Download GPX file for this article
9.071389-79.383611Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tocumen International Airport (PTY  IATA) is the main airport of Panama. It is also the busiest airport in Central America seeing flights from Europe, North America and throughout the region.


Map of Tocumen International Airport

There are two terminals with a free shuttle bus connecting them. Terminal 1 was inaugurated in the 1970s. Terminal 2 opened in April 2019.

The airport began operations in the 1940s just after World War II. The airport is in the San Miguelito District, 32 km northeast of Panama City, which has been incorporated as a separate city but essentially exists as part of Panama City.

The airport began as a US airbase in the 1940s.


The airport is a hub for Copa Airlines, and is also served by American Airlines (Dallas/Ft.Worth, Miami Airport); Delta Air Lines (Atlanta Airport); United Airlines (Houston Intercontinental, Newark Liberty Airport); Avianca (Bogotá, Colombia, San José (Costa Rica), San Salvador and Managua). Most major Central American airlines, and several South American airlines and European airlines also fly here.

Tocumen is the biggest and best connected airport in mainland Central America.

  • There are at least six daily flights to and from Miami Airport, two from Orlando and Atlanta, 5 weekly flights from Tampa, three daily flights from Houston, 1 from Los Angeles, two from Newark, and 1 from New York JFK.
  • There are daily flights to Mexico City; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Caracas, Venezuela; Santiago, Chile; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Asunción, Paraguay; Havana, Cuba; Kingston, Jamaica, at least 7 Colombian cities (Medellín, Cali, Pereira and Bogotá included) and several international destinations.
  • There's also service to Madrid Barajas Airport with Iberia and service to Amsterdam Schiphol with KLM.
  • Air China operates a special twice-weekly flight to Beijing via Houston-Intercontinental on which, due to fifth freedom rules, the Houston-Panama City flight can be booked. This flight can be a great deal cheaper than other flights on this route, although the competition has caught on with its pricing. Nevertheless, a ride in a widebody with seatback screens and free meals can be much better than the narrowbody jets normally used.
  • Note that Copa operates out of both terminals. When flying to David you use terminal 1, via a separate smaller building and check-in counter area, which is at the far end of the main terminal.
  • Pay attention to the signs before going to immigration - there's a sign in Spanish telling Copa passengers to go to baggage claim in terminal 2 (even if your flight arrived in terminal 1). The immigration officer will hopefully see your lack of luggage and redirect you to the right place.
  • When flying in, consider sitting on the left side window seat if you can. For most approaches from the west you'll get a good view of the canal and the city.

Ground transport[edit]

There is a free shuttle bus between terminal 1 and terminal 2.

By metro[edit]

The airport is served by line 2 (green) of the Panama City Metro. The metro station is located outside, in between terminals 1 and 2. As of November 2023 the airport signage has not been updated for the new metro, so the station can be slightly tricky to find. It is possible to pay by contactless debit or credit card, android or apple pay, so most travellers shouldn't need to purchase a metro card. Note the metro trains can be packed, so may not be a great option for travellers with a lot of luggage.

By bus[edit]


There are metrobuses (modern, air-conditioned buses) which cost $1.25 to get to the city center from the airport, but these buses only accept fare cards, not cash. At the airport there are only machines to top up fare cards, but not to buy them. However, the bus is always full of people going to and from the airport, so you can probably find someone willing to pay your fare with their card and you pay them back in cash. Just ask one of the many people entering the bus. They might not have enough on their card though—just try the next person.

To get to the 1 bus stop follow the "public transport" sign by turning right as you exit the terminal, then follow the fence along to the right, cross the small parking lot, and follow the (mostly) covered sidewalk the rest of the way—or just follow people. It's no more than a 5-minute walk. There are at least two bus routes that go to the Albrook bus terminal; take the one marked Corredor Sur if at all possible for a half hour trip (depending on traffic), or take the local bus (Via España) for a slow (at least 1½ hr) trip.

As of Jan 2019, there are apparently also big local (former school) buses going to the city, which can be paid in cash. Just ask.


You can buy a fare card for $2 at the Albrook bus terminal once you get there. Albrook in turn is served by the metro. The bus fare to the airport is $1.25.

From Albrook Terminal, catch the bus at outdoor platform E, in the middle lane (Corredor Sur - Tocumen). Buses run all hours of the day and night with varying frequency.

From the 5 de Mayo station, head down the stairs in the pedestrian underpass to the bus station, and go left to platform 1, doors 'C' (Corredor Sur to Tocumen). At 4PM on a weekday there can be a substantial wait and the ride takes 50 min due to rush hour.

By taxi[edit]

Regular taxis cost $30, which can be reduced to $10 (per person) if you can find two other people to share with. Depending on traffic, the trip can take well over an hour.

Uber and Cabify are big in Panama and offer inexpensive rides starting from $12 from the airport to/from the city center.

Get around[edit]

The airport is small enough to reach everything by foot. The two terminals are connected by a 170-m-long pedestrian corridor, or you can take an external shuttle bus.


Eat and drink[edit]

Casual restaurants[edit]

  • Tierra Firme
  • Air Margaritaville Panama

Bars and cafes[edit]

  • Bar 770
  • Duran Coffee
  • Black Coffee
  • Cafe Maritano's
  • The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Fast food[edit]

You have a choice of ten fast food places, including a food court on the second floor airside.


Over 40 stores would be pleased to help you indulge your shopping pleasure, including fashion, jewelry, gift, perfume, liquor, tobacco, and electronic shops.


The airport offers free, basic Wi-Fi for 30 minutes. Other paid plans are also available starting at $3 for an extra 30 minutes. Be aware, if you plan to use Uber/Cabify, wait until you are curbside to activate your free 30-minutes of WiFi or else you'll be forced to pay for the connection. (You could work around this by using a different device, or changing your phone's mac address.)


  • 1 Crowne Plaza Panama Airport, Ave. Domingo Diaz, Tocumen (1.9 km from the airport), toll-free: +1-877-424-4188. Gym, outdoor pool, Jetstream Restaurant. From $110.
  • 2 Riande Aeropuerto, Via Tocumen, entrance to the Corredor Sur Panama (2.6 km from the airport), +507 291 9000, . Free shuttle to and from the airport every 30 minutes 24 hours a day. 4 restaurants and lounge bar, transfer to shopping centers, gym & health club. From $92.


This huge airport travel guide to Tocumen International Airport is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!