Car Rental at Panama City Airport: The Best Companies

by Mark Rebindaine  |  Updated May 17, 2023

At 20km from Panama City, Panama’s principal airport, Tocumen International Airport (PTY), serves as a base for Copa Airlines and a regional hub to and from the Caribbean, South, North and Central America.

Panama City Airport (Photo: Joao Carlos Medau / CC BY 2.0)

If you’re only planning on driving around Panama city, then you can rent any type of car but if the destination is Playa Venao, or you’re thinking of going into the countryside, then we’d recommend you rent a 4×4. Apart from exercising all the obvious cautionary steps (checking for scrapes and the insurance policy in detail) when renting a car, we’d also recommend you ensure the tank is full as finding petrol stations around the airport is quite tricky.

At the airport, there are a number of rental car companies present, including international agencies like Alamo, Avis Budget, Enterprise and Hertz. Their counters are located towards the terminal’s exit. The cars are parked directly outside across the West Bay Parkway. To determine which rental car companies offer the best vehicles across our three categories (Most Affordable, Best for Luxury, Best for Minivans), carefully researched prices, availability, policies and customer reviews of the car rental companies operating out of PTY. Here are our findings:

Most Affordable: Dollar

Dollar offers exceptional value for money right across its selection of cars at PTY. Among its compact and economical options, there are vehicles like the Kia Picanto, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris. These types of cars have enough space for 4 passengers and 2 pieces of luggage. However, if you’re travelling out of the city, we’d recommend a 4×4 like the Suzuki Jimny that can be hired for under $60 per day. Unlike in other parts of the world, Dollar’s office scores a very well with an overall score of 8.1/10 on

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Best for Luxury: Avis

Renting a luxury rental car can change a run-of-the-mill holiday into something totally unforgettable. And at Avis, there are plenty of options to splash out, with top of the range convertibles and powerful sports cars on offer. But not all of their cars are fast and flash; Avis also rents out SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Nissan Pathfinder as well as stylish jeeps like the Jeep Wrangler, – a perfect choice for those who want to explore the countryside in comfort. Avis’s offices are open from 7am – 11pm.

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Best for Minivans: Alamo

Alamo is a great option for a family looking for a cheap minivan hire to explore Panama City and its surrounding region. With a counter in the airport terminal, parents will appreciate the proximity of their counter to the baggage reclaim area. Alamo offers highly practical minivans like the 7-seater Hyundai Staria and the 8-seater Kia Carnival. Even really large families are catered for with the ultra-roomy, 15-seater Toyota Hiace available. Renters looking to see as much of Panama as possible will appreciate the fact that Alamo offers unlimited mileage and provides a baby and infant seats at very affordable prices. The office is located inside the airport and is open from 7 am – 10.30pm daily.

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