Rental cars are really cheap in Panama city. Something like $10 per day. But then they tack on $50 worth of car insurance. Mandatory car insurance. We ended up attempting to decline all insurance. It was a long and futile argument that ended with us paying for the expensive, mandatory low end insurance.
The roads are quite hazardous with massive lane dividers. Random missing manhole covers. Crazy taxi drivers. Likely normal stuff for any local but not something we were used to.
In less than 24 hours we crashed into the railing of an overpass and did many thousands worth of damage. Two broken rims. A bumper torn off and the front quarter panel completely torn back. (We were OK). Shocked but OK. Turns out that mandatory rental car insurance in Panama City is worth it.
Thank You to Thrifty Car rental. Thank You to the Police who took care of us. And thank you to the kind Panamanian passerby who helped translate our broken Spanish and take us home. What could have been a horrible situation ended in as pleasant of an experience as possible.
Oh, and we did manage to stock up on groceries, dry goods and booze for the next eight months!