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How to get from Panama City to Santa Catalina

You’ve experienced all the hustle and bustle of the capital, Panama City, and now you’re ready to hit the beach, soak up the sun and take a dip in the Pacific ocean in remote, untouched Santa Catalina. 

Escape city life in this quaint and still largely undeveloped town, that is growing in popularity with out-of-towners thanks to its excellent surf breaks and its proximity to the stunning Coiba National Park, a popular spot with divers in particular. The tranquility of this fishing village will be a breath of fresh air (literally) having spent some time in Panama City. But how do you get from Panama City to Santa Catalina?

How do I get from Panama City to Santa Catalina?

Panama City to Santa Catalina is about 365 km and 5 hour and 35 minutes driving time.

When travelling from Panama City to Santa Catalina, there are a couple of options available depending on your preference and priorities. The options are to take a local bus, or arrange private transportation.

For budget-conscious travellers, the bus is the most cost effective option, and the cheapest way to travel from Panama City to Santa Catalina. It’s a long journey, though, and it’s not possible to get there directly, so it’s not the most convenient option. If convenience is your priority, the fastest way to travel from Panama City to Santa Catalina – and the best way to travel from Panama City to Santa Catalina – is by private car.

Panama City to Santa Catalina by bus

To get from Panama City to Santa Catalina by bus, you’ll need to head to Albrook Bus Terminal. It’s not possible to get to Santa Catalina directly, so you’ll need to change in either Sona or Santiago.

If you choose Sona, there are 6 daily buses; the earlist one is 6:45 AM. The rest depart at 8:20 AM, 10:20 AM, 12:45 PM, 2:20 PM, and 4:15 PM.

There are five daily buses from Sona to Santa Catalina, and the duration of the journey is approximately 2 hours. 

If you choose Santiago, there are more options as any service going to David will stop there, so the buses are frequent throughout the day. The journey takes around 3.5 hours, and the onward journey to Santa Catalina takes around 2.5 hours, with the last departure from Santiago at 6 PM.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to check the coordinating bus timetables to ensure you can make a connection. In many cases you may find that you have to stay overnight before continuing the journey to Santa Cataline, as the timetables don’t always add up.

Particularly if you’re travelling with luggage or with families, this option can be quite stressful and inconvenient.

Time intervals4 hours
First/Last departure5:50 AM / 5:45 PM
Avg. Price 2 persons$34 USD
Duration~6-8 hours
Operating CompaniesPanamá Regional Buses
Transporte San Isidro

Panama City to Santa Catalina by taxi

Taking a private car is recommended if you prefer a convenient and comfortable option for travelling between different cities. Using a global trusted service like Daytrip, you will be picked up at your accommodation in Panama City and be driven to your destination in Santa Catalina. That means no bus stops, no crowds, and no confusion. Best of all, you’ll be transported by a knowledgeable, local driver and have the opportunity to make sightseeing stops along the way! A trip from Panama City to Santa Catalina can include stops at…

  • Miraflores Visitor Center
  • Templo Baha’i
  • Parque Municipal Summit
  • Chorro Macho
  • Santiago
  • San Francisco Colonial Church Mountain

With comfort, convenience, and adventure, it is clear that a private transfer is the best option!

Book a private transfer from Panama City to Santa Catalina

2 replies on “How to get from Panama City to Santa Catalina”

Hey,
I just want to send the updated timetable from Albrook bus terminal to sona.
The earlist one is 6:45 AM.
8:20 AM
10:20 AM
12:45 PM
2:20 PM
4:15 PM

Best,
Fabi 🙂

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