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Panama City

Culture & History

Our most recommended Panama City Culture & History

Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

1. 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.

From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

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

Spend the day exploring the Panama Canal, learning about its history and creation. Visit the museum and make your way to the Chagres River to embark on a boat ride across Gatun Lake. 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. Return to the vehicle and pass Miraflores Lake and the Pedro Miguel Locks as you make your way to the town of Gamboa. Upon arrival at 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 the large ships passing 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: 4-Day Island Hopping San Blas Adventure

3. Panama City: 4-Day Island Hopping San Blas Adventure

Discover what local life is like in San Blas on this 4-days island hopping tour. Get to know the beautiful islands of this Central American paradise, and enjoy the white sand beaches and turquoise ocean. You may choose the standard transportation option which allows for a maximum of 6 passengers per vehicle, or choose the upgraded transport option to travel in a little more comfort with a maximum of 4 passengers per vehicle. Day 1 Pickup from selected hotels in Panama City begins at 5:20 AM. After pickup, you will stop by a supermarket in case you want to buy snacks or drinks. Then, head to the San Blas hills. The journey takes about 2.5 hours and is followed by a 30-minute boat ride to Ina island where you will sleep and have lunch and dinner. Pay a visit to a natural swimming pool and sample some fresh local lobster for dinner during lobster season. Day 2 After breakfast, enjoy a hiking tour in the San Blas jungle up to a waterfall. Spot monkeys, sloths, many birds, and iguanas. Come back to Ina Island for lunch and then take your boat to the 2nD Island Aroma. Relax and discover this island at your own pace. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included. Day 3 After breakfast, take a boat to Perro Chico island where you will sleep. You will first visit Iguana Island where you can kayak all around and visit another natural swimming pool. Once in Perro Chico, take your snorkel gear and visit the sunken boat which is just in front of the island and full of tiny colored fishes. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included. Day 4 After breakfast, take a boat back to Panama City. Breakfast is included.

Panama City: Legends of Casco Viejo Sightseeing Tour

4. Panama City: Legends of Casco Viejo Sightseeing Tour

Walk around Casco Viejo with a local guide, explore the historic centre and travel back in time to the golden days of this extraordinary part of the city. The guide will tell you interesting facts and stories of love, glory and fortune, but also of intrigue, war and conflict. She or he can also advise you on where to eat and where to drink during your stay. By the end of the tour you’ll know more than a local! This is a tour made for lovers of outdoor walks, it is made for people like you, who yearn to find experiences with real local people. After meeting your tour guide, she/he will lead you through Plaza Herrera, Plaza de Francia, Plaza Bolivar, Plaza de la Independencia, church of San Jose, the Cathedral, Santo Domingo church, the Presidential Palace, the “bóvedas” or dungeons, the Nacional Theater, and other interesting sites that Casco has to offer. There will also be opportunities to visit artisan shops, coffee shops, ice cream shops, and restaurant recommendations to make the most of your day in one of the most popular neighborhoods of Panama. You can eather meet your guide at the starting point or be picked up from a location, hotel or accommodation within the city area, just make sure to select the correct booking option. Also, we have enough umbrellas for everyone in case it rains, leave your worries behind.

Panama City: San Blas Islands 2-Day 2-Night Sailboat Tour

5. Panama City: San Blas Islands 2-Day 2-Night Sailboat Tour

Explore the San Blas archipelago on this two day and two night trip from Panama City. Savor fresh locally sourced seafood meals onboard with drinks. Try to catch a fish with the fishing equipment or uncover the secrets of the underwater world with the snorkeling gear. Day 1: Be picked up from the comfort of your hotel in Panama City at 5 AM. Sit back and enjoy the scenic 3-hour drive to port Carti. Take a speedboat to the boat where you can settle in and relax. Sail to the turquoise waters of the Cayos Limones islands where you can snorkel and soak up some sun on the white sand beach. Have the chance to meet indigenous Kuna people and learn about their culture and way of life. Spend some free time looking at local handcraft shops or purchasing a fresh seafood lunch at a restaurant. Head back to the boat to rest for the evening. Day 2: Enjoy fishing in the sea as you cruise to the island of Cayos Nasargandub. Once at the island, chillout in a hammock in the shade of palm trees on the beach or go for a swim through the crystal clear waters. Rest in the boat in the evening. Day 3: After a delicious breakfast, catch the speedboat back to the port and transfer back to your accommodation in Panama City.

Panama City: Historic District and Canal Tour with Transfer

6. Panama City: Historic District and Canal Tour with Transfer

- pick up at your hotel - visit Miraflores Locks canal, you will see the transit of the ships through the locks, at the same time I will explain the operations of the Canal - Visit the Causeway Amador, I will drive you to the islands connected to mainland through a 6 kms road named Naos, Perico and Flamenco with a beautiful view of the skyline. - Lunch time (optional) you can enjoy the traditional panamanian food during your tour. - visit the historical district of Panama, the Casco Viejo, there we can walk around the narrow streets and I will give you all the information of that interesting site, also you can buy some handicrafts around the different plazas. - finally I can drop you off at your hotel, mall within Panama city.

