Getting to the Balboa Inn

February 18, 2010 By: thorwald Category: Getting here:

Since we are a relatively new kid on the block, few people, including taxi drivers, know our location. Or worse, they think they know, but they really don’t.

So, to help you, or your taxi driver, or friends that plan to pick you up or take you to the Balboa Inn, we created this section, detailing every possible approach.

We don’t think we can make it any clear so if you still can’t find us after studying this section, we will request the competent authority to revoke your driving licence :-).

As a general guidance, below an updated and corrected Google map and two pictures of the important landmark, the “Instituto Marina Mercante”, which is where you enter the street leading to the Balboa Inn.

Corrected map of Balboa area


to/from Albrook Airport

February 18, 2010 By: thorwald Category: - from Albrook airport

Albrook Airport (officially Marcos A. Gelabert) is only a 5 minute taxi ride away from the Balboa Inn. Walking isn’t really an option due to lack of sidewalks and busy traffic in one particular area.

Getting there
To get to Albrook airport we can either call you a taxi or you walk two blocks and flag one down on the street. If you have an early morning departure let us know a day in advance to arrange a taxi ahead of time so you won’t miss your flight.

If you have a rental car, ask our reception staff for a copy of our ‘how to get to Albrook airport’ sheet or print the Albrook Airport info sheet.

Getting to the Balboa Inn from Albrook Airport
Simply get a taxi at the airport. Make SURE you carry a printed copy of this sheet !  The fare should be $ 5.  We can arrange pickup but since the local airlines have a habit of arriving a little after scheduled times, the fee will be $ 5-6, depending on the waiting time.

If you have rental car, it’s easy too. Just print the Albrook Airport info sheet with directions.  If the car has a GPS map, we’re under ‘accommodations’, ‘Balboa Inn’.  But, since the car-rental company may not carry the latest version of the map, better print that info sheet anyway.

Below a few images to show exactly how close we are.  Please note the handmade map (2nd image) is not totally up-to-date except for the area close to the Balboa Inn itself.

- Bridge of Americas

February 17, 2010 By: thorwald Category: - from Bridge of Americas

Finding us when you return from the other side of the Canal over the Bridge of the Americas is very easy.

  • Take the first exit to the right after crossing the bridge
  • Follow the road and continue to the right at the intersection
  • After about half a mile, there’s a traffic light; make a right
  • Take the first street on your left (1/3 mile) where there’s a blue/white building on the corner called ‘Instituto Marina Mercante’
  • At the stop sign continue straight
  • Continue into the neighborhood and pass 5 speed bumps
  • About 50 yards after the 5th speed bump you’ll find the Balboa Inn on your right hand side

The pictures below make it even clearer.

Getting here by taxi

February 16, 2010 By: thorwald Category: - By taxi

If you have not arranged our airport transfer service and come by taxi, especially late at night, these instructions will help your driver find us. Remember, we’re a relatively new kids on the block so few taxi drivers know our location. Or, they simply assume we are another B&B like La Estancia or a back-packer hostel called ‘Balboa Bay’.  And as we still have to meet the first taxi driver who can read maps, they are not of much use either. However, we have included one below for your own reference.

So PLEASE print this page – or better, this PDF file – and take it with you and save yourself from possible frustration.

  • Quiero ir a Balboa (area revertida). Primero al Instituto Marina
    Mercante el cual se encuentra frente la escuela Bolivar. Allí
    entramos. A cien metros hay una intersección: seguimos recto,
    pasando cinco (5) policias muertas .
      Despues del quinto,
    apenas saliendo de la curva esta la casa 2311-A a su mano
    derecha.  Es la parte izquierda de un duplex. 

    Tiene un escudo pintado en la pared de fondo de la cochera que
    dice ‘Balboa Inn’.

    Teléfonos: 314-1520 / 6618-4414    


Getting here from Gamboa & Clayton

February 15, 2010 By: thorwald Category: - from Clayton/Gamboa

If you are in Gamboa, simply drive to the city taking the only road that takes you there.  First you pass the Pedro Miguel locks (on your right hand).  After crossing the railroad there, in about 10 minutes you’ll pass Clayton (former military barracks on your left hand and a big sign “Ciudad del Saber” (City of Knowledge).    The image below gives you an aerial view of this area. 

Continue on this road along the railroad track.  It’s now less than 5 minutes to the first traffic light.  At the 2nd traffic light, about 1 mile ahead, you’ll see a huge sign of ‘Supermercados REY’ on your left.  From then on, the maps of the Albrook airport section will help you.

from Tocumen (and back)

May 21, 2009 By: thorwald Category: - from Tocumen airport

There are 4 possible scenarios to get you from Panama’s International Airport Tocumen to the Balboa Inn:

  • We pick you up
  • You take a taxi
  • You drive with a rental car
  • Friends pick you up

(1) We pick you up
We highly recommend you let us arrange your airport pickup transfer. At $35 for 2 people addition cost is $10.00 per person. You can be sure to have a reliable driver that knows our exact location and doesn’t confuse us with another inn. We can arrange pickup at any time of the day or night. To use this service, simply arrange it during the booking process or send us your flight data.  We will then send you a copy of these airport pickup instructions.

(2) You take a taxi
If you prefer to take an airport taxi. No problem. But please, make sure to print out this document and, very important, take it with you :-). Even the most geographically challenged taxi driver in Panama (and they are all very challenged!) should be able to make it. Remember, Panamanian taxi drivers can’t read maps so make sure they read the Spanish instructions that refer to well-known landmarks. The map is for your own reference. And do be sure to note our phone number just in case.

We don’t mind late check-ins but we definitely don’t get excited by being called at 11 p.m. by a confused taxi driver who has never been to Balboa, took the wrong turn, can’t count beyond 5 or took you to Balboa Avenue instead of the Balboa neighborhood. And we know you won’t be happy neither. So, please print the instructions and carry them with you.

(3) You drive a rental car
No problem. Although driving in Panama City – depending on the time of day – is not always for the faint of heart, it certainly not as bad as Bangkok or Calcutta. As an option, you may actually consider picking up your rental car at Albrook airport after you arrive at the Balboa Inn. Driving in the Canal area is a whole different story and getting in and out of town, from Balboa, is very easy. We’re right near the Bridge of the America’s and the highway to Colon.

Please review and PRINT the  instructions on this page (in PDF).  to make driving over from Tocumen as easy as we can possibly make it.

Don’t count on your rental-company supplied GPS! We just had guests (October 2010) that spent over 2 hours driving around because their GPS didn’t work.  We also know some rental companies don’t update the local maps which can lead to all kinds of aggravation.  When you call the Balboa Inn in such a case, we will recommend you flag down a taxi and have them lead you to the Balboa Inn.   Of course for this you will need the directions for a taxi driver in Spanish.  So just place safe: print it and take it along.

(4) Friends pick you up
It’s good to have friends! Just make sure they know where the Balboa Inn is and when in doubt, tell them to check out this page and the maps above.

Return to Tocumen with a rental car?

Very easy.  Please review and print this page or ask our staff to print it.