Day 1 Arrive in Panama City
Arrive to Panama City. Overnight.
Day 2 Panama Canal and El Valle
A morning bus ride takes you to the town of Gamboa where your vessel awaits to bring you on a partial transit of the Panama Canal. Your exploration begins at the north end of the Gaillard Cut - at the southern end of the Cut you enter the Pedro Miguel Locks, taking you into the man-made Miraflores Lake. Next, you are lowered 18 meters in the Miraflores Locks as you make your entrance into the Pacific Ocean. Disembark at the Flamenco Marina where you meet your transfer to El Valle. This 2-hour drive follows the famous Pan American Highway. Relax, and take in the celebrated views of Panama.
The beautiful mountain town of El Valle is located in the crater of an ancient volcano that erupted with such ferocity it blew off its top. It left a 3-mile-wide scar on the landscape – this crater is the largest in the Americas. The valley forests are alive with hummingbirds and other tropical wildlife including a golden frog unique to the area. El Valle’s spring-like climate is perfect for exploring the vast variety of trails that run past Indian petroglyphs, hot springs, and waterfalls. Spend the night in a quiet bed and breakfast.
Day 3 Canopy Adventure
This morning you have some free time to take an optional visit to El Valle's Handicraft Market. Local farmers, as well as Nobe Bugle, Wounaan, and some Embera Indians come to the market to sell fruits, vegetables, plants, and handicrafts. After this leisurely morning continue your Panama travels with a canopy adventure! At El Macho Falls you are securely strapped into a harness, and zipped through a series of cables and pulleys, where you can observe the landscape from four different platforms on a canopy adventure. At 220 feet above the forest floor, share this rare and remarkable view with the animals sheltered within the canopy.
Spend the the rest of the day enjoying some of the sites. You can hike to the nearby "La India Dormida" mountain, visit the local zoo El Nispero, soak in the nearby hot springs, or just relax around the beautiful grounds of your bed and breakfast. The lodge can help you pick from a variety of excursions to fill your day!
Day 4 Transfer to Gamboa
After a leisurely morning, you are picked up and transferred to Gamboa Rainforest Resort. The rest of the day is free for you to arrange activities through the resort. You can visit any of the local exhibits, including the frog and reptile exhibit or the butterfly enclosure, or arrange to go on a rainforest aerial tram tour, or go kayaking or boating out on Gatun Lake.
Day 5 Embera Drua Community
Board a motorized canoe to take you deep into the Chagres rainforest to an Embera Drua community. The park’s protected waters supply nearly 80% of Panama City’s drinking water. The canoe takes you to an Embera settlement. Let these intriguing and inviting people introduce you to their culture as they share their knowledge of botany, craftsmanship, and traditional music and dance. Try Embera’s traditional body painting that colors the skin with the purplish juice from a jagua fruit. Enjoy lunch with the Embera community. Spend the rest of the afternoon with a guided tour of the tropical park.
Day 6 Barro Colorado Island
This morning continue your Panama travels to Barro Colorado Island. After a short ride to the town of Gamboa, board a boat to cross the massive Lake Gatun. Born out of the Panama Canal, Gatun’s creation displaced over 50,000 people and submerged acres of forest – it also formed Isla Barro Colorado. It is heavy with wildlife including howler monkeys, keel-billed toucans, tapirs, sloths, anteaters, tiger herons, crocodiles, and the stunning Morpho butterfly. Administered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute since 1946, this area is considered the best-protected and most-studied tropical rainforest in the world. Travelers are limited to a single trail that loops the island, to ensure that the ecosystem remains well-protected. You also have the opportunity to explore the bays and forest-covered channels. From the boat, keep an eye out for Panama's thriving wildlife. Overnight in Panama City.
Day 7 San Blas
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
San Blas consists of over 360 islands off the Caribbean Coast of Panama, only 60 of which are inhabited. The islands are virtually self-governed by the local Kuna people. These friendly people are strong in tradition and their beliefs, devoting themselves to preserving their heritage and tranquil, colorful environment. Today take an early flight from Panama City to the Achutupu Airstrip on the San Blas. Meet your local guide and travel by boat across the calm lagoon waters to the Dolphin Lodge. Spend some time unwinding with a stroll through the private island. Lunch and dinner feature delicious dishes of the day's catch. As you turn in, let the warm Caribbean breeze and the quiet lapping waves put your senses at peace.
Day 8 More San Blas
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a light breakfast, spend the afternoon touring the San Blas Islands. Your time in San Blas is spent relaxing and enjoying the sandy beaches and crystal waters of the private islands -- marine wildlife in the area includes dolphins, green and hawksbill turtles, sponges, lobsters, and a large variety of reef fish. You can also hike around the neighboring islands for fantastic bird-watching.
Day 9 Panama City and Boquete
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Early this morning fly back to Panama City. You are met at the airport for a tour of the ruins of Panama La Vieja, where loads of Peru's gold once crossed. Later the pirate Henry Morgan came in search of the famed gold, and after Morgan's attack in 1671, Casco Antiguo was built. Spend some time exploring Panama's "second" city, whose Spanish and French architecture reminds one of its past citizens. If you have sufficient time, visit the Miraflores locks of the Panama Canal to observe the "eighth wonder of the world." Locomotives tie onto the mammoth ships and pull them through the locks to lessen the chance of mishap.
You are transferred to the Albrook airport in time to catch an afternoon flight to the city of David in Chiriqui Province. Spend two nights in the charming town of Boquete, nestled at the foot of Volcan Baru and surrounded by coffee farms and one of Central America's largest nature preserves - La Amistad International Peace Park.
Day 10 Free Day in Boquete
Today is yours to enjoy as you wish. Included in your package are either a whitewater rafting trip down the Chiriqui River, or a guided 4-6 hour hike on Los Quetzales Trail through La Amistad International Park. Whitewater rafting is exhilarating here and the Chiriqui river is world-renowned for its easily accessed non-stop Class III-IV rapids. La Amistad Park contains some of the country's richest biodiversity with seven of the 12 life zones found here, quetzals, harpy eagles, and 90 species of mammals. More options include a zip line tour through the rainforest canopy or speeding through the jungle vegetation on a mountain bike. If you prefer more relaxing activities, you can choose from an assortment of excursions around Boquete. A local coffee tour or horseback riding are some of the most highly recommended activities.
Day 11 Off to Bocas del Toro
Today it's off to the charming Caribbean town of Bocas del Toro on Isla Colon. You are picked up and transferrec three hours to the town of Almirante. Here you take a water taxi to your hotel. Arrive at Bocas mid-day, and enjoy a welcome to Bocas Lunch. The rest of the day is yours to wander this charming town and soak up the relaxed atmosphere.
Day 12 Isla Bastimentos
Today board a motor launch to explore some of the area's most idyllic beaches, forests, and snorkeling waters. The island's midsection and surrounding waters are protected in the Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park, and the entire island offers nature lovers an array of wildlife, both terrestrial and marine.
Your snorkeling tour begins at Dolphin Lagoon, which is an important feeding area for bottle-nosed dolphins. Then onto Coral Caye and Red Frog beach. Enjoy a relaxing swim, or lounge on the beach before heading to the popular Hospital Point for more snorkeling. Tonight, enjoy the laid-back nightlife of Bocas town.
Day 13 Free Day in Bocas del Toro
Enjoy this day free to arrange other activities locally. You can arrange to go snorkeling at some other sites in the Archipelago, go kayaking, or go hiking on the mainland. The day is free to do as you like!
Day 14 Return to Panama City
This morning take a taxi back to the airstrip for your short flight over vast jungles back to Panama City. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy Panama City during your last night in the country.