One of the entrances to the Panama Canal on the Pacific side, the port of Fuerte Amador, founded in 1519, is a short drive from Panama City. Explore the beautiful French and Spanish colonial homes in Panama City's Casco Viejo, marvel at Panama's lush rainforest or visit a secluded Indian village.

Port: Fuerte Amador (Balboa)
Experience

Fuerte Amador (Balboa)

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  • Colonial Panama - Casco Antiguo

    The image conjured by Panama is generally that of the spectacular Canal, considered by many the eighth wonder of the world.. However,

    few know of the amazing history of glory and tragedy that came to shape this country, once known as the Pearl of the Pacific.

    Take this opportunity to discover the tales of Gallantry and Piracy that await in the narrow streets of Old Colonial Panama and the Casco

    Antiguo.

    This scenic get acquainted excursion will drive through the streets of 'Old Panama', founded in 1673 by French colonists. Over the next

    200 years the city experienced many changes. You will notice the influences of each change through architecture, representing a

    wonderful blend of French, Spanish and Italian styles. The ruins of the churches and convents, colonial palaces, bridges and military

    buildings attest to the grandiose past of this city. A brief stop in the old center will be made for an encounter with Panama History.

    You will return to the tender landing on Flamenco Island with a wonderful appreciation of the Old Colonial City and the making of

    Panama.

    Please note: In order to navigate the narrow streets of Old Panama, Air-Conditioned Mini Buses - with maximum capacity of 20

    guests will be utilized for this excursion

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  • Two Oceans By Railroad - Dome Car

    This completely unique tour could easily be the highlight of your trip. Just imagine traveling down the tracks of the first transcontinental railroad in a comfortable domed railcar, while viewing what is widely considered to be the 8th wonder of the world; the Panama Canal, as well as spectacular Gatun Lake and the extraordinarily beautiful flora and fauna of the surrounding countryside. Adding to all of that, the unrivaled experience of traveling from one ocean to another, crossing the amazing continent of the Americas in just over one hour!

    The Panama Railroad was the brainchild of a group of New York Financiers who wanted to create an easy passage for the increasing gold rush traffic. The railroad took five years and eight million dollars to build, and was completed in 1855. During its first 12 years of operation, the train carried over 750 million dollars worth of gold and silver, and collected one-quarter of one percent of each shipment as duty. The railroad was rebuilt in 1909 during the construction of the Panama Canal, and without it, the canal could not have been built.

    Your journey will begin with a short coach transfer from the pier in Fuerte Amador to the Pacific side railroad station where you will board the train for your approximately 75-minute rail journey. As you travel through the lush tropical rainforest, your location from high atop your glass-domed car will give you an outstanding panoramic view of the passing scenery and there is a good chance you'll sight some Howler monkeys, colorful toucans or other exotic wildlife. Crossing the Continental Divide, you'll find yourself on the Atlantic side, where you will disembark the train.

    From here, it's a short coach transfer to Aqua Clara or the Expansion Locks It will truly seem as if the mammoth ships passing through the locks are a mere arm's length away. Following your time at the Locks, you will re-board your coach and transfer back to the pier in Fuerte Amador.

    Please note: This tour includes minimal walking and is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair and who are able to both make their way on and off the train and the coach. Casual, light weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun caps; sunglasses and sunscreen are suggested. A light snack will be served on board the train and restrooms are available on the train and at Gatun Locks, but not on the coaches. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.

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  • Former Canal Zone & Miraflores Locks

    The image conjured by Panamá is generally that of the spectacular Canal, considered by many the eighth wonder of the world and rightly so. However, few know of the amazing history of glory and tragedy that came to shape this country, once known as the Pearl of the Pacific.

    Departing the pier, we head towards the awesome Panamá Canal. Once there, you will enter the Miraflores Locks observatory to view the large ships that make

    their way through the Miraflores Locks' chambers.

    The return route will take you past the former Panamá Canal Zone where the military installations of the American administration are a gentle reminder of the strategic importance of the area.

    Then, it is back to the ship, filled with knowledge and history that will make your transit much more memorable.

