El Chorrillo Tour, the Popular Neighborhood, Will It Be Dangerous?

El Chorrillo Tour
Mural of the Revolution Dule.

In recent days, I did a two-for-one tour, hehehe, the Casco Antiguo Free Walking Tour and El Chorrillo Tour. In my case, this tour was free, since it was an activity for a gift collection.

Before everything:

Origin of the name El Chorrillo

Before, there was a small stream or water source that came out of Ancón Hill, and that is why its name, something like, where the stream is… El Chorrillo is.

Starting El Chorrillo Tour

After doing the Free Walking Tour in Casco Antiguo with Jenny, we immediately started Ek Chorrillo Tour with Víctor, our starting point was Herrera Square in Casco Antiguo.

The first place we visited was a mural of the Dule Revolution (Guna or Tule), In mural are some of those who led the revolution and its flag, although, they say that it is not the Nazi flag, it must be said that the symbol is very similar, but, doing some research, the Gunas used it first, about 8 years before, so it can’t be Nazi.

We kept walking, and we met one of the artisans from El Chorrillo, a man who makes cement flowerpots, using towels and even old clothes, very ingenious man! If you want, you can donate clothes that you no longer need. , since he reuses it.

Artisan of El Chorrillo Tour
Artisan.

As we walk, we can see several murals on the walls of the houses and some balconies, some more curious than others, the truth is, these are the things that most attract my attention.

We arrived at the Masonic Lodge (it contrasts quite a bit with the place), in reality we only passed through there, because our next point was…


Fighting cocks in El Chorrillo

We arrive at a place where fighting cocks are raised. These are trained to fight and the people who go to the events are going to bet.

It is a popular activity in Panama, but only in a few places, mostly in small towns in the interior (and probably, most of those who live there have never seen one).

Personally, it is not an activity that I support.

Fighting cocks
Fighting cocks.

El Parque de los Aburridos (The Park of the Bored)

It is a popular park in Panama, probably every Panamanian has heard of it.

Older adults meet there to play domino, that is the main activity, there is also music and beer, but from what I saw, they are focused on their game, don’t talk to them that it distracts them, just watch them play.

We were there for a while watching them play and some took the opportunity to have a beer.

The Park of the Bored.
Domino Game at The Park of the Bored.

House of Rommel Fernandez

Rommel Fernández was one of the great glories of sports in Panama, he played soccer for various clubs in the country and at his death he was a player for Albacete Balompié in Spain.

Actually, the house is no longer there, but he showed us where he lived (there are currently some buildings) and very close to the Plaza Amador Soccer Field, better known as the León Cocoliso Tejada Stadium.

Rommel Fernández
Banner in honor of Rommel Fernández.
house of Rommel Fernández
Place where once was the house of Rommel Fernández.

More…

On the tour you can see different buildings, some more recent made of concrete, and others older, some of wood and zinc, where the level of poverty of some residents is reflected.

The balconies, some colorful, others unique, its narrow streets, with no parking, but with few cars on the road, perhaps because it was Sunday.

Balconies of El Chorrillo Tour
Balconies of El Chorrillo.

Unfortunately, the day I went, there was no food for sale, because El Chorrillo is known for its sale of fried fish and fried plantains. And of course, being many of the inhabitants of Afro-Antillean descent, it is not surprising if you see some of their popular dishes in Panama, such as saus.

A man took us to his house and showed us an image of Black Christ of Portobelo made with snails, it was made by the prisoners of Coiba (currently the prison does not exist).

Black Christ of Portobelo.
Black Christ of Portobelo.

Final Notes

El Chorrillo tour is a different trip where you can see the Other Face of Panama, that lower class neighborhood, with its striking balconies, cement, zinc or wood houses, narrow streets, very happy people, where it seems that everyone knows each other.

El Chorrillo is a popular neighborhood that has been through a lot, like the martyrs of January 9, the end of the dictatorship (December 20, 1989), which left several dead and other situations.

It has also had its glories like: Mano de Piedra Durán (internationally recognized former boxer), Rommel Fernández, the poet Héctor Collado, among others.

I did a short tour, as it is a special activity, however, it is longer and you can see many more things.

The place has been the scene of internationally famous productions such as: The Suicide Squad 2, Hands of Stone, Contraband, La Casa de Papel among others.

Wooden house in El Chorrillo
Wooden house.

Is El Chorrillo dangerous?

Yes, however, it has improved a lot, at least that is what is perceived, there are people who are working to improve the life of the chorrilleros and prevent crime.

Did we see something that made us fear? Well, no, the truth is that we feel very safe.

On the other hand, there is the Community Preventive Unit (of the National Police of Panama), which is dedicated to preventing people from entering the criminal world, through activities and prevention programs.

The best thing is to go on a tour, the guide will know which streets to take you through, besides, without him, you will not know the history of the place.

Interesting Things

  • Panama or badnaba in indigenous language means: very far. The Spaniards ran into some Indians and asked them what was the name of the place? But since neither understood the other’s language, the Indians said badnaba (perhaps thinking, how long will it take to get to the other side?).
  • Its name is due to a small stream.
  • The Park of the Bored is super small.
  • Perhaps it is the happiest neighborhood I have ever visited.
El Chorrillo Tour
Street of El Chorrillo.

Advices

  • Go with a guide,
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat.
  • You can carry water,
  • Use bloqueador solar y gorra.
  • Wear cool, comfortable clothing for walking in the sun,
  • In rainy weather, carry an umbrella.

Duration El Chorrillo Tour

  • 2 hours.

Hours

  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
  • There are two schedules, one at 11:00 a.m. and another at 3:00 p.m.
  • I suggest booking the tour.
El Chorrillo Tour

Price

  • $45.00, includes snack and 2 drinks.

My guide

Víctor from Local In PTY, you can contact him by whatsapp at +507 6118-7621 and by mail at localinpty@gmail.com

El Chorrillo Tour can be in Spanish or English.

Víctor is one of the people who is working to improve El Chorrillo, through activities for children.

Get 10% discount on your El Chorrillo Tour.

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Where is El Chorrillo?

El Chorrillo se encuentra en la Ciudad de Panamá, entre el Cerro Ancón, el Casco Antiguo y la Cinta Costera 3.

How to get to the El Chorrillo Tour?

You can go by bus, own/rented car, Metro, Uber, Cabiby or taxi (the latter is not recommended for tourists, since it usually charges a very high price).

By bus: everything will depend on where it leave you, it can be on Avenida Balboa, on 5 de Mayo (as well as the Subway) or the paid area of ​​Marañón.

Walk towards the sea (Avenida Balboa, it is a few meters from 5 de Mayo and the pay zone), and then continue towards the Casco Antiguo (on the side of the low buildings).

Go along the sea (on the side where there are houses and stores, do not take the section that is on the sea), you will reach a small square (it looks like a triangle), in front there are some stores, from the sidewalk, continue straight as if you were to cross the Casco Antiguo, before reaching the other end, you would have reached Herrera Square.

By car: it is a bit more difficult, because it will depend on where you find parking, in this case, use Google Maps.

There is paid parking lot next to the National Theater and free parking at the beginning of the coastal section of the Cinta Costera.

Other places you may like

graffiti in Panama
One of the murals/graffiti we saw.

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