One of the things that I like to do when venturing to a new place is a walking tour. On my trip to Panama City, Panama, the very first day, I arranged one of the walking tours that are available in the city. I find it's best to see and hear about a place through someone who is actually from that place and lives there. To me, it's one of the best ways to explore and get more comfortable with a location. But, also get a more in-depth perspective about what a place is really like from a person who knows their country.
Initially, while doing my research on Panama City and the things we could do while there. I came across a very detailed blog from Joey Bonura, called The PYT Life (blog linked here). He's a blogger that is currently living in Panama City, and he has ample information about Panama City, along with tours and activities listed on his blog. He offers a walking tour (his walking tour here), but wasn't available for the weekend of our visit because he was jet setting himself. So he put us in contact with another local guide that was available.
That guide ended up being Victor Peterz, who is a local Panamanian who has a tour available that covers the areas of El Chorillo and Casco Viejo. He had two different options for his walking tour that we could choose from. One is a 2-hour tour, for $45 per person, to only tour the El Chorillo neighborhood. The second option is a much longer tour, which is 4-hours. This walking tour takes you threw the neighborhoods of El Chorillo, includes drinks and food for $75 per person (his walking tour linked here).
The great thing about Victor's tour for us was the flexibility of the start time. We were able to move the walking tour from 3 p.m to 4 p.m due to the time that our flight would land into Panama City. We appreciated the flexibility of him.
We started our tour in the area of Casco Viejo at Plaza Herrera and moved into the neighborhoods of El Chorillo. So we were able to see the contrast of both and hear the history of each neighborhood. We learned so much about how certain areas are now facing gentrification, various social problems, how gangs and violence affect certain areas, and the part that the United States governments played in issues such as the Invasion of Panama.
After walking through these neighborhoods, Victor took us to a local food truck that was sitting in a lot. It has an entire set up with chairs, tables, and a stage. The food options were pretty good also. After eating, we then moved to a local rum bar called Pedro Mandinga to try a few samples of their local rum.
We enjoyed this walking tour by Victor, and I learned so many things that I otherwise would have never known. It was such a good tour and gave a personal perspective on these neighborhoods. I would highly recommend this tour with Victor.