    Please note: Although you may view ships well from the base level of the Miraflores Locks observatory, those of you who wish to climb to

    the viewing platform will have to negotiate over 40 steps. The order of the sites may vary due to the logistics of the tour. Depending on

    the time in port, the visit of the Miraflores Locks will be scheduled to coincide with the passage of a ship through the Canal if possible.

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  • Panama Canal Experience

    Experience the wonders of the Panama Canal on this spectacular partial canal transit.

    Arriving in Fuerte Amador, you will disembark the ship and take a short transfer by coach to the La Playita dock where you will board a spacious ferry and begin your unforgettable tour of the Panama Canal. The first lock you will pass through is the Miraflores Locks, where your ship will be raised the first 56 feet and enter Miraflores Lake. From here, you will transit through the Pedro Miguel Locks, where you will be raised the second 28 feet and enter Gatun Lake, once the largest man-made lake in the world. Crossing the Continental Divide at this point, you will continue on to Gaillard Cut. The Gaillard (or Culebra) Cut, was the most challenging section of the canal to build. As you pass through the Cut, you'll see the continuing excavation that keeps this passage open to marine traffic.

    Enjoy a buffet lunch aboard the ferry before your fascinating tour of the Canal ends in the small village of Gamboa. While not large in size, Gamboa is home to the headquarters of the Panama Canal dredging division and some of the largest floating cranes in the world. After leaving your ferry, board a waiting motor coach for the just over 1 hour drive back to the ship at Fuerte Amador. Each tour participant will receive a certificate that commemorates their crossing of the Canal.

    Please note: This tour includes minimal walking and is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair and who are able to both make their way on and off the coach. Casual, light weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun caps; sunglasses and sunscreen are suggested. Restrooms are available on the ferry but not on the coaches

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  • Executive Collection Full Day Car

    PRICE is per vehicle

    This exclusive arrangement is designed to allow you the chance to customize your time ashore and discover the most interesting sights in the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle. With your private car and the personalized attention of your driver and English-speaking guide, you will have the flexibility and independence to design your itinerary ashore according to your own interests and sightsee at your own pace. See the most famous sights or go beyond to create your own intimate connections and unique cultural encounters.

    The Executive Collection is recommended for the single/solo traveler, couples, family, friends, and special interest groups traveling together. It can also be an excellent choice for physically challenged guests.

    Capacity: 2 guests

    PLEASE NOTE: Private cars/vans/minibuses are ordered per vehicle (not per person), and only one person in the party need order the vehicle. The price shown is the total cost for the vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide. Kindly note, however, that in certain ports only a driver/guide will be assigned (one person), due to limited availability. Entrance fees are not included in this price, in order to provide you with the most flexibility. In many ports, the number of vehicles available is extremely limited; therefore guests are encouraged to make their reservation as early as possible.

    Half-day private tours must depart between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 am, or after 1:00 p.m.

    Upon embarkation, please consult the Destination Manager onboard to personally discuss your itinerary requirements and set your departure time.

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  • Two Oceans By Railroad

    This completely unique tour could easily be the highlight of your trip. Just imagine traveling down the tracks of the first transcontinental railroad in a beautifully restored and richly adorned railcar, while viewing what is widely considered to be the 8th wonder of the world; the Panama Canal, as well as spectacular Gatun Lake and the extraordinarily beautiful flora and fauna of the surrounding countryside. Adding to all of that, the unrivaled experience of traveling from one ocean to another, crossing the amazing continent of the Americas in just over one hour!

    The Panama Railroad was the brainchild of a group of New York Financiers who wanted to create an easy passage for the increasing gold rush traffic. The railroad took five years and eight million dollars to build, and was completed in 1855. During its first 12 years of operation, the train carried over 750 million dollars worth of gold and silver, and collected one-quarter of one percent of each shipment as duty. The railroad was rebuilt in 1909 during the construction of the Panama Canal, and without it, the canal could not have been built.

    Your journey will begin with a short coach transfer from the pier in Fuerte Amador to the Pacific side railroad station where you will board the train for your approximately 75-minute rail journey. As you travel through the lush tropical rainforest, there is a good chance you'll sight some Howler monkeys, colorful toucans or other exotic wildlife. Crossing the Continental Divide, you'll find yourself on the Atlantic side, where you will disembark the train.

