The small republic of Panama links the North and South American continents but also connects the Atlantic with the Pacific. Visitors to this country come to see the manmade waterway that link the two oceans: the Panama Canal, which is a truly dazzling piece of engineering that takes ships between two oceans via flights of locks. The canal has always been controversial yet despite this image, cruise lines continue to schedule the eight-ten hour canal transit. Land based visitors can view the canal during a tour of Miraflores locks.
Panama is a beautiful country of historic mainland ports, tropical islands, dense and flowering jungle, and forested highlands. Pre-Columbian artifacts reveal a culture older then the more familiar colonial remains from the glory days of the Spanish Main. Panama has much to offer its visitors: duty-free shopping, deep-sea fishing in the Pacific and Caribbean, tropical flora and fauna. Discover the Kuna Indians of the San Blas Islands, the deluxe resort properties of the Contadora Island or the almost impenetrable, untamed Darien.
Basic Panama City Tour
Day 1 - Meeting upon arrival at the International Airport and transfer to selected hotel for overnight accommodations.
Day 2 - Morning guided city tour including the most important sites. Early afternoon arrival at selected hotel for overnight accommodations.
Day 3 - Transfer from selected hotel to the International Airport for departure.
Optional tours from Panama City
Half day Panama City - Early morning departure from your hotel to start with a visit to the ruins of Old Panama, the "Casco Viejo," which is the location of several buildings and churches which were important during the Spanish Colonial Period and the Plaza Francia. A visit to the Miraflores locks will be made before returning to the International Airport for departure.
Partial Transit of the Panama Canal
Depart from your hotel at 6:30am and arrive at Pier 17, where you will board the launch to begin your transit to Miraflores locks. You will be raised and lowered in a two-step operation. After clearing Miraflores Locks, you will enter Miraflores Lake, you will observe Pedro Miguel Locks. The launch with then return to Pier 18, via Miraflores Locks. Arrival back at the pier at approximately 12:30pm. (Saturday)
River Rafting Adventure in the Chagres River
Depart from the hotel at 5:30am and drive to Cerro Azul for a brief stop then proceed down to the riverside. Where the adventure begins, the river level is three. Not only can you river raft but you can also enjoy the magnificent rain forest that borders the Chagres river. A stop will be made for lunch in an area where you can swim or just take a rest. After lunch a visit will be made to a nearby Indigenous Community down the river. Return to Panama City about 4:30pm. (L)
El Valle Indian Market
Early morning departure via the Pan-American Highway to El Valle de Anton, located in the province of Cocle. According to geologists, El Valle is the crater of a volcano, probably the largest in Central America. The trip to El Valle will be about 2 half hours. Upon arrival you will be taken to the picturesque Indian market where a large selection of native handicrafts are on sale. Then a visit to the Hotel Campestre for coffee and rolls and to observe the golden frogs, and birds which are at the entrance of the hotel. Afternoon walk in the adjacent rain forest to observe the flora and fauna including the square trees which are native to El Valle. After a seafood lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific ocean you will have time for a swim. Return to Panama City around 4:00pm. (L), (Sundays only)
Excursion to Barro Colorado Nature Monument
Depart from your hotel at 6:00am with a naturalist guide for the town of Gamboa, located at the midpoint of the Panama Canal. There you will board a specially equipped boat, for a 45 minute trip up the Panama Canal into Gatun Lake to the area of Barro Colorado Nature Monument, a biological preserve administered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Enter Wheeler Cove of the Barro Colorado Island, and from the comfort and safety of the boat, observe flora and fauna including howler monkeys, toucans, and slaty-tailed trogons. After an exploration of the coves proceed to Gigante Research Station located on a mainland Peninsula.
MULTI - DAY PACKAGES
Dolphin Island/San Blas
Day 1 - Depart hotel in Panama City at 5:00am for a 50 minute flight to the Achutupo Airstrip on Panama's Atlantic Coast. Transfer by motorized dugout canoe for short trip to Dolphin Island Lodge on the Island of Uaguitupo, in the San Blas Archipelago. The Lodge has capacity for 26 guests: the Lodge has outside fresh water showers and three comfortably double sized beds in each Kuna style thatched cabin. After settling in, breakfast will be served in the Bohi dining room. Lunch and dinner will feature delicious San Blas sea food. Snorkeling equipment is available as a tour to the neighboring Island community of Achutupo is scheduled. Here you will observe the Indian culture and snorkel off the reef in front of Dolphin Island.
