The Bus Trip from David to Panama City and Back
Did you know there are several companies that run buses back and forth from David to Panama City. They all charge the same, however they may stop on their break at different places and some choose to show movies and some don’t.
We just finished our third taking one of these long seven hour rides to Panama City and back. We generally try to be at the David terminal around seven or eight which will get us into Panama City around two or three in the afternoon, just about time you can check into a hotel. Getting a ticket in David is easy. We just show our Permanent Visa cards and we receive our discount, so our trip one way is $10.60 each. Then we enter the waiting room and wait until they board. Seat assignments are on the tickets. Someone takes your luggage and puts a ticket on it and slips it under the bus giving you the stub to keep.
The bus ride is long but these wonderful coach buses are great. Most show good movies, at least one during the trip. All buses have bathrooms.
The buses stop here and there along the way, dropping off and picking up passengers. At the Chiriqui border there is a checkpoint where the police come on board the bus and check everyone’s ID. So you need to make sure to have either a passport or your resident ID available. The checkpoint is about an hour and a half after you leave David.
Most buses stop at Santiago and a place with a cafeteria and bathrooms. Santiago is about in the middle of the trip. The stop is for half an hour. We usually bring our lunch with us on the bus and find a table and chow down.
All buses to Panama City drop you off at the massive terminal at Albrook where literally hundreds of buses leave for all parts of Panama. You get your luggage and a taxi is waiting to take you anywhere for a price. From the bus terminal to El Cangrejo expect to pay around $8.
Taking the Bus from Panama City to David
Here it is a little trickier. There are several windows from which to purchase a ticket back to David. We just find one that is leaving the soonest and get tickets for that bus. We ask for our Jubilado discount again and receive our tickets with our seat assignments. The problem arises when you need to go through turn styles in order to board the bus. You need to have also purchased a card that can be scanned by the turnstyles to process you through. Through gyrating hands we figured out where to purchase these needed tickets, we thought. We got in line at a kiosk and got a ticket only to discover it was a local bus pass. The kind lady who was in charge of the turnstyles told us to go and return the tickets and get our money back. They would not refund. She was so nice she finally let us go through the turn style with her special pass. So we still don’t know where to get these tickets.
Anyway, same with the luggage. Then board the bus for the seven hour ride back to David. These comfy seats make it easy to fall asleep. This time we saw three full length movies all in Spanish of course, but I still followed the story lines and enjoyed the movies. One was about zombies, another about a horse and the third was an espionage movie. So something for everyone.
Back in David, everyone scrambles off the bus to stretch and find their luggage and rides home. We find a taxi and are home in fifteen minutes for $5.