How to move in Panama
When it comes to moving around the city in Panama, you have a couple of options:
More commonly known as just “metrobus”, these is the most popular way of moving around the city when you don´t have a car, because of how economic and easy to use they are.
How to use the Metrobus?
The first thing you need to do in order to use the metrobus is getting a card, since metrobuses don’t take cash. Cards cost B/.2.00 and you can get them at the”Metrobus Customer Service Centers” that are located in some supermarkets, malls or the Bus Terminal in Albrook Mall, although we recommend getting you first one a the Bus Terminal, since is more likely that you’ll find them there.
Once you have one, you have charge them with money, you can do this at the Customer Service Centers or also at the “charging machines”. Like this one:
Most rides around the city are B/.0.25 cents, so add as much as you think you’ll need.
Now it’s time to ride the bus!
- Look for bus stops on the major streets or avenues. If you are at the Bus Terminal look for the buses of your route.
- In Panama buses don’t have numbers, but the route is on the front window. You’ll need to know your streets a little to get around. If you’re not near a bus stop and you see the bus you want coming, you can wave it down. The driver is likely to stop for you.
- For getting to the UTP, usually, you can take any bus that says “Albrook – Tumba Muerto”, however this can vary depending on where you are. We recommend going to google maps, where you can enter your current location and your destination, and it will tell you which buses you can take to get there. This site will be helpful for moving around the city in general!
- When you get on the bus, there is a card reader behind the driver’s right shoulder. Just hold your Metro Card up (put the little square on the back of your card toward the machine). The machine will beep, and the cost of the ride and your remaining balance will flash on the screen. You can use the same card for more than one passenger. Push your way through the turnstile and find a seat.
- To get off the bus, push one of the red buttons on the poles. If you realize that the bus is about to turn, for example on to one of the freeways, and you should have gotten off at the last stop, smile at the driver and indicate your error and he’ll likely let you off before he goes too far.}
- If you want to transfer to another bus: when you exit, flash your card at the card reader at the back turnstile, and you’ll have 40 minutes to take another bus without charge.
Subway or Metro
The “Metro” is Panama’s Subway, and at the moment only has one route, however the second one is already under construction and a third one is being planned.
Similar to the Metrobus, the subway works with the use of cards and the fee is B/. 0.35. Since there’s only one line, the subway won’t be able to take you directly to the UTP. However, you can take the subway and get down at a nearest station from the UTP (San Miguelito’s Station) and then take a metrobus to the university.
Taxi Cabs or Uber
This options can be a bit more expensive than the other two but they are still helpful.
Getting a taxi cab in Panama is fairly easy. Just go out to the street and wave at them to stop. Tell them were you want to go and that’s it!
Keep in mind that, unlike other countries, taxis in Panama do not have a meter to determine the fee. Instead it is up to the driver’s judgement and how far you want to go. Usually a taxi will charge from 2 – 3 dollars.
You might already be familiar with Uber if you have them in your country. If not this is how it works.:
- First you have to donwload the app in your smartphone, then create an account and enter where you want to go. The app, knowing you location via GPS, will determine how much the trip will cost and they’ll send a cab your way.