ALMIZA TOURS by My friend Mario is a licenced Travel Agency and Tour Operator since 1994
Calle Arnoldo Cano, La Chorrera , Panama, Panama.
Phone: (507) 6615-2271 or (507) 6615-6205 or (507) 253-6500
Local friendly guides providing the highest quality tours at an unbeatable value since 1994
Below you will find list with our more popular tours from Panama City, exist all kinds the attractions available for all in your party, such as:
Code: PC1 / City Tour
Spanish Colonial Ruin - Colonial City - Former American Canal Zone - Ancon Hill - Panama canal Pacific (Miraflores Locks) - Coastway Amador - Marina - Vibrant New City - Modern Architecture.
Code: PC2 / Anton Valley
Landscape - Small Local Community - Dormant Volcano - Square Trees - Local Zoo and Garden - Unique and Endangered Golden Frog - Native Petroghyph - Waterfall - Freshwater Natural Pond - Hill Hiking - Thermal Pool - Mineral Mud - Local Market.
Code: PC3 / Embera Indian Village Tour
Landscape - Embera Native Canoe Ride - Manmade Alajuela Lake - Chagres River Ride - Rainforest Hiking - Waterfall - Freshwater Natural Pond - Native Embera Village.
CODE: PC4 / Maje Cave Exploration
Landscape - Local Canoe Ride - Manmade Bayano Lake - Cave Exploration - Wild Animals.
Code: PC5 / Rainforest, San Lorenzo Colonial Fort and Gatun Locks
Car Ride Ocean to Ocean - Colon City - Rainforest - Wild Animals - Spanish Colonial Fort Ruin - Panama Canal, Caribbean (Gatun Locks).
Code: PC6 / Caribbean Beach and Cool Pirate History
Car Ride Ocean to Ocean - Landscape - Spanish Colonial Forts Ruin - Portobelo Small Colonial Town - Beach Break.
To book any tour please send us an email:
PHONE: 00 (507) 6615-2271 or 00 (507) 6615-6205
Some travel tours are advertised by companies or person but only authorized travel agencies, tour operators, taxi and SET under Panama law have the right to pick up clients at hotels or docks, Police are watching and will cancel the tour and give a fine of $500 to all non authorized persons or tour operators. Please avoid the risk of ruining your day in Panama booking with an illegal person. If you have any doubt about the legality of the tour company please check with the Authority of Tourism Panama (ATP)
We dont like to blow our own horn, so luckily there are some others who have kindly done it for us. Please read some past clients posts:
Panama City Tours
Colon and Panama Canal Tour
Cruise Critic passengers (to find tons of feedback write: my friend mario)
Cruising Mates passengers
Submitted by Sheila from Denver, CO review taken from Tripadvisor.com 11/09/05
"I took this fantastic tour of the Embera Village with My Friend Mario Tours and had the most wonderful, fun time I have ever had."...more
Submitted by RJ review taken from Travelwithrj.com 04/13/06
"Mario’s excursion was awesome"...more
Submitted by Cristina from Dallas, TX review taken from Frommers.com 05/06/05
"Mario, he is a great and well-known panamenian guide." "We recommend him highly"...more
Submitted by Robert from Queens,NY review taken from Frommers.com 07/18/05
"Definitely his services was outstanding and I remember him like my friend instead of my guide".
Submitted by Patricia review taken from Frommers.com 11/09/05
"WHAT A TRIP!" "I agree with those other posts listed that he is the best in Panama".
Submitted by Judy from Hudson Valley, NY review taken from Cruisecritic.com 04/11/05
"This was such a great tour". "Mario's tour was extra special I can't put into words have great a tour it was."...more
Submitted by Cruisingschool review taken from Cruisecritic.com 04/12/05
"It was a great excursion". "I would book with Mario again"
Submitted by Lisa from Seattle review taken from Cruisecritic.com 11/09/05
"Hi we just completed this Mario tour on Oct 31 - AMAZING TOUR - he is just sent us a few more pictures and provided us with Champange because it was our honeymoon - great on the details!"
Submitted by Diane review taken from Cruisecritic.com 04/15/06
"Absolute paradise" "Our experience with Mario from myfriendmario.com was very positive and I would recommend his services if you are going to Panama"....more
Submitted by Kelli review taken from Cruisecritic.com 01/08/06
"Mario and Ivan were very knowledgable and added lots of interesting facts" ."They both went out of their way to make our excursion a memerable expeierence"...more
Submitted by Melissa from Ontario,Canada review taken from Cruisecritic.com 02/04/06
"It was by far the best money we spent. We would highly, highly recommend this tour operator".
