Sleeping in Airports

6 Things to do on a layover at Panama City Airport

Many regional and longer-haul flights fly through the modern Panama City Airport, leaving many travellers with layovers. Long layovers can be annoying, frustrating, or just downright boring, but you can avoid all that with these six things to do on your layover at Panama City Airport:

1. Get something to eat

Airport DiningStart your layover with a meal. There are close to 20 eateries here, with several cafes and to-go options. Sit-down restaurants Tierra Firma and Air Margaritaville are good for leisurely dining. International chains include Cinnabon, Subway, Quizno’s, and Domino’s. Eateries all close by 10:00 p.m. (although they may open 24 hours during high season), so plan ahead for midnight snacks if you will be spending the night.

2. Visit the lounge

Airport LoungesAirport lounges are an excellent way to pass some time, especially if you want to relax or catch up on work. For a single fee, you get food and drinks, WiFi, and TV and news, all in a comfier, quieter lounge. Any traveller, no matter your airline or flight class, can pay to enter the Tocumen Royal Saloon. Copa Airlines flyers or members in a lounge program can also opt into the Copa Club (showers available). Please take a look at our Panama City Airport Guide for details.

3. Shop til you drop

ShoppingKill some time by browsing or shopping at the 40+ shops. There are plenty of internationally-known brands, like Burberry, Kate Spade, and Mango, plus many smaller shops selling convenience items, books, news, and souvenirs. Duty-free areas are perfect for discounts on alcohol, makeup, and edible treats. Studio Natural and Celebra Panama offer locally-made goods.

4. Go sightseeing

Layover SightseeingAre you itching to get out of the airport altogether? We don’t blame you! If your layover is at least 7 hours long, you can easily visit Panama City for sightseeing.

Public bus routes provide frequent, cheap connections to downtown, but will take about 50 minutes to reach the city center. Cut that time in half by opting for a licensed taxi waiting outside the airport. Travellers have reported a luggage storage area where you can pay per day.

Once in Panama City, head directly to Casco Viejo, the historic heart of the city. Stroll winding alleys, view well-preserved churches and architecture, pop into souvenir and art shops, and explore numerous restaurants, bars, and rooftop lounges. Contrast this area with the ultra-modern, newly built skyscrapers and international shops along Avenida Balboa, which follows Panama Bay.

If you’d rather see the Panama Canal, your best bet is to join a tour. There are many operators to choose from, and some even pick up at the airport. These can be as short as 3 hours, so you may be able to squeeze one in on slightly shorter layovers but do plan ahead. Tours often stop at the Gatun Lake outdoors area, too.

Whether you spend your layover in the city or exploring nearby nature, leave plenty of time to make that next flight!

5. WiFi

WiFi is free for 30 minutes (as per a reader in 2019) per device. After that, you’ll have to pay for a 24-hour WiFi session.

6. Sleep

Airport SleeperAirport staff are pretty tolerant of daytime nappers and overnight campers, but whether you’ll get any decent sleep depends on your tolerance for sleeping on the floor, as pretty much all the seating has armrests. Many reviews report extra-cold air-con, so bring a layer or sleeping bag if you’ll be there for a long time. A few hotels are located within a few minutes drive of the airport, and most offer free airport shuttles. Our Panama City Airport Guide lists details and locations.

These are just a few things to do on a layover at Panama City Airport. Visit our Panama City Airport Guide for more information about the services and facilities available, such as food, WiFi, mobile charging, luggage storage, nearby airport hotels, and much more.