Panama
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Panama Culture & History

Panama City: 5-Hour Tour and Panama Canal

1. Panama City: 5-Hour Tour and Panama Canal

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. See ships going through this iconic marvel of engineering. 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 through, ending in the Plaza de Francia on the old walls that protected the city from invasion over the years.

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Panama City: Small-Group Miraflores Locks and City Tour

2. 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.

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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.

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From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

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

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel or other location in Panama City, and journey to the Panama Canal Visitors Center to get 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 2 different species of monkeys. Return to Panama City and get dropped off at your hotel.

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Chagres National Park Hike and Embera Village Tour

5. 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 cacique or chief, while enjoying some seasonal fruit, then a live performance of traditional music and dance.

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

6. 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. 

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Panama: Panama Canal, Colón Rainforest and San Lorenzo Fort

7. Panama: Panama Canal, Colón Rainforest and San Lorenzo Fort

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in Panama City, and then journey by air-conditioned vehicle for approximately 1.5 hours as you make your way to Colón. Upon arrival, board a ferry for the 20-minute crossing to a rainforest, and then get back to nature as you explore the ecological paradise by minibus. Discover the home to 159 different species of mammals, 98 species of reptiles and 65 amphibious species. Observe the amazing wildlife in their natural habitat, and enjoy plenty of stops to take souvenir photos.  Next, go to the historic monument of San Lorenzo Fort, renowned for preventing attacks by the real pirates of the Caribbean for almost 75 years! Learn the history of the fort, now in ruins after the Spanish largely abandoned it in the mid 19th century. Continue to Agua Clara to spend about 45 minutes learning about the new canal system, built to support the passage of super tankers and large cargo ships as they pass along the Panama Canal.

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From Panama: 3-Day San Blas Islands Tour

8. From Panama: 3-Day San Blas Islands Tour

Enjoy a unique 2-night adventure in the San Blas Islands. After getting picked up from your hotel in Panama, begin your adventure with a boat ride to the islands. Stay in a private cabin on Ina Island, visit Pelican Island (where scenes from the 3rd series of Netflix series Money Heist were filmed), swim in a crystal-clear natural pool and visit Demar Achudup island. On the 2nd day, visit a Guna Community, and experience daily life at a school and health center. Afterward, continue to the Guna jungle, crossing the Sidra or Masargandi River. Make a stop along the way at the Rio Sidra Community Cemetery and learn more about its history from your guide. Along the way, admire colorful butterflies, various bird species and with a bit of luck, maybe even some toucans. After a 40-minute hike, reach the beautiful Saiba Waterfall where you can dive and soak in the waters of this crystal-clear natural wonder. On your final day, sit down to breakfast before departing from paradise and heading back to Panama.

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Panama City Day Tour

9. Panama City Day Tour

A day of fun in cosmopolitan Panama City. See the town that the world built and of course, its famous canal. Usually, your first stop will be Miraflores Locks and the Panama Canal. Miraflores Locks and the Panama Canal is your next stop. Here you will watch the ships maneuver the canal's locks, learn more about the canal at the museum. You will visit an artisan market for the best Panamanian-made souvenirs before heading to the Amador for lunch (not included). Then you will take a short nature trail walk in the Punta Culebra's open-air musuem, which is owned by the Smithsonian Foundation of Panama. Save the best for last with a walking tour of the old town: Casco Viejo. Marvel at its spectacular architecture and learn about the history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will be back back in your hotel around 16:00, unless you stay in Casco to soak up the rest of the afternoon on your own.

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Panama: Embera Village Private Day Trip

10. Panama: Embera Village Private Day Trip

Ride a canoe up the Chagres River, walk to a jungle waterfall, and visit the traditional Embera village on a full-day tour. Learn about their traditional food, see their lively dances, and immerse yourself in their fascinating traditions.  Start with a pickup and a 1-hour drive from Panama City to the Chagres River, the largest river in the Panama Canal watershed. Board a motorized canoe for a 20-minute trip along the river, then stretch your legs on a short walk to a pond and waterfall, where if weather conditions permit, you can take a dip.  Return to the canoe for the 45-minute ride to an Embera village, who have traditionally lived and worked at the edge of rivers, and are known throughout Panama for their distinctive songs, dances, and costumes.  The Embera tribe originates from the Darien region in Panama and the Choco region of Colombia. They have lived in this area for centuries, long before the first Spanish explorer set foot in the new world.  You’ll have 3-hours to explore the village, get to know some local people, and learn about life in the community. Sit down for a traditional lunch, then watch a dance that depicts the Embera's relationship with the natural world.  Before departing the village, shop for traditional handicrafts and souvenirs made by the local people. Head back down the river by canoe, and board the vehicle for the return trip to Panama City.

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What people are saying about Panama

Overall rating

4.1 / 5

based on 172 reviews

Our guide could not have been more friendly & knowledgeable, he was marvelous. The canal visit was great and truly a "must see". But the Monkey Island part was total surprise and utterly wonderful. We went on a small outboard boat through the canal, seeing large vessels go by us, towards several virgin jungle islands were we saw loads of birds and three different varieties of monkeys truly close-up. This was a great experience and I highly recommend it.

Excellent tour! Rafael was an excellent guide! We had excellent weather, luckily it didn't rain. Very friendly and willing to make us feel very comfortable. 100% recommendable .

Our guide was knowledgeabl and friendly yet professional. We felt we learned quite a bit about Panama and very much enjoyed the tour. Highly recommend

Dan the guide is attentive to all who took part in the trip. A gracious host and considerate of the those we visited.

This was an awesome day trip. Dan was our guide and he went over and above!