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Taxis for dummies.

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San Francisco...
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Taxis for dummies.

I am aware that taxis do not have meters in Panama CIty. We are staying at the Hotel Milan and will be using taxis to get to some sights, how much would a taxi cost to these places:-

Miraflores visitors centre

Panama Viejo

Casco Viejo

Another two questions:-

Is it easy to get a taxi from the MIraflores Visitors Centre? We plan on being dropped off there and don't know how long we will spend there watching the ships transit the canal and maybe having lunch or a snack. I am worried that we may not easily be able to get a taxi from here.

Our flight from PTY airport departs early on a Sunday, is it easy to get a taxi from the HOtel Milan for the airport or should I prebook a transfer? What would a taxi cost on SUnday to the airport?

Any tips and dos and don'ts on using taxis will be appreciated. Thanks.

Edited: 07 November 2012, 18:54
Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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1. Re: Taxis for dummies.

Going to Miraflores Visitors Center: if you get a taxi in front of your hotel, about $15. If you walk down the street a little ways and ask a taxi that stops for you, about $7. Getting a return taxi from the center is easy, especially early afternoon. But, it will cost you between $10 - $15 for the return trip.

Hotel Milan to Panama Viejo - $5 (getting a taxi on the street). You might want to work out a "package" with the driver beforehand. That would include A) taking you to Panama Viejo. B) picking you up after 45 minutes and taking you to the nearby museum. C) picking up after 30 minutes and returning you to your hotel. The package price should be between $11 and $15.

Casco Viejo - Hotel Milan - during daylight hours prior to rush hour, $4 each way (getting a taxi off the street). Rush hour and night the return will be $5 to $10.

There is a set fare from El Cangrejo to Tocumen, and it doesn't really matter when you're going because the biggest differential is $1. Including tolls and a tip for your baggage, you should pay $30. I usually either make arrangements with a driver (that I like) the night prior to leaving, or make arrangements through the hotel desk.

Other tips - at night, never get into a taxi that has more people than the driver.

Drivers may sometimes want to pick up other passengers. You can protest and tell the driver "no." (It helps to speak Spanish.)

Never get into a cab without first determining the fare. If the driver quotes you an unreasonable fare, either close the door and go to the next taxi or try to negotiate with the driver. (If this happens outside a club where multiple drivers are hanging out, you won't be able negotiate because it would be "un-macho" for a driver to give into a gringo in front of his buddies. So, walk a block and get a lone cab.)

Taxi drivers are not tipped, unless they really go out of their way to be helpful or they are handling luggage. Even then, never tip more than loose change. I will tip drivers change when they charge me the correct (or nearly correct) fare.

When it's raining, the fares go up -- if you can find a taxi.

Oakland, California
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2. Re: Taxis for dummies.

Those are all good tips. The general rule of thumb is, if there are a bunch of drivers standing around, always ask "cuanto" because they will always try to cheat you. Then, after they refuse to drop their ridiculously high quote more than a dollar or two, you either suck it up and overpay or go somewhere else. If you get a taxi from an official queue (e.g., Multiplaza), they will generally charge you the official fare and you don't need to confirm in advance. If you flag one down on the street, the odds are decent they will charge you the correct fare, but this is not always true.

The problem is, sometimes "cuanto" is an invitation for the driver to overcharge on the theory you obviously don't know what the official fare is, otherwise you wouldn't be asking. It's really an endless game, this trying not to get screwed by the PC taxi drivers.

I believe the official fare to and from Tocumen is $28 (the hotel taxis charge a couple of dollars more, generally for the privilege of riding in an uncomfortable minivan).

Buena suerte!

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
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for Panama City
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3. Re: Taxis for dummies.

Would never take the taxi waiting in front of any of the malls - they will generaly overcharge, sometimes double, you are paying a convience fee basically, now if it is raining and you have bags probably worth paying it.

As gb points out when it is raining just finding an available cab is a a chore, at that point just getting out of the rain is priority one.

As pointed out always ask the fare before getting in, if it seems reasonable get in, i would not worry too much about being overcharged by a dollar or 2, epecially if you are just visiting.

More of an issue if you live in PC, i used to get tired of the nonsense, but then i lived there and had to rake a taxi every day.

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4. Re: Taxis for dummies.

I have stayed at Hotel Milan a couple of times and there is usually a taxi available on site...we just had him for that afternoon to the canal and then arranged a time for the next morning to be available to take us to the airport. BTW: he just waited as long as we wanted at the canal.

Oakland, California
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5. Re: Taxis for dummies.

I've had okay experiences at Multiplaza Pacific where there's an official taxi queue and posted fares. I totally agree though that it's a mistake to grab a taxi from a place like Multicentro, where you just have a bunch of drivers hanging out in front waiting to overcharge tourists. I don't mind overpaying by a dollar or two, but they've always quoted me something like eight or ten dollars for a ride that should cost maybe three or four.

Edited: 08 November 2012, 21:25
6. Re: Taxis for dummies.

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Edited: 26 December 2012, 02:05
7. Re: Taxis for dummies.

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