Day 1, Friday: US – Panama City.
On arrival to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel. Welcome cocktail and briefing with your Naturalist Guide. Overnight at Country Inn – Panama Canal.
Day 2: Panama Canal Jungle Boat Adventure - Chiriqui Highlands.
Early in the morning you are picked up at the lobby of your hotel by your naturalist guide for a 45 minute drive to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. Here you will board the jungle boat to begin an adventure which will include a voyage across Panama Canal’s Gatun Lake passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway, making contrast with the natural surroundings.
Along the way, you will have the opportunity to spot Green iguana and Three-toed sloth resting on tree branches, Crocodile basking in the sun, Osprey in the hunt for Peacock bass, Snail kite and Keel-billed toucan among other wildlife. Gatun Lake was created to give way to the Panama of 423 square-kilometers, at the time of its creation made lake in the world. The flow of all the rivers within the Panama Canal Watershed is contained in Gatun Lake to provide water for the operation of the lock system.
More than 52 million gallons of fresh water are used for every ship that transits through the Panama Canal from one ocean to another. The jungle boat will approach rainforest-covered islands to search for White-faced capuchin, Mantled howler monkey, Black-handed spider monkey, and Geoffrey’s tamarin. You will enjoy a picnic lunch on a small island with extraordinary views of the Panama Canal and the natural surroundings.
Early in the afternoon you will return to Gamboa for the drive back to Panama City’s Albrook domestic airport to catch a scheduled flight to David, capital of the Chiriqui province. Chiriqui is known as "Panama's breadbasket" and contains some of the most breathtaking highland scenery in Central America. Transfer by van to the town of Volcan on the western side of the Baru Volcano. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel Dos Rios - 2 nights. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 3: La Amistad International Park and World Biosphere Reserve.
Shared with neighboring Costa Rica and recognized in 1982 as a World Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Amistad is located at a point on the Central American natural land bridge where flora and fauna from North and South America reach here their maximum species mix. With great ranges in altitude, precipitation, soil and temperature, bio-diversity here is at its best.
You spend the morning hiking and exploring La Amistad in the area of El Retoño in search of the Resplendent Quetzal, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Barred Becard, Black and Yellow Silky Flycatcher among many other western highland birds. After lunch at a local restaurant you will visit Finca Dracula, home to over 1500 orchid species. On our return ride to the hotel we will stop at Janson’s Coffee Estate and have an interactive experience with coffee.
Here the experts will explain all the processes that coffee beans go through. This is no ordinary coffee. Shade grown and scrutinized, Janson’s Coffee is world renown. Enjoy a fresh brewed cup of coffee while watching the spectacular sunset over the Baru Volcano, the highest peak of the country at 3,475 meters above sea level. Overnight at Hotel Dos Rios. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4: Sitio Barriles - Carta Vieja Rum Factory - Boquete.
On the way to Boquete you will first visit Sitio Barriles an archeological site of the extinct Barril culture that once lived on the slopes of the dormant Baru Volcano. Here the site guide will interpret the writings on the stones (petroglyphs) and enlighten you on the history of this culture. Afterwards you will proceed to the Carta Vieja Rum Factory where you will learn how rum is made from sugar cane molasses and their different blends that are achieved by aging.
Once your rum tasting is done, you proceed to the eastern side of Baru Volcano to the quaint town of Boquete with its countryside dotted with flower, fruit and produce farms, coffee plantations and also lush tropical cloud forests. At the entrance to Boquete you will stop atop a bluff where we will have an extraordinary view of the town set in the mountain valley at 1,060 meters above sea level with the Caldera River running through it. This afternoon feel free to visit this quaint town. Overnight at Hotel Panamonte. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 5: Finca Lerida Cloud Forest.
This morning you explore Finca Lerida, a privately owned preserve in Boquete, in the buffer zone of Baru Volcano National Park. At an elevation of 2,286 meters you have an opportunity to look for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled Bellbird, Black-faced Solitaire, Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher and Prong-billed Barbet in their cool habitat of orchids, bromeliads and wild avocados. You will hike through lush vegetation and arrive at the Collin’s shade-grown coffee farm where lunch will be served. In the afternoon you visit a hydroponics farm. Overnight at Hotel Panamonte. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6: Panama City.
After a leisurely breakfast you will travel to the city of David to board your mid-morning flight to Panama City. Upon arrival you visit the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute Tupper Center where you have lunch and visit the bookstore, butterfly farm and temporary exhibits. Afterwards, a visit the Panama Canal’s Administration Building to admire the beautiful murals painted by William B. Van Ingen which depict the monumental labor involved in the building of the waterway. You continue with a visit to Miraflores Locks the first set of locks on the Pacific Ocean side of the canal and Casco Viejo, the colonial city. Overnight at Hotel Executive. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7: San Blas Islands – Dolphin Island.
