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Our Heartland of Panama trip gives you the chance to experience the culture, natural beauty, and feats of human achievement Panama has to offer. Stand in the shadow of huge barges as they pass through the Panama Canal then stroll along the historic cobble-stoned streets of Panama City’s colonial district, Casco Viejo. Take a trip upriver to spend time with the Embera Indians in their village before enjoying several days of rainforest tours at the luxurious Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Delve into the rich artisanal culture and natural beauty of Pedasí. Spend several days snorkeling, surfing and digging your toes into the sparkling white sand beaches on the laid back Azuero Peninsula. This 10-day trip gives you the chance to learn more about Panama’s unique culture as you enjoy its warm tropical climate. 
Itinerary
Day 1: ARRIVE PANAMA CITY
After arriving at Panama City's international airport, you will be met by a Southern Explorations representative to transfer you to your hotel in the capital. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. 
Day 2: PANAMA CITY & CANAL TOURS
After your arrival you’ll take a tour of Panama City and the Miraflores Locks. You will start the tour with a 30 minute drive to Miraflores to see the huge vessels passing the Panama Canal. The busiest hours are from 9am to 10am and from 2pm to 5pm, so you will be able to see many ships getting lifted or lowered 16 meters in two distinct steps. You will enjoy the view on the Locks from a sheltered terrace and listen to the explanations of your guide. To complete the visit of the Canal you will visit the Museum and Visitor Center at Miraflores which gives you a good idea on the construction of the Canal – a masterpiece of engineering. You will also learn about the history of the canal and its significance for Panama and the entire world trade as well as on the current expansion project.
 
After the visit to the Canal you continue with your guide to the Amador Causeway, a road that connects three Islands in the Pacific Ocean and offers magnificent views on the Canal on one side and on the skyline of Panama City on the other side. The tour continues to the Casco Viejo, Panama City’s colonial quarter. At the Casco Viejo you feel set back in time as you admire the lovely colonial houses, the narrow roads and the impressive churches. You will get a good idea about Panama’s history by driving or walking through the main attractions of this quarter.  (B,L)
Day 3: EMBERA INDIANS LAKE ALAJUELA & GAMBOA RAINFOREST RESORT
After breakfast, you'll step into another world when you meet the indigenous Embera Indians who will take you upriver about an hour in a motorized canoe to spend the afternoon in their village, learning about their culture and traditions. Enjoy a tropical lunch served on a banana palm-leaf plate, and have an opportunity to get a traditional vegetable-dye jugua tattoo.
After visiting the indigenous village our driver will take you to Gamboa Rainforest Resort which would be your hotel for the next two nights. From this beautiful luxury hotel, you have immediate access to Panama's pristine rainforest and the Panama Canal. You can explore miles and miles of the Soberania National Park, meeting wild exotic birds and monkeys on expertly guided tours and then return to the comforts of resort luxury. Gamboa Rainforest Resort brings you luxury in the jungle. (B,L)
Day 4: MONKEY ISLAND, GATUN LAKE & AERIAL TRAM
This will be another glorious day of Panama rainforest sights and sounds. After breakfast, you'll enjoy the aerial tram ride, which traverses a mile long tract of Humid Forest that lies within the Gamboa Resort’s boundaries. You will observe the forest canopy in some areas in which you'll probably find birds and hear the howler monkeys. The tram ascends 280 feet over half a mile and ends atop a hill. On the following boat tour, you will pass by the Panama Canal right beside the huge tankers and container ships.  The White-Face Capuchin and Howler Monkeys are the main attractions of this tour. Usually the Captain of your boat brings them some fruit so you can watch them coming down from their trees to get it. If you are attentive you will spot a sloth, always so lazy sleeping in their trees. You will see turtles, timid but brave at the same time, along with the proud caiman and crocodiles that live in the lake. To complete the tour, a delicious lunch will be served at Los Lagartos restaurant overlooking the Chagres River. You'll return to Gamboa Rainforest Resort for the night. (B, L )
Day 5: GAMBOA - PEDASI
Morning transfer from Gamboa to the town of Pedasi, heartland of the Azuero Peninsula. You will drive on the Pan-American Highway until Divisa, and then turn southward toward Chitre. Once in Las Tablas, you will continue for about 41km before entering Pedasi.
 
