Getting there

Air

Tocumen International Airport is 27 km east of the city centre. Taxis and buses run to Panama City. For a lower price, take a shared cab (
compartivo)
, and while you may wait a little longer, the price is much less for two or three people.

Road

Overland passage to Panama from Costa Rica on the Pacific side is at Paso Canoas, where crossing is straightforward, simple and fast. International buses make the journey from Costa Rica to David and on to Panama City stopping briefly for paperwork at the border . A less popular but more entertaining crossing point is Sixaola/Guabito on the Caribbean coast, on the road between Almirante and Chiriquí Grande that links the region to the rest of the country. Passengers and vehicles (car or motorcycle) are given 30 days at the border.

Overland routes to Colombia are possible through the Darién Gap, where the purist has a difficult, but not impossible, challenge. Alternatively it is possible to hop, skip and jump your way along the Caribbean coast taking canoes, but the cost can be considerable.

Sea

The Panama Canal is on the itineraries of many shipping services from Europe and the USA that take passengers, but charges are high.

There are several boats that make the journey from Isla Grande on the Caribbean across to Cartagena, charging US$150-200 for the journey. It is also possible to travel by sea to/from Colombia. A couple of boats travel weekly from Colón to San Andrés Island, Colombia, from where there are connections to Cartagena; the
Johnny Walker
takes 30 hours, but the service is very irregular and travellers have sometimes had to wait over a week in vain. There are (contraband) boats from Coco Solo, Colón, to the Guajira Peninsula, Colombia. The uncomfortable three-day journey is undertaken entirely at your own risk and you may have to wait days for a sailing. You have to bargain for your fare on these boats and accommodation is a little primitive.

Staying closer to the coastline it is possible to cross the border to Colombia on the Caribbean side close to Puerto Obaldía, and on the Pacific coast via Jaqué and possibly La Palma. These routes are not cheap and can take several days.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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