Here is the first day of our almost 2 week tour in Panama.
Arriving in Panama City airport and waiting
After an 11 hours flight from Amsterdam to Panama, we land on December 26th at 16:20 at Tocumen Airport. After 30 minutes to get out of the plane, we are surprised by the endless queue waiting for us at immigration counters … It will be necessary to arm ourselves with patience to withstand 1 hour of waiting before passing the customs services. Then recovery of the backpacks and re-queuing to pass the luggage to the detectors. Finally, we leave the airport at 18:20.
Transfer Panama City airport to our hotel
Taxis usually take $ 20 to take you to downtown Panama City (30 minute ride). As I had read on travel blogs and forums that taxis are expensive in Panama City, I took an other solution.
Private driver in Panama City
As far as we are concerned, we booked a private driver with whom we will make other trips during our stay in Panama.
In the beginning, we find our driver (who speaks French pretty well) very very nice. During our tour, we will have the opportunity to enjoy it more and more because not only it is punctual, courteous, nice but it is much more than a driver, it will be almost our guide on Panama City!
Before we drop off at Hotel Clarion Victoria in a chic and modern area, Juan stops us to buy a $ 5 internet card for 30 days and 3 bottles of water to take with us for our departure to the San Blas Islands the next day.
Then he explains how to use the Panama City metro and even lends us his own card that we will only have to recharge. Throughout our discussions, Juan quickly understands that we like to eat and gives us his list of good places to eat cheap (see article dedicated to restaurants in Panama City).
Here are the contact details of Juan Manuel Rivas Dugarte and his 24/7 agency Transporte: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheap hotel in Panama City
The majority of hotels in Panama City are large, modern and well-equipped structures, except in Colonial area, where boutique hotels can be found.
The hotel I choose (Hotel Clarion Victoria) was not cheap and very well located because it was only 10 minutes from the metro station EL CARMEN and in a neighborhood with restaurants and shops.
Arriving at the reception, we have a nice surprise: While I booked a standard room, the host told us that since they had many empty suites left, she was outclassing us. She gave us (without any extra charge) the suite # 704! What a welcome ! Our stay started too well: great driver, great hotel and it was just a beginning …
We discover an entrance with a mini kitchen (coffee maker + fridge), a lounge (armchair + big screen TV), a huge comfortable room with TV, safe, a beautiful and a large bathroom. We had a breathtaking view of Panama City (see herebelow). And YES : a swimming pool on the roof of the hotel !!!
But we will not long enjoy this beautiful hotel because we must go to bed early … Tomorrow, we will be standing at 4:30 for a departure at 5:30 for SAN BLAS Islands !
See more on my article: