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Discover San Blas - Panama's People & Culture

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Discovery
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Panama offers a delightful combination of amazing history, diverse cultures, superb Gastronomy, pristine beaches, unique national parks with abundant biodiversity. This unique itinerary gives you the opportunity to explore Panama by foot and onboard our boutique ship, where you will experience the best of San Blas (Guna Yala) Culture and natural wonders.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Panama City
Day 2 : Panama City
Day 3 : Embera People and Chagres National Park
Day 4 : Colon City | San Blas
Day 5 : Holandes Cays
Day 6 : Coco Bandero Cays
Day 7 : Back to Panama City
Day 8 : Departure

Highlights

  • Enjoy the rich history of the charming Panama City’s Casco Antiguo
  • Visit the Embera Indians, master crafters of cocobolo woodcarvings
  • Admire the beauty and creativity of the Molas at the unique Mola Museum
  • Travel by water through the dense jungle up the Chagres River

Ship

Discovery

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

An old fort of Panama Cathedral of Casco Viejo Panama adventure. Bridge of the Americas! Blue water and lush rain forest in Panama Ruins in Colon, Panama

Day 1 Panama City

Fly to Panama City, which is the country’s capital and largest city. An EcoCircuitos/PMA representative will meet you at Tocumen International Airport to provide assistance and transportation to your hotel. The Central Hotel is conveniently located in Panama City’s Casco Antiguo (Old Quarters), where you have access to historical sites, restaurants, cafes, and shops. Enjoy your free time in Casco Antiguo.

Day 2 Panama City

Today, as we go through the Biodiversity Museum (Designed by Frank Gehry) you will learn about the great impact that Panama had in the world since it surfaced from the ocean some million years ago. Our strategic position and narrow isthmus also made Panama paramount for the Spanish Colonization.

We can say that Panama´s capital is comprised of three cities: the Old, the Colonial and the Modern one. On this day, we will be going through all of them. Panama City was the first Spaniard settlement on the Pacific Coast of the Americas, dating from 1519. During colonial days, the Spaniards stored their gold and treasures here, before taking it to Spain. In 1671, Captain Henry Morgan attacked and sacked the city. A couple of years later, the Spaniards rebuilt a new city 8 miles west at what we know today as Colonial Panama. The UNESCO has declared both of these cities as World Heritage Sites. We will be visiting these historical sites and its museums as you learn the importance that Panama had during colonization days. One of the museums visited today will be the Mola Museum, where you will admire the beauty and creativity of the Molas with their beautiful designs and various shapes.

Day 3 Embera People and Chagres National Park

You will meet your guide at the lobby of your hotel early in the morning and travel to El Corotú on the shores of Madden Lake. Here you will board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) and travel by water through the dense jungle up the Chagres River to one of the Embera indigenous villages for the day experience. The boat journey takes you through the 320,000-acre Chagres National Park, which is the largest of the National Parks protecting the Panama Canal Watershed. Along the Chagres River, you may be able to spot the Little Blue and Green Heron, Great Egret, Anhinga, Neotropical Cormorant,

Amazon, Ringed, and Green Kingfishers, along with and Ospreys flying above. Upon your arrival at the Emberá village, you will be welcomed with traditional dancing and music. You will learn about fascinating Emberá traditions and their close relationship with nature. They are master artisans, famous for their woven baskets and masks, as well as their qualitative wooden carvings of cocobolo and intricate tagua. There will be handcrafts available for sale and you will have the opportunity to
experience the traditional jagua, a natural dye the Emberá use to adorn their bodies. After a traditional Emberá lunch, you will head back to Panama City. Short hiking on a  botanical trail in the community is optional. 

Day 4 Colon City | San Blas

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Start your itinerary aboard the Panama Canal Railway train to Colon City. This one-hour railroad trip will allow you to traverse the picturesque trans-isthmian route from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. Arrive in Colon City where your motor coach will be waiting to take you to Portobelo. During the 17th and 19th centuries, the Port of Portobelo was a Spanish Fortress and served as a Caribbean terminal. Gold, silver, and spices from Peru and other Spanish colonies came through the isthmus along the Royal Path trail, and they were loaded on ships and transported to Spain. Pirates lead by Sir Henry Morgan attacked Portobelo several times. Visit the archeological compound of the colonial port, the Customs House, where the treasure and gold were stored and the Portobelo church, where the famous Black Christ statue is located. Lunch will be served at Casa Congo where we will enjoy a Dance and an introduction to the Afro Panamanian culture of the Caribbean and the Congos. After lunch, depart to Linton Bay Marina where the Discovery will be waiting for you.

Day 5 Holandes Cays

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake up in the beautiful San Blas Archipelago. In the morning, you will visit the Nalu Nega community for an introduction to the Kuna/Guna culture. After lunch, you will
navigate to the Holandes Cays. This is a delightful group of 21 islands protected by a seven-mile-long reef. These are the islands further from the mainland and the water is clear year-round. You will learn about the Gunas traditions, dances and will have a showcase of Molas, which are elaborate embroidered panels that make up the front and back of a Kuna woman's traditional blouse. We will also enjoy a beach day with snorkel, kayaks and standup paddle in Cayos Holandeses.

Day 6 Coco Bandero Cays

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
There is a group of extremely scenic islands, located behind a four-mile-long barrier reef. These uninhabited islands may be the most beautiful in all San Blas. You will enjoy the perfect crystal clear Caribbean waters of these paradisiac islands. Take the opportunity to relax at the beach, sunbathe, snorkel, and kayak or do some stand-up paddle. You might see a school of reef fish, corals, sea turtles and rays on the clear sandy bottom. Learn how to make ceviche over cocktails at sunset. We will have a photo contest on board after a day of adventure and we will overnight in Cayos Holandeses.

Day 7 Back to Panama City

The Swimming Pool Anchorage is the most popular in San Blas. Enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, SUP and enjoy our staff’s personalized attention. Visit BBQ Island and
explore the spectacular reef that protects the area or relax at the beach. After lunch, you will disembark in Carti where SUV transportation will be waiting for you for a 2-hour drive crossing the Guna Yala Reserve and a beautiful range of mountains. Overnight in the Bristol Hotel in Panama City.

Day 8 Departure

  • 1 Breakfast
Transfer to Tocumen International Airport for your outbound flight. You will arrive at the airport for approximately 2 hours before your departure time. Pick up time is 3 hours before flight time.

Discovery

Panama City - Hotels

Per person starting at
$3,998
Comfortable suite
Select a Date
Category 1
One Queen-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom, big picture window. 116 sq. ft.
Your suite on the Discovery
Select a Date
Category 2
One Queen-sized bed, private bathroom, big picture window. 133 sq. ft.

Notes

The program includes:
- 7 nights of lodging and taxes
- Government taxes
- Private transfers in and out (Tocumen International Airport)
- Bilingual guide on tours and crew onboard the Discovery
- Meals as specified on the program
- All meals and drinks on board of the Discovery, including alcoholic beverages
- Toys on board of the Discovery (Kayaks, Stand up Paddle SUP, snorkeling gear)
- Information kit plus Aluminum PBA Free Water bottle

The program does not include:
- Optional activities
- Domestic and international flights
- International airfare and taxes
- Departure taxes ($40.00 per person for Panama)
- Meals not specified in the itinerary
- Alcoholic beverages (only included onboard Discovery Cruise)
- Personal equipment
- Extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service, etc.)
- Gratuities
Payment & Cancellation Policies
Travel Agents
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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
Lindsay Gompf

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