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Native tribes, coffee plantations, cloud forests and sloths
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeCulture, Discovery, Family, Guided Tours, Jungle, Short Breaks, Trekking, Wildlife
Activity Level Leisurely
Group Size Small Group
Panama is a country meant for adventure. From volcano to beach and all points in between, it hosts amazing landscapes, different cultures, culinary delights and incredible biodiversity. The cloud forest hosts the largest number of bird species in Central America and the sloths, turtles and monkeys round out the amazing fauna. This trip includes multiple days visiting with the Kuna & Embera Tribes, well known for their colorful fabrics and traditional craft making. Optional activities include snorkeling, white-water rafting, hiking the active volcano, hot spring soaking, and sampling coffee from the shade-grown coffee plantations.
- All breakfasts, lunches and dinners & dining
- All accommodation
- All transportation once in Panama including internal flights
- Expert tour and trekking guides for entire journey
- Travel insurance and other emergencies
- Visa fees and entry clearing fees
- Liquors, beers and alcoholic beverages
- Flights to Panama
Arrival in Panama
Arrive in Panama City
Typically, flights into Panama arrive early afternoon to evening. We will meet you at the airport and arrange transportation for you to get from the airport to the hotel in Panama City. When you arrive we will meet in the hotel lobby, and then head out for dinner at our favorite restaurant in Panama City. After dinner we suggest getting a good nights rest for the adventure that awaits! If you are interested in arriving a day early and being on your own, resting up or exploring, we can help you find accommodations and transport into town.
After breakfast at our hotel, we will head out of the city to visit with the Embera–Wounaan indigenous people. They are traditionally nomadic people who make their homes along the river. Our day with them will allow us to ask questions about their lifestyle, observe traditional craftmaking, and learn about medicinal plants of the area. Lunch will be a variety of fresh fish or chicken, plantains and other local fruit made in the village.
Our day with the Embera will also include a boat ride to and from the village that offers an opportunity to see the native birds, mammals and turtles of the area. We will return to Panama City for the evening.
After breakfast we will head to the Panama Canal to observe one of the most amazing man-made structures in the world. For more than 100 years, the canal has been a vital conduit providing vital support to the world economy, a testament to American engineering and one of the signature public works of the 20th century. New canal locks opened in 2016 and we will have an opportunity to discuss the success of the $3B project that was built by the Panamanian government to extend the life of the canal and expand the size of ships that it accepts. We will be visiting either the Miraflores or the new Gatun Locks.
After lunch we will head out into the old sections of Panama City to see the historic buildings and lifestyles of the city. We will spend the night in Panama City.
San Blas Islands
Our day starts with a short plane trip to the San Blas Islands – an archipelago of 365 islands of which 49 are inhabited. Our destination is the Yandup Island where the Guna (Kuna) people live and work. These indigenous people are famous for their beautiful molas (fabrics), having a long history in the mercantile trade in Central and South America. The islands also boast abundant sea life and white sand beaches, making it a wonderful place to rest and relax.
We will stay here on Yandup Island overnight and enjoy local cuisine that includes seafood, coconut and fresh fruit.
After a leisurely breakfast, we will explore some of the uninhabited islands where we can snorkel the pristine coral reefs and crystal clear blues of the ocean. While this area is known to the western world, thanks largely to the Kuna people (who control this area), development has unaffected the islands’ charm. You won’t find giant hotels, overcrowded cruise ports or any other byproduct of over development here. The Kuna simply will not allow it.
And that’s a good thing. It means you can enjoy everything San Blas has to offer – from world-class beaches to indigenous cultures – without the crowds. We will spend a second night here on Yandup Island.
After a leisurely breakfast, we will head back to the mainland by plane, arriving in Boquete in the westernmost province of Panama on the border with Costa Rica. Here we will have opportunities to hike to the Lost Waterfalls; the hike is approximately three hours long and includes three waterfalls. The area is also famous for the coffee that is grown on the slopes of the volcano Baru. We will have a chance to visit one of the plantations and observe different growing techniques.
Our accommodations will be one of the hotels in the cloud forest. Beautiful hanging bridges connect many of the trees and offer an opportunity to explore the area from above.
After waking to the sounds of the cloud forest, we will have the opportunity to choose from different activities for the day.
For the thrill-seeker, the mountains around Boquete offer opportunities for hiking, such as the Sendero de los Quetzales trail or the ascent to the top of the Volcan Baru, a dormant volcano that is also the nation’s highest point. Rock climbing, zip lining, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding round out the list of other available action-packed adventures. For more leisurely-paced we can head to the Boquete bees where we can taste some honey and learn about the local bees and butterflies. We will spend the night in the cloud forest hotel.
After breakfast we will transfer back to Panama City for your return. If you prefer to have any extra days in Boquette for an intensive Spanish language course, let us know and we will make arrangements (and transport back to Panama City later).
- Download full itinerary pdf available
Warm beds and hot showers at every stop along the way.
Sneakers, sandals and hiking boots.
You are welcome to pick up items from duty free on your way into the country.