Would you dare to enter the “most dangerous” neighborhood in Panama City? El Chorrillo Tour takes you on a walking excursion that will probably change your perspective on the area. Victor Perez will be your guide, he is a Panamanian of Guna descent. Meet him in Plaza Herrera to walk on Avenida A towards Barraza passing by the Flor de Lirio building which is on the border of Casco Viejo.
El Chorillo Tour will take you to see the surrounding areas of Casco Viejo that are often missed by tourists, including Barraza, El Chorrillo, Santa Ana, Barrio Chino (Chinese Neighborhood) and the Avenida Central (Central Avenue). This area is full of colorful murals which your guide will show you including the famous mural of the Guna revolution and the mural of the boxer Roberto “Mano de Piedra” Duran. In this tour you will see the Jesus Master Gomez Gym which is the birthplace of Panamanian boxing and is where Duran used to train. Plaza Amador was founded in 1955 to help the children of the neighborhood through football.
Another stop in the tour is El Parque de los Aburridos which translates to the park of the bored people. Here you can always find people playing dominos. Just next to the park is Mario the Magician of Hats who has a shop with a big hat sitting on top of the building. He is one of the few people that fixes hats nowadays. He also sells hats. His tools are over 120 years old since they used to belong to his grandfather.
In El Chorrillo Tour you will get to interact with people, walk into their houses and even drink a beer with them. El Chorrillo Tour tells you about the history of the neighborhood which was invaded by the United States Army in 1989 to take out General Manuel Antonio Noriega during the Operation Just Cause. The Central Command or Headquarters of the Defense Forces and the offices of General Noriega were in El Chorrillo. The Americans bombed this neighborhood just before Christmas killing over 3,000 people.
Noriega controlled drug trafficking which became the main source of income of the neighborhood after the neighborhood lost its source of income. There were weapons everywhere and gangs began competing for territory. The neighborhood became violent, but this has started to change with resocialization programs and the growth of Casco Viejo which has caused gentrification of the area. A more conventional tour option would be the Casco Viejo Walking Tour.
Available: year round.
Time: 3 to 4 hours.
What to bring? walking shoes, comfortable clothes, rain jacket (green season), and camera.
Important information: El Chorrillo Tour can be done any day of the week with a minimum of two people. You can be added to other groups if you are a solo traveler. This tour includes a mojito at Pedro Mandinga or a beer, passion fruit or pineapple juice, and food which can be rice with chicken and patacones (fried plantain) or fish filet and salad.