SpanishPanama student, Rebecca Adams, got us all excited about promoting what could be for visiting tourists (and even Panamanians themselves) the most “culturally fulfilling” tour in Panama. Expats meet in front of the new American Trading Hotel at Plaza Herrera in Casco Antiguo, Panama’s colonial city.
The walk-around tour leaves Saturdays at 5:00pm and the tour guides are ex-gang members. They take you through where tourists could never go before. They explain to you what life was like as gang members and the struggles that the community faces.
This is all part of the overall strategy by the Esperanza Social Venture Club to improve life and conditions in the once very neglected area of San Felipe.
When the director of SpanishPanama first visited Panama’s colonial city in Protected content the area of Plaza Hererra was considered “no man’s land”- and going there was a sure way to get robbed. Today that plaza looks like a new world especially with the new American Trade Hotel and the community services being offered there such as Danilo Perez foundation (a school giving the gift of music to children) and Olga Sinclair foundation (a school giving the gift of painting and art to children). But the area past 9th Street (past the Plaza) is still very much advised off-limits and that is what tourists can now see in safety and security with the former gang members themselves.