Transit from Tocumen Airport to Panama City center

Transit from Tocumen Airport to Panama City center

Panama’s Tocumen International is rightly known as the hub of the Americas. It is the home to COPA airlines and as such serves as a transfer hub for flights all over, but it is also the main gate of entry for tourists to the country as well. Getting to and from the airport efficiently means one can enjoy more time in the city or beyond as there is much to see and do here. The airport lies 35km North of the city center.


Options for travel to and from the airport include public bus, rental car facilities on site, shared passenger vans and taxis. Below the descriptions of how to use each will be presented.


Bus: Several public bus routes link Tocumen International Airport and central Panama City. When coming from the city itself almost any bus with the destination Tocumen stops at the airport. The journey time is 60 minutes and the fare is around $1.25. It is only possible to use this bus network on the Metrocard system, not with cash. This is a rechargeable card one can buy and fill all over the city. Unfortunately there is no place in or near the airport that one can actually buy a metrobus card. We called the airport to confirm this, there are only refill machines at the airport. So that means arriving to Panama one is regulated to another means of transit into town and some even pay locals a cash equivalent to swipe the card for their ride.


Once you are in the city you can find a kiosk from which to purchase a  card and can fill it to use around town or for your airport return. There are two major bus routes into the city, one covers the Northern sections called Tumba Muerto-Tocumen  serving stops like: Plaza Edison or el El Dorado and the other Corredor Sur Tocumen covers the Southern sections including the major bus terminal Albrook and serving stops in between like: Balboa Avenue, Multicentro, or Paitilla.


Car Rental: Tocumen Panama International Airport has a wide variety of car rental facilities on site that offer nearly round the clock access and service. The airport road is accessible using either the South Corridor toll road or Avenida Domingo Diaz/Via Tocumen, both of which come directly from Panama City. It takes less than 20 minutes via the toll road, whereas it can take an hour or more using the regular Avenue.


Shared Vans: Several companies operate shared ride services that offer door to door service based on the number of persons taking the van. In groups of four or more the van rate comes to $11 per person, higher if a smaller group takes the van. Be prepared to make stops all around the city at the of those with whom you are sharing the van.


Taxi: Taxis are abundant and usually cost around $31 to get into town. This includes the toll road fee so do not let your driver tell you otherwise. There are taxi stands inside the airport to get a prepaid rate ahead of time.




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    • Reginald Turnbow on 5 May, 2016 at 10:04 pm
    • Reply

    Can anyone tell me the best way to get from Tocuman airport to Airbrook Mall Terminal? I will be getting in at 8:00 PM and would like to take a bus to David? Is taxi best or is there a better cheaper way?

    1. Taxi would be the most efficient way. Into town it costs $25 for a taxi so for Albrook presumably less. They do not sell Metro Bus cards at the airport, so to use the bus you can ask someone if you can pay them a $1.25 to swipe you through with their bus card. Wait for the Tocumen-Corredor Sur bus to arrive. Once you are on the bus you can get dropped off anywhere on Avenida Balboa or take the bus all the way to the Albrook terminal.

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    • Reginald Turnbow on 11 May, 2016 at 5:18 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you very much for the information. I will take a taxi to Albrook Mall. Also, I do you have any advice on getting from Tocumen airport to downtown Panama City. I will be staying at the new Las Americas Golden Tower Hotel. I was thinking about taking a shared Van.

    1. Hi Reginald,

      A shared van can be a good option, the bus we mentioned is the cheapest. Uber also operates and it is an affordable option. We will appreciate if you follow us in Facebook and in Twitter

    • Christian Rayford on 27 August, 2016 at 3:59 pm
    • Reply

    Do you have any links for those cheap shared services?

    1. Hi Christian,

      We do not it is simply what we observed on arrival, many of the companies are on site operations only or you may have to find their webpage with Spanish search results.

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    • Radu on 27 August, 2016 at 10:47 pm
    • Reply

    Hello, where do we find the shared vans at the airport in order to go to the city?
    Will they live with only the 5 of our group or we have to wait for others to fill the number of places they have?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Radu,

      It depends on the driver or the company in terms of what they’re willing to do.

      We will appreciate if you follow us in Facebook and in Twitter

    • Georges on 12 December, 2016 at 6:08 pm
    • Reply

    Hi can i find a chared van at 9 PM (21:00) in Tocumen Airport Thanks

    1. Hello Georges,

      We recommend you go out of arrivals hall and look for the official transit companies available at the airport. We will appreciate if you follow us in Facebook and in Twitter

    • Joe Lai on 4 October, 2017 at 7:51 pm
    • Reply

    where is the specific areas for shared van?

    1. We did not see a marked space, rather the attendants on the ground are visible and the vans themselves are marked at the curbside of arrivals.

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    • Divna on 22 October, 2018 at 5:32 pm
    • Reply

    Hi there!

    I have 11 hours stop over, so do you think it is worth it to go to the city from the airport for this much time?


    1. Certainly, 11 hours is a long time and you could easily enjoy 8-6 while leaving 4 to go and come from the airport.

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