Submitted by Jena from Minnesota review taken from Cruisecritic.com 04/03/06
"I am so glad we took the chance and booked this tour. We were able to experience the rain forest, see some of the history of Panama at the fort, and see the Canal" "it was one of the best experiences of our trip"
Submitted by Damman from Connecticut review taken from Cruisecritic.com 04/17/06
"We found Mario to be professional, informative and reliable" "MyFriendMario gets my highest recommendation!"
Submitted by Tammlynn review taken from Cruisereviews.com
"Our guide was really great and made sure we were back in time"...more
Submitted by Cookie and Sjaak. 07/10/05
"My husband Sjaak and I were lucky enough to have Mario as our Guide in March and he was pleasant, courteous and knowlegable. We had a great time and can't speak more highly about our experience. We highly recommend his services!"
Submitted by Susan, Jose and Marquitos. 10/05/05
"We want to express out gratitude to you and your family for making our first trip to Panama so wonderful.
We enjoyed our time in Costa Rica but my heart is in Panama."
Submitted by Eric, Jill, Cecilia and Ad. 11/01/05
"My wife and I and my 2 kids ages 1 and 4 used Marios services and he is great. It can be difficult to travel with young children, but Mario was very helpful and helped carry kids strollers etc. We would not have been able to many of the things we did without Mario watching our kids. Thanks again Mario your the best".
Submitted by Andy J. 2/06/06
"The entire experience was overall extremely wonderful but Ivan really made the difference. He was very interested to answer our questions and make sure that our overall excursion very memorable!" "He catered to adults and children alike".
Submitted by Sergio and Arcelie. 2/19/06
"Just to let you know that we are home safe and sound and we miss Panama a lot. We had a wonderful time, thanks to you Mario for all your help".
Submitted by Claudia S. 2/28/06
"I have to tell you that everyone loved the tour. I had so many people tell me that You did a wonderful job of giving the tour. They all liked it, even the kids. I hope you tell Roberto what a great job he did, and give him a big Thank you from all of us. Also the bus driver. He was great in finding animals in the trees, etc., and if we ever get there again we will be sure and have you give us another tour."
Submitted by Luz B. 4/02/06
"Enrique was awesome. Everyone in my group truly enjoyed having him as our guide. Our trip to San Lorenzo was exciting. Our driver had a good eye for some wild life. The Canal was truly amazing and Enrique was so patient with us and allow us to take some time to really appreciate it. We even had plenty of time to shop. You have some good people working with you".
Submitted by Colleen P 4/03/06
"We had a wonderful time. Just wanted to let you know that Lori was a terrific guide. She was knowledgable and helpful."
Submitted by Pam and Ben 4/22/06
"We really enjoyed our tour of Panama yesterday and today. We saw many things and learned much of your wonderful country"
Submitted by Nana J. 6/06/06
"I wanted to again thank you for the wonderful time we had While in Panama" .
Submitted by Anja and Elizabeth. 09/03/06
"We just wanted to send a warm thank you for the excellent service you provided. Panama was the first part of the trip, and our tours with you were the highlight or our time in Panama. Thank you again".
Submitted by Karlene R. 10/28/06
"Hi Mario, We really enjoyed our tour with you in Colon, Panama and looking forward to doing it again with you".
Submitted by Phillip and Jeanette 11/02/06
"Thank you Mario, Lori and Lucy. We were on the tour last week to the Embera Indian village from the cruise ship Victory. It was an adventure and we loved almost every minute of it".
Submitted by Marsha Ch. 11/08/06
"My sister and I wanted to thank your father for the wonderful time we had in Panama. He was a terrific guide and made our trip most enjoyable".
Submitted by Floyd R. 11/10/06
"We have been on over 75 shore excursions from cruise ships and your tour to visit the Embera Indians and the Gatun Locks was the best tour we have ever been in. Congrats for creating such a wonderful experience".
Submitted by Jeff H. 11/26/06
"We all thought the trip we had was fantastic. Those of us who snorkeled enjoyed it and those in our group who didn't snorkel still enjoyed it very much. The tour definitely made us want to come back to Panama ", "Both Ivan and the other guy did a great job providing us with very informative recent and historical information and were truly concerned about everyone enjoying themselves".
Submitted by Randy & Kathy 11/27/06
"My wife and I were absolutely thrilled with the tour that you provided. I thought that Lori and Ricardo were excellant in describing the history and culture of your country to us. They answered all of our questions and made us all feel very welcome". "The meeting with the Embera Indians was a terrific experience and Kathy and I will always hold the memory of being there and meeting them as being priceless. They were most gracious in accepting us into thier village and spending time with us, we shall never forget the time that we spent there".
Submitted by Carol S. 11/28/06
"We had the best time on your tour. The guides were perfect. They were funny, treated us great, taught us a lot, they made sure that everyone was having a great time. From beginning to end this tour was great. Patrick and Captain Ron were the best. They made the whole trip worth it".