    From here, it's a short coach transfer to Aqua Clara or the Expansion locks where you can spend some time on the observation deck and observe up-close how the canal operates. Following your time at locks, you will re-board your coach and transfer back to the pier in Fuerte Amador.

    Please note: This tour includes minimal walking and is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair and who are able to both make their way on and off the train and the coach. Casual, light weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun caps; sunglasses and sunscreen are suggested. A light snack will be served on board the train and restrooms are available on the train and at the Locks, but not on the coaches. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.

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  • Aerial Tram At Gamboa Resort

    The Gamboa Rain Forest Resort, a five star hotel, is located in the vicinity of the historic Chagres River, along side the Panamá Canal in

    the midst of the fifty-five thousand acre Soberanía National Park.

    It is in this spectacular setting that the Aerial Tram has been constructed, allowing you to discover the secrets of the upper forest canopy.

    Each individual gondola takes you from the shadowy forest floor through the under story and into the sun-drenched canopy. There you

    will enjoy a bird's eye view of a thousand hues of green, interspersed with the fluorescent exclamation points of flowering trees.

    Before or after your tram adventure, you will have the opportunity to independently explore the various exhibits which the Smithsonian

    Institute and Gamboa Resort offer. Exhibits include a butterfly farm, and an orchid garden. All too soon it will be time to leave the

    beautiful grounds of the Gamboa Resort for your return drive to the port where your ship awaits.

    Please note: Although this tour is not appropriate for physically challenged guests, Gamboa Resort does has a wheel chair accessible

    basket on the tram which may be made available with enough notice.

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  • Gamboa Aerial Tram

    This fabulous tour begins with a scenic 45-minute drive to the luxurious Gamboa Rainforest Resort. The resort is located in the 55,000 acre Soberania National Park which is adjacent to the Panama Canal and near the historic Chagres River. On the grounds of the resort, an aerial tram has been constructed, unlocking the secrets of the heavily populated rainforest canopy.

    Boarding your tram, you'll begin your ascent from the shadowy rainforest floor through the understory of vegetation and into the sun-drenched canopy. Here, you will have a bird's eye view of a thousand hues of green, interspersed with the fluorescent exclamation points of flowering trees. As you glide through the canopy, you'll sight the many animals that live high above the forest floor, such as Howler monkeys, sloths, coatimundi and capybara. Beautiful birds like the toucan, parrot and momot are also plentiful here, as are iguanas, frogs, butterflies and dragonflies.

    After your tram ride, you may choose to climb the observation tower to enjoy a 360 degree, panoramic view of the Panama Canal, the Chagres River, and the surrounding tropical rainforest. Before returning to the pier, you will have some free time at the resort to explore the many exhibits, which include a butterfly farm, aquarium, orchid garden and serpentarium. There is also the opportunity to do some shopping while you are here.

    Please note: This tour includes a moderate amount of walking, some of it over uneven surfaces. The tour may not be suitable for wheelchair guests as they must be able to both make their way on and off the coach and the tram, as well as have a collapsible wheelchair. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual, light weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun caps; sunglasses and sunscreen are suggested. A light snack will be provided during the tour. Restrooms are available at the resort, but not on the coaches. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.

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  • Former Canal Zone & Shopping

    Departing from the tender landing in an air conditioned motorcoach your guide will welcome you to Panama. This simple introductory drive combined with Panamanian shopping is a nice, quick get acquainted tour. Once in the bustling city you will be amazed at its size and diversity. Panama is a city of contrasts from old to new. You will drive along Amador Causeway, pausing to admire the skyline of

    this rapidly growing metropolis.

    One of the tour highlights is a chance to shop for local handicrafts. The strong indigenous heritage combined with the colorful Afro-Caribbean influence has come to create one of the most intricate and colorful shopping experiences in the region.

    Among the many arts and crafts to be found here are the traditional Kuna Indian Molas, the Embera Indian woven baskets and masks, delicate tagua carvings, jewelry and a wide variety of colorful wood and painted works.

