Free Walking Tour in Casco Antiguo

Free Walking Tour

If you are visiting Panama and want to know a little about the history of the country, you can take a Free Walking Tour, and if you are Panamanian, you can go and see things that are not in the books and that one has passed nearby without having any idea.

I contacted Jenny to go on a Free Walking Tour and it so happened that there was one that weekend, I joined the group in the morning and arrived at the meeting point, Nomada Eatery, a restaurant bar.

If you arrive early, you can have a coffee or breakfast there before going on the tour.

Free Walking Tour meeting point
In front of the meeting point, almost ready to go.

We went out and crossing the street, we met the others, in a small square (it looks like a triangle) that has a tree.

In the group, there were people from Germany, Argentina, Colombia, United States, France, Finland, Guatemala and Panama (not only me, there were also other Panamanians).

Booking.com

We started walking, he explained a little about the founding of Panama and the pirates of the Caribbean, not because of the film, but that they were from the Caribbean and attacked the city by land, and while in the city they thought about protecting themselves from the attacks that came by sea, it had neglected the side of the land, where they attacked.

Mercy museum
On one side of the Our Lady of Mercy Church, Jenny explains about the bells.

We arrive at our first point, the House of the Municipality, which can be visited from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. at 4:00 p.m. it is free, and inside you can see remains of the rampart.

After the rampart was demolished, houses were built on the land, one of them was the Municipality. Then we went to the Our Lady of Mercy Church, where she explained to us about its construction and its columns.


Drug store. panama history in the Free Walking Tour.
Floor of the old department store, now the American Trade Hotel.

I learned

Casco Antiguo of Panama is the only one in Latin America that has several architectures, such as

  • Colonial,
  • Art Deco (old Citibank, now it is the Convention Center of the American Trade Hotel),
  • Neoclasic,
  • Renaissance,
  • Calicanto
  • and Romantic Renaissance (National theater).

Also, that the American Trade Hotel was a department store, you can see some of what was on the floors.

Mano de Tigre (Tiger hand) Bastion

Then we went to the Mano de Tigre Bastion (Calicanto), to see the remains of the rampart, it was 15m high, and divide the society by that time.

Inside the rampart people with money lived and outside the workers and low-income people resources, Jenny told us that there were hours when the door was opened and closed.

People passed from one side to another, you had to be sure to cross to where your residence was before the doors closed.

city rampart
Part of what was the city rampart.

Villa Agustina

We went through Villa Agustina, it was closed because there were no events that day.

She told us that it was a traditional construction, with a square in the center, I imagine something like the Chavo del Ocho neighborhood (Mexican tv series from the 70s -80s), hehe.

San José (Saint Joseph) Church

From there we went to the San José Church, we found out that the columns are made of hollow wood, planks, and it is not known what type of construction is inside.

San José Church in the Free Walking Tour
San José Church.

We also passed by the Compañía de Jesús (Society of Jesus), the Panama Canal Museum, which was a hotel, the administrative building of the Canal in the time of the French, then it passed to the American administration, it was abandoned and is now a museum.

Santa María La Antigua Cathedral Basilica

Then we enter the Santa María La Antigua Cathedral Basilica, which to date is 108 years old, as a curious fact, it has an image that is 200 years old, it is older than the cathedral.

We also go down to the, let’s say, basement, where there are crypts and a nativity scene, the place is small, so you have to go down little by little.

Santa María La Antigua Cathedral Basilica Metropolitana
The Image of the Virgin is more than 200 years old. Santa María La Antigua Cathedral Basilica Metropolitana.
Basement of the Cathedral Basilica Metropolitana Santa María La Antigua, contains crypts and a nativity scene.
Basement of the Cathedral Basilica Metropolitana Santa María La Antigua, contains crypts and a nativity scene.

Bolívar Palace

Jenny told us that the Palacio Bolívar, it can be visited, you can see a replica of Simón Bolívar’s sword, among other things.

I remember that about 15 years ago, I went inside and saw it, at that time there was also the act of the Amphictyonic Congress, I have not gone since then, now the building is remodeled, it must be very beautiful.

Estaban Huertas Sidewalk

We continue walking along Estaban Huertas sidewalk, where you can see handicraft vendors, there are many indigenous people sold their work.

I remember that about 15 years ago, I went inside and saw it, at that time there was also the act of the Amphictyonic Congress, I have not gone since then, now the building is remodeled, it must be very beautiful.

Be careful with bracelets, earrings and this type of jewelry, many come from China, they buy them in wholesalers, take them out of their packaging and sell them as handicrafts, if it looks like plastic, it is most likely that it is not handicrafts, once I bought a necklace and then I saw it for sale in its bag at a store.

Indigenous handicrafts
Indigenous handicrafts at Esteban Huertas Sidewalk.

Somethings more

Jenny finished the tour in the Francia Square, but not before giving us advice on places where we could go, such as the Causeway, the Biomuseo, Ancón Hill, the Panama Canal Museum, among others.

On the Tour, when you pass through the Catedral Square (Intendencia Square) or the Francia Square, you can buy a raspao and cool off from the heat, (it is a glass with super crushed ice, which they add, a syrup of some flavor [or rather color], they also add honey, condensed milk and powdered milk for coffee), on the street the price ranges between $ 1.00 and $ 2.00, it depends on what is added.

After the tour, those who want to can go to the starting point, the place gives a discount.

Jenny told us about many things, of course I am not going to tell you, let’s say this is how the trailer for the movie, hahaha.

Esteban Huertas sidewalk
Esteban Huertas sidewalk.

Advices

  • Bring water and snacks,
  • Rain cape, in rainy season (April to December),
  • Fresh clothes, remember that you will enter the churches, so it must be adequate to enter,
  • Cap/hat,
  • Sunglasses.

Tour Languages

  • Spanish,
  • English,
  • Portuguese.

Tour time

  • 2:30 hours.

Hours

  • The last Sunday of each month,
  • At 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Write to Jenny’s Tour because there may be some change.

Price

  • Free tour, a tip is appreciated. On the tour you will enter places where admission is not paid).

My guide

Jenny of El Trip de Jenny, you can contact her at (507) 6676-2005, info@eltripdejenny.com

Raspao after the free walking tour
Raspao, this was not bought in Casco Antiguo, but I placed it to explain what it is, the glass may vary.

Meeting point

  • Contact Jenny’s Trip, the tour departs from the Casco Antiguo, but at the moment they vary between 2 locations, which are close to each other.

How to get to the Walking Tour?

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

In case of going by bus, everything will depend on where they leave you, it can be on Balboa Avenue, on 5 de Mayo (like the Subway) or the paid area of ​​Marañón.

Walk towards the sea (Balboa Avenue, is a few meters from 5 de Mayo and the paid area), and then continue towards the Casco Viejo (on the side of the low buildings.

Go along the sea (on the side where there are houses and shops, do not take the street that is over the sea), until you reach a small square (it looks like a triangle) where the tree is (there is only one tree), usually the places that are opposite, it is the meeting point.

If you go by car, it is a little more difficult, because it will depend on where you find parking, in this case be guided by Google Maps.

There is paid parking next to the National Theater and free at the beginning of the street over the sea of the Cinta Costera, very close to the possible meeting points of the Walking Tour and in some squares of the Casco Antiguo.

Other places you may like

Free Walking Tour group
Free Walking Tour group.



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