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Panama Culture & history

Our most recommended Panama Culture & history

From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

1. From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

Spend half a day exploring the Panama Canal while learning about its history and creation. See the famed Miraflores Locks in action and take a scenic boat ride on the Chagres River. Get picked up at your hotel or other location in Panama City, and journey to the Panama Canal Visitors Center for a detailed explanation about how the canal and famous Miraflores Locks work. Visit the museum to learn more about this important water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Drive by Miraflores Lake and the Pedro Miguel Locks as you make your way to the Chagres River. Climb aboard for a scenic boat trip across artificial Gatun Lake. Marvel at the surrounding landscape of the biggest and most important lake in the Panama Canal. Watch as large ships pass through the canal to get a sense of the magnitude of this masterpiece of engineering. Arrive at a group of islands to see different species of animals and monkeys. Return to Panama City and get dropped off at your hotel.

Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

2. Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

Enjoy 2 hours at the fascinating Panama Canal before exploring Panama City's history and sights. Discover 4 levels of exhibitions about the Canal at the Miraflores Visitor Center.  Take a panoramic drive along the Ancon foothills where you can take in the lush greenery and learn about the area's importance during the world wars. Stop at the Amador Causeway for a chance to get some incredible photos of the city, try one of its best ceviche places, have some amazing homemade ice cream, or do some shopping. Walk through the streets of the Old Town and visit the Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria la Antigua. Take a guided walk, ending in the Plaza de Francia on the old walls that protected the city from invasion over the years.

Panama City: Guided Panama Canal & City Tour with Transfers

3. Panama City: Guided Panama Canal & City Tour with Transfers

First arrive to the Miraflores Visitor's Center look for the transit to the vessels in the Panama Canal, there you can see when the vessels raise and through the Miraflores lake and continue the raise to Pedro Miguel Locks, next trough for the bridge of Americas for look the panoramic air view for the New Locks, and the line for the vessels waiting your turn for transit for the canal, stop in the Flamingo island for take the picture to the big Panama sign and see the natural fishbowl, and finish in the marvel Casco Antiguo, there we'll walk or make the panoramic view to the churches and squares. Tour time around 4 to 5 hours.

From Panamá City: Panama Canal and Fort San Lorenzo Tour

4. From Panamá City: Panama Canal and Fort San Lorenzo Tour

After picking you up at your hotel, you will go to the Panama Canal Visitor Center located in Agua Clara. Watch the large vessels in the new locks of the Panama Canal, one of the most important engineering works worldwide. After you arrive at your destination, head to Fort San Lorenzo fortress, considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Fort Portobelo. Explore the military fortress dating from the 1750s with your guide. An exemplar specimen of the defence system built by the Spanish Crown to protect its transatlantic trade, take yourself back in time with stories about the famous pirates and sea captains, such as Henry Morgan and Francis Drake. After your guided tour finished, relax on your return transfer back to Panamá City by vehicle, arriving back at your hotel in time for lunch.

Casco Viejo, Panama: 2-hour family walking tour

5. Casco Viejo, Panama: 2-hour family walking tour

Discover the historic heart of Panama with a walking tour through the city's old quarter, designed to be enjoyed by the whole family. Go off the beaten path on this two-hour sightseeing tour that takes you past San Francisco de Asis and San José churches in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll along the waterfront with a professional guide who can tell you about Panama's revolutionary past, pirate escapades, and more in a fun and interactive way. Marvel at the majestic mix of Spanish, French, and early American architectural styles at a relaxed and easy pace.

From Panama City: Portobelo Guided Kayak Tour

6. From Panama City: Portobelo Guided Kayak Tour

Portobelo Bay provides a Panama kayak adventure second to none. On it you will cover all main things to do in Portobelo. Portobelo was discovered in 1502, and it was named by Christopher Columbus when his vessels sought shelter in the "beautiful port" from a storm. In 1596, even before it was officially founded, Portobelo suffered its first attack at the hands of Sir Frances Drake. Drake died of fever before he could capture Portobelo. He was secretly buried at sea off the entrance to the harbor. The town was officially founded in 1597 and was given the name of San Felipe de Portobelo in honor of King Philip II of Spain. During the late l6th and early l7th century Portobelo was the principal Spanish trade port on the Atlantic for all of South America. The exchange of merchandise took place annually at the Portobelo trade fair which lasted from 30 to 60 days. During this time, Portobelo was a beehive of activity. In 1668 Henry Morgan attacked the town from the land and launched a surprise attack on Fort Santiago, one of the town's fortresses. The city was at the mercy of Morgan's men who launched an orgy of looting, debauchery and torture-a reign of terror. The town was attacked by other buccaneers and pirates such as Englishmen William Parker in 1601 and Edward Vernon in 1739. As a result of the repeated pirate attacks Portobelo's annual trade fairs were forced stop. Spain abandoned the Isthmian route for the longer but more secure one around Cape Horn. The golden age of Portobelo ceased. ITINERARY Tour begins by picking up guests in Panama City at 7:00 a.m., to them travel to Portobelo by road. We will visit Santiago Fort, Portobelo (Geronimo Fort and Customs House), and around 11:00 a.m., the tour proceeds paddling across the bay, for about 30 minutes, to the other cannon battery built by the conquistadores to protect the bay, San Fernando. We will walk and learn about the ruins history. Then we proceed kayaking along the coast up to a hidden beach, perfect to relax and do some snorkeling. At approximately 1:00 a.m., we will start an exciting one hour sea kayak tour back Portobelo. Afterwards we have a lunch (coconut rice with octopus is a favorite dish). We should arrive to the original pick up place at the city by 5:00 p.m. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE ? All mentioned transportation, expedition kayaks and snorkel gear, guides, and meals. Our guides are trained in kayak navigation skills, first-aid and CPR. WHO CAN GO ? Any person from twelve to seventy years old, in good health. Minors must travel with a responsible adult. WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE ALONG ? A pair of shorts for navigating, sneakers or strapped sandals, a cap, sun-block, a light jacket or windbreaker (in case of rain), a towel and a dry set of clothes for the trip back. WHAT SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT ? Any object than can be deteriorated by water or valuables like jewels, cash, credit cards, etc.

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What people are saying about Panama

Overall rating

4.1 / 5

based on 172 reviews

An all around great experience. Our guide, Juan Carlos Valdez from Conoza Panama Tours was a exceptional. If you want a tour you won't forget this is the one to take. We had a great day and enjoyed our time in Panama City, Panama. Highly recommended!

Everything happened as described. Roberto (our guide) informed us very well on the tour and was very friendly and accommodating. This excursion is highly recommended and gives a good taste of the sights of Panama City and the canal.

Ricardo our tour guide and David our driver were both pleasant and courteous. Learned a great deal of Panamanian history. 5 stars would definitely recommend.

We enjoyed the tour and would highly recommend to anyone wanting to see the Canal and Panama City.

Awesome experience learned a lot about the culture. I recommend to everyone.