METRO BUS (City Buses)
The public buses in Panama City are called METRO BUS and are easy to use. They run via the main avenues in the city and can get you pretty much everywhere. They all can be taken in the bus stops marked with the METRO BUS logo or in the bus terminal in Albrook.
In order to use them you need to get a METRO BUS card that cost USD 2 and you will need to top it up with credit. The bus fare is USD 0.40 for 1 ride and can only be paid with the card (no cash accepted).
All buses of this type have air conditioned and comfortable seats.
The METRO BUS main routes are the following:
- TUMBA MUERTO
- VIA ESPAÑA
- CORREDOR NORTE ( North highway)
- CORREDOR SUR (South highway)
They are several feeder buses running from other locations of the city but they will all connect with one of above main routes.
Note that the buses don’t have an official schedule, so you basically go to a stop and wait until a bus shows up.
DIABLOS ROJOS (City Buses)
The DIABLOS ROJOS (Spanish for Red Devils) were the former standard of buses in Panama. There are still some of these buses running in the same routes as METRO BUS for a cheaper fare and also covering some additional routes where the METRO BUS are not yet deployed. They only cost USD 0.25 (cash) but with no Air Con and normally very crowded. However, travelers find these buses amusing for their very particular decoration.
DIABLOS ROJOS will eventually disappear in Panama, so if you happen to catch them, don’t miss out the opportunity for a picture and even maybe a ride.
Cross Country Buses
You can also take coach buses if you need to go to another province in the country. The fares are according to the distance you are going to travel.
These buses are taken in the bus terminal in Albrook if you are in Panama City or in the main bus terminal of each province. The bus terminals are widely known all over the country, so you should not have any problem to find them.
Taxis are quite particular in Panama. They run with no meter and they will only take you if they want to, no joke. They can even stop to several passengers if they please and the only way to stop them from doing that is if you agree to pay for the fare they would be missing. You can recognize them because they are all painted in yellow.
It is highly recommended to negotiate the fares before jumping in if you don’t want to get rip off. Taxi drivers always try to overcharge tourists. The minimum fare is USD 1.50 but rides within the city are normally of USD 2.50 to USD 5.
Hotels sometimes offer their own taxi services at more expensive prices but at least you will know they are reliable.
In addition, they might be some pirate taxis that will pick up people in specific places and with specific routes. This practice is illegal, so we strongly suggest not taking any of these taxis.