Panama Travel Guide

Getting Here and Around

Air Travel: Copa, a United partner, is Panama's flagship carrier. It operates flights from Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK, Orlando, Toronto, and Washington Dulles. Copa also flies to many Central and South American cities. You can fly to Panama from Houston and Newark on United, from Atlanta on Delta, from Miami Dallas, New York, and Newark on American, and from Fort Lauderdale on Spirit.

Air Panama is Panama's domestic carrier and serves destinations all over the country, including Guna Yala, Bocas del Toro, David, and the Darién. Domestic flights usually cost $100 to $200 round-trip; you can buy tickets directly from the airline or through a travel agent. Air Panama offers charter flights as well, although these tend to be quite pricey.

Rental Cars: Driving is a great way to see Panama. The Panamerican Highway takes you to or near most towns in the country, and with a car you can also visit small villages and explore remote areas more easily. Most secondary roads are well signposted and in reasonable condition.

Compact cars like a Kia Pinto, Ford Fiesta, VW Fox, or Toyota Yaris start at around $35 a day; for $40-$50 you can rent a Mitsubishi Lancer, a VW Golf, or a Polo. Four-wheel-drive pickups start at $70 a day. International agencies sometimes have cheaper per-day rates, but locals undercut them on longer rentals. Stick shift is the norm in Panama, so check with the rental agency if you only drive an automatic.

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