This tour includes three of Panama City’s most famous landmarks: the Panama Canal, the archaeological site of Panamá Viejo, and the capital’s Old Quarter or Casco Antiguo.
The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal, a marvel of modern engineering, was opened in 1914, as the steamship Ancón crossed its locks. More than a century later, the canal is still at the heart of worldwide commerce, allowing more than 300 million tons of raw materials and products to cross between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans at ease. No visit to Panama is complete without getting to know the visitor center at the Miraflores Locks, on the Pacific side of the canal.
In 1513, Spanish conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa was the first European to lay his sight on the New World’s Pacific Ocean coasts. Six years later, fellow countryman Pedrarias Dávila founded the city of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Panamá, the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Panama swiftly became a major transit and commerce town, where most of the riches from the Americas passed by on their way to the Spanish crown. This brought the unwanted attention of pirates and corsairs, like the infamous Henry Morgan, who sacked and destroyed the old town of Panama in 1671. The Spaniards rebuilt the city some kilometers away to the Southeast, leaving the ruins of the first settlement behind. These ruins are known today as Panamá Viejo.
After the destruction of the old town of Panama at the hands of Welsh corsair Henry Morgan, the town was rebuilt on a spot easier to defend: a small peninsula with very limited ground access, surrounded by coral reefs. This is how the Old Quarter of Panama City came into being, known today as Casco Antiguo. After years of neglect and abandonment, Panama City’s heart has undergone a significant transformation, with several restoration projects bringing back the neighborhood’s old glory. Today, Casco Antiguo displays with pride the beauty of its XVII-XX century colonial architecture.
* Service is charged based on an hourly rate, at 24 USD per hour. Estimated charges have been calculated based on the average amount of hours for this tour. The drivers are willing to make changes to the itinerary and spend more time on the attractions that the client would like to further explore, and will adjust the final price based on the hourly rate. The transportation service, the travel consultant’s charges to prepare the itinerary, and the driver’s explanations are included in this price; it does not include attraction entry fees, if any, which will be paid separately by the customer.