Chagres National Park Hike and Embera Village Tour

7. Chagres National Park Hike and Embera Village Tour

Begin your full-day excursion with an hour-long drive from Panama City to the Chagres National Park. Established in 1984, the park comprises 334,000 acres of forest, lakes and rivers. Enjoy a traditional piragua boat ride on the Chagres River, followed by a half-hour walk through the jungle to a waterfall that’s hidden from civilization. Enjoy some free time at the waterfall to swim and relax, and then head back to the boat. Continue to an indigenous Embera village, where you’ll learn about their culture. Listen to a speech by the chief or one of the leaders of the community while enjoying some seasonal fruits, then taken in a live performance of traditional music and dance.

Panama City: Small-Group Miraflores Locks and City Tour

8. Panama City: Small-Group Miraflores Locks and City Tour

Starting the day early will give you the chance to learn even more about the Panama Canal. Skip the traffic and arrive at the Miraflores Locks visitor center when it opens, so you can watch the action in peace. After the canal, head to Casco Viejo, the second city of Panama built in 1673. Walk around and enjoy the architecture and hear about its historical relevance.  Drive over the Bridge of the Americas for amazing views. Stop at the viewpoint to hear more about Panama City and its future. The Amador Causeway, Panama City's bustling boardwalk, is one of the most refreshing places in the city. End the tour with some recommendations for lunch and further exploration from your guide, leaving you with the tools to get the most out of your visit to this beautiful and modern city.

Panama: Miraflores, Canal, & Casco Viejo Private City Tour

9. Panama: Miraflores, Canal, & Casco Viejo Private City Tour

Discover the sights of Panama City on this private multi-stop day tour with a local guide. Visit the Miraflores Locks and the Panama Canal and its museum before continuing to Amador Causeway and Casco Viejo, Panama City’s colonial quarter. In the morning, meet your private Panama guide at your hotel or residence, then set out for an unforgettable excursion to the city’s most historical sites and the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks. Take a 30-minute ride to the Miraflores Locks to observe the huge vessels passing the Panama Canal. The busiest hours are from 9 AM to 11 AM and from 2 PM to 5 PM, so you will be able to see many ships getting lifted or lowered 16 meters in two distinct steps. Take in the views on the locks from a sheltered terrace and listen to the explanations of your guide. To complete your visit to the Canal, visit the Panama Canal Museum and Visitor Center to get a good idea of the construction of the canal, a masterpiece of engineering. Before the next stop, learn about the history of the canal and its significance for Panama and the entire world trade as well as on the current expansion project. Continue the tour to the Panamá Viejo, the ruins of Old Panama. Old Panama was the first European settlement and community on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. This first Panama City was looted and destroyed by the notorious English buccaneer Henry Morgan in 1671 and therefore was abandoned. Today, there are only ruins left of Old Panama. Still, the tower of the ancient cathedral is standing and has become a landmark of the town. Head to Amador Causeway next, a road that connects three Islands in the Pacific Ocean and offers unbeatable views of the canal on one side and of the city skyline on the other. Lunch will be served in a Panamanian restaurant on the causeway (cost not included). After lunch, the tour continues to the Casco Viejo, where you will feel set back in time as you admire and enjoy the view of the characteristic colonial houses, the narrow roads, and the awe-inspiring churches. Before drop-off back at your hotel or residence, get a better picture of Panama’s history by driving or walking through the main attractions of this historic quarter. 

Panama City Private Tour

10. Panama City Private Tour

See the highlights of Panama City and the incredible Panama Canal on a 5-hour morning or afternoon tour with a private guide. Get picked-up from your hotel by comfortable car, and then visit the Miraflores Visitors Center to learn more about the workings of the Panama Canal. Watch the ships pass through the locks at the busiest time of day. Then, marvel at the Amador Coastway road that connects 3 islands at the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal. Visit the Biodiversity Museum designed by Frank Gehry, or learn more about the tropical marine life at the Smithsonian Marine Research Center. Get some time for lunch before exploring the Old Town of Panama City to appreciate the beauty of the colonial buildings and browse the handicrafts stores.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Panama City

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What people are saying about Panama City

Overall rating

4.1 / 5

based on 172 reviews

What an adventure! Cesar (our guide) was wonderful. Group of 7 and pick up was directly from the hotel. Drove to the Chagres National Park, from their took a motorized canoe to the trail. Gorgeous ride through the forest. The hike was a medium, if you are used to an uneven, slippy, rocky path. Lots of wading through water, in some spots just below the knee. Wear waterproof non slip shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting wet. The scenery was fantastic and the reward of swimming at the waterfall, priceless! Boat ride back to the Embera Village for a great freshly prepared lunch of fish, plantains and fresh fruit. The villagers welcomed us and spent time telling the group about their culture. It was so interesting. Time to buy the crafts they make and enjoy a performance of music and dance. I cannot recommend this tour enough. Worth every penny. Thank you for an unforgettable experience. Julie

We booked the Panama City: Layover Private Tour and were incredibly satisfied with this activity. Our guide was prepared, friendly and knowledgable about the beautiful city of Panama!!! We were greeted and excorted to a comfortable, clean vehicle and given cold water upon entry. We toured the new city by car, the old city on foot and were able to witness the ship process through the canal as a perfect ending to our 5 hour tour. Dan Taylor was the best! Would highly recommend this activity to anyone visiting Panama City.

This was an unbelievable, once in a lifetime kind of experience that I am so happy that we took! Meeting the local tribe, experiencing their cooking and crafts and dancing… It was epic!

Manuel did an excellent job with our group of five people. I would highly recommend him if you’re in Panama and look into doing a tour

I wad lucky to get a private tour. The guide was great and I enjoyed the trip very much.