The Best Ways To Get In & Around Panama City

There are many options when it comes to traveling to Panama City or getting around the city. For first-timers, read through the info below so you can make the most adequate plans for your trip!

Panama City skyline

Getting in and around Panama City isn’t difficult to figure out, especially if you’re prepared to taxi your way throughout the trip. It’s inexpensive and will get you anywhere. But if you’re on a budget, there are buses and new metro in the city that you’ll find just as useful. Here’s a quick breakdown:



You’ll most likely be landing in Tocumen International Airport (PTY) situated right outside of Panama City.

From Tocumen International Airport (PTY) to city centers by taxi:

It’s about a 30-minute ride from the airport to the city center (ie: Casco Viejo.) If you are to ride the taxi alone, it may cost approximately $30. By sharing the taxi with two other strangers, the fare may reduce down to $10.

From PTY to city centers by airport shuttle:

There is a free shuttle from PTY to MetroMall, from 10 am to 5 pm, every 30 minutes. Visit here for more information.

From PTY to city centers by private cars:

Panama Luxury Limousine is perfect for business and luxury travelers. The airport pickup service is divided in different types of vehicles:

  • Lincoln Town Car = USD $88.50
  • Cadillac Escalade ESV = USD $100.00
  • Lincoln 100″ Stretch Limo = USD $134.50

Panama Roadrunner is another great option for airport transport. Prices vary by where in the city you’re heading to. To city hotels is USD $55, while to Colon is about USD $155.

Anywhere Panama also offers a wide variety of options, including: private cars, private shuttles, domestic flights and auto rentals. Check out their website for more details.

Renting a car at PTY:

You’ll find most major rental car companies at the airport. There isn’t a car return area, so where you pick up the car is where you’ll be returning the car.

Please note, driving in Panama City might be a very dangerous situation if you’re not used to congested streets and sudden stops. So be extra careful behind the wheels.

Getting into Panama City by bus:

Panama City isn’t designed for backpackers in the sense that if you wanted to take the bus from PTY to Panama City, it’s not as easy that you might as well take a taxi. But if you only want to spend $1.25 via the MetroBus, then follow the guide here on


Taking the taxi is probably your best bet to get around the city, since it’s quite cheap and very convenient. Taxis in Panama City do not have meters in them, make sure to negotiate the price before hopping in. DO NOT hop into a cab without settling on a price. ALWAYS agree on a price first!


Fares are determined based on which zone in the city you’re going to:

  • Short distance = approximately USD $2
  • Longer ride = approximately USD $5
  • Panama Canal Zone = at least USD $5
  • Amador Causeway = USD $5-10

TIP! Drivers do not expect tips. 

You can also rent a taxi for a day to tour around for USD $20-25. Tips are expected, and you may need to provide lunch.

Flickr FutureExpat Panama taxi

Private cars:

If you’re traveling luxuriously, here are some private car companies that we recommend:

Panama Luxury Limousine: Hourly rates are as listed:

  • Lincoln Town Car = USD $80.50
  • Cadillac Escalade ESV = USD $92.00
  • Lincoln 100″ Stretch Limo = USD $126.50
  • For details on day tours, visit the website here.

Panama Roadrunner is a Canadian-owned company that also specialized in security. They customize different types of day trips that cost between USD $115 – $465. For more information on their itineraries, visit their website.

Facebook Panama Luxury Limousine
Facebook/Panama Luxury Limousine


Since 2014, travelers and locals can start riding the new Metro in the city. The route starts from Albrook Mall through Panama City, then ends at Los Andes. The stops are in touristic and commercial spots.

You’ll need to buy a Metro card at an automated machine at the station for $2.00. These cards can also be used for MetroBuses. Beware of pickpockets when riding the metro.

Facebook El Metro de Panama
Facebook/El Metro de Panamá


If you’re on a budget, getting around by bus is very cheap with each ride costing $0.25. You’ll see that destinations are written on the front of the bus, so it’ll be easy to follow.

There are also air-conditioned orange buses called “MetroBus,” which do not take cash, so you’ll need to buy bus cards at a kiosk or at the mall prior to riding MetroBuses.

Flickr Carlos Felipe Pardo Panama City metro bus
Flickr/Carlos Felipe Pardo

Wendy Hung


As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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