Public Transportation on your way to Boquete

By Eliecer Andres Lay

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Now that you have decided that your next destination will be Boquete, Panama, you might wonder…How do I get to Boquete? Do they have public transportation system? Is the public transportation expensive? Can I rent a car? For the first time traveler to Panama, it may seem overwhelming and somewhat scary to not know what to expect and especially what options are available that may suit your particular needs. Not to worry!  Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast is here to help!

As if you need any more convincing to come to Boquete! In case if you are on the fence, let me tell you a little bit about Boquete. Boquete is a very cozy mountain village located in the province of Chiriqui and close to the border of Panama-Costa Rica. Boquete offers a variety of activities anywhere from hiking, horseback riding to zip line, white water rafting, coffee tours, and more. What make most of the expats and visitors love about coming to Boquete is the perfect weather which is always around 18°C- 22°C (65°F – 72°F). Boquete has a Volcano (Volcan Baru) and is the tallest mountain in Panama. Volcan Baru is 3,474 m above sea level. Volcan Baru is where the main river in Boquete begins and at the top has one of the most beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Boquete is also hosts the Flower Festival in January, Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival in February and all of the Panamanian Holidays. The “High” season runs from November through April.

How would I get to Panama?

Whether you are located in the United States, Canada, or Europe or anywhere else in the world, you would most travel by plane. Many airlines come to Central America go through Tocumen International Airport in Panama City. One Panamanian airline Copa Airlines has 326 daily scheduled flights to 69 destinations in 30 countries in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. This makes getting to Panama fairly easy.

Some of you may decide to come by means of cruise ships which travel through the Panama Canal and you will disembark in City of Colon. Royal Caribbean’s and Carnival Cruises are just two top ranked cruises to frequent Panama.

How about taking a plane to Boquete?

After experiencing the wonders offered by Panama City, then it is time to relax in Boquete. Once you are ready to come to Boquete there are different ways you can get to the City of David (half hour drive from Boquete) from Panama City. One of the options people have is to take a plane through Air Panama from Albrook Airport located in Albrook area of Panama City to Enrique Malek Airport in David. You can get to the airport by using a taxi as the highway infrastructure in Panama City is quite complex. There are several English speaking taxi drivers in Panama City and several different vehicles from a car to vans that can accommodate larger groups. Casa de Montaña can assist you in finding the right taxi service for you and your party’s needs. The price of a flight is usually around a hundred and twenty five dollars each way, depending on the season. There is a weight restriction of thirty pounds and the cost for each extra pound is two percent of the published rate. We can also arrange for a taxi or a van pick-up from the David Airport once you arrive in the province of Chiriqui.

The buses are another option

Some people prefer to take a bus to the City of David because it is less expensive than a plane and one gets to see the countryside. This is especially an appealing option for the first time tourist to Panama. The buses are double-deckers, fairly new, and air conditioned. You can purchase a bus ticket and take a bus to the City of David from the Terminal of Albrook which is right across from Albrook Mall. At this time you cannot purchase the ticket in advance. Just show up about an hour before the bust you want to take and stand in line to purchase your bus ticket. You have to be patient since the ticket counter where you can purchase Panama City to David ticket tends to be the busiest one any time of the day! The buses run every hour from 8:00am to 9:00 pm and there is a midnight express us as well. The bus from Panama City takes about 7 hours to get to the City of David and includes a stop in the City of Santiago which is half way so people can eat something and stretch their legs. Once you get to the terminal in the City of David you will be able to see all different buses that are scheduled to go to different parts of the province. The one you should take will look like an old yellow high school bus from the US and in the front and the back of the bus it will say Boquete. The price is $1.75 to ride this bus from David to the town of Boquete and it will take around 40 minutes to get to the town of Boquete. There is also the option of taking taxi from the David bus terminal. The price of a taxi is around $35 door-to-door. Just let the taxi driver know (in your best Spanish possible!) that you would like to be driven to “Casa de Montaña”, just past downtown Boquete and six house up from “Café Ruiz”. Another option is for you to call us ahead of time and we can arrange for a taxi or van service to van service to come and pick you up from the David Bus Terminal or from the David Airport if you choose to travel by Air Panama.

Check out the bus schedule on the following links: http://www.boqueteguide.com/?page_id=5243

A note about taxis

Taxis services through-out Panama can vary in cost, luxury, and safety. It is important to know in advance your options and to take taxis that are referred by people you know or by Casa de Montaña. Rate negotiation with a taxi driver is quite possible. Just make sure that you negotiate the rate up front prior to getting in the taxi!

A road trip to Boquete – renting a car!

There is always the option of renting a vehicle. Vehicle rental cost is fairly low but it is important to note that insurance on the vehicle rentals may be equivalent to the cost of the vehicle rental itself! Just be aware of that. There are many different car rental companies that have locations in all airports as well as throughout Panama City as well as Coronado. You may want to check your own auto coverage policy to see if you have an international rental coverage or talk with a representative. Despite the fact that you may have international auto coverage, the clerk at the car rental may still insist that you need to purchase their insurance. You may need to ask about all this prior to reserving a car or to firmly decline insurance coverage if you happen to just walk up to the counter and are considering renting a vehicle. The town of Boquete also has three car rental companies: Budget Car Rental, Thrifty Car rental, and Value Motor Boquete. Some of our guests prefer to get to Boquete by plane or bus and then rent a car here while they are in town. This is a better option if you don’t want to drive in the crazy Panama City traffic or take a long car ride to Boquete. Car rental companies are also located at the David airport in case you fly into David Airport and want to rent a vehicle.

Spectacular Subway system in Panama City

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Panama’s public transportation system is expanding and has been growing for the past few years. City Metro buses replaced old uniquely painted buses called “Diablo Rojo”. Recently, Panama has added a brand new subway system which is the best in Latin America and is quite inexpensive to use. The expansion of the subway is continuing. The plans are underway to keeping building new routes. The transit system will get you around Panama City quickly.

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Here is the link to the subway schedule and fees: http://www.elmetrodepanama.com/

It may seem complicated at first, getting to Boquete is fairly easy. We are located a 15-20 minutes walk from downtown so you don’t really need to rent a car if you don’t want to. The taxis to and from downtown only cost $1 or $2 and are easily available. A rental car is a good option if you are excited about exploring the area and maybe take a road trip to Boca Chica, Las Lajas, Volcan, or Cerro Punta. There are many options to choose from. Whether you are traveling for the first time or you’ve been to Central America before, we at Casa de Montaña are here to help you plan your itinerary!

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