I have more photos and videos. Problem with my computer will upload in a few days.
The forgotten people of Panama.
You can see some of the photos & videos on my facebook for now.
More videos in a few days. Sorry, computer problems!
Again, view photos & videos on my facebook for now.
The photos and videos will show you the good and the bad of Panama City. The bad area ,El Chorrillo,has what I call “ the forgotten people”…
Victor Peretz, origionally from beautiful San Blas, Panama, is now giving tours in what some people call the undesirables in the El Chorrillo area. Police tell us to stay out of El Chorrillo, but it is right next to ‘Old Town[Casco Viejo]’one of Panama’s biggest tourist areas!Hats off to Victor showing the world his great country.
In the video where I had a chance to play basketball, two out of the six players are from the poor area El Chorrillo. After the lights went out we all went our separate ways, shook hands and said thanks for the great game! [Hey,I did pretty well but may have pulled a muscle,,,?] I will be working with Victor in the future to show the world the great Panama City. Story below was written by Victor Peretz, my tour guide in El Chorrillo, Panama.
The forgotten People of Panama by tour guide Victor Peretz.
Well, let me share with you some important details about El Chorrillo.
On December 20th, 1989, President George Bush launches Operation Just Cause and has sent US forces into the Central American country of Panama in a bid to oust dictator Manuel Noriega.
El Chorrillo is on the water's edge in Panama City, not far from the entrance to the Panama Canal. Many of the canal's builders -- immigrants from the Caribbean -- lived here. Decades later the neighborhood was poor and dangerous because of the invasion in that time, home to teachers and clerks, as well as hustlers who sold contraband cigarettes or beer stolen from the American military bases.
Although many people moved out after the invasion, there are still others who stayed and recall the 1989 attack.
They were caught unawares, they said, when they heard American helicopters coming over the hills and waterfront. Members of the Dignity Battalions, armed civilians sworn to protect General Noriega's Panama, scrambled.
Some residents said the Americans urged them to leave the neighborhood. Others said they had cringed inside their homes, while people on the street tried to get into any home they could, or rushed to the local church.
When the government and private investors started seeing the potential of this area, they started removing the poor people from this area. Many of them moved to El Chorrillo, only a stone’s throw away from Casco Viejo.
Get off the beaten path with me and see where boxer Roberto Duran trained and our local panamanian soccer player who will be representing Panama in the World Cup 2018, learn about how the U.S. invasion of Panama affected this neighborhood since 1989, try local food and drinks, visit the park where dominoes are played, chat with the locals in their homes and get to know the people of this area, and learn about the gentrification that has taken place in the now trendy Casco Viejo historic district.
That's how the gang members took the control of the neighborhood of El Chorrillo. I wanted to show to travellers
something that goes beyond typical tourist places, like the Canal and Casco Viejo. So I started
offering different tours. One of them caught my attention immediately: The Walking Tour through El Chorrillo.
The idea is to show tourists the real side of Panama: the local people, their living conditions and culture. I run the tour under the slogan:
“WE ARE MORE THAN JUST A FAMOUS CANAL – WE ARE PEOPLE“
During the tour, visitors can also find old colonial buildings, but they are not renovated since they have been built. There are apartment buildings, with colorful, but mostly old facades, where freshly washed clothes are hanging for drying. Some houses are sporadically made of wood, almost falling apart. Travellers will see a lot of street art about sports, people of El Chorrillo and some who remind of the US invasion.
Let me tell you about the local history, daily life and living conditions of the locals. I will show you the sports hall, where the famous boxer Roberto "Hands of stone" Duran trained and other places that are related to sport, especially to football. The locals love it and are proud that a few “Chorrilleros” became famous athletes.
The neighborhood is very lively, with children running around in the streets, people chatting and Latin music sounds in every corner. Locals always will greet you friendly with a smile. So we will stop a few times.
We will also visit a Police station, where Victor’s weekly program "Educate Me and You Educate A Nation", is taking place. The idea is to get the kids away from the street and give them a place to learn and play. Especially tourists are welcome to interact with the kids and learn English with them. I want the locals and tourists to connect, exchange knowledge from different countries, traditions and cultures. You can meet the kids, help to educate them and have an authentic experience in Panama. The program is quite new, but I want to develop it with more and different classes in English, music and art. In the long term I plan to educate and empower also the mothers of the children.
The locals are very friendly and welcoming and You will feel safe with me. For sure, it’s not as safe as Casco Viejo to walk around as a tourist – especially after sunset. You will have a very good experience there, where you will take home more than souvenir, You will take home memories to share.
After walking around in El Chorrillo, I will bring you back to our starting point (Plaza Herrera, Casco Viejo). The tour takes around 1,5 hours and it's 40 USD. If you are interested in seeing another, non-touristy side of Panama or spend time with the kids of this area, connect with me on Facebook @Local in PTY or send me an E-Mail. I guarantee you an amazing, unique and authentic experience in Panama City!
Any other question you have, let me know.
Víctor A. Pérez M.
Founder & CEO
"Live & Experience the local spirit with locals"Contact Information;
✅WhatsApp: (+507) 61187621
Instagram.com/localinpty/?hl=e sCasco Viejo, Panamá City.
After hanging out in old town Casco Viejo, then dinner at the fish market I like to walk along the ocean to Malticentro (near the Hard Rock Hotel) it's about an hours walk. So many people out walking, jogging, running, biking, working out in an(outdoor gym), volleyball, basketball, tennis, badminton, children's playgrounds, soccer and even dancing. Rich or poor everyone is welcome.
I met Luis just a few weeks ago just hanging out in old town Panama City. I had the feeling he was a tour guide for old town (Casco Viejo). I was intrigued and wanted to know more about this person. His English was perfect, I could not even hear a Spanish accent. After my tour of El Chorrillo with Victor the day before ,I asked Luis if he would like to join me for lunch, my treat! I was shocked to discover that he was homeless,living in Casco Viejo the rich part of town old town. Wow! After lunch, I asked him if he could film me in front of Café Coka Cola and he agreed. We got along well and I asked if he would like to do a video explaining the Big fire in Old Town. He did well explaining the bad fire! Luis does all his tours for FREE! I told him no more free tours, you have to start charging now! I saw him working with other tour guides, helping them get clients. Luis is a great guy, and if anyone visits Old Town ask for Luis and tip him a few bucks for all the great information., I gave him some money and saw in his face that he was hiding tears! Video and photos coming soon.
So many people to thank for this trip to Panama.
The Bottom line: I love Panama and the People who live in this great country! I am so grateful for the people who brought me into their homes. Jim & Derrek, buddies from Ontario who live in in Coronado 6 months a year. Marcela, whom I met a couple years ago when I did my road trip Calgary to Panama. She ran the Hostel in Panama city and introduced me to her sister Gilda who took me into an amazing two story three bedroom penthouse with a city and ocean view for only $30.00 USD a night. My newest young buddy Martin Cheng ,who I met through Airbnb, just moved to Panama from China. I stayed at his amazing condo rooftop pool, barbeque area and gym for 3 weeks at $29.00 Canadian a night. Also grateful to the new people I met on this trip and nice to catch up to old friends while I was there. Thank you Victor, the tour guide of the not so dangerous El Carrillo area where the police say do not enter and Luis,the street person who will make a great tour guide someday[I will buy him a phone soon to assist his tour business]!...,So many more people to mention! I remember when I first started traveling some 15 years ago, someone from Malaysia said to me “You Lucky Guy”!.... Well, I am beginning to understand what she really meant by that statement!