Submitted by Stephanie & Noreen 11/28/06
"Words can not describe how much we enjoyed your tour in Panama - it was the highlight of our cruise. Laurie and Ricardo were excellent guides who made us feel very welcome". "Panama was truely the highlight of our trip to Central America. I hope to return again one day and maybe stay a while longer".
Submitted by Al S. 12/03/06
"My group and I were very pleased with Ray. He was very detailed. Ray is one of the best guides around.
Please tell him for us he did an outstanding job. Our driver deserves a round of applause as well. He also made or stay very pleasant. We wished we had more time in your beautiful country".
Submitted by Elli R. 12/05/06
"Generally, the tour was lovely. The guide was most informative, and the tour choice was inspiring".
Submitted by Lyndi L. 12/11/06
"We had a great time! Our guide was excellent and very imformative".
Submitted by Kevin E. 12/12/06
"My friends and I all agree that your tour was the highlight of our vacation. If and when I or any of my friends or family returns to Panama I will diffidently be calling you again. Both Patrick and Ivan are extremely knowledgeable, friendly and an absolute pleasure to tour with. They made our trip to Panama one we will be talking about for a long time and we will never forget".
Submitted by Sylvie R. 12/13/06
"The day in Panama was our very favourite day...Our guide was very interesting and very nice...We absolutely loved our visit with the Indians... That is an experience we will remember forever". "All my friends thanked me for finding the information about your tour, they were very pleased… Thank you for making such a nice day for us in Panama…I for sure will come back for a longer visit one day… "
Submitted by Terry & Denise 12/13/06
"We really enjoyed our tour with you. Our guide was excellent and we would recommend you to anyone going in that direction. If we come that way again, we will be contacting you for all our tour needs. Thanks for a wonderful experience!"
Submitted by Cindy B. 1/7/07
"The tour was fantastic. It far exceeded our expectations. The tour guide was great and we had a great day. Thank you very much".
Submitted by Alicia & Ryan. 1/8/07
"We loved the tour!"
Submitted by Marsha K. 1/8/07
"We would like to inform you that all of our group on the two buses had a great time visitng the waterfals, Indian Village and the Gatun Locks. The tour guides were well informed and enjoyable to listen to. I will pass your name and web site to anyone I know doing this same itinerary. Thanks again for a great day. The adults and the teenagers all found the Indian village interesting and entertaining. Have a great year".
Submitted by Harvey L. 1/8/07
"I would higly recommend this tour to all. Price was right and the tour and guides were terrific. Maybe a little less time in the Village and more time at the Canal. Great tour. Thank you"
Submitted by Julie & Gideon 1/9/07
"The tour was excellent. We found Ray very knowledgeable and very witty. We liked all the extra touches he added, like giving the little gift at the end of the tour. It was a great experience; thank you".
Submitted by Sue C. 1/9/07
"Just wanted to let you know we had the most fabulous day ever! We were collected from the Pier on time, very organised. And your tour guide was very knowledgeable and informative on our drive through Panama, telling us lots of history about the area. The locks were amazing, then our long canoe trip up the river, then to the Indian Village to change into our swimwear before a further short canoe ride to the waterfall – a tricky hike across rocks but it was so worth it! We had a lovely swim in the pool beneath the waterfall, then re-boarded the canoe back to the Indian Village where we had a tasty lunch of bass, plantains and fresh cut pineapple, a talk from the head of the village and dance demonstrations. Time to shop for souvenirs then once more back on the canoe, onto the bus and back to the Pier in time for our sailing! I have to say that the day was excellent value for money, we got to do so many things with everything organised and no worries for us. Your people made sure we were back to the ship in time which is the most important thing for cruisers!!"
Submitted by Philip L. 1/11/07
"We loved the tour as well as the guide - it was the best one we did in Central America".
Submitted by Mark C. 1/11/07
"Our tour guide was Alex. Give him a raise!! He was great. The tour was completely enjoyable. We went with my father in law and his wife, and this tour was the highlight of their trip, and mine. I can't think of how you could improve this experience for anyone. It might have been nice to see more wildlife, but I know that on the tour that we did, this would be outside your control. Bravo. I will always recommend you to our friends. Thank you again".
Submitted by Debbie D. 1/15/07
"First let me start by saying that it was both my kid’s and my very favorite day of the cruise. Ivan did an outstanding job and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!"
Submitted by Froncois D. 1/27/07
"It was great, the guide was very good and everythings was as expected".
