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Natural Highlights of Panama

(8days/7nights)

This one-week program gives you an excellent overview of the inhabitants of Panama's rainforests. Additionally, it introduces you to the vibrant culture of the people that live both in the rainforest and in cosmopolitan Panama City.

Program Highlights:
  • Historical tour of Panama City
  • Wildlife viewing in the Rainforest
  • Visit the Cloudforest and craft market
  • Ocean-to-Ocean journey by Railroad
  • Rainforest boat excursion at the Panama Canal
  • Emberá rainforest people experience

Pre-Trip Panama Canal Transit available

You have the option of taking a Partial or a Full Panama Canal transit on board a medium-sized passenger vessel. Learn first-hand about the operation of the Panama Canal as your specialized guide explains all the inner-workings of this Engineering Wonder of the World. See details below.

Day 1: Arrive in Panama City, Panama

Upon your arrival at the Tocumen International Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel in Panama City.

Day 2: El Valle Craft Market

Following a scenic drive along the Pan-American Highway, we will spend the day at the bottom of the crater of an extinct volcano: El Valle.

This place is best known for its picturesque Sunday Market, where the natives bring all their produce, flowers, and crafts to sell to other villagers and visitors as well. Immerse yourself in the local culture as you taste different exotic fruits and buy souvenirs.

Day 3: Metropolitan Park / Panama City Tour

After breakfast this morning, we will visit nearby Metropolitan Nature Park. This is perhaps the only rainforest within a major capital city in Latin America. Despite its proximity to cosmopolitan Panama City, it boasts a great variety of fauna, especially birds.

In the afternoon you will enjoy a historical tour of the French Quarter and Old Panama City, as your guide narrates the importance of these sites in a global context.

Day 4: Hike along the Rainforests of Pipeline Road

Today you will have the opportunity to hike along the world famous Pipeline Road at the Soberanía National Park. With just over 48,287 acres, this park contains an outstanding biodiversity.

In addition to the many birds, your naturalist guide will point out a great assortment of mammals, butterflies, as well as tropical plants.

Day 5: Travel across the Isthmus to visit Spanish Forts

Enjoy a panoramic 50-mile drive from the Pacific coast of Panama City to the shores of the Caribbean Sea. We will have chances to spot some wildlife along the recently created San Lorenzo Forest Reserve.

The culminating point will be visiting the impressive Spanish Fort of San Lorenzo whose purpose was to protect the mouth of the Chagres River, gateway into Panama City, from corsairs and pirates who constantly raided these waters between the 16th and 17th centuries. Late in the afternoon we will ride the first Trans-Continental Railroad in the World for our return journey to Panama City.

Day 6: Panama Canal Rainforest boat excursion

In the morning we will board our boat for an aquatic sightseeing tour of the rainforests adjacent to the Panama Canal. Along the way we will not only see different vessels transiting the waterway, but a variety of fauna, including chances to see howler, capuchin, and tamarin monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, turtles, and even the elusive capybara.

Day 7: People of the Rainforest: Emberá

Today, we will travel outside Panama City for a journey back in time. We will spend the day with the Embera natives living in the rainforest. With over 320,000 acres the Chagres National Park is the largest protected area in the Panama Canal Watershed. Even though they are found close to Panama City, the Embera retain most of their ancestral traditions. We will learn about the local culture as our host answers all your questions. In addition, you will have an opportunity to buy some hand crafts created by the Embera, including wood and nut carvings, as well as gorgeous baskets with their bright colors.

Day 8: Departure

In the morning you will be transferred to the Tocumen International Airport for your flight back home.

Land Cost

Natural Highlights of Panama (8days/7nights): USD$1,254 per person from Panama City, based on double occupancy. Single Supplement: USD$240

Includes

Lodging in comfortable hotels, all meals, all local terrestrial, aquatic and air transportation within Panama, transfers, entrance fees, local taxes, bilingual guide. As well as a donation to the conservation efforts of the Panama Audubon Society (www.panamaaudubon.org)

Does not Include

International airfare to Panama City, Panama, tourist card (USD$5), Airport departure tax (USD$20), alcoholic drinks, travel insurance, gratuities, and expenses of a personal nature (laundry, mini-bar, phone calls, medication, etc.).

Dates

This program is available throughout the year upon request.

Panama Canal Transit Extension (2days/1night)

Day A: Arrival

Arrive in Panama City, transfer to your hotel. No meals

Day B: Panama Canal Transit

Board a medium-sized passenger vessel and learn first-hand about the operation of the Panama Canal as your specialized guide explains all the inner-workings of this Engineering Wonder of the World. Depending on the date you will pass through two sets of locks (Partial Transit), or will enjoy an Ocean-to-Ocean journey. Breakfast-Lunch provided, Dinner on your own.

Land Cost

Full Transit USD$295 per person from Panama City, based on double occupancy. Single Supplement: USD$70 Partial Transit USD$245 per person from Panama City, based on double occupancy. Single Supplement: USD$70

Includes

Lodging in comfortable hotel, meals as specified, all local terrestrial, aquatic and air transportation within Panama, transfers, entrance fees to Panama Canal Transit, local taxes, bilingual guide.

Does not Include

International airfare to Panama City, Panama, tourist card (USD$5), Airport departure tax (USD$20), alcoholic drinks, travel insurance, gratuities, and expenses of a personal nature (laundry, mini-bar, phone calls, medication, etc.).