Panama City
History & Heritage

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Our most recommended Panama City History & Heritage

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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From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

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

4. 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

5. 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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Panama City Day Tour

6. 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

7. 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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Panama City: Miraflores Locks and Casco Viejo Tour

8. Panama City: Miraflores Locks and Casco Viejo Tour

Start with pickup from your hotel in Panama City and travel to the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal. Learn how the ships rise and descend 16 meters to pass through the locks. Explore the 4 exhibitions at the Miraflores Visitors Center which pays tribute to one of the Eight Wonders of the Modern World. Learn about the biodiversity, functionality, and importance of the Panama Canal internationally.   Continue to the Calzada de Amador, where you will find the sea wall constructed by the United States to protect the navigable course of the Panama Canal. Make a quick stop at the duty-free where you'll have some free time to buy some items tax-free. Next, stop at the artisan market of Casco Viejo, an area of diverse architectural influences. Finally, head to the statue of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and then be returned to your hotel in the city.

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Panama City Layover Tour

9. Panama City Layover Tour

Using your flight number and airline name, a driver will track your flight until it lands. After landing, the driver will be waiting for you outside with a sign highlighting your name. The driver will assist you to the car with your luggage. Once in the car, the driver will head to the Miraflores Visitors Center at the Panama Canal where you will see the ships going through the Miraflores Locks on their way from one ocean to the other. The tour will be designed for you to visit the Panama Canal during the busiest time of the day so you can watch the whole process from a terrace. After leaving the Panama Canal, the guide will take you to the Amador Coastway, a road which connects 3 islands where you will have the opportunity to see the Biodiversity Museum designed by Frank Gehry or the Smithsonian Marine Research Center. The following destination will be the Old Town of Panama where you can appreciate the beauty of colonial buildings and handicraft shops while walking the quaint, narrow roads. After the Old Town, see the modern Panama City on your way to the airport.

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Panama City: Isla Grande Beach and Portobelo Tour

10. Panama City: Isla Grande Beach and Portobelo Tour

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in Panama City, and then journey by comfortable car to the Spanish colonial city of Portobelo, founded 420 years ago as the main port along the nation's Atlantic Coast. Get 1 hour to discover the sights of the historical city, where highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the ruins of the colonial fortifications and the nearby Fort Santiago in Portobelo. Relax on a private beach with crystal clear water and get full access to the showers and bathroom facilities. Go for a walk around the island to learn more about the locals and visit their shops. Avail of the hotel's bar and a great restaurant, serving delicious from the Caribbean. Return to Panama City at the end of an amazing day, and get dropped off at your hotel on arrival.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Panama City

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What people are saying about Panama City

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 169 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.

This is a wonderful tour, very informative guide, awesome experience with the monkeys! Definitely bring extra clothes though, it downpour rained while on the boat ..but we'll worth 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 .

it was ok but many olaces are still closed becouse of covid. However instead of the closed attractions should be prepared something different becouse its paid.

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