Negotiating with Taxi drivers in Panama City
Negotiating with taxi drivers in Panama City, can seem like a difficult task, but it is fairly easy. Hopefully, you know a little Spanish or are fluent. If not there are some great apps and books that you can buy that have sections on getting directions and asking for price. Coming from the airport, you have a lot of drivers willing to push each other out their way for your services. They want to take you to wherever you want to go even if they don’t know the particular address. For the most part if you can get the taxi driver or hotel transportation to get you to or from the international airport for $20 its a good deal. Most taxi drivers in Panama ask for $28. Unless you are in the city, you are at the mercy of the cab drivers at the airport. But with some luck you can negotiate them down a few dollars. The more people you can get into the cab with you, the cheaper the price.
Panama City is broken down in zones. From one zone of the city to the next it’s about $3. The prices are cheaper if you take a taxi to and from within the same zone. Some of the cab drivers, based on your pronunciation of your destination will try to charge you more. Which brings me to my first point, know your area and get an idea of the distance you have to travel. At most you should pay $5 if you have multiple people in the cab. If you have the patience to withstand multiple outrageous prices to get to your destination, you will find an honest cab driver that will get you there for $3. When you name your price, stick with it and be willing to walk away of the cab driver doesn’t want to accept your price. The good part about these cab drivers is that they know some of the hotspots in the city.
While in Panama we met a great taxi driver by the name of Frank. He lived in the USA for many years before moving back to Panama. His prices were the cheapest and he was very knowledgeable. Whatever you wanted to buy, he knew where to go. He gave us the best price to get to the international airport, $15, that’s a steal. The hotel and hostels we stayed at were charging $25 and above. When visiting Panama city, find a good cab driver, take down his number and use him or her to get to where you need to go. They will appreciate the business. If not, learn to develop your negotiating skills. A few dollars here and there more than you should have to pay adds up. Be smart negotiate and find the best drivers who are honest.
To recap negotiating with taxi drivers in Panama City
- Know some basic Spanish (directions, price, too expensive)
- Know the distance of your location
- Stick to a firm maximum price you are willing to pay
- Be willing to walk away
- Don’t give, have patience, the right cab driver will come along
- If you meet a taxi driver you like, that gives you a great price, take down his or her number