    After this 45 minute shopping stop you will continue towards Balboa townsite for a brief look at Balboa and the Former Canal Zone where hundreds of thousands of Americans lived after the completion of the Canal. After December, 1999 when the administration of the Canal was returned to Panama, this zone was seemingly silent. Today the Former Zone is very much intact and is like a photographic image of what the days of the American Administration once were.

    Please note: Approximately 45 minutes has been allowed for arts and craft shopping.

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  • U.S. Heritage in Panama

    This tour takes you off the beaten track to see a side of Panama not often seen by visitors. You will begin with a 30-minute coach transfer from the pier in Fuerte Amador to the Miraflores Locks, the first set of locks from the Pacific side of the Canal and probably the most visited due to their close proximity to Panama City. Upon arrival, you will be able to view a model of the Canal that is accompanied by a narration provided by a Panama Canal guide. From here, move to the viewing platform where you can observe first-hand the Canal in action.

    Re-joining your coach, you will travel to Fort Clayton, the Army base that housed the Southern Command Headquarters. Here, you will have the opportunity to see how the U.S. Army troops lived during their stay in Panama. Your tour also takes you past the new development of the 'City of Knowledge', a joint development between the Panamanian government and several educational institutes and research development companies. Continuing on, drive through portions of Albrook Air Force Base which today, is where the new Domestic Airport is located and where you will observe how it has now been converted into a commercial area and high-end residential district.

    Prior to heading back to the pier, you will take a drive through the community of Balboa, the primary area where workers and important buildings were located during the Canal's construction.

    Please note: This tour includes minimal walking and is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair and who are able to make their way on and off the coach. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. Casual, light weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun caps; sunglasses and sunscreen are suggested. Restrooms are available at Miraflores Locks but not on the coaches

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  • Panama's History in Gold

    CONCIERGE CHOICE

    When Columbus first landed on the shores of Panama in 1502 he was so impressed by the immense amount of gold worn by the natives

    that he wrote in his journal, "In this land of Veragua I saw more gold in the first two days than I saw in Española in four years ".

    This tour has been designed for you to personally view the "lost wax process", a signature trademark in artisanship created by Reprosa.

    This 25-year company has the exclusive reproduction rights of pre-Colombian treasures, known as Huacas, from the National

    Anthropology Museum in Panama. The different collections consist of the Orchids of Panama, The Pre-Colombian Era, The Terracotta

    Collection, the ocean treasures of the new world and the famous Spanish Colonial gold and freshwater pearl design known as the

    Mosqueta, worn exclusively on the Pollera, the national dress of Panama.

    Depending on the schedule of your tour you will also visit, before or after, the Ruins of Panama La Vieja or "Old Panama" and the newly

    erected Museum that highlights various archeological finds of the Pre-Hispanic and Colonial Era. The Museum has an audio-visual

    section and a recreational plaza that overlooks the bay of Panama. You may be fortunate enough to witness routine excavations by

    museum specialists who continue to unveil hidden treasures beneath years of accumulated sediment in the bay.

    This tour offers a great opportunity to acquaint you with local history and the many cultural facets that shape the country of Panama.

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  • Highlights of Panama City

    Boarding your mini-coach at the pier, you'll commence a 40-minute drive to fascinating Panama City. Panama City is located at the entrance of the Panama Canal and is an exciting city with a colorful history. The city today combines a rich collection of both modern and colonial architecture, historical monuments and tree shaded boulevards.

    Your tour of the city begins by viewing highlights of the part of the city that is referred to as Old Panama, and which was founded in 1519 by Pedro Arias Davila and later destroyed by Captain Henry Morgan. Old Panama City was the first city of the Pacific Coast of the Americas and played a major role in the conquering of South America. In later years, it was the place where gold was sent to Portobelo and then on to Spain.

    Following your tour of Old Panama, you will make your way to what is known as Casco Antiguo or Colonial Panama. This area of the city was founded in 1673 after the original capital was left in ruins following Captain Henry Morgan's attack two years earlier and features some lovely French and Spanish architecture. Several points of interest in the city are the Cathedral, the National Theater and Las Bovedas.

