Authentic Panama

  • Destination:
  • Duration: 16 days
  • Price: Customized Vacation Package: Call for Pricing

Take a journey through the Panama Canal and then delve into the heart of authentic Panama. Get to know the Azuero Peninsula, discover the traditional Carnaval and visit a working coffee farm in the western highlands of Chiriqui province. Relax on the idyllic beaches of Iguana Island and snorkel in the clear blue Pacific Ocean.

Day 1

Welcome to Panama!

Upon your arrival in Panama you will be met at Tocumen International Airport by our friends and partners at Gamboa Tours who will provide VIP treatment as they whisk you straight to your hotel in Casco Antiguo, the colonial area of Panama City.  Enjoy a refreshing welcome drink made of a local tropical concoction as we get you checked in.

Night at the American Trade Hotel – Junior Suite

Day 2

Panama City Tour From a Locals’ Perspective

This city tour will give you an insight into the city beyond the “tourist” perspective. You will visit the ruins of the original Panama City, which was torched by the Pirate Henry Morgan in 1671. Climb the Cathedral Tower for a view of the city skyscrapers and the surrounding ruins. With our friends at the Tour Company leading the way, we will delve deep into the alleyways of Panama City and discover how the locals go about their daily lives. Eat a traditional Panamanian lunch at the Fish Market, walk through the cobblestone streets of Casco Antiguo, see the monument to the French entrepreneurs who began the Panama Canal, the beautiful gold plated altar of San Jose Church and much more.

Night at the American Trade Hotel – Junior Suite

Day 3

Welcome Dinner at Miraflores Locks Visitors Center

Be welcomed to Panama in style with a special dinner at one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world. Watch the huge mega tankers squeezing their way through the locks of the Panama Canal. A representative from the Panama Canal Expansion Project will discuss the challenges and the future of the incredible project over a refreshing tropical fruit cocktail and a delicious buffet dinner.

Night at the American Trade Hotel – Junior Suite (BD)

Day 4

Chagres River Adventure & Visit to Embera Indigenous Community

Take a journey into the dense jungles of Chagres, where the Embera Indians have made their homes for centuries. Your adventure will begin with a ride up the river in a motorised traditional dugout canoe.

You will feel like you have travelled back in time as you watch the ancient Embera cultural dances and music – which hasn’t changed much since Columbus arrived in the 1500s. Explore the wide variety of wildlife and birds and visit a sparkling waterfall during a trek through untouched jungle.

You will also learn about the spiritual and healing rituals and traditions of the Embera people and how they use the plants in their surrounding environment for handicrafts, medicine and much more.

Night at the American Trade Hotel – Junior Suite (BL)

Day 5

Gatun Jungle Expedition and Aerial Tram Tour

Get up close and personal with the verdant rainforest of Gamboa as you glide 280 feet upward from the shadowy forest floor through thousands of shades of green interrupted only by the vibrant colours of the flowering trees. At the top you can climb up the observation tower and enjoy uninterrupted views of the vast rainforest of Soberania National Park and watch the giant cargo ships maneuver through the Galliard Cut.

Then, enjoy a 20 minute ride at high speed through the heart of the Panama Canal. The boat will enter the labyrinth of small islands in Gatun Lake. In this protected area the wildlife is plentiful and you are likely to spot crocodiles, caimans, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, three-toed sloth and various kinds of toucans as well.

Night at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort – Deluxe River View Room with Balcony and Hammock (B,L,D)

Day 6

Pipeline Road Nature Hike and Bird Watching Tour

Today you will explore the natural beauty of Soberania National Park with a highly knowledgeable guide who will teach you about the challenges to protecting the tropical rainforest and it’s rare flora and fauna.

Pipeline Road is a world-record breaking location for bird watching and it is home to up to 367 different species of birds. Some of the birds you can spot are the Thick-billed Mot Mot, the Slaty-tailed Trogon, the Keel-billed Toucan and several species of wrens, ant birds, flycatchers and tanagers. You might also see various other creatures including anteaters, sloths, howler monkeys and agoutis.

Night at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort – Deluxe River View Room with Balcony and Hammock (B)

Day 7

Welcome to Azuero Peninsula & the Cultural Heart of Panama!

Today we will explore beyond the city and head across the Bridge of the Americas, which spans the mouth of the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Panamanian countryside, where things haven’t changed much in a few hundred years.

Visit the town of la Pintada, where you can meet the locals who make the painted hats known as the sombrero pintada. You will also see the oldest church in the Americas – the 500 year old church at Nata de los Caballeros. Enjoy lunch at a traditional Panamaian “fonda” – a type of local restaurant.

Night in Pedasi at Pedasito Boutique Hotel – Standard King Room (BL)

Day 8

Snorkeling and Wildlife Tour to Isla Iguana

Isla Iguana is a gorgeous wildlife refuge that is located five miles from the mainland of Pedasi. It is home to crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and fantastic coral reefs where you can see multiple species of birds, animals and marine creatures.

