on the Atlantic side. There are roads and border crossings between Panama and Columbia.

It is possible to travel by bus from Costa Rica to Panama. There are inexpensive connections from San Jose, Costa Rica to David or Panama City. The trip time is around 18 hours. Travelers must remember though that the Panamanian officials at the border may request a return ticket from Panama.

Getting around by Air

There are many local airports (or at least landing strips) in Panama and a few airlines provide domestic flights, including Aeroperlas and AirPanama.

Getting around by Road

Car rental is available in the cities and at the airport. The minimum age of the driver is 23 years. Roads are in relatively good condition; Panama City is very difficult for drivers because of frequent traffic jams and poor traffic controls like signs or lights.

Taxis are the recommended option for transportation within Panama City. They are inexpensive but not metered, so fares have to be agreed upon before the trip.

City buses are crowded and considered unreliable or even unsafe due to poor maintenance and risk of crime.

There are inexpensive buses connecting cities and towns in Panama that are frequent and comfortable, mostly serving routes along the Pan-American Highway.

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Panama Canal entrance at the Pacific side Cormorants, Gatun Lake, Panama Canal White-headed Capuchin monkey, Gatun Lake, Panama Canal Snail Kite, Gatun Lake, Panama Canal 

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