    Following your tour of Panama City's most notable sights, you will make the return transfer back to Fuerte Amador and your waiting ship.

    Please note: This tour includes a considerable amount of walking over steps and some uneven surfaces. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not recommended for those guests with mobility concerns. Light weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun caps, sunglasses and sunscreen are suggested.

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  • Eco-Cruise & Miraflores Locks

    This interesting tour showcases both the technology and the ecology of the Panama Canal. Commence your excursion with a 30-minute coach transfer from the pier in Fuerte Amador to the Miraflores Locks, the first set of locks from the Pacific side of the Canal and probably the most visited due to their close proximity to Panama City. Upon arrival, you will be able to view a brief video about how this fascinating Canal was built and its daily operation. From here, move to the viewing platform where you can observe first-hand the Canal in action.

    Continuing on, enjoy a scenic 45-minute drive to the small town of Gamboa and the lovely Gamboa Rainforest Resort. After a brief comfort stop, you will walk to the nearby wharf where you will board your sightseeing boat for an eco-cruise on Gatun Lake. This great ecological cruise takes you on a journey inside the Panama Canal and you may find yourself cruising next to cargo ships that cross the Canal everyday. As you travel through these waters, your experienced guide will explain the complexity of the flora and fauna of the Canal Zone and the surprising importance of it to the operation of the Canal. Your tour also takes you to Monkey Island where it is very common to see monkeys playing in the trees.

    After a relaxing, yet thoroughly informative experience exploring the environs of Gatun Lake and the Canal, you will return to the dock in Gamboa and then re-join your coach for the return to Fuerte Amador.

    Please note: This tour includes a moderate amount of walking, some of it over uneven surfaces. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests as the sites are not wheelchair accessible and may not be suitable for those guests with mobility concerns. Casual, light weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun caps; sunglasses and sunscreen are suggested. Restrooms are available at Miraflores Locks and the Gamboa Resort, but not on the coaches or the tour boat. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.

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  • Embera Indian Village

    Step aboard a time machine and travel back more than 600 years to a Central America only a few have had the privilege of experiencing. More than a tour, this is a journey into the lives of the Embera Indian Tribe, a proud people who have been able to maintain their traditions and lifestyle as it was before the Spaniards colonized the region.

    Start the expedition aboard an air-conditioned vehicle where a knowledgeable guide will give you an overview of Panama on the way to the jungles of the central region. Your leader will prepare you for the cultural feast you are about to experience by sharing the history and many of the customs of the Embera Indians who are the keepers of the rainforest and the Chagres River which is the lifeline of the Panama Canal.

    Soon you will arrive at Chagres National Park. Here you will leave the comfort of your vehicle to board the dug out canoes that will take you to the Embera village. Although not the most luxurious, these dugouts are sturdy craft that were critical in the conquering of the jungle and in establishing supply lifelines for both Indians and Spanish alike. After a short trip upriver, you will see the village emerge from the jungle as if by magic. Keep your eyes open along the way as the region offers abundant wildlife which is particularly active along the river's edge.

    Once in the village, you will be greeted by the chief and the entire clan who will welcome you with traditional Embera hospitality. A series of dances has been made ready to further add to this cultural exchange. Feel free to wander the village, ask questions, or interact with these quiet people; however, do remember that you are guests in their home and a good measure of common sense and sensitivity toward their privacy is appreciated.

    The Embera Indians are spectacular craftsmen and craftswomen and have produced some beautiful items which will be available for purchase as souvenirs or keepsakes of this unique experience. All too soon, it will be time to return to your century where the bliss and tranquility of older days has been all but forgotten.

    Please note: Boarding and debarking the local canoes requires a minimum of dexterity and flexibility. The landing consists of a rudimentary "put in" that lacks hand rails or proper steps. Many hands will be available to assist; however, you will be asked to step up and into the vessels. Please bring US dollars in small denominations for your purchases, no credit cards accepted. Wear sunglasses and a hat, you might want to bring a light rain jacket. Life-jackets are provided.

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