It is easy to get to Puerto Armuelles. (see maps below)
- Go to Paso Canoas
(at Costa Rica border)
- Turn south at the border
(towards the Pacific Ocean. Yes, the Ocean is to the South. )
- Follow that road.
You will arrive in Puerto Armuelles in about 30 minutes (from the border)
Below, I provide detailed driving directions from David to Puerto Armuelles.
(For bus, taxi, and car rental info, scroll to bottom of this page.)
You may be interested in our tips about driving in Panama.
Driving Directions: David To Puerto Armuelles
1. Go West on the Interamericana towards Costa Rica
You will be heading towards Pas Canoas or La Frontera. “La Frontera” means the border. Pasa Canoas is the town at the border.
The Interamericana (or Pan American highway) is the main highway in Panama. On Google Maps it is called Route 1. You will never see a Route 1 sign while on this road. There is an almost complete lack of street name signs on all roads in Panama.
2. Drive to Pasa Canoas
It is a straight shot. You will pass by the towns of Santa Marta, La Concepcion, Bugaba, Gariche, and more.
The drive from David to Paso Canoas takes about 45 minutes.
3. Turn South (left) at Paso Canoas
At Paso Canoas, you must turn either left or right, otherwise you will end up under the roofed border crossing area. (You must turn left, to go to Puerto Armuelles.)
Do not cross the border into Costa Rica. Ignore your GPS app if it tells you to go into Costa Rica.
You cannot miss the border crossing at Paso Canoas. Everything slows down at what seems like an end-of-the-road intersection.
As you approach the intersection, on your left there are a couple of flag poles next to a small monument. A big roofed area will be straight ahead. (see photos). The roofed area is the border crossing. Do not go under the roofed area.
(If you were going to Costa Rica, you would continue going straight and enter the roofed border crossing area.)
Again, do NOT cross the border when traveling from David to Puerto Armuelles. Google Maps will tell you to do this – Don’t!
4. Road From Frontera to Paso Canoas
The road you turn left onto is a narrow, at times very chaotic-feeling, road. It is lined with shops and often crowded with cars. Once you drive through Paso Canoas, the road opens up and is more peaceful.
The road to Puerto Armuelles winds its way through a number of towns: Esperanza, Progresso, Manaca Norte & more. It ends in Puerto Armuelles and at the Pacific Ocean.
According to Google Maps this road is called Route 44. Again, you will not see any signs that display this road name.
It takes about 30 minutes to get from Paso Canoas to Puerto Armuelles.
Where To Go In Puerto Armuelles
As you enter the outskirts of Puerto, it can be unclear which way you should go.
Click this link, for how to get to central Puerto, without getting lost. The directions are to Puerto’s downtown waterfront park.
The downtown waterfront park is a good initial destination. Not only are there places to eat, but it is close to 3 hotels. (FYI – If you are going to Big Daddy’s they have excellent signage to their hotel.)
Taking The Bus or Taxi
It is affordable and easy to take the bus in Panama. The buses are all in good condition. You may want to bring a light wrap, since the A/C is often on quite cool.
During our first 3 months in Panama, we traveled extensively by bus and taxi. And we traveled with a 5 year old.
There is frequent bus service from David to both Puerto Armuelles and Pasa Canoas. If you take a bus to Pasa Canoas/Frontera (instead of directly to Puerto), you will need to catch one of the numerous minibuses that shuttle between Paso Canoas and Puerto Armuelles.
The minibuses leave about every 10 minutes. You catch the bus in front of a store called, Plaza de Los Angeles. It on the road to Puerto Armuelles, about 150 yards to the left (south) of the border crossing. There are typically at least a few people hanging out and waiting there. Ask anyone and they can point it out to you.
Taxis are plentiful in Panama. You will have little difficultly in finding one. Make sure you agree upon the fare before you take off in the taxi.
Taxis from Paso Canoas to Puerto are typically $20. A taxi from David to Puerto, could set you back $40 -50. If you have alot of luggage, it will cost you more.
Where To Rent A Car + Restriction
You can rent cars easily from the airport in David. Panama requires that you have extra auto insurance for all car rentals. However, many credit card companies do provide the needed car rental liability coverage that is required. To get the extra insurance requirement waived, you need to bring a print out of your credit card’s auto liability coverage (in English or Spanish) with you when renting a car. (Of course, you should check with your specific car rental company to see if their rules differ about how the extra insurance can be waived.)
Flying into David? Read these tips and info on flying from Panama City to David.
An important car rental fact: you cannot drive a rental car over the border! So if you are coming from Costa Rica, you will need to turn in your car and proceed to David, Panama to rent another car. You also cannot drive a rental car from Panama into Costa Rica.
Welcome To Puerto Armuelles!
To get a sense of how the town is laid out, check out our map of Puerto Armuelles, Panama. On the same page, you will find photos and information about Puerto’s neighborhoods.
For where to eat and stay, check out the links below: