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“Tour of Panama City and Canal” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Almiza Tours by My friend Mario - Private Tours

Almiza Tours by My friend Mario - Private Tours
Chorrera, Calle Arnoldo Cano, Colon, Panama
(507) 6615-2271
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Ranked #2 of 14 Attractions in Colon
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Attraction details
Owner description: Providing the highest quality tours at an unbeatable value since 1994.Friendly guides and the best price in Panama city and Colon.Enjoy the pleasure of an amazing trip, coupled with the opportunity to discover a life-changing cultural experience.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator, Activities for older children
Ottawa, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Tour of Panama City and Canal”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

Our cruiseship the Celebrity Equinox arrived in Colon, Panama on March 9, 2013. In advance of the cruise, we arranged a tour of Panama City and the canal through Almiza Tours for 9 people. Mario gave us good instructions and directions (he even sent us pictures of the location) and had no problems locating him. In addition to our group, there were four other people: two Americans and two Germans.

The new part of the city was beautiful and modern. Unfortunately, the old part was undergoing a lot of construction (they were building a metro system) and getting around in the van was challenging. The highlight of the tour, however, was the canal where we were able to see two small boats and a large cargo ship go through the locks. One negative point: the guide spoke incessantly but did not provide much historical information on the city. He was ok, but by no means a professional guide. Also, although we were provided with bottled water, it tasted moldy and noticed that the date had expired. We mentioned this to the guide, who was surprised and thanked us for reporting it. He did not, however, offer to buy fresh water during the tour and we ended up paying for it. They did provide soft drinks and beer. All in all, Almiza Tours and Mario did deliver in providing a good tour of the city and locks.

We always organize our own excursions online, contacting local providers, rather than booking through a cruiseship. This allows us to personalize the excursion and a much lower cost.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
WesternKY
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Panama Canal Tour”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

We'd never been through the canal so we booked a tour before our cruise. It was Celebrity's partial transit tour CO26. The tour operator was Aven Turas 2000.

Our tour began with bus ride to Gamboa where we boarded a ferry. There were approx. 300 people on this tour so it seemed crowded at times. It was also very hot and humid but we did have a nice breeze for most of the trip.

This is a narrated tour so you will hear lots of interesting history about the canal. It passes through the Gaylard Cut and both the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores lake and locks. During our transit, we passed lots of freighters, two cruise ships, some military vessels, dredging operations and many other ships and boats. The cruise passes under the Centennial and Americas bridges.You will see the prison where Manuel Noriega is serving his prison sentence. There are also several areas to view the expansion project. Lunch is served during the trip. Water and soda are provided. Balboa beer can be purchased for $2.Our ferry ride ended at Amador near Panama City. We then boarded a bus for the hour-long ride back to Colon. The entire tour took about 6 hours.

The Panama canal is truly an engineering feat. Prior to your trip, I would recommend reading some articles or books about the canal. We watched a PBS documentary that really gave us a greater appreciation of the project and the obstacles they had to overcome to construct it.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hempstead, New York
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“A World Treasure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

The history and the sight are worth the wait. We were lucky enough to see the gates open and close; ships inspected and departing. It takes about 1 hour to view, so be patient!

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, North Carolina
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“fantastic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

we went to the indian village and canal locks in a downpour in a canoe for about 25 mins accross the lake . it was unbelievable. i felt almost like an indian in the canoe. these people took really great care of us. lunch with the indians and a cooler of beer,soda and water. in my opinion there was great value in this trip for what we paid and i am not a person who gives out compliments freely. i wish i was in that canoe right now feeling that rain and looking at the misty mountains. it was a moment that i wish i could revisit. i hopes it rains when you go.. by the way, the cruise people canceled thier trip because of the rain.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fremont, California
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Almiza Tours to the Embera Indian Village”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

I used this tour company on the recommendation of fellow cruise ship passengers. This particular instance was different as the cruise was a re-positioning cruise, dropping us all in Colon, Panama on the Atlantic side of the canal. We all booked via myfriendmario.com, and not only arranged for this full day tour with dockside pickup, but also transportation to Panama City on the Pacific side of the canal dropping us each at our individual hotels.
We nearly immediately found the Almiza Tour guide by his sign despite the chaos of dozens of buses at the small portside terminal all jockeying for fares. He loaded the first 5 of us on the bus where we sat while he collected up others for the tour and even a few he bartered for quick drops at local hotels (his goal to maximize his time and seats, hey, its Panama not the US).
We got underway and headed out for our tour and our guide 'Elvis' (yes, thats what he called himself), chatted easily about the area and our tour. We stopped at a small riverside encampment where we boarded motorized canoes for our ride in the rain to the Embera Indian Village on the Chagres River. It was an enjoyable experience mixing with the tribal members as they cooked us lunch over an open fire, watched and participated in native dancing, and made purchases of their handcrafts.
It was quite different from many standard tours, as it was really off the beaten path, yet always within my comfort zone of safety.
Our canoe ride back was enjoyable with the rain gone, our small tour bus was waiting for us right on schedule for our ride into Panama City. (my personal video of this tour can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyyoDTVaplI ).
He even made a brief picture stop at the canal zone which was great as it was not on the tour directly.
We wound through the old section of Panama City to drop passengers, Elvis continued on with his talks of the sights of the city.
Overall a great tour for the price, convenience and exciting. There was a bit of a wait at the beginning, but hey, we were dry and warm, and did get the tour we booked and transportation right to our individual hotels for no additional fees.
I ended up also booking their airport transfer service on my departure day and they were 15 minutes early to ensure no traffic delays, a nice assurance.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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