Monday, January 21, 2019 | Updated at 5:17 AM ET


Where to Go for a Historical Tour in Panama

First Posted: Feb 15, 2016 06:00 AM EST
Panama Canal in Central America

Photo : Getty Images/Graham Chadwick

Panama City is a captivating vacation spot in Latin America. In fact, it was tagged as the most beautiful capital city in Central America. One thing that makes this country stand out is its culture which is an interesting fusion of modern America, old Spain and marketplace atmosphere of the East.

People here enjoy ultra-modern kind of cosmopolitan living and it was also listed as one of America's safest cities. The country is very rich in history as well so it is a perfect place to tour.

The world's renown tour spot in Panama is probably the Canal but there are still a lot to see. To know more and get a good glimpse of Panama's history, here some places that you must visit:

Panama Canal

In August 15, 1914, this canal was officially opened. The Americans built this enormous passageway to connect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans for easy travel.

Moreover, the Panama Canal was meant serve as a shortcut for ships. The waterway was able to trim down the travel from New York to California by almost 8,000 miles.

While on tour here, visitors can see the sophisticated engineering applied on the canal where a system of locks elevate ships at 85 feet above sea level. At the Miraflores Locks located at the Pacific entrance of the canal, tourist will be amazed with witnessing millions of gallons of water being carried over in minutes.

If you will prefer to ride a cruise ship, it will traverse through the Gatun Lake and Chagres River where wildlife would be very visible. Seeing indigenous natives -- Kuna people -- at San Blas is another highlight of the trip.

Casa Viejo

Casa Viejo is the ruins of the old Panama City and has been dubbed as the "Disneyland" for tourists who love to visit historical places. The vicinity is full of unsavory history which dates back to 1500s.

The city was built in 1519 and was the first European metropolis to constructed in America's Pacific coast. After Pedro Arias Davila built it, the place became a major trading ground, especially for gold and silver. Thus, it was also a favorite looting target of pirates in the old times.

Eventually, the attack led by Welsh pirate named Henry Morgan in 1671 left thousands dead and the Casa Viejo in total ruins. The historical landmark is one of the most treasured locations in Panama because if its cultural value.

See the colonial architecture and important landmarks like The Metropolitan Cathedral of Panama, Las Bovedas, El Arco Chato, Palacio Bolivar and many more.

Portobelo forts

It was Christopher Columbus whi named the town Portobelo in 1502. He coined the name by combining the terms Porto and Bello which means beautiful port. But although Columbus gave the town its name, it was Francisco Velarde Mercado who is listed as its founder.

The town is a fishing village was Spain's best and richest port from 16th to 18th century. The golds and silvers that were traded to Europe usually passed through Portobelo for registration and counting.

The place became a fort after the people built a wall around it as a way to protect the city from notorious pirates. With frequent attacks, it is now in ruins and recorded by UNESCO as one of Panama's World heritage sites.

Visit the San Felipe Church and the Real Aduana de Portobelo that was once used as the counting house for the golds and silvers.

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