Most of us have family to visit, new places to visit, or other reasons to travel. Joel and I have made a few interesting trips but the majority of my travel is to visit family, especially now that I have grandchildren.
We are in David near the Costa Rica border. There has been talk about flights from a David to the US for as long as I can remember, but there are no signs that this will become a reality in the foreseeable future. So, you have to go to Panama City for an international flight. (Or possibly San Jose, Costa Rica if you find a great deal on tickets). Do you take the bus, fly, or drive?
I have no interest in driving to Panama City, and even less interest in driving IN Panama City. I’ve always taken the bus, gone to the Costa Inn because they have an airport shuttle (affordable hotel with a restaurant on site and breakfast). Sometimes though the timing doesn’t work out and I need something near the airport. (The shuttle only goes at 5 and 8 AM.)
I had been going to the Express Inn (google Express Inn PTY). It’s about $45-50 for a very basic room, but it seems to be going downhill over the last few years. I have more complaints about my last room than I want to list. There are no more takeout menus, and even the guy making less than wonderful sandwiches wasn’t there on my last couple visits. There is nothing in the neighborhood unless you want to walk over to the airport. Breakfast has also become worse and worse. Last time there was only coffee and some little rolls wrapped in cellophane. Check on line or with TripAdvisor for reviews to learn more. My last visit was so uncomfortable that I needed to make a change, but what?
The Riande has a highly recommended hotel near the airport but I thought it cost a lot more than I wanted to pay, usually well over $100. But our travel agent (shout out to Andrea Cook of Viaje Vacations) told me about amoma.com where you can book a room for $70, not much more than the other place but a world above in comfort.
Here’s a few photos:
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. We still need to get to Panama City. There are two airlines. Air Panama lands at Allbrook on the west side if the city, and Copa lands at Tocumen, the international airport east of the city, which makes more sense if you are traveling on.
Keep in mind that a taxi from the city to the airport will run you $30-35 (or get a ride from Luis Arce). The bus is about $15 and takes all day. They make it as comfortable as possible but it’s still a lot of hours. The plane is about $115, but if you can avoid a hotel as well as a taxi ride, the cost is barely more than the bus. Even if you need a hotel, there is still no comparison in comfort. The actual flight is only about 40 minutes! (prices are without the retired people discounts)
I’m afraid I’ve become totally spoiled. I flew to Panama City, stayed at the Riande, and then caught a direct flight to San Francisco which allowed me to travel on to Seattle on the same day and arrive much less tired. I’m all for spending money frugally but sometimes it’s well worth spending a bit more for your comfort.
Check this page to find the people I mentioned, and a few others who are very good to know. https://blog.thepanamaadventure.com/2017/06/05/good-people-to-know-in-panama
I made it to Seattle last week, thankfully before the new granddaughter arrived and now we are just hanging out, playing with my other granddaughter, and waiting. I know no one is pregnant forever but these last days…. if baby doesn’t come soon I think my daughter’s tummy is going to pop! But this is also a very special time to share together and I’m glad to be here.