Submitted by Bastiaan van der W. 2/8/07
"I would like to thank you for a wonderful day in Colon. O ur guides were very enthusiastic and well informed. The trip to the Indian village was a unique chance to meet local Indians. The people of the village were very kind and unspoiled.We had a great day and I would like to recommend this tour and your company to everybody who visit Panama. We spoke to other passenger of the ship and our tour was far better and, not unimportant, much cheaper"
Submitted by Sally B. 2/23/07
"Our tour was all that we expected. We went with Mario Sr. and Lorrie. She went the extra mile for me when I fell in the river. She used her own shirt to clean dirt out of my lighter so I could have a smoke. Both were very good and will recommend your services to any of my future customers stopping in Panama.( was great, the guide was very good and everythings was as expected."
Submitted by Randy G. 3/6/07
"Just wanted to drop you a note to say what a great time my family and I had with Laurie on tour #CL007- 2/22/07. She made our time in Panama the best!!! We definitely will recommend your company."
Submitted by Eddie P. 3/12/07
"Lucy & Vladmir were 150% fantastic!!! I felt very comfortable with my family right from the beginning when I met with them at Port Colon. They we very friendly, very knowledgable and very smart with the history and sites that we visited. My family had the best experience with Lucy and Vladmir and I want to thank you very, very, VERY much for your suggestion of them and your service!!!"
Submitted by Jeannette H. 3/14/07
"Last month on Feb. 19 I went on this trip. I had a wonderful guide--Ivan--and wanted to tell you how terrific he was!! He was very informed and very attentive. One could not ask for a better guide."
Submitted by Carol M. 3/26/07
"Great trip === well worth what we paid! tour guide was marvelous. Thank again for the wonderful memories."
Submitted by Connie K. 4/3/07
"Just a quick note to let you know how much we enjoyed our day in Panama with our guide Elvis and driver Santos…we had a blast! We selected this particular ship and itinerary because we knew very little about the area and felt we came away so much richer for the experience. Why would anyone go to another country and not drink the local beer!!!! Elvis was so generous in sharing his country with all of us and answering our many questions. Thankyou so much for the experience! We hope to return some day and hopefully have more time to explore the country and culture."
Submitted by Aaron S. 4/5/07
"Our tour (CL001) was very good. Ray (our tour guide) was great! He presented us with tons of information on the history, and the wildlife of the area. In all honesty, we enjoyed this tour over all other tours we took on our cruise."
Submitted by Allan M. 4/5/07
"We thought the tour was great. Would recommend your tours to others. Guide was exceptionally good however we could not always hear what he was saying. Would have liked to have had more time at the canal but the short time may have been due to the fact that the others on the tour were late to arrive.
Submitted by Tom H. 4/5/07
We had a great time on your tour. Laura did a very nice job explaining things as we went along. The only sad part was not being to make to the waterfall due to low water. The chief of the village was very informative and the lunch enjoyable. Once Laura decided we couldn't make it to the waterfall and back in time, the rest stop for swimming was nice although I would have appreciated a warning about the caiman gators we saw much farther down stream. All in all, a very enjoyable tour!
Submitted by Bruce B. 4/6/07
"The tour with your company was excellent, you were on time, the vehicles for transport were safe, airconditioned and the tour guides were very good, the addition of a few cold cervesas, soda and water were a nice addition. I would highly recommend your company to any perspective traveler looking to book a tour. What was of great importance was the value my family received for the cost of the tour compared to what the Cruise line offered, in talking with other cruisers who went through the cruise line, they were less than enthusiastic when I compared our cost and quality of tour with the one they took.
Submitted by Robin G. 4/7/07
"We had an excellent tour and would do it again. Our tour guide was Ivan and he was the best. The tour of the canal and the time at the beach were so much fun. Ivan did everything he could to make us happy. He also gave us alot of information on Panama and the canal. I am so glad we decided not to go on a ship excursion. I hope to be back again. Thanks again for such a great time!
Submitted by Robin G. 4/7/07
"We had an excellent tour and would do it again. Our tour guide was Ivan and he was the best. The tour of the canal and the time at the beach were so much fun. Ivan did everything he could to make us happy. He also gave us alot of information on Panama and the canal. I am so glad we decided not to go on a ship excursion. I hope to be back again. Thanks again for such a great time!
Submitted by Marlene G. 4/10/07:
Rey (?) was our tour guide and he was very imformative and had a good sense of humor. Never pushy, very thorough with his answers. Went above and beyond with the tour, always willing to find something that was of interest to the group. I would definitely recommend him for another tour.
Submitted by Claudia W. 4/14/07:
We all had a wonderful time! I do not remember our guides name, but he was FANTASTIC!! If I remember it, I will let you know. But during the Embera Indian canoe trip, the water was very low and the boat kept getting stuck. He had no problem jumping in the water to help! Also, during the hike to the water fall, he took a lot of time to assist my father, who has an artificial hip, over the rocks and tough parts. We were very grateful to all his attention! I would definately recommend your Tour Company to anyone who asks!
