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Discover Panama City

Overview

Discover the highlights of Panama City and the sights surrounding this historic and cosmopolitan Central American capital with its UNESCO archaeological site of Panama Viejo and colonial Old Quarter. Immerse yourself in a little culture as you visit a village of the Emberá Quera Indians. Then marvel at the engineering feat that is the Panama Canal as you make a partial transit by ship through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks. 

Trip Code: PATSPSO

Location: Panama

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

Panama City, Panama’s capital, is possibly the most cosmopolitan capital in Central America. It is a modern city framed by the Pacific Ocean and the man-made Panama Canal. The original city of Panama (Panama Viejo) was destroyed by fire in 1671. The city was rebuilt on a peninsula, 8kms from the original settlement. It is known as Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) and is the historic centre of Panama, with cobble-stoned streets and colonial buildings. The archaeological site of Panama Viejo and the historic district of Panama are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The banking district is a lively and vibrant sector of the city.

Arrival in Panama City

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.

Arrival in Panama City

Today you will be taken on a tour through this cosmopolitan city with emphasis on historical sites and buildings. The most important stops on the tour are Panama Viejo (Old Panama) and the colonial part called Casco Antiguo. Old Panama was founded in 1519 and it was the first settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. In 1671 the notorious English buccaneer Henry Morgan looted and completely destroyed this city. In the same decade, a new Panama City was constructed 10 kilometres away on a better suited place – today’s Casco Antiguo. In Casco Antiguo you will view the main buildings and landmarks such as the President’s Palace, the remarkable cathedral and the San José church with its splendid golden altar.

Panama City Tour & Miraflores Locks

This morning your guide will collect you from your hotel and take you up north towards Lake Alajuela. Here you will step into small boats, which will carry you up the Chagres River past a fascinating and dense jungle. Upriver, you will step out of the dugout canoes and enjoy a short hike (at times muddy) to a beautiful waterfall in the midst of the rainforest. Enjoy this tropical paradise far away from any civilisation, take a swim in the refreshing pool just beneath the waterfall and submerge yourself in this true tropical getaway.

You will then visit the village of the Emberá Indians, one of seven indigenous tribes in Panama. The people of the Emberá tribe will welcome you at the pier and give you an idea on how they still live today. The village chief will give you a brief explanation of the history of the tribe, its traditions, cultures, beliefs and handicrafts. A traditional lunch of fish and plantains prepared by the Emberá women will be served to you. In the afternoon you will experience a traditional Emberá dance and have the opportunity to shop for handicrafts. The sale of local products directly benefits the village and helps to pay the school fees for the children. You can also get a temporary Emberá tattoo painted on your arm or leg using an ink made from a local fruit.

Embera Indian Village Tour

After a transfer from your hotel to Flamenco Marina, the partial transit starts with a 45 minute coach ride to the town of Gamboa where the Panama Canal Dredging Division is located. Once in Gamboa, you will board the cruise ship to start the water portion of the tour, entering the Canal at the north end of the Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the Canal. The Gaillard Cut (also known as Culebra Cut because its curves resemble a snake) is one of the main points of interest for visitors. It was carved through the Continental Divide and this section of the Canal is of great historical and geological value. Your boat will travel the Cut's 13.7 kilometres on the way to Pedro Miguel Locks. As you transit the Cut you will gain an appreciation of the continuous maintenance that this area requires, due to its susceptibility to landslides. In this area you will also be able to observe the work in progress for the Panama Canal expansion project.

Before reaching the Pedro Miguel Locks at the southern end of the Cut, you will be able to view the new Centennial Bridge which crosses over the Canal. After entering Pedro Miguel Locks, one of the two sets of locks on the Pacific side, the vessel is lowered 9 metres in one step. The ship then enters Miraflores Lake, which is a small artificial body of fresh water that separates Pedro Miguel from Miraflores Locks, the latter being the final set of locks before reaching the Pacific Ocean. At Miraflores Locks the vessel is lowered 16 metres in two distinct steps.

Once in the Pacific Ocean the vessel will sail to the beautiful Flamenco Marina where you disembark. On the way to Flamenco, you will pass under the Bridge of the Americas, and later you will see the Bay of Panama and Panama City's imposing skyline. On arrival at Flamenco you will be transferred back to your city hotel.

Please Note: This tour normally operates on Friday & Saturday. It can be changed to fit your travel dates.

Partial Panama Canal Transit (Shared)

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Depart Panama City
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Pricing & date

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Important Information

  • Accommodation with breakfast everyday
    Tours and transport as per the itinerary
    Meals as per the itinerary


    Exclusions

    Visa fees (if applicable)
    Meals not specified
    Airport tax (if applicable)
    Personal expenses
    Optional activities not mentioned in itinerary 
    Gratuities for staff/guides

  • Available upon request

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:

1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.

2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.

3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.

4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.

5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.