illuminated panamanian poison dart frog on a leaf with a dark background
a family stands above the miraflores locks in panama on a sunny day pointing and taking pictures
travelers point and take pictures during a jungle boat cruise on the panama family adventure land tour
group of adventure travelers with harnesses and orange helmets with mountains in the background on the panama family adventure land tour
a teen with a yellow helmet ziplining in the jungle canopy on the panama family adventure land tour
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Central America Panama Land Tour

Panama Family Adventure

The 9-day Panama Family Adventure is an enriching family trip that begins and ends in Panama City, Panama. This land-based tour covers the most iconic things to do in Panama, including kayak and zip line adventures, historic and cultural explorations and a visit to the Panama Canal lock system.

Adventure activities perfect for the family include boating across Gatun Lake, cruising near rainforest-covered islands and searching for green iguana, three-toed sloths, crocodile, osprey, peacock bass, snail kite, keel-billed toucans and more; riding motorized piragua (dugout canoe) through the 320,000-acre rainforest of Chagres National Park to the Embera indigenous village; and kayaking on the Chagres River along the edge of the Panama Canal, marveling at large cargo ships transiting Gatun Lake between the Panama Canal’s two different lock systems.

Fly to western Panama to the city of David, the capital of the Chiriqui province known as “Panama’s breadbasket,” and witness some of the most breathtaking scenery in Central America. In the Chiriqui Highlands, explore dormant Baru Volcano, the quaint town of Boquete and an extraordinary cloud forest. White water river raft or zip line (both optional) between 14 rainforest canopy platforms, gliding through fascinating nature and past exotic wildlife. At Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean coast, boat to Isla Colon and cruise past Swan’s Cay, a protruding rock where red-billed tropic birds and brown boobies nest in rookeries. And no Panama Family Adventure is complete without beach time at Boca del Drago and snorkeling at coral reefs and mangrove isles.

Educational highlights throughout this 9-day Panama family trip include learning about the ingenuity and history of Miraflores Locks at the Miraflores Visitor Center; traversing Panama’s first marine national park, Bastimentos National Park, to walk the Cayman Trail at Salt Creek through several stages of lowland forest dynamics; visiting ruins of Old Panama and Casco Antiguo, the Smithsonian Marine Exhibition at Culebra Point; and exploring the Biodiversity Museum designed by Frank Gehry on the Amador Causeway, a narrow land-bridge that connects the continent with four islands.

Experience the best places in Panama with the perfect dose of family travel. From the Pacific coast to the Caribbean Coast, this comprehensive and family-friendly vacation explores the Panama country, revealing its ingenuity, culture and wildlife.

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



Itinerary

Panama Family Adventure Itinerary

The 9-day Panama Family Adventure is an enriching family trip that begins and ends in Panama City, Panama.

Route map of the Panama Family Adventure land tour, operating round-trip from Panama City, with visits to the Panama Canal, Chagres River, Miraflores Locks & Chiriqui Highlands, Bocas del Toro & Bastimentos Marine National Park.
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Day 1
Arrive Panama City, Panama

Arrive at Tocumen International Airport and be met by a local representative and transferred to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, your lodge for the next three nights, located along the shores of the Panama Canal.

Accommodations

Gamboa Rainforest Resort

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Day 2
Panama Canal Jungle Boat Adventure

Early in the morning, join your naturalist guide and be transferred to the marina to board a specially equipped expedition boat. Travel by boat across Gatun Lake near the Panama Canal, passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway and contrasting with the natural surroundings. Along the way, search for green iguanas and three-toed sloths resting on tree branches, crocodile, osprey in the hunt for peacock bass, snail kite and keel-billed toucan, among other species. The expedition boat allows for close-up views of rainforest-covered islands in Gatun Lake; search for white-faced capuchin, howler monkey, spider monkey and the endemic red-napped tamarin. Enjoy the extraordinary views of the Panama Canal followed by a picnic lunch in a private garden in Gamboa town. In the early afternoon, return to Gamboa Rainforest Resort to enjoy Gamboa at leisure.

Accommodations

Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Chagres River to Embera People

Early this morning, drive to El Corotu on the shores of Madden Lake. The main reservoir of drinking water for the cities of Panama and Colon, Madden Lake also supplies 40% of the water required for the operation of the Panama Canal. Here, board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) and travel up the Chagres River to the Embera indigenous village. Travel through the rainforest of the 320,000-acre Chagres National Park, which is the largest of the national parks, protecting the Panama Canal Watershed. Along the Chagres River, search for little blue and green heron; Amazon, ringed and green kingfishers; great egret; anhingas; neotropical cormorant; and keel-billed toucans and ospreys flying above. At the Embera village, be greeted with dancing and music and learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature. Handcrafts are available for sale as well as the chance to be painted with the traditional jagua, a natural dye the Embera use to adorn their bodies. After a picnic lunch, visit the nearby waterfall and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Chagres River before heading back to Gamboa.