Thanks again for a wonderful excursion. The Witt Family
Submitted by Terri B. 4/18/07:
We have very positive feedback about our excursion with your company.
There was a little bit of confusion while everyone was getting separated into groups at the pier that morning. Of course, it took us a while to realize how EARLY the local time was when our ship arrived! Our tour guide Lori (don't know if I spelled that right or not) was very knowledgeable and professional. She answered any and all questions that came her way during the tour. We enjoyed the stop at the Gatun Locks. It was a nice brief overview of how the Canal operates. The trip to the Indian Village and waterfall is a journey that we will not soon forget! It is very rare in the US to see any unspoiled land in its natural state.
Unfortunately, our visit at the actual Indian Village was cut short by the time it took to get the canoes upstream in the shallow waters. I really would have liked to have spent more time there. The people that lived in the village were very eager to share their way of life with us.
The trip was a wonderful experience for my entire family. I will whole-heartedly recommend your tour company to other travelers on the Message Boards.
The only uncomfortable aspect of the trip was the return to Colon. We ended up arriving at the ship 15 minutes after the time that the ship had set as our time to be back on the ship. Everyone on the bus was extremely nervous! There was a very long line of passengers waiting to board the ship when we arrived at the dock. I was never so happy to see a long line! Everything worked out, but it was stressful for us. Thanks again for a wonderful tour!
Submitted by Deborah W. 4/26/07:
We had a wonderful cruise and a great tour in Panama. Thanks again for making it a memorable day.
Submitted by Skip D. 4/26/07:
With the exception of one in our party we all had a great trip. Even the guy who didn't catch any fish said he had a good time and was glad for the experience.
While we realize that none of the "big" fish were running and we chose to bottom fish we were sad that the boat couldn't catch a "Lunker". (Slang for a big one.) Since we have had conversation about taking a longer trip out to the Pearls and do some trolling later this year. I will be back to check on prices with you later. The "crew" was great and very helpful. Ivan will make a good partner for you as your business begins to expand. Thanks again.
Submitted by Will V. 4/28/07:
Just thought we let you know our family really enjoyed your tour in Panama on 4/19/07. Our tour guide was Ivan and he took good care of everyone from the bus terminal to the Gatun Locks, Portebello Fort, private island and beach. We had a great time and highly recommend your tour to others. Please say hello to Ivan and staff for us.
Submitted by Craig J. 5/8/07:
It was a very nice tour (Panama canal/Indian Village). Your tour guide, Laurie, was very informative and provided an excellent tour experience. Very educational tour for the adults and children (boys age 11). My only suggestions are the following:
1) Make certain that guests know that the boat ride is over an hour long and sun screen is HIGHLY recommened.
2) Don't take your guests to the falls (on the river) during the dry season. The water was just too low and we had to push the canoe too much and still were unable to get there.
Would highly recommend your tour.
Submitted by Lizzie B. 5/19/07:
Your tour was the highlight of our trip! We loved every minute of it. Thank you for making it so much fun and so personalized. We appreciate all of the special touches you included. The pride in your work and your company is obvious; you could teach a lot of companies how to be successful if you ever get tired of giving tours : )
Submitted by Daniel K. 5/21/07:
It was a fantastic adventure and nothing should be changed. Thank you for the experience of a lifetime!
Submitted by Dale L. 7/19/07:
I know that members of my family enjoyed the Rain Forest tour, but can only give you direct feedback on CL003 + Snorkeling upgrade. First of all, we all thought that our guide (Ivan?) was exceptional. Practically from the moment we left the pier he was looking for things to interest us - from native animals to history and current events. At the fort, he gave us a tour which the ship's excursion did not. In fact, after hearing him tell us about the fort, several people on the ship's tour asked him questions, which he graciously answered.
Submitted by Carole P. 7/19/07:
Good tour/ value. Rey our guide was very nice and presented everything in a clear manner.
Wish there was more time @ the canal. Loved meeting Patrick & his blender on the beach.
Submitted by Chrystal P. 7/20/07:
We had a great time thank you very much!!! We met Patrick the other guide and thought he was very nice he truely loves his job....Our guide was also friendly, and funny and told us lots of history and info about Panama Thank you again.
Submitted by Robin I. 7/20/07:
Mario~ The tour was facinating. I didn't realize that the hiking would be that intense, but now that I did it I am totally impressed with myself! I think it should be stated that people with any handicaps should not do this tour. Lori and Elvis were awesome. Thanks for all of the special treats we received on the tour. The food and drinks were more than appreciated.