Sail there on an open fibreglass boat known as a panga, taking you from Playa El Arenal to the island. Once there you can enjoy snorkeling and a wide range of marine life. Eat fresh fruit, see the many iguanas running around and learn more about the island at the Visitor’s Center.

Night in Pedasi at Pedasito Boutique Hotel – Standard King Room (BL)

Day 9

Azuero Cultural and Folkloric Show

After breakfast your guide will pick you up for a full day tour of this exciting cultural showcase. You will get a chance to see how the beautiful “Pollera” is designed and how the local handicrafts are produced – such as colorful ceramics based on pre-Columbian designs.

Today you will dine on traditional food at a local Fonda and visit Guarare and Las Tablas – the Cultural Heart of Panama. You will learn about the proud carnival traditions in Las Tablas.

Night in Pedasi at Pedasito Boutique Hotel – Standard King Room (BL)

Day 10

Azuero Rum Tour & Transfer to Panama’s Western Highlands

Today you will take a visit to Pese, a small town in the heart of Herrera Province. It is the home of Hacienda San Isidro, the famous spot where Ron Abuelo and Seco Herrera are produced. You will visit the rum distillery on traditional oxcarts and learn all about the complex process of turning the sugarcane into rum, including grinding, fermenting and distilling. You will then visit the bodega, where the Rum is aged in barrels in two different processes.

Enjoy a traditional lunch and taste some superb rum aged 5, 7, 12 and 30 years – along with an open bar featuring Rum and Seco based cocktails. Afterwards, your private vehicle will whisk you away to the beautiful western highlands town of Boquete.

Night at Lerida Coffee Farm (Finca Lerida) – Junior Suite (BL)

Day 11

Nature and Wild Life Expedition & Swim in a Hidden Waterfall

Venture off the beaten path into the Panama wilderness and discover a private remote wildlife sanctuary and estate. You will be picked up from the hotel by a 4 x 4 Land Cruiser and taken deep into the rainforest. Bring your swimming suit, as you will find cool and refreshing waterfalls and swimming holes to plunge into and small caves to explore. The first two waterfalls can be reached by a level three hike, so they are perfect for nearly everyone to enjoy. The last waterfall requires a level 5 trail, a thrilling challenge for more experienced hikers. After a swim in the cool waterfalls, enjoy a picnic lunch in this beautiful wild location.

Night at Lerida Coffee Farm (Finca Lerida) – Junior Suite (BL)

Day 12

Coffee Tour at Finca Lerida

Get a glimpse into how coffee is grown, harvested and processed at Finca Lerida, a coffee plantation in the fields of Boquete. On this fascinating tour you will learn all about the factors that influence the unique taste of the coffee, including the quality of the soil, the variety of plant and the particular microclimate. You will also gain some insight into the history and origins of coffee handling, from the coffee cherry to roasted bean to the final cup. At the end of the tour you will get a chance to enjoy the freshest cup of coffee you have ever tasted.

Night at Lerida Coffee Farm (Finca Lerida) – Junior Suite (B)

Day 13

Visit to Finca Dracula Orchid Nursery

Orchids are a delicate plant and it is a challenge to keep them alive when they are removed from their natural habitat. The wrong variation in humidity, water and sun could ruin this beautiful flower, so the dedicated flower experts at Finca Dracula have strived to create the perfect environment for orchids. The greenhouse is home to 2,200 different species, including a brand new species named after ex-president Mireya Moscoso. Visit this nursery to admire a stunning showcase of rare and beautiful flowers

Night at Lerida Coffee Farm (Finca Lerida) – Junior Suite (B)

Day 14

Finca Lerida Nature Hike and Bird Watching Tour

Take a walk into nature on the beautiful scenic paths of the Finca Lerida coffee plantation. In this tropical forest you will have a chance to spot the resplendent Quetzal, said to be the most beautiful bird in the world. This species exists here thanks to the local conservation efforts in the forest and the abundance of the Aguacatillo tree, which provides the Quetzal with its favorite fruit. Explore these trails and let them take you deep into La Amistad International Park, where you can spot more than 500 species of American Tropical Birds.

Following the nature hike you will be transferred to the airport for the short flight back to Panama City.

Night at Country Inn Amador – Standard Canal View Room (B)

Day 15

Panama Canal Southbound Partial Transit Tour

Travel from Flamenco Resort and Marina to the town of Gamboa, where you will board the Pacific Queen. Sail down the impressive Panama canal and through the curves of the Gaillard Cut, which was carved through the Continental Divide. Continue to Pedro Miguel Locks and get a glimpse of the extensive work in process for the Panama Canal expansion project. Admire the new Centennial Bridge over the Canal before you are lowered nine meters into Miraflores Lake via the Pedro Miguel Locks. The Miraflores Locks will lower you 18 meters more, then you will sail toward the Pacific Ocean. Pass under the famous Bridge of the Americas and disembark at the Flamenco Marina, where you can admire the city skyline and the Bay of Panama.

Night at Country Inn Amador – Standard Canal View Room (B,L,D)

Day 16

Today you will be picked up from the hotel lobby approximately 3.5 hours prior to your scheduled departure flight.

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