Accommodations

Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Kayaking, Miraflores Locks & Chiriqui Highlands

This morning, begin with an adventurous kayaking excursion on the Chagres River and the edge of the Panama Canal. Afterwards, enjoy a relaxing and quiet rainforest nature walk on La Chunga Trail that leads to the beautiful shore of the Chagres River. Eat lunch at a local restaurant and continue to the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal. Learn about its history and marvel at this engineering accomplishment. The canal still operates nearly the same as it did upon its inauguration in 1914 when the S.S. Ancon steamer became the first ship to transit the Panama Canal.

Late this 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.

Accommodations

Finca Lerida Lodge

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Cloud Forest Canopy Trek or River Floating Tour

This morning, experience the world from a new perspective with a canopy tree trek on a zip line. View 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; discover a fascinating perspective of wildlife; and marvel at the sight of a great variety of orchids, trees and wildflowers that are found throughout the area. There will be an option to go on a river floating tour down the Chiriqui River for those who don’t go zip lining today (this optional tour has an additional cost and must be arranged in advance).

Accommodations

Finca Lerida Lodge

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Chiriqui Highlands & Bocas del Toro

After a good night’s rest, pack up and get ready for the 4-hour drive to Bocas del Toro. Note the drastic change, traveling from the cloudforests to the coral reefs. Stop along the way several times to stretch your legs, play some games and enjoy the scenery. On arrival to Almirante on the Caribbean coast, transfer by boat to Isla Colon, where you will spend the next two nights. This afternoon, weather permitting, visit Swan’s Cay—a rock protruding from the depths of the Caribbean Sea, which serves as a rookery for red-billed tropic birds (the only place to be found in Panama) and brown boobies. Enjoy beach time at Boca del Drago and search for colorful starfish. Along the coastline, make stops at coral reefs and mangrove isles for snorkeling.

Accommodations

Bocas Inn

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Bastimentos Marine National Park & Salt Creek Village

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 hike along Cayman Trail. This trail takes you through several stages of lowland forest. Look for red-throated ant tanager, golden-collared manakin, night monkeys, white-faced capuchins and three-toed sloth. 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. After the hike, enjoy a visit to the indigenous community and have 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 8
Panama City

Begin with a morning flight back to Panama City, where the daily activities include a visit to the ruins of Old Panama and Casco Antiguo. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Smithsonian Marine Exhibition at Culebra Point at the entrance to the Pacific side of the Panama Canal and the International Handcraft Market. Finish the sightseeing tour with a visit to the Biodiversity Museum designed by Frank Gehry located on Causeway Amador. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations

Panama Marriott Hotel

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
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 and expenses; park, museum and related entrance fees; snorkeling equipment in Bocas.

Exclusions

International airfare; 2020 taxes of $238 per person (double occupancy adult); gratuities; extras in hotels such as telephone calls, laundry, room service, gratuities, etc.; meals not specified in the itinerary; alcoholic beverages; personal equipment; and 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 to Panama City any time on day 1 of the itinerary. We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to depart anytime on day 9. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

Domestic flights within Panama allow one 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). Arrangements can be made with your hotel to store luggage that will not be needed while away from the city. 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 to moderate hiking of approximately 2-4 hours a day with rolling, sometimes slippery hills and optional activities such as snorkeling, rafting, extended hikes and zip lining.

For the optional rafting excursion on day 5, minimum age restrictions apply and depend upon the river class and section being run. Participants are expected to listen and follow instructions given both before and during the river outing. Some river sections are tougher than others and require an honest assessment of participants’ physical fitness level and capabilities. Participants must provide advanced notice of any physical conditions that may impede performance on the river.

Families & Children

Kids 3 years and older are welcomed aboard all departure dates. Children ages 3 to 5 and 6 to 11, respectively, receive children pricing as shown above (based on sharing a room with two adults; if sharing with only one adult, then that adult must pay the single supplement). Please note that hotels only allow two adults plus two children below 12 in the same room.

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. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; 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 current rates and availability.

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.

Lodge
Finca Lerida Lodge

Finca Lerida Lodge is a privately owned preserve in Boquete Panama with unique history, coffee plantation tours, Norwegian architecture, an intricate trail system and bird watching. Original coffee roasting techniques were invented here, spread around the world, adopted and are still used today.

Lodge
Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Escape to this jungle paradise located in Soberania National Park Rainforest just 45 minutes outside Panama City to encounter nature without leaving the comforts of a full-service exotic resort.

Hotel
Panama Marriott Hotel

Panama Marriott Hotel offers easy access to the Panama Canal, Soho Mall, Casco Viejo and is within walking distance to dozens of local restaurants, shops, parks and cultural attractions. Enjoy comfortable suites, swimming pool, fitness area, spa, restaurants and bar.

Expert Review

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Todd Smith • February 4th, 2014
Expert Review: Panama City, Bocas Del Toro & Gamboa

Exploring Panama for the first time with my wife and young sons, age six and nine, we crafted a custom 8-day trip to Panama City, Bocas del Toro and Gamboa.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

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