The Azuero Peninsula is a paradoxical place. It feels isolated from modern Panama, frozen in an idyllic past, with lots of charm and natural beauty left. Azuero is the wellspring of Panama’s favorite folkloric traditions – beautiful traditional clothing, such as the stunning pollera, and handicrafts, such as ceramics based on pre-Columbian designs, originated and are still made here. The same is true of some important musical and literary traditions. Even Panama’s national drink, the sugarcane liquor known as “Seco”, is made here. 
 
At the few beach hotels on Azuero it is still possible to find a deserted seaside paradise. The beaches are wide and long, the waters filled with big fish and, in some places, extensive coral. Isla Cañas, off the south coast of the Azuero, is the most important nesting spot for sea turtles on Panama’s Pacific coast: Tens of thousands lay their eggs there each year.
 
Day 6: IGUANA ISLAND (SNORKEL AND BEACH)
After a 20 minute boat ride to Iguana Island you will have the opportunity to snorkel the shallow reefs at the protected Isla Iguana Bay. You will see lots of colorful tropical fish, Morey Eels, Rays and even turtles swimming in the warm Pacific waters. Between your snorkeling trips, feel free to explore the island on different paths to find many bird nesting areas and small coves. On land you will spot crabs and iguanas. Enjoy a hearty picnic lunch, afternoon is at leisure at the beach. Boat ride back to Playa El Arenal, from here you will be transferred back to your hotel in Pedasi town. (B,L)
Day 7: PEDASI – PLAYA VENAO
A representative will pick you up at your hotel in Pedasi town and transport you privately for 30 minutes to your hotel in Playa Venao. 

Playa Venao is located at the southern tip of the Azuero Penisula, a curvy road will take you down past cowboys and their herds and over rolly hills to this beautiful beach full of sun. Playa Venao Bay stretches over two and a half miles of beautifully exquisite shoreline, which is surrounded by rich and natural wildlife, and rolling hillsides. Here in Playa Venao we have all the ingredients for a premier surf destination. A world class sand bar bottom that has something for beginners all the way to advanced surfers. (B) 
Day 8: PLAYA VENAO – AZUERO PENINSULA
Day at leisure at the beach, or simply to relax by hotel’s wide infinity pool. (B)
Day 9: PLAYA VENAO – PANAMA CITY
In the morning you will be transferred back to Panama City passing by Pedasi and Chitre to Divisa where you will ride on the Pan-American Highway until you reach the skyline of Panama City again. (B) 
Day 10: PANAMA CITY - HOME
You will be transferred to Tocumen International Airport for your family's flight home, ending Southern Explorations' services. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Seasons in Panama:

Rainy Season & Dry Season
In Panama seasons are not as much defined by drastic changes in temperature; rather, they are determined by the amount of rainfall. The Panama dry season, December through April, or what is known in Panama as "summer", tends to be much sunnier and drier. The rainy season in Panama, May through November, in has more rainfall in the mornings and then tends to dissipate in the afternoons to blue sky. Lower temperatures during these months can be expected in Panama. Panama's Dry Season is not always dry and the rainy season is not necessarily rainy and wet all the time. Panama is a tropical country where the rains and sunshine intermingle. During the rainy season, mornings are generally very bright and sunny and afternoon rain showers are common every day.

Panama Tropics:
The country's climate is characterized by heavy rain that does not normally last long, or more constant rainfall lasting all night (or all day) long. Temperature changes are mostly determined by altitude rather than by season or amount of rainfall. The weather is, on the whole, quiet unpredictable.

Humidity:
Panama is a very humid country. In some regions relative humidity can reach 90% (especially on the Atlantic coast). The North Pacific is less humid, but the entire Caribbean coast is quite damp.
 

PANAMA CITY

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN76-890.0
FEB76-900.0
MAR77-900.0
APR78-890.3
MAY78-872.4
JUN77-862.6
JUL77-873.0
AUG77-862.6
SEP76-864.0
OCT76-855.2
NOV76-863.6
DEC76-871.2

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

BOCAS DEL TORO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN68-874.9
FEB68-8710.4
MAR69-883.3
APR70-8814.5
MAY72-897.0
JUN72-8910.2
JUL71-8816.5
AUG71-8917.3
SEP71-8912.2
OCT71-895.9
NOV71-8911.5
DEC69-8722.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F
 

BOQUETE

Avg Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN661.1
FEB660.6
MAR681.7
APR683.8
MAY6811.3
JUN6813.7
JUL689.2
AUG6813.1
SEP6817.1
OCT6814.1
NOV6811.6
DEC662.5

