a howler monkey hangs from a tree with large green leaves around it on the Panama Discovery land tour
a traveler goes on a zip line with the jungle canopy below him on the panama adventure land tour
women dancing in colorful native garments on the panama discovery land tour
travelers on a luxury passenger train with windows and a glass ceiling on the panama discovery land tour relax on large comfortable chairs and tables
adventure travelers relax and watch small ships travel through the miraflores locks during the Panama Discovery land tour
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Central America Panama Land Tour

Panama Discovery Tour

The 8-day Panama Discovery land-based excursion highlights Panama at its best, a country so small yet filled with exuberant rainforests, wildlife and a rich cultural heritage. Witness the Panama Canal from Miraflores Locks Visitor Center and learn why this engineering feat captivates the world.

Discovering Panama means meeting indigenous cultures on Gatun River, admiring the Panama Canal Expansion, taking the famous Panama Railway, observing wildlife, enjoying the Miraflores Locks from the top, flying through the highlands on a zipline, drinking local coffee as an interactive experience, hiking in the cloud forests of the Chiriqui Highlands, searching for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal and exploring more of the over- and underwater world of the Caribbean Sea in Bocas del Toro.

Meet indigenous cultures along the Chagres River. Understand the fascinating history of Panama as a country. Be charmed by quaint towns and local coffee plantations. Zip line through cloud forests. And forever be fascinated by Panama travel, which is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Read on for details about this trip, or view all of AdventureSmith’s Panama tours.



Itinerary

Panama Discovery Itinerary

On this 8-day Panama adventure explore the land-based highlights as well as the Panama Canal. This begins and ends in Panama City, Panama.

Route map of the Panama Discovery land tour, operating round-trip from Panama City, with visits to Colon, the Panama Canal, Miraflores Locks, Chiriqui, Boquete, Bocas del Toro, Bastimentos Marine National Park & Boca del Drago.
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Day 1
Arrive Panama City, Panama

On arrival to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, be met by a Panama representative and transferred to your hotel.

Accommodations

Tryp Panama Centro – El Cangrejo

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Day 2
Embera People, Panama Canal Expansion & Trans-Isthmian train

This morning, take a 1.5-hour drive across the Panama Isthmus towards Colon for a cultural visit to an Embera indigenous village on the shores of the Gatun River. Board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) and travel up through lush forest to the community. Along the river, search for little blue and green herons, great egrets, anhingas, neotropical cormorants, kingfishers, keel-billed toucans and ospreys flying above. At the Embera village, be greeted with dancing and music and learn about the people’s customs and relationship with nature. There will be handcrafts available for sale and a chance to be painted with the traditional jagua, a natural dye the Embera use to adorn their bodies. Enjoy a traditional lunch prepared by the indigenous women, which usually consists of fried fish and plantains, accompanied by fresh fruits and snacks.

This afternoon, experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the Panama Canal, which celebrated its 100th anniversary on August 15, 2014. The Panama Canal Expansion Project, a $6.25 billion dollar project completed in 2016, gives the waterway the needed competitive advantage to operate successfully. Return to Panama City on the trans-isthmian train that 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, be transferred to your city hotel early in the evening.

Accommodations

Tryp Panama Centro – El Cangrejo

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Panama Canal Jungle Boat, Miraflores Locks & Chiriqui

Early this morning, be picked up by your naturalist guide and transferred to the town of Gamboa at the Panama Canal to board a specially equipped expedition boat. Cruise across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal, passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway. Along the way, search for 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 provides up-close views of the rainforest-covered islands in Gatun Lake. Look for white-faced capuchin, howler monkey, spider monkey and the endemic red-napped tamarin. Enjoy the extraordinary views of the Panama Canal and the natural surroundings followed by a picnic lunch in a private garden in Gamboa town. In the early afternoon, return to Gamboa and drive to the Miraflores Locks Visitors Center to visit multiple exhibits of the canal and to view the operations of the Panama Canal.

In the afternoon, catch a flight from Albrook domestic airport to David, the 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 eastern side of the dormant Baru Volcano to the quaint town of Boquete with its countryside dotted with flower, fruit and vegetable farms, coffee plantations and extraordinary cloud forest environments.

Accommodations

La Casa de la Abuela

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Canopy Ziplining & Coffee Tour

This morning, enjoy a cloud forest canopy tree trek on a zip line and 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.  Observe native species of flora and fauna, marvel at the great variety of orchids, trees and wildflowers and then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon, enjoy an interactive experience in the highlands of Boquete. Senior Tito´s Finca La Milagrosa in the Jaramillo region is one of the most respected coffee producers in the country, with a 100% organic operation. This small farm is not meant for large productions; Mr. Tito’s specialty coffee is only destined for exportation to Europe and the United States. When Mr. Tito took over this farm from his father 30 years ago, he started without any machines or coffee plants and produced his first roasting machines with used pieces of his old Mitsubishi car and even some computer pieces! Be returned to your hotel mid-late afternoon.

