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4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

Laurel, MD
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10 posts
15 reviews
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4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

Our family will be spending one night in Panama City, Panama for a layover. We plan to go from PTY to a hotel in the city to the Miraflores Visitors Center, and then back between those stops. We have four people and will have about 5 big suitcases and 2 guitars. I've tentatively booked an SUV through Payless for $27, but I'm reading so many reviews that say what a nightmare that can be (extra charges, inefficient service, traffic dangers, parking, etc.). It seems like the taxi prices for one person are $25 to the hotel then about $20 to the Canal Visitors Center (and then double those for coming back). Also, we wouldn't all fit in a standard taxi. Is renting an SUV for one day really that bad? Or, can anyone give us advice for getting to where we need to go on a very limited budget? Also, are there safe lockers in the PTY airport that maybe we can leave some of our luggage overnight?? THANKS in advance for help you can give us! We're leaving in late July!

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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4,732 posts
18 reviews
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1. Re: 4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

You are absolutely right about avoiding a rental car. Additionally, Payless does not have a good reputation in Panama. You can take a number of taxi trips before you match the cost of renting an SUV ovenight.

Taxi fare is NOT per person. There is a charge of $.50 for each additional passenger on top of the zone fare. To go to a hotel in El Cangrejo district the fare will be $30. Same for the return to the airport.

Taxis are easy to get at the airport. Some are 7 passenger minivans. You may have to wait a few minutes for oe to show up, but they will come. They use the same zone system for fares as every other taxi, too.

For reasonable hotels, check out Tuscana Inn, Hotel Milan and Torres de Alba. They are convenient to restaurants and taxis. As for getting to Miraflores, there is no way you should pay $20. You should also avoid getting a taxi in front of your hotel. Instead, go across the street, or go to a corner. Unless it's pouring rain, you'll have taxis stopping for you, wanting to take you wherever. The fare from El Cangrejo to Miraflores should be about $7 with a taxi on the street. Coming back from Miraflores its like getting a taxi in front of your hotel (unless you want to walk to the main road). Don't pay more than $15.

Laurel, MD
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10 posts
15 reviews
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2. Re: 4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

Thank-you SO much for taking the time to write! Trying to figure out what the extra car rental costs are... when I booked on Expedia, it said the base price for the SUV for one day is $22.90, and the taxes and fees are $4.55. What are they not telling me? Also, our hotel is the Country Inn and Suites on Blvd El Dorado Calle 23 1/2B N. Would that still be about $7 to the Miraflores?? Again, THANKS for your help!

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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4,732 posts
18 reviews
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3. Re: 4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

What they don't tell you -- and that goes for all online rental car companies -- is that by the time all the mandatory insurance ($22.50 per calendar day for an SUV), the additional fees and taxes are added in, your rental car rate doubles. In your case, the mandatory insurance alone is $45. An example - renting a Hyundai Tucsan from Dollar, same day out and back, cost me $76.

The Country Inn and Suites hotel you're staying at is in an industrial area near the university. If you don't know Panama's streets really well, and know how to get there and how to drive in crazy traffic, it will be a nightmare of a drive for you. You'll see when the taxi takes you there. Once you're there, the hotel doesn't have any secure parking that I am aware of.

You shouldn't pay more than $7 to go to Miraflores from there. But, the hotel is not in a tourist or shopping area so taxis won't be as easy to get there. They may try to charge you more. If they ask for more, counter offer or wave the taxi off.

Laurel, MD
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10 posts
15 reviews
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4. Re: 4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

GB_Williams -- You've been a HUGE help. I would not have guessed the extra fees were that much. I'll cancel our car reservation. THANK-YOU SO MUCH for your advice!!

Panama City, Panama
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14,311 posts
26 reviews
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5. Re: 4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

Unless you have a really good deal, or can't change it, consider changing the hotel too - that one is just opposite a Do It Center and close to a mall - but not a mall that visitors go to. The streets round there are clogged most of the day.

Laurel, MD
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10 posts
15 reviews
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6. Re: 4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

GB_Williams, our day in Panama went SO well, thanks to your advice! We negotiated a taxi van driver to take us (and ALL our luggage) everywhere we needed to go. We are VERY thankful we didn't attempt to rent a car!! We appreciate you taking the time to help us!

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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4,732 posts
18 reviews
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7. Re: 4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

You are very welcome. I'm glad everything worked out for you. I hope you come back to Panama when you have some time to see more of the country.

8. Re: 4 people & LOTS of luggage: Transportation Advice Please!!

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