Expat Exchange
Free MembershipSign In

Tips for Expats Driving in David

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in David.
Tips for Expats Driving in David

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in David, like many other parts of Central America, can be a bit chaotic compared to what you might be used to. Traffic rules are often loosely followed, and drivers can be aggressive. It’s important to stay alert and be prepared for unexpected maneuvers from other drivers.

2. Car Recommendation

Given the road conditions in some parts of Panama, a 4×4 vehicle is often recommended. This is especially true if you plan to explore outside of the city or during the rainy season when roads can become muddy and difficult to navigate. However, for city driving, any type of car should be fine.

3. Parking in David

Finding parking in David is generally not too difficult, especially compared to larger cities. However, it’s always a good idea to check if your accommodation or destination has parking available. Parking is usually not expensive, but prices can vary depending on the location.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Panama with an international driving permit for up to 90 days. After this period, you will need to obtain a Panamanian driver’s license. It’s important to note that your home country’s driving license must be valid and you should always carry your passport or a copy of it while driving.

5. Obtaining a Panamanian Driver’s License

To get a Panamanian driver’s license, you will need to go to the Sertracen (Servicios de TrĂ¡nsito y Transporte Terrestre) office. You will need to bring your valid foreign driver’s license, passport, and a health certificate which can be obtained in Panama. You will also need to pass a written test, which is available in English.

6. Road Conditions

While the main highways in Panama are generally in good condition, some of the smaller roads, especially in rural areas, can be poorly maintained. Be prepared for potholes and other road hazards. Also, keep in mind that road signage can be lacking, so a reliable GPS or map is essential.

7. Safety Precautions

Always wear your seatbelt and avoid using your phone while driving. Be aware that drink driving laws in Panama are strict and penalties can be severe. It’s also a good idea to avoid driving at night, especially in rural areas, due to poor lighting and increased risk of accidents.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

Now Health International

Now Health International
Live Healthier, Live Happier with award winning international health insurance.

Copyright 1997-2023 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal

LoginJoinPlease Login to Continue. New? Join today (it's free).
Since 1997, we've supported millions of people as they explore the world and share the adventures and challenges of living abroad.