While in Panama this week, I faced a bit of a challenge. I needed to get from the hotel to the office where we were training each day, but I don’t speak Spanish very well at all. I was a bit afraid of trying to explain where I wanted to go, as well as negotiating the taxi fare, which is the norm for Panama.
Arrival at the airport was no big deal, there is a line of authorized taxis and someone there to help you, as well as a flat rate fare to most place in the city. ($30 to city center, $35 to where I was staying by Albrook Mall). That was easy enough. The next challenge was to figure out how to get from there to the office in the morning.
Enter Uber. Since I was on the hotel’s wifi, I could request an Uber, enter the location I wanted to go to, and automatically pay by credit card. It really made the whole thing really easy for me. The little Spanish I do know would get me by, and the driver already knew where I wanted to go without us having to try and figure it out using two different languages. Plus, since I used the wifi to request it, I could avoid any overseas data charges. That did mean I couldn’t follow the trip on the Uber map, but I had a fairly good idea of where we were going, and it was a short trip.
As a bonus, Uber fares are pretty inexpensive, probably because the cost of living is pretty low in Panama as well as the price of gasoline. I was spending around $3 each morning. Luckily, the client drove me back to the hotel each day, otherwise I would have had to also request an Uber back, which may have been a little more difficult, but probably not much, (I wouldn’t have the wifi option, I would have to use cell data.)
All in all, the drivers were all friendly, and a few even spoke pretty good English as it turns out. (Many people in Panama do, but you can’t assume everyone does.) It’s a nice option for places where communication may be difficult!
If you’ve never tried Uber, use my code (mikemac5409) for a free ride.
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