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Latin America Walkabout, Panama

Panamanian Chicken Bus

When I was in Guatemala, I rode everywhere on the Chicken Buses.  They were noisy, usually crowded, and the paint jobs were legendary.  It seemed that every bus was in unofficial competition to see who could have the most outrageous paint, the most chrome and the wildest theme.

Once I crossed into El Salvador and again through Nicaragua, these colorful behemoths of the Guatemalan highways and byways literally ceased to exist.  Only rather drab buses for the most part were to be found.

Then I left Panama City for Portobello to better my luck in booking a sailboat to Colombia.  When I saw what was to be our transportation for the day, I broke into laughter and a huge grin.


Our Transportation Awaits

For a moment I thought I was back in Guatemala.  The paint was remarkable.  One of the highlights was the Bengal Tiger against a tropical waterfall background.

We went inside to take a look around.  The interior was tricked out in hot pink tuck and roll with hot pink turkey feather boas for accent.

We had awhile until departure so I went out to inspect and appreciate more of the detail and airbrushing.

Back inside, the atmosphere was becoming quite festive as we prepared to embark.

Let's Roll!

To my friends in Guate, and you know who you are, fear not.  Panama has a long way to go before it supplants Guatemala as the Chicken Bus Capital of Central America.  Nonetheless, it was a great day and a fun ride.

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About Philip Shear

Philip has been traveling the world full time for over six years. He travels slowly, often on less than US$ 30 per day, but occasionally, he likes to splurge on more luxurious digs. He started this blog four years ago to share his adventures and travel advice. "My goal is to help people get over the unnecessary fear of long-term travel and experience the rich tapestry of foreign cultures."

6 Responses to “Panamanian Chicken Bus”

  1. On September 1, 2011 at 8:16 am Judie responded with... #

    Very fun, Philip!

    • On September 1, 2011 at 11:30 am Philip responded with... #

      Thanks Judie. Writing hiatus kapoot.

  2. On September 1, 2011 at 11:23 am Stephanie - The Travel Chica responded with... #

    Great pics! I too was impressed by the chicken buses in Panama.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..What Will It Be Like to Come Home?

    • On September 1, 2011 at 11:26 am Philip responded with... #

      Thanks Stephanie. I enjoyed the flavor of your chicken bus story a few months back as well. Safe travels home!

  3. On February 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm ChinaMatt responded with... #

    The Diablos Rojos are great in Panama. Unfortunately I never got a good picture of any of them. I only got to ride one during my visit–65 cents from Gamboa to Panama City. And it didn’t have such a great paint job.

    Also, the government is trying to replace them with sterile official city buses.
    ChinaMatt recently posted..Travel Lessons from The Simpsons

    • On February 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm Philip responded with... #

      I heard about that when I was there. It would be a shame to plasticize that experience. Although when it comes to incredible custom paint and chrome jobs, the Guatemalan chicken buses win hands down.

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