Submitted by Nancy G. 7/23/07:
Ellio was our tour guide and both Ellio and the driver, were very friendly and made all of us in the group feel welcomed to Panama. They made our first visit to Panama pleasant and enjoyable. Thank you once again. I will keep your name should we visit Panama in the future.
Submitted by Roger P. 8/14/07:
Our family really enjoyed the excursion we were on. The guide (Reyes was his name I think) was incredible!!! He knew everything about Panama past and present and was funny and informative. The bus was very comfortable and clean. Good luck in all future endeavors and when I return to Panama I will be looking you up again.
Submitted by Beth J. 8/19/07:
We would like to thank you for a wonderful day in Panama. Rey is an excellent guide. His knowledge of history, politics and human nature are beyond compare. We were fortune to see plenty of wild life, along the way. The rain forest was wonderful. We were disappointed that the trail was blocked and that we were unable to spend more time there. The canal was very interesting & we enjoyed that.
We had a wonderful time and appreciated all that you did to ensure the success of the day. We would highly recommend My Friend Mario to all cruise ship travelers.
Submitted by James K. 9/28/07:
Your Dad did a superior job of tour guide for us. We thoroughly enjoyed his expertise and lifelong familiarity of the Panama area. We asked that our city tour be shortened a bit and not include hiking through the rainforest trails. Mario Sr adjusted to that and provided for my condition quite well. On return to Panama City, we will certainly consider your other tour opportunities. Thank you for your services.
Submitted by Laurel N. 9/29/07:
We had a wonderful time. Mario is a terrific guide, of course!!! We saw everything. And he knows all about Panama. It was great!! Everything you arranged was perfect. We thank you so much.
Submitted by Tom F. 10/8/07:
your dad was great, the roads were terrible ha ha, too bad we had a rainy day, but we enjoyed the tour, having a beer on the way home was a great break I would definitely recommend the private tour to anyone
Submitted by Allison L. 11/9/07:
All of our group thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the tour. The Panama Canal was very informative and I believe it to be one of the 7 wonders of the world! The Indian village was priceless. For those people to allow us to visit was something that all of our group will never forget. The boat ride to the village was spectacular and is a beautiful part of Panama that I am very glad that I did not miss. My feeling is that everyone on the Carnival Liberty should have taken this tour - all of our group will never forget it.
Submitted by Kathy B. 12/3/07:
All We visited last week and just wanted to tell you what a wonderful time we had. The Panama Canal was even more impressive than I expected and Elvis was AWESOME! I still can't believe how much we all learned about your country in this visit. Our beach visit was a great ending to a wonderful day.
Submitted by Ilana –Cruise Master Plus- 12/8/07:
Hi mario just to let you know everyone was happy with the tour, we will certinley recommend tour. thanks again.
Submitted by Daphna A. & Frank 12/9/07:
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts so conducting such a marvelous trip for the two of us during our day off a cruise in Panama. Mario SR has such great wealth and knowledge of history, culture and always answered each and every question we had. We felt so comfortable like an extended family.
For those interested, do not hesitate (if on a cruise-you will make it back to the ship in time), My friend Mario will do exactly as they say and show you the important locations of their country like the Gatun Locks, Chagras National Forest, Embrea Indian Village with lunch, Canoe ride through the jungle and visit to the natural beautiful waterfall. Our lunch at the village was Talapia fish and green plantains wrapped carefully in a banana leaf as well as fresh watermelon, papaya and pineapple. The Indians welcomed us with traditional dance and presented their handicrafts for sale (which are totally beautiful !). Mario throughly explained how the natives create all artwork using the means from the earth. We were lucky to get to the Gatun locks to see a container freighter pass through the first stage, it was truly amazing. We also stopped for some beer (cerveza) that my hubby just had to taste, it was great. We know we will come back one day to visit and have an extended vacation in this beautiful country with wonderful people we now call our friends. Mario and Pepe' when you are in Florida and in the Orlando area, please look us up, our door is open. When they say "My friend Mario", they mean it !!!"
Submitted by Bill B. 12/11/07:
We have been on four cruises and have taken many excursions both privately and with the cruise companies. Our private excursion with Mario Sr. was absolutely, positively the best tour we have taken to date, anywhere! Even though our tour was "tailored" it was easy to arrange through email that was timely. On the day of the tour there was a problem with one of the company vehicles and the situation was handled swiftly and appropriately. Mario Sr. was able to show my father all the places he remembered from 67 years previously or at least where they were located so that he could see the changes over time. Mario was able to give us a historical and cultural perspective of Colon only because he had knowledge of the area from his youth.
