Day 1: Arrival Panama City.
On arrival to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, you will be met by our local representatives and transferred to your hotel. Welcome cocktail and briefing with your naturalist guide. Overnight at the Holiday Inn Panama Canal, breakfast included.
Day 2: Panama Canal Jungle Boat Adventure - Miraflores Locks.
Early in the morning you are picked up by your naturalist guide and transferred to the town of Gamboa, at the Panama Canal, where you board a specially equipped expedition boat. The voyage takes you across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway and 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, Osprey in the hunt for Peacock bass, Snail kite and Keel-billed toucan among other species. The expedition boat will allow for close approximations to rainforest covered islands in Gatun Lake to search for White-faced capuchin, Howler monkey, Spider monkey and the endemic Red-napped tamarin.
You will have a picnic lunch on an island with extraordinary views of the Panama Canal and the natural surroundings. Early afternoon return to Gamboa and drive to the Miraflores Locks Visitors Center, where you’ll visit multiple exhibits of the canal and have the opportunity to view the operations of the Panama Canal. This evening, you enjoy a welcome dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Bay of Panama. Overnight at the Holiday Inn Panama Canal, breakfast included. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 3: The Trans-Isthmian Route.
Early in the morning you drive across the Isthmus of Panama to the Caribbean province of Colon. Along the way you will stop at a site where remnants of Las Cruces Trail, the 400 year old colonial trail used by the Spaniards to transport gold across the isthmus, are still found. Once in Colon you drive over the Panama Canal at Gatun Locks and reach the Castle of San Lorenzo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built at the mouth of the Chagres River, this Spanish bastion served to fortify and protect the river entrance to Las Cruces Trail that led to Panama City on the Pacific Ocean and was later also used as the port of entry for gold diggers on their way to California during the second half of the 19th century. You will be traveling through lush rainforest within San Lorenzo National Park, where you might have the opportunity to see monkeys, Two and Three-toed sloths, Coatimundi, toucans and other wildlife. You return through Colon City on our way to the historic town of Portobelo where you have lunch.
Famous for its trade fairs during the 17th century, Portobelo is another World Heritage Site. During colonial times it was one of the most important strongholds of the Spanish Main in the Americas. You will visit Forts San Geronimo and Santiago de la Gloria as well as the Church of San Felipe. The return to Panama City will be on the Trans-isthmian train. The railway follows a similar route as the original train built to transport 49ers coming from the east coast of the United States across the Isthmus to continue their journey by boat to California. The route was diverted when Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal. The train will take you along the magnificent waterway, flanked by the exuberant rainforests of Soberania National Park. You arrive to Corozal Station and then will be transferred to our hotel. Overnight at the Holiday Inn Panama Canal, breakfast included. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4: Chiriqui - Los Quetzales Trail.
Early this morning we are transferred to Albrook domestic airport to board the 1-hour scheduled flight to David, capital of Chiriqui province. Chiriqui is known as “Panama’s breadbasket” and boasts some of the most breathtaking highland scenery in Central America. From the airport in David we will travel by van 2 hours to Cerro Punta from where we will start our 4-hour hike along Los Quetzales Trail, around the foothills of Baru Volcano, the highest peak of the country at 3,475 meters above sea level. We will be hiking in the cloud forests of Baru Volcano National Park making several stops along the way to enjoy the views and to look for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal. Picnic lunch will be on the trail. We end near the town of Boquete where we are picked up and taken to our hotel in town. Overnight at the Hotel Panamonte, dinner and breakfast included. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 5: Finca Lerida - Continental Divide - Bocas del Toro.
This morning you will explore Finca Lerida, a privately owned preserve in Boquete, in the buffer zone of Baru Volcano National Park. At an elevation of 7,500 feet (2,286 meters) you will 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 for 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. You will return to the hotel and prepare for your drive to Almirante, Bocas del Toro. In route across the Continental Divide, you will stop at Fortuna Dam and spectacular waterfalls. You will be crossing the Palo Seco protected territory that serves as a buffer zone to La Amistad International Park.
The transition from the cloud forests to the coral reefs of Bocas del Toro in the Caribbean Sea will be impressive. In Almirante you will be met by your boat and transferred to Colon Island. After check-in you will enjoy a tropical cocktail offered by the lodge’s manager. Afterwards you will have ample time to enjoy the hammocks on the upstairs deck or mingle with the locals in the small friendly town. Overnight at the Bocas Inn, daily breakfast and dinner included. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6: Salt Creek Village/Bastimentos Marine National Park.
You depart by boat from the Bocas Inn traversing the expanse of Bastimentos National Park, Panama's first marine national park. You reach Salt Creek by navigating through clusters of Red Mangroves, which provide sea creatures with a protective area during their reproductive and development stages. Upon arrival you first enjoy a walk along Caiman trail.
This trail takes you through several stages of lowland forest dynamics. Here, you will look for birds such as Red-throated Ant Tanager and Golden-collared Manakin (Cerritus sub sp.). Mammals such as Night Monkeys, White-faced Capuchins and Three-toed Sloths also live here. An older tract of rainforest has tall trees that provide life to birds such as the Three-wattled Bellbird and Green-breasted Mango. A nearby lagoon is home to Spectacled Cayman and Slider Turtle.
On the ground you will look for the tiny endemic poison dart frog Dendrobates Pumilio. After the hike, you enjoy a visit to the indigenous community and a chance to purchase handicrafts such as painted woodcarvings and Ngobe handbags, followed by lunch. In the afternoon, you will snorkel among mangroves and coral reefs, searching for numerous fish species, as well as dynamic and brightly colored sea fans, sponges and brittle starfish. Overnight at the Bocas Inn, daily breakfast and dinner included. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7: Boca del Drago - Panama City.
Early in the morning you take a boat ride to Boca del Drago around Colon Island. Weather permitting, you visit Swan's Cay, a rock protruding from the depths of the Caribbean Sea, which serves as rookery for Red-billed tropic birds (the only place to be found in Panama) and Brown boobies. Along the coastline, returning to the lodge, you make stops at coral reefs and mangrove isles for snorkeling.
Afterwards you will return to the Bocas Inn for lunch and get ready for your return flight to Panama City. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel with a stop on the way at the Balboa handicraft market for some last minute shopping. Tonight you will enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at the Holiday Inn - Panama Canal, breakfast included. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 8: Depart Panama (or post-tour extension). Hotel pickup and transfer to the airport. Includes: (B).
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