The Diablo Rojos or “Red Devils” have been part of Panama’s culture ever since one of the presidents decided to import old school busses from US into Panama to use as public transportation.  The busses are given to the driver and they are free to do as they please with it.  Most of the drivers completely deck out their bus with crazy paint designs, portraits of Jennifer Lopez, flashing lights, loud exhaust pipes, etc.

Personally, I strongly dislike the Diablo Rojos. I rode a Diablo Rojo one time and it was an extremely uncomfortable experience.  The music was loud, the bus crowded and hot, and I had no idea where I was going (I ended up getting lost and had to take a taxi to my destination). I also walk anywhere I can and often have black smoke from the exhaust blown into my face or jump at the unexpected sound of the blaring horn.

I am happy about the new MetroBus system being introduced in Panama.  The new busses are made by Volvo and are standard white and orange colors.  I am a MetroBus user myself and feel very comfortable using them.  My only complaint right now is the wait time but I hope that will change as more are introduced.  As happy as I am about the old busses being replaced by MetroBus, there is one thing that I am going to miss: Diablo Rojos are part of the culture.  I have to think back to a few years ago during my first visit to Panama.  I was in shock at the busses, but I thought they looked so cool and ridiculous.  I took several photos to show friends back home what our old school busses look like now.  Tourists love to see the Diablo Rojos because it is unlike anything in their original home, so it is a shame to know they will be disappearing forever.

Today, my favorite part of the Diablo Rojos are the colors.  I really like seeing the bright crazy colored designs because I feel like it represents the culture of Panama.  I have been thinking a lot about this and I think the colors are something that could be implemented on the new MetroBus system.  What if just one of the new busses was painted crazy colors in remembrance of the Diablo Rojos?  I am not sure if anyone remembers the special edition bottles that Cerveza Atlas made last year, but that would be the perfect design to use on the bus.  I would love to see just one bus painted with a design like that, it would be beautiful.  All the painting could be professionally done and the bus would be iconic to locals and tourists in Panama.

What do you all think?

Experience Panama


I'm from Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Panama in 2011 to finish a degree in International Business. I enjoyed the hot tropical weather and the lifestyle on offer in Panama City so much that I decided to make it my permanent residence. Follow @JoeyBonura on Twitter and Instagram for more updates on my life in Panama.

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