Panama City guide

This item appears on page 34 of the June 2011 issue.

My husband, Norman, and I knew we wanted to hire a tour guide to show us the major sights of Panama City in August 2010, and our trip’s best find was Alvamayita (Alva) Pinzón (cell phone 507 6676 4147 or e-mail

We called her from the US to discuss our tour needs and her rates and availability. I had researched and called many tour companies recommended in the travel books, so I knew what our tours would typically cost. Prices for Alva’s tours were equal to or less than those of any group tour, and with just the three of us, we could go at our own speed and cover more.

We booked a full-day city tour with Alva for $75 per person; this included admission to all the sights and museums. (For three or four people, the price drops to $20 each.)

We took a partial transit cruise through the Panama Canal, including transfers to and from the Amador Causeway, for $115. This trip goes on Saturdays only and can be arranged through Alva or Panama Marine Adventures (phone 226 8917).

Our third tour was a visit to a craft market and a full day to El Valle de Antón and Santa Clara Beach for $90 per person (for three or four, $25 each). Alva has a set tour itinerary, but if you have some things on your “to do” list, no matter how obscure, she will make it happen

Panama City is a wonderful bargain destination for a vacation.

Saltillo, MS