waiting for taxi

How To Get From Tocumen Airport To Panama City

The Tocumen International Airport is the main airport in Panama, and you most likely will be flying into this one. It is located about 20 km from the center Panama City, and there are a few options available for easily getting to the city, taking approximately 25 minutes.

Here are five easy ways to get from the Tocumen airport to your hotel in Panama City…

Taxi ($30)

The most traditional way people get from the airport to Panama City is by taxi, and this costs $30 for 1-2 people and a bit more for 3-4. After you get your luggage off the baggage claim and exit the doors to the pickup area, there will be a few guys yelling if you need a taxi. Don’t bother with these guys because all they will do is carry your bags 5 feet over to the taxi pickup area and then rudely ask for a tip. Walk to the taxi stand located outside yourself to grab a cab for $30 to a destination within Panama City (other rates can be found here). Tipping the taxi drivers at the end of your ride is also not necessary.

Taxi Hack ($10-$15)

You can save at least half the cost of the official taxi rate by simply walking to the main road and hailing a cab off the street from there. It’s a little confusing how to get to the main road from the airport as a pedestrian, but you can follow the steps I have listed in this article. This “taxi hack” will require some bargaining power and you can expect to pay $10-$15 depending on how good your Spanish and negotiating skills are.

Uber & other apps ($25)

Using Uber and other transportation apps is a safe, simple, and affordable way to get from the airport to Panama City. The only downside to this is that you will need to have a data connection or try to use the airport’s spotty wifi to be able to use the apps.

Uber: $25 plus you can save $10 on your first ride with promo code UBERPTYLIFE.

Tu Chofer: $25 plus you can save $10 on your first ride with promo code PTYLIFE10. You can also schedule the pickup in advance through the app to have the driver waiting at the airport for you.

Cabify: $25 plus you can save $10 on your first ride with promo code JOEYB1. This app also allows you to schedule a pickup in advance.

Tllevo: $30 and allows you to make reservations in advance through the app.

Pineapple Shuttle ($9)

For just $9 / person, Pineapple Shuttle runs three times, providing transport between the airport and many of the hostels in Panama City. You don’t have actually to be staying at one the hostels, but these are the pickup / drop off points so check out this list to see which hostel is closest to your hotel or hostel.

Bus ($1.25)

If you’re feeling adventurous, want to save a ton of money, and have the extra time then taking the bus into the city is pretty simple. You can follow my step-by-step guide, complete with pictures, on how to do that here. You should only take the bus if you have a small carry-on or backpack because it can get crowded and you want to be courteous of other passengers.

 



There are 5 comments

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  1. Zara

    Hi Joey, I love your comprehensive guide to Panama. One question though – can one get by without speaking Spanish? I ask because we’re planning a trip there in September for approx. 2 weeks so needed to know. 🙂 Thanks….

    • Joey Bonura

      Hi Zara, Most of the tourists that come do not speak Spanish and they get by ok. Just be prepared to use lots of hand signals!

  2. Josh Hemminger

    Great article! Regarding taking a bus from the airport….is it now possible to buy a fare card at the airport? The nicer buses don't take cash so unless another passenger is willing to sell you a swipe of his/her fare card you're screwed.

  3. Darryl Rossignol

    If you want to take an Uber you'll most likely need to speak Spanish. This is because the airport isn't allowing Ubers. So if you request one, they'll call you to arrange a pick up point that won't get them into trouble.


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