Day 2 - After an early breakfast, transfer the Achutupo Airstrip for 50 minute flight back to Panama City, arriving at approximately 8:00am. Transfer to your selected hotel.
BOQUOTE CLOUD FOREST
Day 1 - Early morning departure form your hotel in Panama City to Patilla airport. Depart at 7:00am on a one hour flight to the City of David in Western Panama. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the Panamonte hotel located 45 minutes from the airport. The Panamonte hotel is located in the picturesque mountain town of Boquete located 5,000 miles above sea level. After hotel check-in you can sign up for optional tours a nature walk in the Cloud Forest at Finca Lerida, tour of the Sitton Coffee Plantation and processing plant. , or a two-hour trip in a 4 x 4 to the summit of Baru Volcano at 11,000 feet. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 2 - After an early breakfast depart for one of the optional tours mentioned above or just enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Boquete. Lunch will be provided at the hotel or during one of the optional tours. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 3 - After an early breakfast take one of the optional tours. Departure will be immediately after lunch. Early evening arrival in Panama City and selected hotel.
*Note: optional tours are not included in the tour price.
DARIEN NATIONAL PARK
Day 1 - Transfer from hotel in Panama city to Airport for one hour flight to EL Real. Arrive in El Real and then depending on the time of the year and river conditions you will either walk for three hours by trail or go up river for three hours in a motorized dugout canoe and then walk an hour and a half to the Pirre Ranger Station. Sandwich lunch en route. After mid afternoon arrival, settle into the Ranger Station before dark and observe the surrounding area. Dinner and overnight at the Ranger Station.
Day 2 - After an early breakfast depart for a walk up the side of Pirre Mountain to observe the many endemic bird species and other interesting flora and fauna in this area. Sandwich lunch on the way to the mountain. Return to the Ranger Station in the early afternoon and take a walk to the nearby waterfalls for a cooling swim. Dinner and overnight at the station.
Day 3 - After an early breakfast at dawn take trail connecting the Ranger Station at Pirre with the station at Cruce de Zmono to cintune nature observations. After lunch depart for return trip by either trail and river or river alone. Dinner and overnight at hotel in El Real.
Day 4 - After early morning breakfast flight back to Panama City.
Note: The ranger station sleeps 6 in bunk beds (for larger groups tents will be provided) is located at the base of the Pirre Mountain.
BOCAS DEL TORO
Day 1 - Early morning transfer to Paitilla Airport for one hour flight to Bocas d Toro. Arrival at 8:00am and immediate transfer to the Hotel Las Brisas in Bocas del Toro. Settle in and then depart with a guide for a tour of Colon Island including the Bat caves and the experimental farm near Bocas del Drago, where various species of tropical trees have been planted. At Bocas del Drago we will have a sandwich lunch and after lunch, weather permitting, travel by motorized dugout canoes or launch to the bird rookery at Swam Key to observe the Red billed Tropicbird and the many other seabirds that call this unusual rock formation, home. Return by boat to the town of Bocas de Toro. Dinner and overnight accommodations at the hotel Las Brisas.
Day 2 - After an early breakfast depart hotel at 7:00am via a motorized dugout canoe to the Bastimentos Marine Park. Return to the hotel Las Brisas for lunch. Optional afternoon excursions will be available for an extra fee. Overnight accommodations at hotel Las Brisas.
Day 3 - After breakfast transfer to airport for flight to Panama City and transfer to your selected hotel.
KUNA PEMASKY FOREST PRESERVE
Day 1 - Early morning departure from your hotel in Panama City in a 4 -wheel drive vehicle and proceed east on the Pan-American highway. Turn off the highway onto a specially prepared terrain that will take you into the San Blas mountain range. Enter the Kuna Yala Indian reserve where Pemasky Nature Park is located and operated by the Kuna Indians. Settle into the lodge which provides clean hostel type accommodations with double bunk beds and cots. Take an afternoon walk on a well-marked nature trail to visit the Kuna Medical Forest and learn about their traditional remedies for various illnesses. After returning to the camp, enjoy a typical barbecue dinner. Overnight accommodations at the Lodge.
Day 2 - Rise at dawn for some morning bird observations which are excellent in the surrounding areas. Return to the lodge for breakfast at 7:00am. Then depart for a trek to a waterfall deep in the pristine rainforest. After a cold lunch, return to Panama city and your selected hotel.