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Essence of Panama: Panama City, the Highlands & the Caribbean

Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,149

FIRST-CLASS | TAILOR-MADE: Discover the essence of Panama on this tailor-made journey from the heart of Panama City to the dazzling white-sand beaches of Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean Sea. Along the way, you’ll tour the Panama Canal, explore rainforests and cloud forests, and learn about coffee in the western highlands.


Your 11-day Panama vacation begins in the capital, Panama City. Explore the city’s history and enjoy some gorgeous views as you tour the colonial quarters and Cathedral Tower. Afterwards, head to the Miraflores Locks for an up-close look at the Panama Canal, the legendary marvel of engineering that connects the Caribbean to the Pacific. Head into Soberania National Park and watch the buildings give way to rainforest canopies. Board a boat on Gatun Lake, the canal’s reservoir, and explore the rainforest on a jungle cruise. Spot howler monkeys calling from the canopy, frigate birds landing on the shoreline, and green iguanas hiding in the foliage.

Your trip to Panama continues with a short flight to David and a transfer to Boquete, the small town in the country’s western highlands. A coffee tour reveals the history of coffee growing in the region. Tour a farm and learn about the coffeemaking process, from first picking to final brewing. Cap off the tour with a tasting. Then head into the cloud forest to cross hanging bridges and spot exotic wildlife high up in the jungle canopy.

After a scenic drive to Almirante and a ferry ride, your Panamanian vacation continues on Bocas del Toro, the picturesque resort town on Isla Colon in the Caribbean Sea. Spend a few days exploring its mix of jungle, beach, and coral reef. Spot dolphins at Dolphin Bay, explore the underwater world on a snorkeling trip through Cayo Coral, and see rare red frogs in the mangrove forests of Red Frog Beach. Tour beautiful Solarte Gardens and spot sloths hanging in the canopy alongside exotic birds and monkeys. You’ll also have plenty of time at the beach to enjoy the pristine white sands.

Connect back to Panama City for a final night before heading to the airport for onward travel.

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Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,149

Itinerary View Trip Map View Trip Special

Day 1

Welcome to Panama

Upon arrival to Panama City, please make your way through Customs and collect your baggage. Once you have made it to the Arrivals section of the airport, please look for a guide holding a sign with your name on it. This representative will take you to an awaiting vehicle and will transfer you to your hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Bristol

Duration3 Nights
Day 2

Panama City Tour with Panama Canal

Discover the colonial heritage of Panama and visit the famous Panama Canal on this full day, privately guided tour. Meet your guide in the morning and head to the ruins of Old Panama. Here, climb up the Cathedral Tower and visit the Old Panama Museum to gain a better understanding of the history of this Central American nation. Next, head to Casco Viejo, dating back to the XVII century, and listen as your guide describes the events that led up to the establishment of the capital in its current location. Here, take in the lovely colonial houses, picturesque narrow roads, and impressive churches as you make your way to the French Plaza. Your day continues as you transfer to the Miraflores Locks on Panama Canal, where large ships can be seen as they make their way through the canal. Marvel at this feat of human engineering and see informative exhibits. Now that youve worked up your appetite, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before venturing out to visit small towns surrounding the canal. In the late afternoon you will be returned to your hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration6.5 Hours
Day 3

Jungle Boat Tour and Soberania Park Hike

This morning, you will be picked up from the lobby of your hotel by a naturalist guide and begin a 45-minute drive to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. Here you will board a boat and head off on an adventure across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal, passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway that contrast dramatically with the natural surroundings. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to spot green iguanas, ospreys, snail kites, frigate birds, and other wildlife local to the area. The boat will circle rainforest covered islands, formerly hilltops prior to the creation of Gatun Lake, in search for the mantled howler monkey, white-faced capuchin, and Geoffroy's tamarin. After the boat tour, you will head to Soberania National Park to hike one of the forests impressive trails. As one of the most accessible national parks in Panama, known for both birdwatching and general wildlife observation, you're sure to enjoy your hike. Following the hike in Soberania National Park, you will be returned to your hotel in Panama City.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration6 Hours
Day 4

Panama City to Boquete via David

Following a leisurely breakfast, and aligned with your onward flight, you will be picked up by a private driver, who will transfer you to the airport. Upon arrival, you will board a regional flight with direct service to David. Approximate flight time is 45 minutes. Once you have arrived to David, collect your luggage and make your way to the Arrivals section of the airport. Here, you will find a guide holding a sign with your name on it. This representative will escort you to an awaiting vehicle which will transfer you to your hotel in Boquete. Approximate travel time is one hour.

Accommodation: Boquete Garden Inn

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Day 5

Coffee Tour in the Panamanian Highlands

The first coffee plants arrived Panama at the beginning of the 19th century and were brought to Boquete, where the microclimate turned out to be ideal for coffee. Its great height, the influences of the oceans, the rich volcanic soil and the shadow of the Baru Volcano all contributed to the full development of the aromatic potential of coffee.

In Boquete you will tour one of the local farms where you will be able to admire a clean and modern environmental processing plant or an organic coffee farm.

