Guide to Driving In Panama - Drive Safe in Panama

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in Panama and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.


50 kph

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80 kph

More info  

motorway speed limit

n/a kph

speed limit
More info  

Drink Drive Limit


drink and drive limit
More info  
You drive in Panama on the Right side  
The currency in Panama is PAB/USD $
To rent a car is  21 years and to drive is 16 years of age
Current fuel price in Panama 0.57 €/Ltr

Driving Laws in Panama

Driving in Panama
Pocket guide to driving in Panama
Panama City
Driving in Panama
SPEED: (kph)
Speed limit in Panama
Rush hour in Panama
Speed cameras in Panama
Fuel prices in Panama
Drive RIGHT in Panama
Min driving age in Panama
Blood alcohol content
Drink driving in Panama
Emergency phone number in Panama
Driving documents in Panama
Hands free only
Mobile phone driving in Panama
Seat belt in Panama
See here for current child seats law in Panama

Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Panama?

Driving in Panama can be described at best as chaotic and you need to be prepared for anything, especially in urban areas. Panama has several toll roads. There are no tolls booths, you need to have a prepaid Panapass. Renting a 4x4 in Panama is very popular and once out of the city you will understand why as road conditions can be very poor.

Rules of the road

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Emergency Services Numbers

Police Police: 911

Police Fire: 911

Police Ambulance: 911


Fuel Prices in Panama by Month

Parking Information

Parking regulations

Parking regulations
Parking is often a nightmare, especially in the towns and cities. If you can, it’s best to pay for parking because everyone else tries not to meaning you have a chance of getting a space.
Paid parking
Every town and city will have paid parking which at least is ordered and usually well managed. Parking costs are average – owners rely on people being frustrated with the lack of parking elsewhere.
The police do what they can to enforce a modicum of order but you’ll often see terrible parking, double parking and more. Avoid problems by using the paid parking where possible.
Disabled parking
There are no concessions for disabled drivers, it’s everyone for themselves! If you use the attended garages you have a chance of finding a space and, with a little politeness and some Spanish, you’ll often get assistance. 

Emergency Information

Emergency Information

Police Police: 911

Police Fire: 911

Police Ambulance: 911

The emergency number in Panama is 911 for the police, medical services or fire.

What to do in an emergency

If you encounter mechanical problems with a hire car, they’re usually easily resolved by calling the number given to you by the car hire company on the documentation and often inside the windscreen. If in a private car, you’ll have to rely on a local mechanic to help as there are no national breakdown services.
In the event of an accident where no one is hurt you must first photograph the scene then move the cars. You must fill in your accident report form and send it with a copy of the photographs to the insurance company or give it to your car hire company. When an injury has occurred, the police and medical services need to be called. If the vehicles aren’t causing a danger to others they should be left in place. The police will fill in the accident report for insurers or your car hire firm. 

Handy Guides

World Driving Guides

Road Signs

Handy Phrases

 Adelantamiento prohibido - No overtaking
 Calzada con prioridad - Main/priority road
 Ceder el paso - Give way / Yield
 Camino de grava - Gravel road
 Cruce de peatones - Pedestrian crossing
 Curva peligrosa - Dangerous curve
 Curva a derecho - Curve to right
 Curva a izquierdo - Curve to left
 Curvas peligrosas hacia la izquierda - Double bend, first to left
 Detención obligatoria - Stop and give way
 De dos camino tráfico - Two way traffic
 Echar la mano - pay cash
 Entrada prohibida - No entry
 Entrada prohibida a vehículos de motor - No motor vehicles
 Estrechamiento de calzada - Road narrows 
 Estrechamiento de calzada por la derecha - Road narrows on right
 Fin de prioridad - End of priority road
 Gire a la derecha - Turn to right
 Girar a la izquierda - Turn to left
 Intersección con prioridad - Junction with a minor  road
 Licencia de conducir - Driver license
 Límite de velocidad mínimo - Minimum speed limit
 Límite de la velocidad máxima - Maximum speed limit
 Media vuelta prohibida - No U-turn
 Ninguna parada - No stopping
 Obras - Road works
 Otros peligros - Other danger
 Párese y ceda el paso - Priority road
 Patojo - Child
 Pavimento deslizante - Slippery road
 Permiso de conducir - Driving permit
 Permiso de conducir internacional -  International driver license
 Prohibido el paso - No entry
 Prohibido estacionarse - No parking
 Rocas decrecientes - Falling rocks
 Rotatoria - Roundabout
 Semáforos - Traffic lights
 Topes/ tumulos - Speed bumps
 Vehículo - Vehicle
 Velocidad máxima - Maximum speed
 Viga alta - High-beam

Panama Fuel Price History

Fuel Prices in Panama by Month
Month, YearDiesel €/ltrUnleaded €/ltr
Jan, 2021 0.49 0.57
Dec, 2020 0.46 0.53
Nov, 2020 0.44 0.52
Oct, 2020 0.43 0.55
Sep, 2020 0.45 0.55
Aug, 2020 0.46 0.54

Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in Panama and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.
Phil Partridge
Posted by Phil Partridge
About the Author -

Travel writer, car rental guru, Phil has rented cars all over the world and shares his knowledge and experience on the Blog. Favourite country to visit: France.

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