This cruise comes at the tail end of my father's life and I'm sure he thinks of it as one of the most memorable experiences he has had in his life, me too for that matter. And our day with Mario Sr. had a lot to do with the success of our trip. The day following the excursion, I asked Dad what he thought so far and in a word he said "overwhelming". I can't thank you enough for what you have done for my family.
Just saying "Thank You" is not enough!
Submitted by David Ch. 12/11/07:
I thought it was a great tour the only thin I would change would be to have something to put on before the life jacket I heard a lot of people talking about how dirty they were
Submitted by Janet D. 12/12/07:
Our tour was fabulous. I have already told several of my friends how great of a tour it was...The driver Alex was also great. He was the one who was spotting all the wild life, which we all enjoyed.. I also really liked the
fact, that not once did anyone look at there watches to rush us. We were given as much time as we wanted at each stop. We were able to watch a boat from beginning to end go through the locks..The people from the cruise excursion were rushed away before the boat left the locks, which to me was the exciting part. Thank You again for a great time in Panama.
Submitted by Robin B. 12/13/07:
We had a wonderful time with Lori and Elvis. I have recommended your tours to many. I`m sure we will come back to your beautiful country again. Maybe to stay a week or so.
Submitted by Kevin & Melia 12/15/07:
We had a great time on our tour (locks and fort). And our guide was fantastic...lots of information, but not obnoxious like the guide that we saw from the cruise ship! Thanks for a great time!
Submitted by Ajay M. 1/1/08:
Thank you for a Fantastic excursion. It was so well planned, from the smallest detail, like water, soda, beer and snacks on the bus to the entire grand tour. Lori was very knowledgeable and FUN. Clean air con buses and on time friendly service. All at less than half the price of what the cruise ship was offering. I will truly recommend you to everyone I can. I loved it so much, I want to see if I can market it for you here in the States. You truly are my friend Mario now.
Submitted by Murray B. 1/5/08:
Hi Mario. We enjoyed our tour very much. Ivan was very informative and I would recommend him as a guide.
Submitted by Nancy V.C. 1/8/08:
John and I were very pleased with your tour. It was our favorite excursion during our cruise/vacation. I've shared our information on the Cruise Critic Panama Ports of Call section. There was a small confusion on the price, but the guide called you with the e-mail where you had confirmed the price to me, and I appreciated that you honored it.
Submitted by Reilly Family. 2/11/08:
Mario, Just want to say how much we enjoyed our tour and the way you scheduled everything. We had a wonderful and very informative day. Thank you for everything. Perhaps some day we will meet again. Best regards to you and your staff.
Submitted by Doug C. 2/11/08:
We had a GREAT time last week on your excursion (Carnival Miracle). I can´t remember our tour guides name but she was great. I´ll highly recommend you to enyone. I know going to Panama!
Submitted by Justin K. 2/14/08:
My wife and I booked a tour with you. This was our first visit to Panama. Laurie was our tour guide and we really enjoyed her insight, humor and her relaxed manor. We especially enjoyd our viit to the Embera Indian Village.
Submitted by Laurence C. 2/16/08:
Hi Mario, we had a great time on our Panama canal cruise and really enjoyed the tour that we took with you last Sunday. Laurie our tour guide was excellent and all of our party enjoyed all that she showed us and the depth of her knowledge about all that we saw. We will certainly recommend you to any of our friends planning a visit to Panama.
Submitted by Beth C. 2/20/08:
We had a WONDERFUL time- you´re father is great. In Fact, many people said this was the highlight of their cruise. Just a note- you had mentioned the large group coming in to the village- your dad didn´t know about it, but I asked if we could go to the village first- it was excellent. Towards the end, one group came, but it was small, and they were very nice. That boat ride was such a great way to start the day.
Submitted by Paul F. 2/23/08:
I just wanted to drop you a line to say how much my wife and I enjoyed the outing yesterday! Laurie, our guide was excellant.
Submitted by Joe J. 3/2/08:
I have come back to New York from wonderful Panama. I just want to drop a line that I had a great time with your tours. Your guide was couteous and gave us a wonderful memory. Thank you very much for everything.
Submitted by Leslie J. 3/8/08:
We had a great time with Lori and Lucy in February. Lori is a fabulous guide and made our day in Panama wonderful. I would always prefer a private tour to the ones that are offered by the cruiseships -- too many people, not enough fun. Our group of 6 was the right size to interact with our guide and ask questions and not spend a lot of time loading and unloading a tour bus. The island we snorkeled on off Portobello was lovely. Also enjoyed the time walking around looking at the forts & church. A memorable day. If we´re back to Panama someday we´ll definitely book another tour with you. Thank you so much!
