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Best of Panama

From: $2995
10 days • Level 1 (Details)
    
Best of Panama
On this 10-day comprehensive Panama trip, discover the Panama Canal’s natural attributes and learn about the current expansion work, visit thriving indigenous villages and Spanish colonial forts, and explore tropical cloud forests rich in flora and fauna. Moderate hikes offer two to four hours of activity each day, with opportunities for adventures like zip lining and dugout canoe ridi ng. From a Janson coffee tour to cloud forest canopy exploration to a partial Panama Canal transit, this is the best of Panama adventure travel! read more On this 10-day comprehensive Panama trip, discover the Panama Canal’s natural attributes and learn about the current expansion work, visit thriving indigenous villages and Spanish colonial forts, and explore tropical cloud forests rich in flora and fauna. Moderate hikes offer two to four hours of activity each day, with opportunities for adventures like zip lining and dugout canoe riding. From a Janson coffee tour to cloud forest canopy exploration to a partial Panama Canal transit, this is the best of Panama adventure travel!
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From the Blog

6 Ways to Experience the Panama Canal for its Centennial

6 Ways to Experience the Panama Canal for its Centennial

2014 marks the Panama Canal's 100th anniversary, and we've curated 6 ways to experience this engineering marvel by small ship cruise and land tour.
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Day 1 - Arrive Panama

Day 2 - Panama Canal Jungle Boat Adventure, Miraflores Locks & Casco Viejo

Day 3 - Chiriqui, Janson's Coffee Tour & Volcano Lakes

Day 4 - La Amistad International Park & Sugar Cane Farm

Day 5 - Zipline Tour & Hot Springs

Day 6 - Boquete Sightseeing, Flight to Panama City & Colon

Day 7 - Portobelo & Caribbean Waters

Day 8 - Embera Indigenous People, Panama Canal Expansion & Panama Railway

Day 9 - Partial Panama Canal Transit

Day 10 - Depart Panama


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Day 1 - Arrive Panama

On arrival to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, you'll be greeted and transfered to your hotel in Panama City.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Victoria Hotel & Suites
MEALS:
n/a

Day 2 - Panama Canal Jungle Boat Adventure, Miraflores Locks & Casco Viejo

Early in the morning you will be picked up at the lobby of the hotel by your Naturalist Guide for a 30-minute drive to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. Here 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, 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 on 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 164 square miles, Gatun Lake 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 locks system. Nearly 52 million gallons of fresh water are used for every ship that transits through the Panama Canal from one ocean to another. Your expedition boat will allow for close approximations to rainforest-covered islands (former hilltops) in Gatun Lake to search for white-faced capuchin, mantled howler monkey, Central American spider monkey and Geoffrey’s tamarin. Enjoy a midday picnic lunch on a small island with extraordinary views of the canal and its natural surroundings. You will return to Gamboa in the early afternoon and head for the Panama Canal visitor center at Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal where you will learn about the canal’s history, operation and expansion work currently underway. You will also enjoy a close-up view of the locks and ships in motion.

Return to your hotel to freshen up and relax before your guide takes you on a late afternoon walking tour through Casco Viejo, a UNESCO World Heritage site with its colonial landmarks and charming cobblestone streets. Here you enjoy your welcome dinner with your guide at a local restaurant.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Victoria Hotel & Suites
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3 - Chiriqui, Janson's Coffee Tour & Volcano Lakes

Today, check out from your hotel and ride with your guide to Albrook domestic airport in order to catch a midmorning flight to David, capital of the Chiriqui province, in western Panama. Chiriqui is the country's “breadbasket,” containing some of the most breathtaking highland scenery in Central America. After arrival to David Airport, you will be transferred to the Western side of the volcano, where you will spend your day on the Janson's estate. The farm owners invite you for lunch including a freshly brewed cup of Janson coffee overlooking the beautiful mountain range of Baru Volcano and surrounding valley. In the afternoon learn about planting, harvesting, processing, roasting and packaging of the world-class coffee Del Fino and Geisha, grown on the Janson's coffee farm. This coffee is grown at the perfect altitude in rich volcanic soil and processed by utilizing the best that tradition and technology have to offer. Janson Coffee has a unique aroma and brilliant flavors and has won many prizes. In the afternoon choose your recreation between options such as exploring the estate via 4x4, hike to incredible vistas, kayak on the Lake and/or take a motorized lake float. The volcano lakes are the highest natural lakes and wetlands in Panama and the fifth highest aquatic ecosystem in Central America. Enjoy breathtaking views, the beautiful surrounding tropical forest, world-class birding and amazing wildlife. Then, settle at your charming mountain resort and enjoy the indoor swimming pool and social area before a hearty dinner at the hotel's restaurant with your guide.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Hotel Bambito
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4 - La Amistad International Park & Sugar Cane Farm

