Travel Tips

5 Reasons to Use Uber in Panama

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I like to minimize hassle when traveling, especially when I’m tired and jetlagged, and Uber made my brief stay in Panama City easy in ways I hadn’t even thought about.

  1. Alleviates the language barrier
    My Spanish is very minimal and I’m sure my pronunciation is so bad as to be incomprehensible, so I was a little daunted at having to communicate my destination (and haggle the price) everywhere I wanted to go. With Uber I just put in where I was headed and my driver automatically had the address.
  2. No negotiations necessary
    According to all the guide books you want to negotiate the cost of your Panama City taxi upfront. I’m only good at haggling when I’m in the mood (probably less than half the time) and I get disproportionately upset when I feel like someone is trying to take advantage of me. Thank you Uber for setting the price!
  3. No currency exchange
    Since I was only in town for about 36 hours and not planning on shopping I was hoping to get by without having carrying a lot of cash or exchanging to the local currency. Uber bills directly to your credit card. (Though it turns out US dollars are accepted almost everywhere.)
  4. It’s cheaper
    A taxi or car service to/from the airport runs about $40, an UberX about $25. Prices around town are also cheaper, it was only $4 from Casco Viejo to the Panama Canal. And unlike my experience in Thailand, any US ride credits are applied. So make sure you’re not wasting a $10 refer a friend or first ride credit on a $4 ride!
  5. Safety
    If you’re traveling solo and/or late at night, using Uber adds an extra bit of safety. Not only has your driver already been vetted, you can share your ETA/trip with friends and family.

Best of all, you only need wifi to use Uber. I don’t have international data (I know, I really need to figure that out) but all you need is an internet connection to connect to Uber on your phone. And since most restaurants and even the Panama Canal visitors center offer free wifi, you can get around most of the city

uber panama city panama

If you were curious, the main difference between UberX and Uber in Panama seems to be the age of the car. I had a BMW UberX on the way to the Panama Canal and a brand new Toyota Corolla Uber on the way back.

If you’re new to Uber, sign up via my link and you’ll get your first ride up to $20 free!

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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  1. John Toohey

    May 5, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    The dollar is accepted everywhere, it is the legal tender of Panama! They do not print any money, but they do have some of their own coins,
    which match up with US coins. This is also true in Ecuador. You will never have to exchange money in either place.
    Keep up the great work. I love your writing!

    • Keri Anderson

      May 5, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you, that makes so much more sense! I had read somewhere that the Panamanian Balboa was equivalent to the dollar, but the coins confused me. 🙂

  2. P T

    May 6, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Does only needing a wifi connection to use uber hold true in other countries? I don’t have an international calling plan either.

  3. Bruce InCharlotte

    May 8, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Panama has had a reported outbreak of Zika. Should we care if we’re not in the baby making years and otherwise healthy?

    • Keri Anderson

      May 9, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      A good question, and one I considered myself. Impact on children aside, apparently Zika is really painful, so if you’re risk adverse might not be worth it. I just chose to stay away from the jungle/rainforest and to use mosquito repellant just in case. I think I had maybe one bite during the entire trip and no adverse effects?

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