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17 days in Panama

bklybonkerz
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17 days in Panama

So I am spending 17 days in Panama. Not including the rental car, hotels/hostels and flight, how much do you think I would need to carry me the full 17 days? I plan on doing white water rafting and scuba diving....maybe mountain climbing. I will be hitting PC, Boquete and Boca Del Toro. I am looking for the average travelers pricing. I am not going to crazy restaurants or anything.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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1. Re: 17 days in Panama

You can usually get by on $20 - $40 per day for food, depending on how extravagant you plan to eat. Panamanian restaurants are very inexpensive. In Bocas and in the city, the prices tend to be higher for more upscale restaurants.

At Bocas Water Sports a two-tank dive will cost you $65 and that include any and all gear you may need. If you're doing multiple dives, the rate drops to $55. At Portobelo, Panama Divers and Scubapanama will charge you $85 for a two-tank dive. Plus, they'll charge you for any rental gear and they'll charge you $10 per tank "rental" fee and make you split the cost of the DM with everyone on the boat. If you're the only one on the boat, add $45 to your two-tank dive trip. On top of that, the diving at Portobelo is not that great, unless you're there when the seas are calm (from September to mid-November).

Getting around costs in Bocas depend on where you're going. Taxis around town will be $1 per passenger. (If you're staying in town, don't let the taxi wranglers at the airport con you into paying any more than that.) If you're going to one of the beaches out of town, it's anywhere from $5 to $15. You can take water taxis to the other islands. The cost varies depending on where you're going. I'm not up to date on water taxi rates, but as I remember, going to Carrenaro is a couple of bucks and Bastimentos is about $8.

Taxis in Panama City also charge by the zone. Some of the taxis and most hotel taxi wranglers try to gouge gringos with outrageous fares. To and from the airport and El Cangrejo (central, downtown district) it's $30. Within a zone, $1.25. From one zone to another, $1.60. Cangrejo to Casco Viejo, $4. To Miraflores, $7. From Miraflores, $10. These are prices if you get a taxi on the street, away from a hotel, a mall or a popular tourist restaurant. If it's raining and you can actually get a taxi, all fares double -- at least.

Be sure to get the fare price before you get in the cab.

You mentioned you're getting a rental car. Don't attempt to drive yourself around Panama City. Use taxis and pick up the rental on your way out of town. Also, whatever your quoted rate is on-line, double it for the actual charges.

bklybonkerz
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2. Re: 17 days in Panama

Gb Williams, You're the man. Thank you. I am not planning on renting my car until I a day before I leave the city. I heard that it is mayhem. What do you mean whatever the rate is, double it when it comes to the rental car? I am using the insurance that is being provided by the credit card company, not the insurance that the rental car tries to sell.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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3. Re: 17 days in Panama

Even though you have full coverage through your credit card insurance, there is a mandatory liability insurance charge of $18 or $22 per day (depending on the car) that you can't get out of. On top of that, there are additional fees and taxes that don't show up in the on-line quote. That's why as a general rule of thumb for budgeting, double whatever quote you got.

bklybonkerz
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4. Re: 17 days in Panama

Thank you very much for your feedback! I posted in another forum, a destination question that no body got back to me on. Maybe you can help me. When driving from PC to David, do you recommend an are worth stopping at overnight so I could break up the drive?

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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5. Re: 17 days in Panama

You can drive PC to David in one day. It's long, but it's doable. If you do want to stop, I'd recommend place I've not been to yet, but my Panamanian friends rave about it -- Santa Fe. It's about half way, in the mountains above Santiago. A small town in the mountains that people say is like El Valle was 20 years ago.

Central America
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6. Re: 17 days in Panama

Re driving in Panama. PC is a zoo avoid driving as much there as you can, but the rest of Panama is easy. We've been traveling in Panana since March by boat and Jeep and have driven a lot of the country.

The drive between PC and David is doable in a day, but its a full day. Driving in David is easy...mostly a grid unlike PCs randomness and bad traffic.

Motor cycle cops w radar guns are common on the Pan Am Hwy...just do the speed limit.

Drive over the mountains between David and Bocas is beautiful...as is the area around Boquette (sp).

bklybonkerz
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7. Re: 17 days in Panama

So funny that I am reading this post directly after it took me 2 hours of getting back from the airport from picking up my car. The streets of Panama City truly do not have rhyme or reason. But thanks for the much needed confidence booster for the rest of the country.

Panama City, Panama
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8. Re: 17 days in Panama

You got the car at Tocumen ? Why ?

Did you return via the Corredor Sur or along the old highway ?

bklybonkerz
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9. Re: 17 days in Panama

So funny that I am reading this post directly after it took me 2 hours of getting back from the airport from picking up my car. The streets of Panama City truly do not have rhyme or reason. But thanks for the much needed confidence booster for the rest of the country.

Panama City, Panama
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10. Re: 17 days in Panama

I think there's an echo in here.