Shared with neighboring Costa Rica and recognized in 1982 by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site, La Amistad International Park is located at a point on the Central American natural land bridge where flora and fauna from North and South America reach their maximum species mix. With great ranges in altitude, precipitation, soil and temperature, biodiversity here is at its best. After checking out from your hotel, spend the morning hiking and exploring La Amistad International Park 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 and spectacular flora.

After early lunch you will descend on a scenic road through some rice, corn and sugar cane fields. En-route you will have a unique opportunity to experience a century-old tradition at a local Trapiche, a formerly horse-powered sugar mill, where the delicious raspadura blocks are made. The farmers also produce cheese and traditional sweets that are available for purchase. Mid-afternoon proceed to the quaint town of Boquete on the Eastern side of Baru volcano where you will stay at a small charming mountain resort for the next nights. The rest of the afternoon is open to relax, explore a nature trail at the Baru Volcano National Park just outside your mountain home on your own or with your guide, or to simply enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee at the resort´s comfortable fire place. Dinner tonight will be with your guide at the mountain resort.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5 - Zipline Tour & Hot Springs

Start the day with a canopy tree trek on a zipline that that allows you to contemplate the rainforest from 14 different canopy platforms while smoothly soaring in the heights of the cloud forest from one treetop to another. Glide through the trees and encounter a world unknown and a fascinating perspective of wildlife. Native species of flora and fauna can be observed. Marvel at the sight of a great variety of orchids, trees and wildflowers that are found throughout the area. Your lunch will be served at the mountain tree trek restaurant with amazing views over the valley and the surrounding cloud forest.

This afternoon you will have the opportunity to enjoy natural hot springs that are known for their healing properties. The hot springs are located within a private farm about 60 minutes driving from Boquete outside the small town of Caldera, which means "boiling pot." The nearby Caldera River serves as a refreshing cool off after bathing in the hot springs. Some of the thermal pools are surrounded by man-placed stones, which give them a touch of intimacy and privacy. The temperatures in these natural pools range from 100ºF - 115ºF. Dinner tonight will be at an exquisite restaurant in town, together with your guide.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6 - Boquete Sightseeing, Flight to Panama City & Colon

This morning explore Boquete and its major interest points. Its countryside is dotted with flower, fruit and produce farms, coffee plantations and also lush tropical cloud forests. From different hilltops and lookout points, see extraordinary views of the town set in the mountain valley at 3,477 feet above sea level. Drive by the local houses and farming areas, walk through the historic town center and learn about important facts on the founding of Boquete and its historical buildlings, beautiful blooming flower gardens. Enjoy a scenic drive by local coffee farms, waterfalls and the cloud forest of the Volcan Baru National Park to admire its abundant flora and fauna.

After lunch in town, return to David domestic airport for a mid-afternoon flight back to Panama City. From here your transfer takes about 90 minutes to the Melía Panama Canal hotel in Colon, where the US armed forces School of the Americas was located. Dinner with your guide at hotel included tonight.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Melia Panama Canal
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7 - Portobelo & Caribbean Waters

On July 10, 1668, the legendary privateer captain Henry Morgan and a small army of corsairs and buccaneers attacked, overwhelmed and captured the city of Portobelo. Follow the steps of this historical town, which was famous for its trade fairs during the 17th century. During colonial times it was one of the most important strongholds of the Spanish Main in the Americas. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and colonial fortifications Forts San Geronimo and Santiago de la Gloria. After lunch in town, head out by boat to one of the beautiful white-sand tropical beaches that are found nearby. You will have the opportunity to snorkel in the Caribbean waters surrounded by beautiful tropical fish and a lot of marine wildlife around the coral reefs. Return back to your hotel in Colon and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Melia Panama Canal
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8 - Embera Indigenous People, Panama Canal Expansion & Panama Railway

This morning visit an Embera indigenous village on the shores of the Gatun River. You will board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) and travel up through lush forest to the community. Along the river you may be able to spot Little Blue and Green Heron, Great Egret, Anhingas, Neotropical Cormorant, Amazon, Ringed and Green Kingfishers, along with Keel-billed Toucans and Ospreys flying above. At the Embera village you will be greeted with dancing and music. You will learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature. There will be handcrafts available for sale, and you will have a chance to be painted with the traditional jagua, a natural dye the Embera use to adorn their bodies. Enjoy lunch with the Embera!

