Central America - Panama - Driving from Sea to Shining Sea
Jan 1, 08, 10:31 pm
How hard is it to drive from one side of Panama to the other? Is there a particularly scenic route one might recommend?
I am planning on going to PTY for a day and for some reason think that would be awesome...probably because I've driven across the US 3 times....
There is no "particularly scenic route" because there is only one route right now (they are building a new road).
Whatever you do, make sure you avoid rush hours in Panama City (Pacific Coast) and Colon (Atlantic). Driving in a city with 1 million people and 20 traffic lights requires special skills.
The drive will take you 1-2 hours. Just follow the road to Colon from Panama City. The view is nice and the road is pretty good (but not great).
When are you going?
Having just done this last week, I can tell you the road is TERRIBLE in many spots, as they are re-building. There are many many trucks and buses on the road as well, so overall it is not a scenic drive. There is an toll-freeway of sorts around Panama City (make sure you use it - it's called the "Corredor Norte") - this will save you some time there.
What you could do for more scenery (if leaving from Panama City) is drive past the Miraflores locks and keep going straight on that road through the Soberania National Park - you'll be in the middle of the jungle. The road is fine until past the turnoff to Summit/Gamboa, after which it is only 10km to the intersection with the main trans-Isthmus highway - but oh boy, 10km of potholes only (along with construction equipment).
Overall I was surprised at how bad the roads in Panama are... the roads in Mexico, for instance, are much better :eek:
Jan 2, 08, 11:12 pm
Thanks for the advice...probably in late March.
Have you considered taking the train instead of driving? You might be able to combine it with other tours, and it should be less stressful. The train ride takes one hour.
The website for the train company is:
You can find the train schedule and rates in there.