On the Bus

Traveling from David to the west coast of the USA is a lengthy business. Thankfully we are retired and nothing has to be done in a hurry.

The flight to the US is an all day thing. There are flights from David to Panama City, but the connections don’t work out unless we are booked on an overnight flight. Being old without the stamina of youth, I would prefer to spend the night in a bed.

So, if we are spending the night in Panama City anyway, the bus is a much less expensive way to get there. It’s a long ride though, giving me lots of time to scribble things to post on the blog 😀

a pretty cloud along th way

a pretty cloud along the way

The highway continues to be under construction. There are four lanes but only two are open. Occasionally there are stops to manage traffic where only one lane is open. The paving seems to be pretty much done but they are making curbs, finishing bridges, painting lane markers, etc. I thought maybe by now parts of it would be using all the lanes, but it’s a ton of work with a lot of details and takes time to complete.

I am always surprised by the kids on buses. There were quite a few on this bus and except for a three month old baby who cried for three very short periods in 7 1/2 hours, they were quiet. There are no toys, no snacks, no movies on tablets, just a parents lap. They look out the window, smile at the neighbors, and just generally chill out. Why are all of these kids so calm?

We cross the Panama Canal

We cross the Panama Canal

Our flight leaves at 8am so our plan is to stay at the Express Inn hostal near the airport. They have a shuttle every hour, where our favorite hotel in the city has one at only 5 and 8 am. Our friend, driver, and man useful for a multitude of things Luis Arce will meet us at the bus and take us to the hotel. It’s a $30-35 taxi ride so we may as well pay him rather than a stranger. I did this last time and it was nice to see a friendly face waiting for me.

We arrive at Albrook bus station

We arrive at Albrook bus station

Coming back, Joel is returning before me but it will be the same situation for both of us. We arrive in Panama City around 9:30 pm. Our favorite hotel in the city, the Costa Inn, has a shuttle service that will pick you up from the airport, saving the expensive taxi ride. They serve breakfast and if you don’t mind hanging around for a while, they have an 11am van that takes shoppers to the Albrook mall which is next to the bus terminal. The rooms cost us around $41 with taxes, a very good deal all things considered.

The bus, an older model, but it got us there just fine.

The bus, an older model, but it got us there just fine.

Yes it’s a couple long days but bring stuff to do and enjoy the ride, and it’s all good.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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9 Responses to On the Bus

  1. carole says:

    I didn’t mind the buses in Panama. Some we were on have TV’s. And we had a great stop for a buffet lunch once. You can’t beat the price of the ticket either.

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    • Yes, most are as comfortable as a bus can be, and I think they always stop mid way, except the night express. It’s definitely a good deal.

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    • jim and nena says:

      Hola Kris,
      The express bus stops in Santiago, that is the only stop it makes. The travel time can not be faster than 7 hours by regulation, too many bus drivers were making the trip in 6 hours and crashing. We take the bus except the few occasions when we rented a car and drove (years ago when we were young AND it was possible to drive in Panama City). I sometimes get the senior’s discount although I don’t qualify, $15.60 I think for the express. The newer buses are SO much better than even 5 years ago.

      The photo in Albrook shocked us. Nena swears the person just at the right edge of the picture is our niece. And her daughter works in the mall so it is possible it is her. Too funny. She has the most lovely name, Maria de los Angeles, and she is a wonderful person. I met her when she was 27 months old when Nena and I first met.

      Safe travels, Dios te bendiga.
      jim and nena

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      • I’ve only done the night bus once and couldn’t sleep at all. I’d rather take more time and get a hotel.
        Small world huh?! Crazy when things like that happen
        Gracias, amigo

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  2. Hi Kris – I thought I heard over two years ago that they were prepping David to become an international airport. Do you know what the latest news is on this project? Seems as if I heard they had to move fuel tanks or something? Boy that sure would save a LOT of time and money if we could fly right into David!

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    • I’ve been hearing about flights for the US since before we moved here and nothing is going on that I know of. It would be convenient, but now we aren’t sure we need even more people moving in to the area and the rising prices that would probably go with that. But with the rate of growth in David it’s definitely possible some time in the future.

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    • jim and nena says:

      Hola,
      DAV is an international airport but getting there from the US requires a stop in PTY, there are no DIRECT US flights. I would suspect that those in Panama who are involved with tourism, hotels, etc. are not in any rush to allow any airline to skip offloading passengers at PTY. Everyone who has spent some time in Panama knows how the government works and knows how things get done.

      We would love to fly direct DFW to DAV; there are only a couple of months each year that we get DFW to PTY direct and those flights are great, we get to skip the stop in Houston. If we could do direct to DAV, we would be visiting 2 or 3 times a year.

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  3. Deborah Anndersen says:

    Hi, can you tell me if the buses have toilets on them?

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