How I Got Around While Studying in Panama
Going somewhere new and not knowing how to get from Point A to Point B, can be intimidating. It was for me, but I figured it out eventually, and I thought I would share my experience.
Uber became my close friend. Uber in Panama is significantly lower than Uber anywhere else. The most I spent on an Uber was $6, and that was because it was during the surge. On average, I spend $3 on Uber whenever I travel here in Panama.
The train is my second most used form of transportation. A ride cost $0.35. It is a fairly easy process. You have to purchase a Metro card for $2 and then load at least $1 on to it in order to start traveling on the train or bus. You can do this, as well as reload at any Metro station.
Tip: Use small bills when loading money onto your card because the machine does not give change. Easiest shopping mall to reach via train is Albrook. Albrook is the largest mall in Panama. The Santo Tomás metro station is near the university and is only three stops away from Albrook.
Albrook station is also home to buses that will give you transportation to town further outside of Panama City. I took one of the
buses to Colon and it cost about $3 one-way. There are a lot of buses, so if you are confused, just find someone, share your destination, and they will direct you to the bus. Cash only!
Taxi! In Panama, taxis and Ubers are in an intensive competition. Sometimes you can find a taxi that is cheaper than the Uber. If you do not, most of the time, the Taxi will lower their price to match Uber. Taxis do have an advantage over Uber; They are always present. No matter where you are in Panama, you will find a taxi. I should say, they will find you. Honking here in Panama is common, so do not be alarmed. Taxi drivers are always honking at pedestrians looking to see if they need transportation.
Buses in Panama run frequently and there are numerous bus stops. I recommend using Google maps to navigate where to catch the bus and where to get off. To get on the bus, you need a Metro card, as I mentioned above. Bus rides are slightly cheaper than the train.
Please consider traffic when using any of these forms of transportation. There is a morning and afternoon rush hour just like anywhere else. When you are planning to go somewhere, if you know it will be during the 5:30-6:30 traffic hours, plan accordingly.
Getting around while studying aboard was easy for me. I never felt lost, and I was always comfortable enough to ask for directions when needed.
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