Just like other countries in Central America the topography of Panamá makes transport more complex. Traveling over mountain ranges takes time but shouldn’t take away from the experience of seeing these picturesque landscapes and enjoying the activities that come with it. Panama has a good transport network that services the main cities and towns of the country. Outside of the popular routes it’s possible to get to and from other popular tourist spots by connecting buses. The alternative to public transport is the door-to-door shuttle services, ideal for travelers short on time and in desperate need to take the stress out of transport.

Girl walking the streets of Casco Viejo in Panama City

Streets of Casco Viejo in Panama City.

Bus from Bocas del Toro to Panama City

Getting from the archipelago of Bocas del Toro to Panamá City can be done by connecting two buses and taking a water taxi back to the mainland – Almirante. Once back in Almirante catch a taxi to the bus station and get on the bus heading to David. The bus is more a minivan and it comes every 30 minutes. The journey to David takes between 3.5 – 4.5 hours and the views are spectacular as your wind up and down the mountain ranges. Once in David purchase a ticket to Panamá City – depending on the time of travel and whether it is an express service, the journey takes between 6 – 8 hours. It is possible to do this on an express overnight bus which takes 6 hours. The bus arrives into Albrook Bus Terminal in Panamá City. Many local buses pass through this terminal and it’s possible to continue to your accommodation by local bus. The alternative is to use Uber or a taxi. Uber is readily used and is much more economically than using a taxi.

Couple running into the water in Bocas del Toro

A couple walks into the ocean in Bocas del Toro.

Traveling from Bocas del Toro to Pedasi or Playa Venao

Many travelers break up travel from Bocas del Toro to Panamá City by stopping off in Boquete or heading to the Pacific Coast towns of Pedasi or Playa Venao. The journey from the islands in the north to the beaches in the south is a great way to see all that Panama has to offer. The trip often is broken up into 2 days of travel as it requires 5 – 6 buses. Here’s the downlow on how it’s done;

  • Firstly get the water taxi from Bocas Del Toro to Almirante and a taxi to the bus terminal.
  • The bus to David will come through town every 30 minutes and the journey will take 3.5 – 4.5 hours to reach David.
  • From the terminal in David cross the road at the bus terminal and find the bus to Santiago. This bus takes 3 hours and runs fairly frequently.
  • In the Santiago Bus Terminal locate the bus to Chitre which takes 1.5 hours.
  • Once in Chitre catch the bus to Las Tablas, which comes very frequent and takes 1 hour.
  • If you arrive in Las Tablas before 1:30pm (which is not possible if starting the journey in Bocas on the same day) there is a direct bus to Playa Venao. The bus has the final destination of Canas but goes past Playa Venao and you can be asked to be dropped off.
  • The alternative is to catch the bus to Pedasi which leaves Las Tablas every 30 minutes and runs until 7pm. The bus is located outside the Praga supermarket.
  • Once in Pedasi there are buses to Canas which go past Playa Venao. Again the last bus leaves at 2:30pm so not possible if starting the journey in Bocas on the same day. Selina Pedasi offer a $5 shuttle to Playa Venao which takes 30 minutes and leaves at 9am, 12pm and 6pm. It is suggested to stay in Pedasi and continue the journey the next day to Playa Venao.

The alternative from the public transfer option is an easy door-to-door shuttle from Bocas del toro to either Pedasi or Playa Venao. The journey takes 10 hours.

Selina Playa Venao Surf Lifestyle

Surf in Playa Venao.

Traveling from Pedasi or Playa Venao to Panamá City

To transit from Pedasi and Playa Venao to Panamá City you first need to make your way to Las Tablas. There are hourly buses leaving Pedasi for Las Tablas and one bus per day leaving Playa Venao for Las Tablas. Alternatively use the Selina shuttle service to get back to Pedasi and the public bus to Las Tablas. From here there are regular buses to Panama City and the journey takes 4.5 hours.

The view from the rooftop at Selina Casco Viejo Panama City at night

Rooftop view form Selina Casco Viejo Panama City.

Where to stay in the Panamá:

You’ll found Selina accommodation in all main spots in Panama – Bocas Del Toro & Red Frog Beach, Pedasi & Playa Venao and Panama City . Whether you’re looking to relax by the beach and learn how to surf or are working remotely and need great wifi, Selina’s accommodation is sure to give you the atmosphere and facilities you’re seeking.

Connecting you to more Selinas…

Heading from Central America into South America?
Is your next stop Colombia? Learn everything you need to know on transiting from Central America into South America via Panama and Colombia.

Going north to Costa Rica?
Are you journeying to Costa Rica next? Travelling overland is a economical way to get to the next Central America country. Here’s our guide on how it’s done.

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