Panama City - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

SUVs are very common, although I bought a small city car and get by just fine. Car jackings are not that common. - Dec 2021

SUV for potholes and occasionally flooded streets. - Oct 2018

We have a sedan and a 4 WD. If you like to go to the beach, I would bring a 4WD as the Kuna Yala only allow 4WDs to go through their area to San Blas, but if you are staying on the common routes then most everything else would be fine with a sedan. - Sep 2018

Any kind of car is fine, although I think an Asian-made car is cheaper and easier to maintain here. - May 2017

We have a Rav 4 and are quite happy. While lower-clearance cars are generally fine in the city, once you get out of the city and do any sort of non-highway driving, the higher-clearance is usually needed. Additionally, during the rainy season, the downtown roads flood quite easily and it isn't uncommon for giant potholes to appear or for manhole covers to float away. Lots of dealerships around the city as well as mechanics. Many tire repair shops, too, which you may need! - Mar 2017

Anything is okay unless you plan on going touring on bad roads. - Oct 2015

Any but SUVs might be better so rain water from the streets doesn't get in.. - Jun 2015

ANY. - Sep 2014

Better SUVs due to the rain that floods some streets or avenues even in the capital. Also it is better to have SUV to have access to not so easy to reach beaches and different sights. You can go to San Blas only with a SUV. You can find all models and car companies here, but you need to consider availability of parts. - Jul 2014

Definitely a 4WD vehicle. Roads are not well-maintained and sometimes just randomly disappear when you're driving on them. Also bring a car that you don't mind getting dinged up. Panamanians are unobservant aggressive drivers and make up their own traffic rules, so you have to be on alert at all times when you're driving inside the city. Traffic is really bad at all times of the day (except Sundays) and the roads are too narrow for the volume of cars. They treat their cars like bumper cars, and if they run into you they might only stop if they notice they left a dent. Parking lots are cramped and you will get dinged and scratched frequently. - Mar 2014

Any car will do here as the roads are good. Bigger cars can be harder to park. - Jan 2013

A vehicle with some clearance is best - it doesn't have to be an SUV, a Subaru with clearance will be fine. - Sep 2011

Go 4x4, given the bad roads and torrential rain. Most models are supported. - Apr 2010

large cars are fine to drive but very hard to park - Dec 2009

Lots of people have tinted windows on their SUV's. I have also seen other high end cars here, which makes no sense since you are bound to get dinged. We have a small compact car that works for us. - May 2008

For the city a small sedan is more suitable although if you intend to leave the city you soon become aware that Panama is a 3rd world country in every sense, including the roads. - Apr 2008


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