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Panama City Food Tour: Exploring The Afro-Panamanian Culinary Heritage

Taste the flavors of Panama City on this unique food tour. A local chef will guide you through 500 years of Afro-Panamanian culinary history and its effect on the heritage and culture of modern Panama!

4.50 out of 5 based on 2 customer ratings
(2 customer reviews)
USD $120.00USD $145.00

Per Person
Type of Tour
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Embark on a Panama City Food Tour to Discover Its Culinary Heritage

This tour is unavailable until future notice – the local guide is re-designing the experience. If you are interested in doing a private food tour in Panama City, please email us at info@keteka.com!

Afro-Panamanian cuisine is one of the most notorious expressions of rebellion and resilience in Panama. On this food tour, you will taste amazing food while visiting iconic places in Panama City where Afro-Panamanians have developed an independent economic system to make a living by fishing, cooking and selling food. Experience the bright flavors of the city with this off-the-beaten-path food tour led by a local Panamanian chef!

The list of dishes you will be trying out includes lobster ceviche, sea bass ceviche, stan patty beef, plantain tart, codfish cakes and patacones. A chef’s special, orange and raspadura juice as well as coffee will also be served.

Highlights

  • Tour with a local Afro-Panamanian chef who speaks English
  • Get a proper introduction to authentic Panamanian cuisine
  • Experience iconic neighborhoods in Panama City
  • Visit one of the most famous Afro-Panamanian enclaves in the country

Tour Information

Duration: 3 hours (Tour stars from 10:00 am to 13:00 pm)
Start/End location: Mercado del Mariscos, Panama City
Availability: Year-round (Weekly group tour runs every Wednesday while private tour runs every day of the week except for Wednesday and Sunday)
Miscellaneous: Private tour requires a minimum of 2 travelers

Itinerary

First, you will visit Mercado Del Mariscos, one of the most colorful places in the city and a daily source of fresh seafood. Here you will learn about Panamanians’ unique version of ceviche, and how they basically make ceviche out of anything they can catch in the ocean, including lobster, octopus, and prawns.

Then, you will head to Mi Pueblito Afroantillano, where you will be captivated by one the best views of the city from the skirts of the Cerro Ancon – Mi Pueblito Afroantillano was built by the government almost 20 years ago, but lack of maintenance and organization have made the place less attractive to tourists. Here you will receive a #BoxDelCoco, a snack box created by La Tapa Del Coco, and your #BoxDelCoco will feature different flavors, baked goods and a refreshment. While you enjoy your snack box, your guide will also let you in on some of the amazing stories about how Afro-Antilleans went from the Caribbean Islands to the isthmus of Panama.

Last but not least, head over to Centollo’s Place – for the first time in history, an Afro-Panamanian restaurant has opened its door in a mall! Here you will get a true sense of Panama’s culinary cultural mix, where items such as seafood, beef, poultry, rices, soups, and more constitute the daily diet of the Afro-Panamanian people. Centollo’s Place has been in business for over 20 years and their success is based on their quality and consistency expressing the best of the Afro-Panamanian culinary heritage.

What’s Included

  • Transportation from hotel (available for private tours)
  • 10 authentic Panamanian dishes
  • Knowledgeable and enthusiastic bilingual guide
  • Professional photos, retrievable online after the tour

What to Bring

  • Comfortable clothes and shoes

Map

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Panama City Panama

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Panama City Panama 8.983333, -79.516667
Kyle Wiggins

Isaac Villaverde

What is the essence Afro-Panamanian cuisine?”

“After years of receiving the same question, I went on a quest to find the answer. The tour is the most authentic representation of more than 500 years of Afro-Panamanian culinary history,” declared Isaac Villaverde—the guide for this tour. Isaac is the founder of the Movimiento Cultural La Tapa Del Coco, an organization that promotes the preservation of Afro-Panamanian traditions with gastronomy at the core of its activities. La Tapa Del Coco, as it’s commonly referred to, has been positioned as a point of reference for Afro-Panamanian development and entrepreneurship recognized by the New York Times, TVN2, and other media.

*Please note that this tour may be guided by another local guide, always providing a genuine approach to the local culture.

  1. Rated 4 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Do this tour! VERY good food, learned a little about the very visible Afro Panamanian community (both the Afro-Colonials and the Afro-Antilleans), and visited local Afro food sites in Panama City.

    Pluses:

    * We were served delicious food at all 3 sites we visited (fresh ceviche in casual, Styrofoam cups at the ”Woman of Ceviches” shop in the El Mercado de Marisco Seafood Market – one of the best things I’ve ever tasted; flavorful beef and plaintain-stuffed “patties” at the Ancon Hill Mi Pueblito complex; and a full dinner of tender ox tails, fried fish in mustard sauce, catfish cakes, crisp patacones, salad, and a spicy fruit drink at “Donde Ivan”, a local restaurant in the Rio Abajo neighborhood).

    * The food tour guide is a chef himself and personally made sweet and savory patties, which were like empanada pastries, except delicious and without all the grease, patacones (like a mashed, fried plaintain) and sorrel juices for us to eat and drink along the way. No need to eat beforehand because you will receive large samples and a huge meal at the local restaurant. You will not be shortchanged and will be stuffed by the end!

    Cons:

    * I would have liked to slow down and learn a little more about Mi Pueblito.

    * Keteka didn’t receive several email replies to their email request for our details. By the time we got everything straightened out, it was too late to keep our original tour time and we had to reschedule for a later that same day. Not a huge inconvenience and the tour was still very good, but this could have been a miss if we had other plans arranged for that evening.

    Regrets:

    * My long standing fear of being sickened by raw fish kept me from finishing off the ceviche we got at the Marisco market (something about eating raw food seems weird to me. For that same reason, I don’t eat Sushi.) – Even though the ceviche was fresh and tasted absolutely delicious I only ate half of it (which was still a very large portion, actually). BUT … It’s now been 3 days since the tour and I have not had even the tiniest twinge of illness, then or now. The only thing I have is a twinge of regret that I did not finish a great first-time food experiences. ‘Cuz the ceviche was delish!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Our tour with Isaac was beautiful. He was very well informed and accommodating. We will definitely recommend this tour to friends that visit Panama City. As an American of Italian descent, I comprehend how food can tell the story of a people. It was beautiful too see Isaac’s passion about his background, his culture’s cuisine and the future of Panama City. Communication was excellent with e-mail exchange several days prior to our tour. By the end of the tour we felt that we had made a new friend in Isaac and his “driver” Anna. I wish him the best in all of his future endeavors. Thank you again for setting us up.

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What Happens After I Book?

After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.

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