So many options but here is my suggestion. Do not book with a large tour. There are plenty of private options that will provide personal service, probably from your hotel. I stayed at the RUI Hotel in El Centro of Panama City banking/business district. First thing I noticed was that there were yellow cabs and unmarked white cabs. Big difference in the two. Yellow cabs are much cheaper for local travel to and from destinations. The white cabs claim that they are "safer" and they probably speak a little more english so you will feel more comfortable. So here is my point...I used the "white" cab for a private tour (approximately 3 hours) for $120. He spoke pretty good english and took me directly to Miraflores Locks. I did my research and booked my tour for around 2pm (boats line up early but don't arrive to the locks until late afternoon...remember this)...got there and had to pay $8 to enter....good deal. Plenty of history and things to do for $8. Complex is all under roof so if it happens to be raining it won't interfere with your view. Stay away from the large tour group, you don't need it. Tour guide is not needed here, take a cab and spend $8 and be your own tour guide. Tour groups are too large and you will be too rushed.
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