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“Best shore excursion in panama” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Almiza Tours by My friend Mario - Private Tours

Almiza Tours by My friend Mario - Private Tours
Panama City, Panama
(507) 6615-2271
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: Local tour operator with local guides offering the best value tours in Colon and Panama City since 1994, if you really like to learn about Panama under the local perspective try with us!
Kansas City, Missouri
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
36 attraction reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
“Best shore excursion in panama”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2011

Great english free soda and beer verry personal servce we saw monkies sloths and many exotic birds the best price too

Visited January 2011
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202 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
109 reviews 109 reviews
83 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
136 helpful votes 136 helpful votes
“WONDERFUL tour, great price, memorable experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2011

We recently took a Panama City tour (PC1 on their website) with this company - our guide was Mario Jr. and the tour was absolutely fantastic!
When booking our tour I found the company to be very responsive to my emails and they answered my questions well. We were on a cruise and they picked us up right at the pier. We had arranged for a group tour but we happened to be the only people who signed up for that particular tour that day so we got a private tour! 2 other groups from the ship took different tours with this company and told to us later that they had similarly great experiences as we did.
We visited numerous attractions throughout our day. Some of our favorite things were the unexpected sites of real Panama City - such as driving through the various neighborhoods (everything from high class to lower class), driving through the old American built houses/neighborhoods, stopping at a random market for coconut water (from a coconut!), and some of the most delicious ceviche I've ever had from the local fish market.
Mario was very accommodating as well. There was at least 3 separate times where he pointed something out to us and we would have normally walked past it after the explanation but I asked to go inside or look closer and he always said "of course!" He was very accommodating. We went to the Miraflores Locks as part of our tour as well - first we tried going in the morning, we were all ready to pay our entrance fee but he stopped us before we did because he'd asked if there were anymore boats going through to see and there weren't so he was going to take us later in the afternoon instead. I thought that was so awesome - instead of just following the regular schedule he wanted to make sure we got the most of our experience and tailored the tour to our needs. Later when we came back to the locks there were lots of ships to watch pass though the locks - we literally stayed there for probably 1.5 - 2 hours watching the ships and going through the museum. Not once did he make us feel rushed - he let us explore at our own pace.
Feeling like you've got the insider's perspective can be a rare experience when traveling but Mario definitely gave us that feeling. I would highly recommend this tour and company to anybody.

Visited January 2011
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Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
490 reviews 490 reviews
101 attraction reviews
Reviews in 341 cities Reviews in 341 cities
442 helpful votes 442 helpful votes
“No friend of mine!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2011

He certainly is no friend of mine. I contracted an all day tour from 9 Am to 5 PM. All entrances included. Water, pop and beer included (he had none but would stop at a restaurant for us to buy a soda). When we got to the locks he asked us for money for the entrance fee! When we got to the old city he told us to go on by ourselves so that he didn’t have to pay the entrance fee! If I had rented a taxi and followed my moon guide I would have done better. First the “driver” he can’t be called a tour guide, had such a bad accent that I finally asked him to speak Spanish and I translated for my husband. He just drove us places and left us there and told us to go and see and meet him back at the car! His idea of giving us information was to tell us were we were, “this is the Casco Antiguo”! After 4 hours of driving us around, he said the tour was over and he was taking us back to the hotel. I could go on but you get the idea. This was a terrible way to start our Panama vacation.

Visited January 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wapanda10, Manager at Almiza Tours by My friend Mario - Private Tours, responded to this review, June 1, 2013
Between December and March is high season in Panama, unfortunately we were full the day of your Panama City tour and the guide had a last minutes incoveniences, we had the option to cancel the tour or sent a new sustitute guide, we took the wrong decision to sent the sustitute guide and we ruin the clients day.
After the feedback of our sustitute guide, We contact the client at the end of the day to offer them run the tour the next day but with one of our best guide available and for free but the client rejected our offer.
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West New York, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
35 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
“Review of Panama City, Panama”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2010

After spending 4days in Bocas del Toro, Panama i arrived at Albrook Airport at 10am. Since we had a 10hour layover until our flight back to the US i had previously contacted Mario for a tour of the city. Mario has been highly recommended here in Trip advisor before http://www.myfriendmario.com/home .

He first took me to see the location of all the old army barracks that were turned into apts and explained how it was really a US territory because Panamenians didn't really have access to that area of the city. Next we headed to Viejo Panama the original location site of the city that was burned down by Capt Morgan only a tower, church and a few other walls remain. Our next stop was Casco Antiguo "colonial Panama" where the city was relocated just a few miles west, here the Panamanian Presidential Palace is located, the French Square, Bolivar Square, National Theathre and Cathedral Metropolitana. The tour continue through the Panama Canal Admins Building and up the Cerro Ancon where you could view the city skyline, the canal, Puente de las Americas, and Albrook Airport. Eat lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch we headed to Miraflores Lock "Panama Canal" to watch the ships pass through the locks the whole process takes about 45mins. The whole process is amazing how the ship passes with 24inch on each side to spare. After the canal the GF wanted to do some shopping so Mario took us to Albrook Mall the biggest mall in Central America compared to the US you could find some good bargains. After almost 3hours ofshopping we head back to Tocumen Int Airport on our way back to the US.

Overall we really enjoyed Panama City even though we where there just for a few hours. I also highly recommend Mario for a $120 as a tour guide very friendly and knows just about all the history of the city. Some people might say renting a car would be a better option and it might be but with just a few hours to experience the city we decided it would be better using Marios services instead of renting a car or taxis.

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