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Long Airport Layover Visit to the Canal

Chicago, Illinois
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7 posts
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Long Airport Layover Visit to the Canal


My family (2 adults and 2 kids) will arrive in Panama at around 2:30pm with a 7 hours layoff. My question if this is enough time to go through custom, take a taxi to the canal for a quick visit to the museum and snack/lunch before returning to the airport and going through the immigration again. We like to take advantage of the long layover to enjoy a bit of Panama, if possible. How is the traffic and reliability of the taxi to go you in and out of the airport and back? And the exact cost per direction?

Thank you in advance!

Corpus Christi...
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1. Re: Long Airport Layover Visit to the Canal


We just returned from Ecuador and had a 6 1/2 hour layover in Panama on Jan. 9th. We hired Luis Vega, whom we saw mentioned here, and went to the Miraflores Locks and Old Downtown Panama City. We had plenty of time.

Luis met us as we exited Immigration with a sign and drove us around in a nice Honda Odyssey van. He is from Panama City however, he did live in the US for 30 years and his English is perfect and his knowledge of the city / locks was great.

You can reach Luis via email at vegaluis2010@gmail.com

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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2. Re: Long Airport Layover Visit to the Canal

Whether you go with Luis or anyone else, the thing jc failed to mention is that you may be too tight on time to see the visitors' center at Miraflores. The center stops admitting people at 4:30 and closes at 5:00. If you're really, really lucky, you can bust through immigration and customs in 30 minutes. If not, it can take an hour. It all depends on how many flights are arriving at the same time and where you are in the line.

You're also getting out of the airport just as the afternoon traffic begins to pick up in the city. The visitors' center is on the opposite side of the city. Without traffic, you're 35 to 40 minutes away. With rush hour traffic, it can take over an hour.

I don't like being a doomsayer, but you should have a backup plan. Perhaps just a nice dinner in the city with a taxi ride down Cinta Costera and up to the Canal. You can see the ships and mules working at Pedro Miguel. Have the taxi take you over the Centennial Bridge (Puente Centenario) and back. You can see the Gaillard Cut and the locks from there. Then again, you could be lucky and have plenty of time to see the locks and the visitors' center at Miraflores.

A taxi from Tocumen to Miraflores will cost $35. Same to return. From Miraflores to casco Viejo, the taxis are typically charging $10 for what should be less than a $5 ride, except at night.

Panama City, Panama
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3. Re: Long Airport Layover Visit to the Canal

How much did Luis charge for that ?

4. Re: Long Airport Layover Visit to the Canal

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