Visit a coffee plantation and your guide will explain the whole process, from the picking of the coffee cherries by the Ngäbe-Bugle Indians to its journey to your cup while you walk through the coffee fields.

Learn about the coffee plants and how the coffee beans are harvested and processed, and wrap up the tour with a taste of the product, and finally, a transfer back to your accommodation.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Hours
Day 6

Hiking in the Highlands

This morning, set out to hike on one of the many spectacular trails surrounding Baru Volcano National Park, which is home to an incredibly diverse range of flora and fauna. With excellent hiking options for all ages and conditions, this is your perfect opportunity to discover the unique microclimate of the Panamanian highlands. Hike through cloud forests, visit waterfalls and admire the surrounding area all while looking out for animals such as howler monkeys, sloths, deer, peccaries and hundreds of species of birds. After a morning exploring the highlands, you will be returned to your hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Hours
Day 7

Boquete to Bocas del Toro

This morning, following breakfast, set out for beautiful Bocas del Toro. Your transfer begins after meeting your private driver in the hotel lobby. You’ll soon be on the road and heading toward Almirante, a scenic drive which will take approximately three hours and 30 minutes. Once you reach Almirante, you will board a boat which will ferry you over to Bocas del Toro in roughly 30 minutes. Here another driver awaits to bring you to your spectacular accommodations; the final leg of this journey takes approximately 20 minutes.

Accommodation: The Hummingbird

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Day 8

Boat Tour to Bastimentos: Dolphin Bay, Coral Key, and Red Frog Beach

Naturally, the best things to do in Bocas del Toro include being in, around, and on the water. On this tour, you will have the opportunity to see some of the many beautiful beaches and reefs of Bocas del Toro. Start by boat, heading directly to Dolphin Bay. This quiet bay is located about 15-20 minutes from the main island, Isla Colon. The abundance of fish and crustaceans in these waters make Dolphin Bay the perfect place for their habitat within the archipelago. You may be able to observe friendly dolphins jump, swim and play in pairs and groups of five to six. Around noon the boat heads towards Coral Cay, a nice area for snorkeling. As you float weightlessly surrounded in the turquoise sea, witness hundreds of reef fish go about their daily business. Here you will also break for lunch (not included), with exquisite Caribbean dishes offered by a panoramic restaurant on the sea. Lastly, you will visit Bastimentos Island, and walk through the mangroves of this national park to make it to Red Frog Beach. Named after the red frogs found in the lush parts of the island, Red Frog Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Bocas. It is on the windward side facing out to sea, and may be a bit rough at times, so be careful if you decide to swim. You can also enjoy restaurants and bars in this area if you wish. After this shared boat tour, you will be returned to your hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration6 Hours
Day 9

Jungle Hiking in Bocas del Toro

Located only a few minutes from Bocas Town by boat, Isla Solarte offers an entirely different experience. Raw jungle and hiking paths make this island destination a must-see when staying in Bocas del Toro. On your 3-minute boat ride from Isla Colon to Isla Solarte, you will pass through the Solarte Gardens, a beautiful area off the coast of Solarte where many diving lessons take place. Disembark at Pelican Dock and start the tour up the hills and across to the bluff overlooking Bastimentos. Along the way, you will surely see leaf-cutter colonies, birds of all types, red frogs and some of the largest trees in the area. You may also spot three-toed sloths, rare birds and eagles, and much more. After a lovely adventure on Isla Solarte, you will be returned to your hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration4 Hours
Day 10

Bocas del Toro to Panama City

Following breakfast, you’ll begin your return trip to Panama City. The day begins with a transfer to the airport on Bocas del Toro. From there you will board a regional plane with direct service to Panama City. Approximate flight time is one hour. Upon arrival to Panama City, collect your luggage and make your way to the Arrivals section of the airport. Here, you will find a guide holding a sign with your name on it. This representative will escort you to an awaiting vehicle which will transfer you to your hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Bristol

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Day 11

Departure

Timed to correspond with your return flight, you will be transferred to the international airport by a private driver. Approximate travel time is 30 minutes.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Daily


PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Private arrival and departure airport transfers
  • 4 nights in first-class accommodations in Panama City
  • 3 nights in first-class accommodations near Boquete
  • 3 nights in first-class accommodations in Bocas del Toro
  • Private-guided Panama City and Panama Canal tour
  • Private-guided tour of Soberania National Park with Jungle Boat
  • Private transfer from Panama City hotel to Panama City domestic airport
  • Private transfer from David Airport to Boquete
  • Private-guided coffee tour in the Highlands
  • Private-guided morning hike in the Highlands
  • Private transfer from Boquete to Almirante
  • Shared boat transfer from Almirante to Bocas del Toro
  • Shared tour of Bastimentos Dolphin Bay, Cayo Coral and Red Frog Beach
  • Private-guided Jungle Hiking in Bocas del Toro
  • Shared transfer from Bocas del Toro hotel to Bocas del Toro Airport
  • Private transfer from Panama City domestic airport to Panama City hotel
  • Breakfast daily (excluding Day 1), 2 lunches


PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa fees if applicable


TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.


16 Aug 2024
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