16 thoughts on “Panama City Taxi Rates

  1. Hi Don:

    I’ve been trying to understand the new tariffs, but they are so confusing. They don’t clearly specify the boundaries of the zones. Therefore, you never know exactly where you are when you take a taxi or when when he drops you off.

    I don’t usually take a taxi, but my wife does. It’s good to have the chart/tariffs just in case the charges are way off.

    Thanks a lot,


  2. we were in the city the day the tariffs changed. Two different taxis pulled over to get the new rates, then spent the rest of the ride reading the map and chart, instead of watching the road. That certainly made life interesting.

  3. The taxie rates may have increased for panama city, but the taxies will still charge you what they think you will pay for your trip.
    Be sure to ask the driver how much from point A to B, or you will most likely be charged what ever the driver thinks it”s worth to him. do not get in the cab until the price is determined!! most taxies are about $2 during the off peak hours and $5 during the rush hours, a trip to the international airport is about $25 , be sure you ask before you get in, if it’s too much more, get another taxie!!

  4. Another thing about taxis is that they will charge more if you get them at a hotel than if you walk past those at the hotel and take one off the street.

  5. “Another thing about taxis is that they will be more if you get them at a hotel than if you walk past those at the hotel and take one off the street.”

    Boy, you ain’t kiddin’!

    Debbie and I use cabs whenever we have to get somewhere in the “Gridlock Zone” rather than drive ourselves and we normally “overpay” since these guys aren’t exactly getting rich.

    We had a late afternoon appointment near the PanaFoto on Calle Cinquenta and rather than walk and arrive sweating, we decided to walk over to Ave Balboa and catch a cab from in front of MultiCentro Mall where they always hang out.

    Having previously experienced the predatory habits of mall cabs, I asked first… $6 for a ride of less than 10 minutes.

    We laughed in his face and flagged down a cab from passing traffic. $2 for the same ride.

    We waved and grinned at the $6 cabbie as we pulled away..

  6. Debby and I got a cab from a hotel in Amador to Albrook Mall. The hotel cabs wanted $8, but we had called for a specific cab to get us. He was right on time, and was a good conversationalist to boot. He charged us $4 for the same ride. I gave him a $10.

    We had set a predetermined pick-up time and location at the mall, and after getting $10 the first time, guess who was waiting for us when we came out of the mall.

    I paid another $10 when he got us back to Amador, and was HAPPY to have paid $20 for $8 ($16 if I had paid hotel prices) worth of rides to avoid driving in Panama. HAPPY, I say.

  7. You can do that here because $20 to you is next to nothing. Try the same in the US or Europe. It would easily be a $200 thing. Would you still do it?

    The underlying problem is that you do more harm than good by acting this way. People everywhere in the world learn from experiences. The end result you can see at the Multiplaza Mall where the local can hardly get a taxi for a regular fare because these guys waiting there expect foreigners to overpay and treat locals like sh** – seen it far too often. Same at Multicentro. They don’t want to provide a decent service anymore. They prefer to wait the whole day for two overpaying foreigners than to drive several passengers to different parts of the city.

    I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t your intention. You simply figured that for you it’s more convenient that way. Still you have contributed to the juega vivo culture, which will harm everybody else later one.

  8. FWIW, when I said that we customarily “overpay”, I meant by a buck, not a sawbuck….

    $10 is excessive except under very, very rare circumstances.

  9. I tend to agree with Stephan on this point. The same goes for tipping at restaurants. Typical tipping for Panamanians in a restaurant is 10%, That is low by US standards, but to over tip in Panama will only have a negative effect.

    When in Rome (Panama in this case), do as the Romans (Panamanians in this case) do.

  10. I generaly do as the “Panamanians” do, but when I find great service in a restaurant, I am sure to leave a tip. I’m so spoiled here in the States, that I’m near complaining about the service in Panama.

    No drinks until the food comes out? Come on, I’m thirsty!

  11. I had a feisty taxi driver demand an extra quarter due to this new tariff routine — what gives!?!?! My ride from Punta Pacifica to El Dorado cost $1.75 and that was DEFINITELY a $1.50 ride. This is just going overboard if you ask me!
    – Matt

  12. Hi.
    Taxis, what can I tell you. It is a good thing ask for the tariff first. The new tariff it is confusing and if you have the time to argue with the driver then negotiate after you arrive. If you speaks another language than spanish or have accent you always going to pay extra, until you learn.
    Giving a tip for the driver to wait for you it is not a bad thing, If you ask he will charge extra.
    The public transportation in Panamá is like everything public in Panamá, you have to adapt to the system.
    And may be you do not have the problem that is to try take a taxi to a place they don’t want to. It is far more frustrating than the extra charge.

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