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Daryl Ries of Keller Williams Panama, associate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
As a New Yorker, I was raised on the subway Metro in Panama City Panama, with man walking towards it – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living​and I am still riding the only means of fast, safe and cheap transport available in most big cities around the world. I know the subways of London, Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, Beijing etc., and now, Panama (pictured to the right). What a difference good public transportation means to a city, and to the country where countless people's lives are enhanced by being able to get to work, events, shopping, schools, etc. without hours of waiting, weather conditions being good and high costs.
 
Good public transportation is the difference between Panama on the one hand and Costa Rica and the rest of Central America and much of South America and the USA as well on the other.   I could never live without good public transportation, and consider it an important part of my decision to live in Panama, as opposed to Florida, California, and the list goes on. Panamanians know that their transport system from local and national buses, to the new subway and not least the multiple passenger taxi system is a great advantage to their lives, and for visitors and expats too, if you get to know it.
 
From Coronado, I grab a bus at the stop by the Super 99 Mall arriving every 10 minutes up and down the Inter American Highway.  For US $2, in one air conditioned hour I arrive at the Albrook Mall bus terminal, which is the hub of public transport. From here I grab a local bus for 25 cents or a taxi for $1.50 and I’m onward to my inner city destination in minutes.  I do the reverse for the return trip, safe and easy.
 
As for the larger domestic travel within the Republic of Panama, here’s an example of our transportation for a trip to Bocas del Toro with my daughter this past Spring.
 
My daughter arrived from NYC at PTY (the main Panama international airport) and took a bus to meet me at Albrook.  (On the weekends and at Rush Hour this is not advised, because there is too much traffic.)
 
Earlier that day, I had purchased two over night bus tickets at the bus terminal there to Bocas del Toro ($50 per person for a round trip), which leaves at 7 PM for a 9 hour trip, stopping at 3 hour intervals at typical rest stops for meals, etc.  (Bring a blanket as the bus is well air-cooled and you will sleep like a charm).
 
We arrived at Almirante for the ferry to Bocas Bastimentos Panama Deserted Beach – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingTown at 6 AM, arriving there for breakfast.  From there we got into the speedboat, which took us to our 3 day holiday at Red Frog Beach.... Gorgeous!
 
On the return trip, we did the reverse.  The key is to be sure to get your round trip tickets in advance.  Upon boarding we requested we be left off at the Coronado Mall, which is where I live.  (The driver lists all such requests, which he announces before drop off.  You can also request a pick up on your way, coming or going, to any bus destination in Panama or to Costa Rica.}
 
We arrived at midnight in Coronado and there was a taxi waiting at Rey, the local supermarket.   I had called in advance, in order to be sure and we got home to Coronado Bay happy and delighted at the convenience and low cost of the trip.  We look forward to many more....
Karen Walter of Local Travel Excursions – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama bus passes – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAs a newbie I strongly believe the best way to get around Panama is by public transportation.  Taxis are also easily available and affordable and usually offer great navigation through the busy city streets.  The biggest advantage of riding in taxis is the ability to see the sights and learn your way around.  And most importantly, you will have far less aggravation overall.  
 
Although the taxis are a great option, my favorite method is the Metro.  On my first trip to Panama I was able to enjoy the opening of the Metro that was met with great fanfare.  Comparing it to what is available in cities like New York, D.C., London etc., it surely holds its own.  Clean, air conditioned, easy to navigate (especially with only one line) and fast, this is by far the best way to go.  A huge advantage to this method of travel is the ability to connect with great people that you meet and gain a true sense of the city.  At times a bit crowded, but always a reliable choice.  The buses are great as well.  The ride above ground really allows for good navigation.  This is always the best way for me to learn my way around any new city. 
 
Outside of Panama City, bus and taxi travel is just as good.  A combination of the two will get you anywhere you need to go.  Buses to all points are frequent, affordable and convenient.  Most drivers are quick to offer assistance even when there is a language barrier. 
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
If you are a first time visitor, the best option, in my opinion, to get around in Panama is to use your hotel taxi services to pick you up from the airport.  After that, follow the advice from your hotel staff, and use their assigned drivers to take you around.  Also every good hotel has tours available with recognized tour operators, as well as all cruise passengers.
 
If you decide to go on your own, there are tourism buses that take you to the most important places where you can get off, in every station and stay as much as you want, and take the next bus to continue your tour.
 
If you are a little more adventurous, you might take any public or collective transportation (buses or taxis), until the metro is finished (early next year).
 
If you take the metro bus, you will need a card (there are several places where you can purchase them).  These buses are new, air conditioned and very comfortable; and it costs less than a buck to go from one place to another, you can even ask for a transfer.  They can take you to Albrook Mall, or other parts of the city.  To go to the "Interior" (or "country") you go to the Grand Terminal (adjacent to Albrook Mall), and take transportation to the town you are visiting.
 
If you decide to take yellow taxis... these are very un-expensive, compared to other countries, as they do not have pre-existing mileage fees.  Going from place to another, depending on distance, they might cost approximately $1.75 for one person, adding $0.50 for additional people.  The longer the distance, the higher the cost.  Every hotel has taxis as well, with references.
 
If you are really adventurous and brave and want to rent a car, just get good directions at the airport...GPS are not the ultimate  option, as the system in Panama is not yet well designed.  At the airport, there is a good expressway (Corredor Sur) that you might like to take to go the city which takes about 18 minutes.  At night it is a little dark and it cost $3.00 OW, with several payment tolls plaza.  Just make sure you follow the instructions, as you might end up at another part of the city very easily.
 
At the airport, in addition to utilizing the drivers that are at all hotels, there are also several options, like licensed taxis, and you can also make arrangements in advance with tour operators that offer this service.  It cost around $28 per person (and up).
 
And, last but not least, if you decide to drive in the city, take your "patience pill", as traffic jams are everywhere, due major mega projects around the city, that will last probably the end of 2014, and learn the major streets that get you around.  The main roads are: Avenida Balboa (or Cinta Costera), Vía España, Transístmica, Ave. Ricardo J. Alfaro, better known as "Tumba Muerto".
 
Use landmarks for easy orientation.  For example: from the Panama Hotel... or the Old Panama Tower... places that everyone know.
 
After you cross the canal over the Bridge of the Americas, or the Centennial bridges, you go to the country, better known as the "interior".
Col Davis Stevenson RET of Condor Tours & Travel, Inc – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I have found that if I am going to be in Panama City for business or just passing through my best option is to have a chauffeured auto. The cost is about equal to the daily rental of a regular auto. By having a chauffer driven auto you never have to spend time looking for a parking place, the driver knows his way around town so you do not have spend time trying to locate your destination. The best part of having a driver if I do any shopping he will stay with the auto insuring that any items purchased are safe. Also, if I meet some friends for lunch or just want lunch the driver will drop me off at the restaurant of my choice and wait for me. Usually in the evenings I use the ever present taxi services which are inexpensive and easy to find.
Judith Tovar of Easy Travel Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The best way to get around in Panama is by taxi or private tranportation until you get to know your way around.  There a a lot of taxis in Panama..but always ask what the price is to where you want to go before you get into the taxi.
 
Once you get to know your way around then you can buy a car.  Also you have to take into consideration that parking is not easy to find in a lot of places..so going by taxi is much easier many times.
 
You also have to remember that driving in Panama City is a bit hectic.
 

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