This afternoon experience history in the making by observing close-up the Panama Canal Expansion works on the new Gatun Locks. Panama embarked on a major project to expand the Panama Canal a decade ago. The $6.25 billion project, due to be completed in early 2015, will give the waterway the needed competitive advantage to operate successfully for at least another century. The Panama Canal will celebrate its 100th anniversary on August 15, 2014. 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 during the Gold Rush. The route was diverted when Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal. After a 1-hour train ride you will be transferred to your city hotel. Dinner together with your guide at the hotel´s restaurant.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Victoria Hotel & Suites
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9 - Partial Panama Canal Transit

Today enjoy a partial Panama Canal transit. Drive to Gamboa and embark the ship that will be sailing at 85 feet above sea level. Shortly after departure, the ship enters Gaillard Cut, the narrowest section of the Panama Canal. The 8.5-mile-long portion of the Continental Divide was carved through rock and shale at beginning of last century when the canal began operating (1914). You will have the opportunity to look at the work’s progress on this extraordinary engineering venture. The ship will reach Pedro Miguel locks, where the vessel will be lowered 30.8 feet into Miraflores Lake. After traveling just over a mile you arrive to Miraflores locks, where the transition from fresh water to salt water takes place in the locks chambers. Due to the Pacific Ocean’s extreme tidal variations, Miraflores' miter gates are the tallest of the locks system. In two steps, the vessel will be lowered 54.5 feet onto the Pacific Ocean. You will then sail under the bridge of the Americas, which reunites the land divided by the Panama Canal as part of the Pan-American Highway. After disembarking at Flamenco Island, enjoy a brief sightseeing tour on the Amador Causeway. Your farewell dinner will be at a local restaurant where you experience a traditional folkloric presentation with polleras and musicians with your guide.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Victoria Hotel & Suites
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 10 - Depart Panama

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. Optional pre- and post-tour extensions are available to the Darien province and Bocas del Toro; contact AdventureSmith for more details.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
n/a
MEALS:
breakfast

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife or National Park regulation. The ability to be flexible makes this type of adventure travel unique.

Arrival & Departure

The Best of Panama Adventure begins and ends in Panama City. Please plan flights to arrive any time on day 1 and depart anytime on day 10 of the outlined itinerary from the Tocumen International Airport.
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Start/End Date Price 
1       Apr 18 - Apr 27, 2014$2995 - $3620View Details

Double Occupancy - $2995

Single Occupancy - $3620


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2       Jul 25 - Aug 03, 2014$2995 - $3620View Details

Double Occupancy - $2995

Single Occupancy - $3620


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3       Dec 26 - Jan 04, 2015$2995 - $3620View Details

Double Occupancy - $2995

Single Occupancy - $3620


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Included

All lodging, land, air and water transportation within Panama as indicated on itinerary, all airport/hotel transfers when arriving and departing on the stated arrival and departure dates of the group, meals as specified in the itinerary, entrance fees to National Parks, museums and places of interest in effect at the time of booking are included unless otherwise specified, guide services as specified in the itinerary, snorkeling equipment in Portobelo.

Exclusions

7% tax, airfare to Panama, excess baggage charges, taxes and port fees, tourist card ($5), gratuities to transfer and naturalist guides, items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, and insurance of any kind.

Weight restrictions apply to luggage in commercial and chartered flights within Panama. A maximum of 30 lbs (11 kg) of checked luggage and 5 lbs (2.5 kg) of carry-on per person is allowed. Arrangements can be made with your hotel or Ancon Expeditions to store luggage that will not be needed while away from the city. Excess baggage charges assessed by commercial carriers are the responsibility of the passenger.

Room Configuration

Rooms may be booked for single occupancy at a single supplement of $625.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $500 is required at the time of booking. A Reservation Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 91 days - 50% of deposit
90 to 31 days - 50% of total trip cost
30 to 0 days - 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information is sent upon confirmation.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 21 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.
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