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

Heartland of Panama

Pricing
Per Person
$2,395
Included in tour cost
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)

Heartland of Panama

Trip Dates
Can’t find a date that works for you in the list below? Southern Explorations can arrange a private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details.
Friday, May 26, 2017 to Sunday, June 4, 2017
Available
Friday, June 30, 2017 to Sunday, July 9, 2017
Available
Friday, September 1, 2017 to Sunday, September 10, 2017
Available
Friday, November 17, 2017 to Sunday, November 26, 2017
Available
Friday, December 22, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Available
Pedasi
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Playa Venao
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Gamboa
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Panama City
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One Day

Multi-Day

Our trip to Panama exceeded all our expectations. Jonathan and everyone at Southern Explorations is a pleasure to work with. They listened to what we wanted to do and customized our trip. From start to finish it was a great trip, Panama surprised us, it was much more beautiful and exciting then we had imagined. Seven years ago they planned at vacation to Ecuador and Galapagos for us, a trip of a lifetime, it was amazing and we were blown away by the level of detail, the guides, transportation, all planned and timed to perfection. We didn't think they could impress us again when we set off for Panama but we were wrong. Thank you Southern Explorations for another exceptional vacation. - Denise and David Nardie (Panama)


Thanks so much for planning this wonderful trip for us. I cannot stress how much we enjoyed ourselves. The variety and pace were perfect. We had no idea that Panama would wow us quite the way it did. Kudos to the Southern Explorations team for introducing us to such an amazing country. We are very appreciative.   - Tanya & Pierre, Canada (Panama)


I found the staff very helpful that I dealt with, primarily Jonathan. I think the itinerary of Panama City, Boquette and Bocas is a great introduction for first time travelers to Panama.”
- Grant Kvalheim, New Jersey (Panama)

 

Panama - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer both active and cultural tours that showcase the beauty of Panama by hiking through pristine rainforest, visiting native communities, or exploring the massive Panama Canal by kayak. These itineraries vary in length and level of accommodation. Our Adventure Travel Coordinators would be happy to chat with you to help you find the itinerary that best meets your needs and interests.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to put together a custom Panama tour for you if our current itineraries are not quite what you are looking for. We can also add extensions onto any of our existing tours.
Q: When is the best time to go to Panama?
A:  Panama is best visited during the dry season from December to May, with the busiest times of year around Christmas, the New Year, and Easter.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: Panama’s mild, tropical climate makes it a great destination most of the year. From November to May you can expect temperatures in the low-70s to upper-80s, depending on the region you’re exploring, and little rainfall. The rainy season (May to November) offers similar temperatures with frequent morning rain storms. May and November are transitional months and can offer nice weather. Please see the weather tab on your specific trip for more details.
Q: What is a typical day like on a Panama tour?
A: A typical day in Panama will vary from tour to tour, but you can generally expect to start your excursions right after breakfast, with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. A lunch break is included and you’ll retire to your accommodations in the late afternoon, with evenings free.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Panama?
A: Our Panama trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do we need to visit Panama?
A: Most of our Panama trips are between seven and 10 days, depending on how much of the country you would like to see.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: For the best guide availability and selection in hotels, we recommend booking three to six months in advance. December through April are especially popular times for Panama travel, so more advance planning is ideal. For the Christmas holiday season and the week prior to Easter, we recommend booking a year in advance.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We only hire guides who are native to the destination and licensed or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In major cities we offer a variety of hotels including boutique properties and larger business-style hotels. Throughout the rest of the country we work with a combination of resorts, small traditional hotels, and remote lodges. The majority of the properties are family-run or locally owned. All of our accommodations are clean and comfortable, with private bathrooms and hot water. We offer basic or luxury options in many locations, depending on taste and budget.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We will include any necessary internal flight pricing in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Eight travelers is the maximum for our Panama trips, but the majority of our departures are private.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal, which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary. This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.

Most Popular Panama Trips & Tours

Trip Price Days Highlights
Heartland of Panama $2,395 10 Days Panama City, Panama Canal, Gamboa Rainforest, Monkey Island, Pedasi, Playa Venao
Luxury Panama $2,195 8 Days Panama City , Playa Blanca, JW Marriot, Golf, Spa, Snorkeling and More...
Panama Adventure Tour $1,995 8 Days Panama City , Isla Bastimento, Bocas Del Toro, Boquete, Panama Canal