Accommodations

La Casa de la Abuela

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
La Amistad Waterfall, Continental Divide & Bocas del Toro

La Amistad is a bi-national park that stretches from Costa Rica into Panama, a small portion of which extends into the Chiriqui province, encompassing mostly cloud forests. Here, the land rises in excess of 4,921 feet and warm air ascends the mountains where it meets with cooler air and condenses into a persistent cloud cover. Cloud forests exhibit a unique ecosystem with an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna. Towering trees reach towards the sun to form a canopy that creates a cool, shadowed, misty underworld on the forest floor. It is noisy with the sounds of numerous insects, birds, and frogs but it is difficult to see them because of the ferns, tree ferns and epiphytes that crowd the lower and middle strata of the forest. During the 3-mile nature walk, hike up to 5,577 feet (approx. 656 foot elevation gain) where you can take a refreshing swim in the waterfall. Water drips from spongy mosses that cover tree trunks (from bromeliads that attach themselves to every cranny on the trees) and from flower petals perched high in the canopy of the forest.

Around midday enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Boquete before continuing on the 3.5-hour drive to Almirante, Bocas del Toro. En route across the Continental Divide, stop at Fortuna Dam. Cross the Palo Seco protected area 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 is impressive. In Almirante meet the boat and transfer to Isla Colon. Enjoy the hammocks on the upstairs deck or mingle with the locals in the small friendly town.

Accommodations

Bocas Inn

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Salt Creek Village & Bastimentos Marine National Park

Depart by boat from the Bocas Inn, traversing the expanse of Bastimentos National Park, Panama’s first marine national park. Reach Salt Creek by navigating through clusters of red mangroves, which provide sea creatures with a protective area during their reproductive and developmental stages. Upon arrival, enjoy a walk along Cayman trail, which takes you through several stages of lowland forest dynamics. Look for birds such as red-throated ant tanager and golden-collared manakin and mammals such as night monkeys, white-faced capuchins and three-toed sloths.

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 caimans and slider turtles. On the ground look for the tiny endemic poison dart frog. After the hike, 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, snorkel among mangroves and coral reefs, searching for numerous fish species, as well as dynamic and brightly colored sea fans, sponges and brittle starfish.

Accommodations

Bocas Inn

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Boca del Drago & Panama City

Early in the morning take a boat ride to Boca del Drago around Colon Island. Weather permitting, visit Swan’s Cay, a rock protruding from the depths of the Caribbean Sea that serves as a rookery for red-billed tropic birds (the only place they can be found in Panama) and brown boobies. Along the coastline, while returning to the lodge, make stops at coral reefs and mangrove isles for snorkeling. Back at the lodge have lunch and get ready for your return flight to Panama City. Upon arrival to Panama City, transfer to your hotel. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations

Tryp Panama Centro – El Cangrejo

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Depart Panama City, Panama

Today be picked up at the lobby of the hotel 2.5 hours prior to your scheduled departure flight and transferred to Tocumen International Airport.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Lodging and meals as specified in the itinerary; all land, air and water transportation within Panama; all airport/hotel transfers on scheduled arrival and departure dates; group guide services; snorkeling equipment in Bocas; park, museum and related entrance fees.

Exclusions

International airfare; 2020 taxes of $190 per person (double occupancy); gratuities; extras in hotels such as telephone calls, laundry, room service; meals not specified in the itinerary; alcoholic beverages; personal equipment; insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, 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 Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Panama Family Adventure begins and ends in Panama City, Panama (PTY). Plan flights to arrive any time on day 1 and depart anytime on day 9 of the outlined itinerary from the Tocumen International Airport. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

Domestic flights within Panama allow 1 bag up to 30.8 lbs (14 kg) per passenger. For flights to David, each passenger is allowed 1 bag of up to 66 lbs (30 kg). Carry-on luggage is limited to 8.8 lbs (4 kg). Passengers are responsible for excess baggage fees and are subject to fees.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the guides can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include easy/moderate hiking with rolling hills and optional activities such as snorkeling, rafting, extended hikes and optional zip lining.

Families & Children

Children 12 years and older are welcome on this expedition.

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 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

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

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Dates

Contact us for 2021 rates and availability.

Dec 20 - Dec 27, 2020
8 days
From $2650USD
Per Person
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Accommodations

Learn About the Lodges & Hotels on Your Itinerary

Hotel
Bocas Inn

The Bocas Inn is a charming 7-bedroom, sea-front lodge located in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Hot water showers are provided by solar energy. Tour islands and mangroves by skiff and snorkeling and feel a genuine connection to the people and the places of Bocas del Toro.

Hotel
Tryp Panama Centro

his centrally located hotel in the heart of Panama City offers a convenient location within walking distance to restaurants, cafés, shops and pharmacies. With its 92 guest rooms, outside pool and barbecue area, restaurant and business center with free Wifi access throughout the entire hotel, this hotel offers guests a simple but comfortable stay in Panama City.

Hotel
La Casa de la Abuela

La Casa de la Abuela is located in the marvelous valley of the Caldera river, near the majestic mountains of Boquete, Panama. Enjoy splendid views of the mountains out your hotel window, main lobby or outside terrace. Located on the main street and within waking distance of downtown.

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Panama Discovery Tour

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