Gatun Lake, Panama
The Shaping of Panama to Colon
Local Sightseeing, All
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Approximately 7 Hours
Traverse the Trans-Isthmus Highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific -- the same route once used by the Spanish Conquistadors and the Forty-Niners seeking a short cut from the east to the gold fields in California.
Panama is a country whose name is utterly inseparable from the image of the canal that changed the world -- considered by many to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. Yet the "other" Panama is just as interesting, with an amazing history of glory and tragedy that has shaped this country that was once known as the Pearl of the Pacific.
A 90-minute drive from Gatún brings you to Fort Amador, where you will have some free time to shop for items from all over Panama.
Head through the streets of the old French Quarter of Panama City, founded in 1673 by French Colónists.
Hear tales of the extraordinary gallantry and shocking piracy that kept the inhabitants in a state of constant high alert in Colonial Panama, known as Casco Antiguo.
On a leisurely 45-minute guided walk, appreciate the unique architecture, influenced by a wonderful blend of French, Spanish and Italian styles.
After a buffet lunch, re-board you motor coach for the drive to Old Panama, which was founded in 1519 and destroyed by the infamous Welsh Captain Henry Morgan in 1671.
Take photos of the National Theatre, the cathedral and the Church of the Golden Altar (left intact by Morgan when he sacked Panama City) from the coach.
See the ruins of the churches and convents, colonial palaces, bridges and military buildings that attest to the grandiose past of this country.
Total driving time is approximately four hours. Walking approximately a half-mile will be required. There may be a delay waiting for the coach at the end of the visit to the French Plaza. This excursion will depart from Gatún Lake and will end in Colón, where you will re-board the ship.