Located along the northeastern coast of Panama in the Caribbean Sea, the San Blas Islands are the home of the Kuna Indians. Determined to protect their unique culture, the Kunas were granted regional autonomy forming the “Comarca” (autonomous territory) of Kuna Yala where to this day an indigenous congress rules. Kuna women spend countless hours stitching the very colorful reverse appliquéd cotton “molas” which is part of their daily wear.
Essentially, the Kuna are fishermen, but they also farm coconut, corn, rice, cocoa, yucca and other staples. You depart by small plane to San Blas at the crack of dawn today. To enhance the interaction with the Kuna travelers will go without a Naturalist Guide. A representative of Dolphin Lodge will greet you upon landing at the airstrip and transfer to the lodge on a motorized dugout canoe to check in and have breakfast. Dolphin Lodge is located on Uaguitupo (Dolphin) Island, about five minutes from the Achutupo airstrip via dugout canoe.
Owned and operated by a Kuna family, the accommodations at Dolphin Lodge are rustic but comfortable in traditional Kuna-style huts with cozy beds, indoor bathrooms and a hammock on the front porch. Meals are served in the Bohio dining room overlooking the Caribbean Sea. You visit the Kuna village of Achutupo in the company of a local guide that will provide you with an excellent opportunity to learn about the Kuna culture and traditional ceremonies. Visit the communal house of “Sahilas” (Kuna chiefs) where the chiefs are responsible for enforcing the law of the community as well as offering advice on other aspects of life - including marital problems!
Learn about the building of the typical Kuna house, their economy, the traditional “mola”, and the processing of sugar cane into the alcoholic drink known as “chicha”. You return to the lodge to relax at one of the hammocks and to have lunch. Later this afternoon you will go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea to look for stunning marine life. Overnight at Dolphin Island Lodge. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 8: Panama City – Chagres River and the Embera.
After breakfast you board a plane bound for Panama City. Upon arrival you meet your naturalist guide and board a van bound or our trip to El Corotu on the shores of Madden Lake. The main reservoir of drinking water for the cities of Panama and Colon, Madden also supplies 40% of the water required for the operation of the Panama Canal. Here you will board a motorized piragua to travel up the Chagres River.
The dugout canoe journey will take you through the rainforests of the 320,000-acre Chagres National Park, the largest of the national parks protecting the Panama Canal Watershed. Along the Chagres River, you may be able to spot Little Blue and Green heron, Great egret, Anhinga, Neo-tropical cormorant, Amazon, Ringed, and Green kingfisher, along with Red-lored Amazon parrot and Keel-billed toucan flying above. Time and conditions allowing you will visit a waterfall where you can take a dip in the crystal-clear waters to cool down.
You will reach the Embera village where you will be greeted with dancing, music and a sumptuous lunch made up of fresh fish, plantains and tropical fruits prepared by your hosts. Learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature while visiting the village. The Embera are famous for their basketry and wood carving skills. There will be handcrafts available for sale and you will have a chance to be painted with the traditional jagua, a natural dye used by the Embera to adorn their bodies. Early in the afternoon you will return to El Corotu for the drive back to Panama City. Overnight in Panama City at the Hotel Executive - 2 nights. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 9: Partial Panama Canal Transit.
Early in the morning you are picked up at the lobby of your hotel by your naturalist guide for a 45-minute drive to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. Here you board an expedition boat and depart on an adventure that will include a voyage across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway in contrast to the natural surroundings.
Along the way, you will have the opportunity to spot Green iguana and Three-toed sloth resting on tree branches, Crocodile, Osprey in the hunt for Peacock bass, Snail kite and Keel-billed toucan among other wildlife. Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal in 1914. With a surface of 423 square-kilometers, at the time of its creation was the largest man-made lake in the world.
The flow of all the rivers within the Panama Canal Watershed is contained in Gatun Lake to provide water for the operation of the lock system. More than 52 million gallons of fresh water are used for every ship that transits through the Panama Canal from one ocean to another. The expedition boat will travel in close proximity to rainforest covered islands (former hill tops) in Gatun Lake to search for White-faced capuchin, Mantled howler monkey, Central American spider monkey, and Geoffrey’s tamarin.
You will enjoy a picnic lunch on a small island with extraordinary views of the Panama Canal and the natural surroundings. Early afternoon return to Gamboa for the drive back to Panama City. Tonight you enjoy a farewell dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at the Hotel Executive. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 10: Panama City - US.
Today you are picked up at the lobby of the hotel 2.5 hours prior to your scheduled departure flight and transferred to Tocumen International Airport. Check-in for your departing flight. Includes: (B).
About This Supplier
Also see tour packages in:
Central America and Caribbean Panama Nature & Wildlife Wildlife Viewing Volcano Tours
Email it to a friend:
Click here to email this vacation to a friend