City walking on paved and mostly flat surfaces. Some stair climbing and standing. Field trip to the Panama Canal Museum will only include the 2nd floor exhibits.
At the hotel.
Orientation: 8:15 a.m. at the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Transfers to and from program activities will be by air conditioned bus, unless specified otherwise. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Meals on our program feature local cuisine. In many cases, they will be plated and served set meals; in others, we will have buffets with multiple options. Beverages include coffee, tea, water; other beverages are usually available for purchase. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. After boarding the Road Scholar bus, we'll journey to Casco Viejo--the historic colonial center of the city of Panama-- in preparation for a walking field trip led by our Group Leader. Panama City's old historic quarter is called Casco Viejo and dates back to the 1670s. Casco Viejo showcases the multicultural history of Panama; parks and narrow streets are lined with colorful buildings in a breath-taking mix of Spanish, French and early American architectural styles. This eclectic display reflects the city's role as an international trade center and cultural melting pot that began well before the building of the Canal. Some of Casco Viejo's must-see sites include the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Municipal Palace, the National Theater, the Panama Canal Museum (originally the Grand Hotel), the French Embassy, and the Plaza de Francia. We'll then head to the Panama Canal Museum to learn about the American era of the Panama Canal.
At a restaurant featuring authentic Panamanian cuisine.
After returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free. You might like to explore some of Panama City's other highlights on your own such as the Biomuseo with its fantastic design by Frank Gehry and galleries that illustrate the origins of the Panamanian isthmus and its impact on biodiversity. One of our buses will drop off participants at the museum, along with a group leader, before returning to the hotel with the rest of the group. The museum entrance fee, taxi fare to return to the hotel and any other expenses incurred during this activity are not included in your program cost. The museum is within walking distance from our hotel (about 1.5 miles) if you wish to forego taking a taxi to the hotel. We'll regroup at the hotel for a 5:00 p.m. presentation on the Panama Canal past, present, and future.
At the hotel.