Worth Every Penny and then some.
First off the communication with Sorhay was incredible. E-mails, requests, concerns, etc, were responded to almost immeditely. Then for the tour- what makes this tour different is that it is what you want it to be. Sure, you see the main things like the canal and the old town and the causeway, but the dots that connect them, it is up to you. She will ask you ok, what do you want to do and there were multiple times throughout the tour where it was like ok, how about we all do this instead or oh, i got an idea you will like, how about we go here. For our tour, we ended up on the North Corridor highway to check out the bha'i temple on the north side of town. Totally not a tourist area/destination.
Sorhay's energy, passion, and expertise make this tour even more special. First off, like the description says, at no point were we rushed through everything, and like previously written. We did things that were so out of the way and out of the tourist zone, because that is how the tour went. It wasn't a general tour of- here are the sites, get your pictures, good enough. It was a- ok, here is the pulse of the city. At this place, at this moment in time, this is what you were doing. Our experience will be 1000 different than what yours will be, and that what separates this tour from all the other ones. That is why it is worth every penny and then some.
A must do while in Panama.
Seeing the Canal is one thing, but driving up to the boats on Lake Gatun is another...
Sorhay went the extra mile by stopping at a local store and getting random fruits for monkeys to see how they would react. Being on a private tour, we were able to bounce around between the islands, something that we wouldn't be able to do on one of the group tours.
There are not too many times in life, if at all you can meet someone like our guide Sorhay. What an unbelievable weekend of touring Panama City and the surrounding area with her. We cannot thank her enough. After confirming a second day of tours with Sorhay, we took an adventure on day one for some cool stuff as we requested. We initially had Monkey Island set up for a Friday, but someway, somehow found ourselves on a 3 hour hike into the thick rain forest to find these hidden water falls with real locals on some remote property about an hour away from PC. From the views, to the sounds of the cascading water hitting the rocks, to the moment of feeling completely refreshed when we plunged into the vortex could not be matched.
She then brought us to one of the best local to go type restaurant for these unbelievable cheese and meat Empanada's. We were then dropped off for sunset drinks over looking the Mira Flores locks on the Panama Canal. Truly amazing to think these locks were built over 100 years ago and still completely functioning. We were fortunate enough to have multiple ships pass through within the hour or so that we sat.
Day two brought us to another adventure in itself. We found ourselves on canoe rides to the Embera Village to have lunch. Now while this tour is available with other guides, Sorhay is like a walking heiress to the village. She is beloved and she makes sure her guests receive the 'kings welcome'. We were first hand witnesses to the other tours. Nothing seemed to compare to the treatment we received. For the sake of this review not being a novel, trust me when I say book your tour with her! She then brought us up stream to another waterfall which we had all to ourselves since she planned on the village first, waterfall second which most have flipped. The second part of day two was Monkey Island. The monkeys were hungry and within minutes we had dozens of monkey's on the boat. Sorahy knew what to bring, how to call them, how to feed and interact with them to ensure our viewing enjoyment.
The fact of it all, is we had had a limited amount of time, and thanks to Sorhay, we were able to see some of the best of Panama. She knew the best times to visit the best places to ensure you were private and could get the full experience. She truly loves her country and loves her job. Take it from these high maintenance New Yorker's, book with Sorhay. I believe her company is The Real Panama Trs. It's worth it!