TOUR DESCRIPTION The Half Day City Tour takes you onto a fascinating history journey starting in Panama Viejo, where Pedro Arias de Avila founded the first Spanish City on 15 August 1519, continues to Casco Antiguo, the historic center of Panama city with beautiful restored colonial houses, interesting museums, cathedrals and plazas.
4+ persons: US$85 per person plus 7% tax
2-3 persons: US$120 per person plus 7% tax
INCLUDED Bilingual naturalist guide, museum and related fees, bottled water, transportation from/to your hotel in Panama City (please note that a $35 per person roundtrip surcharge based on 2+ persons must be added to day tours beginning and/or ending at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, Canopy Tower, Playa Bonita or hotels near Tocumen Airport)
DISCLAIMER Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.
Begin your exploration today with a short ride across town to the ruins of Panama Viejo (the old city). Panama City is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the Pacific coast of the Americas. It was founded in 1519 as a consequence of the discovery by the Spanish of the “South Sea” in 1513. The archaeological remains of the original settlement (known today as the Archaeological Site of Panamá Viejo) include the Pre-Columbian vestiges of the Cuevan aboriginal occupation of the same name, and currently encompass a UNESCO protected heritage site covering 32 hectares. The settlement was a first rank colonial outpost and seat of a Royal Court of Justice during the 16th and 17th centuries when Panama consolidated its position as an intercontinental hub. Its growth in importance, as it profited from the imperial bullion lifeline, is reflected by the imposing stone architecture of its public and religious buildings. During its 152 years of existence, the town was affected by slave rebellion, fire and an earthquake, but was destroyed in the wake of a devastating attack in 1671 by pirate Henry Morgan.
Continue to Casco Antiguo. In 1673, after the devastating pirate attack, Panama City was moved some 7.5 km west, to a small peninsula at the foot of Ancon hill, closer to the islands that were used as the port and near the mouth of a river that eventually became the entrance of the Panama Canal. The relocated town, known today as Casco Antiguo or the Historic District of Panama, not only had better access to fresh water but could be fortified. The military engineers, moreover, took advantage of the morphological conditions that complemented the wall surrounding the peninsula, all of which prevented direct naval approaches by an enemy. Several buildings within the District are identified as important for the country’s 17th-20th century heritage. Most outstanding are the churches, above all the metropolitan cathedral with its five aisles and timber roof; San Felipe Neri, San José, San Francisco and especially La Merced with its well-preserved colonial timber roof. The Presidential Palace originally built in the late 17th century and partially reconstructed in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, is a revealing example of the transformations that characterize the Historic District as a whole. The House of the Municipality, the National Theatre, the Ministry of Government and Justice and the Municipal Palace are outstanding buildings of a more recent period. Casco Antiguo is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour ends with a visit the Interoceanic Canal museum that is housed in the building that was the original headquarters for the French canal building effort in the 1880s. After the tour, return to your hotel.
- 08:30 hrs. Approximate pick up time at your hotel in Panama City
- 12:30 hrs Approximate return to your hotel in Panama City
This tour is available from Tuesday through Sunday (on Mondays the museums in Panama are closed).
Check our SPECIALS SECTION for current "open tours" with already passengers signed up or review our green season Specials!
WHAT TO BRING
- Binoculars (available for rent at Ancon Expeditions of Panama)
- Refill water bottle
- Cap or hat
- Sunscreen lotion
- Light clothing
- Light raincoat
- Tennis shoes or sandals
Ancon Expeditions is Panama’s top eco-tourism operator. Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the country's finest. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:
- Naturalist guide/Tour leader: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
- Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
- Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
- Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
- Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
- Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase
- International airport bellmen (red caps): US$1.00 per piece of suitcase
“It was a fantastic tour. Our guide, did a super job.
It was a great experience and would recommend it to anyone.”
Joseph G. Acker, USA
Just wanted to say thank you ever so much for your assistance with bookings and information for our trip. Both tours were excellent and the guides were exceptionally brilliant. I shall recommend your company to everyone I know.
We are on our way home to cold and wintery England but will return one day for sure."
Dominic Canti, England
“Unfortunately, our stay in Panama City was very short, just for three days… This means that we had to see and learn so many things in only a very short time. I think that the two day tours we took with your company gave us the opportunity to do so, but not only… we got much more than we had expected… MUCHAS GRACIAS!”
Chrystalla Koumi, Cyprus
“The trip met our expectations with respect to the people we met, the hotels, and the meals. It was a great trip. We enjoyed every day.”
Max Wilson, USA
From getting information on the telephone, to choosing a mutually agreeable location to meet, to the sign made up so we could find our guide, to our guide and what the tour encompassed - ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC MELANIE, all 4 of us loved it and believe we received good value for our money. We ate in a small restaurant in Casco Viejo, loved the atmosphere, food & service. No dislikes on the tour, would highly recommend it.”
Mauren Richichi, Canada
“Good Morning Katiana.
First I would like to thank you for all your assistance in getting my tour booked and arrangement for us. I had a wonderful time, learned a lot and was very enjoyable time. Lunch was excellent, nice and cozy restaurant, very well done.”
Nathalie Hains, USA
“We had a great day learning about Panama's history and having a tour of the city.
It was an excellent way to start our trip, and we'd ask for our guides again.”
Lucy Preson, USA