10. Private Tour of Panama City’s Greatest Sites
You gaze out on the magnificence of one of the marvels of the modern age, watching as ships are raised and lowered through the Miraflores Lock of the Panama Canal. You see the beauty of the Amador Causeway, eating lunch at a local food stand on the side of the road. You wander through the history of the Casco Antiguo. All of this and more is available on this private tour that includes some of the city's most famous sites.
The full day tour begins at your hotel, where your own guide greets you and escorts you to your car for a beautiful 30-minute drive to the famous Miraflores Lock. Your arrival here will be timed perfectly to watch as gigantic ships pass through the three locks making up the Panama Canal. Built between 1904-1914, over 14,000 ships pass through these lanes every year, and you will soon see why the Canal has been named one of the seven modern wonders of the world. Your visit here will be completed with a visit to the Museum and Visitor Center at Miraflores, so you can marvel at the masterpiece of engineering you’ve just seen.
The journey continues with a stop at the Amador Causeway, with its glorious views over the Canal and the Panama City skyline. This causeway was created from rock extracted during the digging of the Panama Canal and serves as a breakwater for the entrance to the canal. Here you will dine on a typical Panamanian lunch, served in a lovely local restaurant along the causeway. The view will leave you breathless, and you'll enjoy your relaxed lunch drinking in its beauty.
After lunch, trek deeper into the history of Panama with a visit to the Casco Antiguo -- Panama City’s colonial quarter. Here, you can step back in time and wonder what it must have been like to stroll around these Colonial Houses during their peak era during the 17th and 18th centuries. Settled in 1519, it was built following the near-total distraction of the original Panama in 1671 by notorious English Buccaneer Henry Morgan. Named in 1997 as a World Heritage Site, the charming streets and impressive churches will astonish you, and you will have plenty of time to stroll through the winding streets that still serve as a monument to the French builders who built the Panama Canal. Here you will also have the chance to explore some of the superb museums, as well as the Old Cathedral with its shiny spires inlaid with mother-of-pearl. In the nearby San Jose Cathedral, gaze at the intricately carved wood Alter, gilded in gold. Your guide will drive you through many corners of this Old City, pointing out the main attractions of this historic quarter.
Your day concludes with a pleasant drive back to your hotel.