Submitted by Rick & Maria. 3/25/08:
Just wanted to let you know that we thoroughly enjoyed your tour. The waterfall was beautiful and refreshing. The Indian village was amazing - everyone was so friendly and the tilapia was delicious. The timing was perfect for our visit to the canal. Our guide Laurie was very informative. We will definitely recommend you to our friends.
Submitted by Lisa H. 3/27/08:
We are all back home, safe and sound. I just want to say thank you! The Indian Village and Canal Locks tours was so wonderful!!! Everything went as smooth as can be, except that we didn´t make the waterfall:) but that´s Mother Nature´s fault. Alexis is a terrific tour guide!
Submitted by Frank McC. 4/1/08:
We had a great time in Panama and our guide Laura was excellent. She showed us many interesting things and answered all of our questions. We would gladly recommend your company and Laura to anyone wishing to visit Panama.
Submitted by Andrew B. 4/6/08:
Thank you so much for sharing your father with us during the week of March 24! You, your father, and your company really live up to the company's name. By the time we left for home, we felt that we had been Mario Sr.'s personal house guests for the week, and we felt that we left with a new friend. The tours were excellent! Your father has an amazing knowledge of plants, animals, history, geography, other tour packages, and probably everything else about Panama, along with excellent musical tastes (and singing). He went out of his way so many different ways and at many times, in order to give us an extra-special experience. We enjoyed his restaurant recommendation so much, not only because of the quality of the food, but also because of the ambiance and price, that we went back a second night. I have told many of our NC friends that Mario Sr. is the best tour guide that we've ever had the pleasure of meeting, and that, if they ever plan to visit Panama, to please let us know, so that we can put them in contact with you.
Submitted by Mary K. 4/7/08:
We´ve returned home, all tan and rested up, and it´s back to reality. We were litlle nervous making excursion plans with your company, thousands of miles away, never having heard of you before. However, Laurie and her son were most informative and friendly hosts. Our families took in a lot information during our short time on Panamenian land. The scenery to the Embera Indian Village and Waterfall was superb. This was a journey I hope my family will always remember.
Submitted by Denise J. 4/18/08:
The trip that your company took my group on was awesome. Most of all, the little extras that you did really made it very special.. I just want to say thank you.. My folks simply loved it the best of all the shore excursions that I took them on.
Submitted by Frank McD. 4/23/08:
I just wanted to thank you for an excellent tour. It was the best tour we have taken. Everything was well organized from the start to the finish and it made for an outstading event. I have already told several people about your website and excursions.
Submitted by Bill P. 4/25/08:
What to thank you for such a marvelous tour. It was great seeing the Indian Village and the boat ride was something (in the front you do get wet). It wa also great seeing how the canal operates. I will definitely feel comfortable recommending your tour to my clients. Not only is it more informative and smaller groups but a much better value.
Submitted by Ken W. 5/1/08:
I just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed our visit to Embera Village during our recent stay in Panama. The Embera villagers were very friendly and hospitable and Laurie was fantastic guide! We thoroughly enjoyed the day!
Submitted by Anna N. 5/23/08:
My family and I booked your Portobelo and Snorkelling adventure on the internet before we came down for a week at an all inclusive in Panama. We had a wonderful day with Laurie (our guide) and Felix (our driver). They were both wonderful and friendly people who tried to make the day fun for all of us and succeeded! The snorkelling was fantastic, the further out from the beach we got the more beautiful the coral became and we must have seen a thousand different fish. Laurie and Felix spent some time with my 6 year old in the shallower water and he got to see a school of squid. In all it was my favorite adventure of our week in Panama and I would recommend it to anybody.
Submitted by Jim & Sean H. 7/30/08:
We very much enjoyed going through "My Friend Mario" and I have already recommended you to a few people that are considering going to Panama in the next few weeks! When I first saw your sight I was a little skeptical but "Trip Advisor" confirmed that you were a good operator. My son has suggested that you might want to put your story on the Website to explain why you are called "My Friend Mario". It would give the sight a nice "homey" feeling. We appreciated that you were on time, extremely informative and helpful. Both Mario Senior and Laurie were great "Guides". The tours were great . If I had to make one suggestion it would be to allow more time at the Indian Village to be with the children. They were the sweetest children I have seen in a long time.
Submitted by Douglas M. 8/8/08:
We just returned to the US from our long trip thru Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Your tour to the Embera Indan Village was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. We loved the tour! Everything about it was very well handled. Laurie was wonderful. I wish I could give you more constructive feedbak, but I can't think of any changes that you sould make to that tour (and I am a very picky traveller).
Submitted by Paula A. 12/1/08:
Just wanted you to know we had a GREAT time in Panama. I can speak on my bus’s behalf – everyone loved it. Alex, Felix, and Javier were great and a lot of fun. The people on the other bus seemed to of had a good time also. If I know of anyone visiting your are