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Stupid Panama Questions.

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Had been planning on a Panama Canal Cruise year after year and never had to change to go. Now, I am seriously thinking of taking a flight to Panama City and spending a week there. I've never been to Panama and I am interested in the Canal (transit the locks and the Visitor's Centre), an Embera Village, and the Old City. Maybe, a visit to Gatun Lake if possible.

As a solo traveler I am finding private day tours too expensive. I don't speak Spanish. Are above sights be visited indepently? My other thought is to take a 8 day tour with Caravan, but I'd like to avoid a big group tour if possible.

If I travel independently I would like to minimize schlepping my luggage and plan on staying in Panama City for 7 nights, can the above sights be visited from Panama city independently?

Currently my schedule allow me to visit Panama in mid November, which is the rainy season and hurricane season - is this a no no?

Any suggestions fodorites?

Thanks in advance.

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