Cartagena to Panama City

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How to get from Cartagena to Panama City

After visiting the stunning city of Cartagena, you may be considering continuing your journey into Central America. Panama City is the best starting point for any adventure into the pristine beaches and incredible wildlife of the country. The city offers a wide range of cultural sites and delicious food options that contribute to making it a hot spot for visitors all year-long.

2 ways to get from Cartagena to Panama City

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Flight1.5 hours 305,000 COP ($64)Check Flights
Sailboat5 days 1,950,000 COP ($405)Check Bus Tickets

From Cartagena to Panama City is a 467-kilometre distance (290 miles) and since there are no roads connecting Colombia and Panama, land-travel is not an option. Therefore, the most popular way to travel this route is a 1 hour and 20-minute flight with prices ranging from 305,000 COP ($64) to 825,000 COP ($170).

There is also a more pricey but adventurous alternative: island-hopping around the San Blas islands on a sailboat for 5 days. This unique experience doesn’t come cheap as it costs between 1,950,000 COP ($405) and 2,700,000 COP ($565), all-inclusive from Cartagena to Panama City.

Other adventurers choose the more complicated boat route bordering the Darien Gap and the towns of Capurganá and Sapzurro, but following the safety recommendations from authorities, we suggest avoiding this option. You can read more in our Safe Traveling in Colombia article.

Itinerary from Cartagena to Panama City

Cartagena to Panama City by Flight

Duration: 1hr 20m
Cost: 305,000 COP ($64)825,000 COP ($170)
Duration: 1hr 20m
Cost: 305,000 COP ($64)825,000 COP ($170)

Flying from Cartagena to Panama City is the fastest and most affordable option. Panama City has two airports, and luckily both are less than a 30-minute ride from downtown.

Flights to Panama City’s main airport (Tocumen International Airport, PTY) are operated by both Copa and Avianca daily. There are three direct flights operated by Copa and roughly four departures via Bogota operated by Avianca every day. Prices start at 535,000 COP ($110).

A more affordable option is to fly to Panama City’s smallest airport located in the Panama canal zone (Panamá Pacífico International Airport, BLB). These flights are operated by the low-cost carrier Wingo once a day on Thursdays and Sundays. Rates for this flight start at 305,000 COP ($64).

Check Flights with Skyscanner

Cartagena to Panama City by Sailboat

Duration: 5 days
Cost: 1,950,000 COP ($405)2,700,000 COP ($565)
Duration: 5 days
Cost: 1,950,000 COP ($405)2,700,000 COP ($565)

Step 1: Cartagena to Puerto Lindo/Portobello

Duration: 5 days
Cost: 1,855,000 COP ($385)2,600,000 COP ($545)
Duration: 5 days
Cost: 1,855,000 COP ($385)2,600,000 COP ($545)

Sailing across the caribbean is a once in a lifetime experience. It may not be the cheapest option, but it’s something worth experiencing if you have the chance, especially if this is your first time on a sailboat.

If the thought of a stunning sailing trip isn’t enough to convince you, the trip is all inclusive meaning you won’t spend extra money on accommodation or meals for the duration of the trip.

There are a number of companies offering this service, some have set schedules whilst others run when there’s demand. We recommend planning your trip with Blue Sailing, as they offer an unforgettable experience, all with the highest level of safety. The route they travel from Cartagena to Panama takes you through the spectacular San Blas archipelago.

The agency operates a wide fleet of boats, all with a journey time of approximately 5 days. The price and schedules vary depending on which boat you choose and the season you’re travelling in. But no matter what trip you choose, meals, accommodation on the boat and equipment for activities like snorkelling or fishing are all included in the price.

Note that during the trip, you’ll spend 2 days sailing on the open sea and 3 days island-hopping around the San Blas islands.

In order to book your trip, you will need to contact the agency in advance through e-mail or at its offices in Cartagena. The boats usually depart from the Club Nautico marina, in the Manga neighbourhood which is easily reachable by taxi from the historic centre. Expect to pay 7,000 COP ($1.45)8,000 COP ($1.65) for the 5-10 minute ride.

You can check the boat’s availability and start planning your trip on Blue Sailing’s website.

Step 2: Puerto Lindo/Portobello to Panama City by Van

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $25
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $25

Most sailboats will finish the trip either at Puerto Lindo or Portobello. Where it ends depends on the season and boat, but you will be informed by the agency when booking.

Once there, the fastest way to reach Panama City is by hiring a shared van transfer with Blue Sailing that will take you to your accommodation in the city. The rate is $25 and the trip takes about 2 hours.

You can also use the local buses to get to Panama City via Sabanitas/Colon, which will drop you at the Albrook bus terminal. This takes around 3 hours, with tickets starting at $5.

Alternative option: El Porvenir to Panama City by Boat

Duration: 5 hours
Cost: $50
Duration: 5 hours
Cost: $50

Another popular port for arrival and departures in Panama is El Porvenir, located in the San Blas Archipelago. If that’s the case, you can take a boat to Carti, a port on Panama’s mainland for $20, and then connect by car to Panama City for $30.

Once again, You can also book the combined trip of boat and car with Blue Sailing for around $50.

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