Let Our Travel Experts Customize a Trip for You
- Day 1: Arrive Panama City
A Southern Explorations representative will meet you when you arrive at Panama City's Tocumen International Airport and transfer you to your hotel.
- Day 2: Panama City and Canal Tour
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: Free Day in Panama City
Today you'll be free to enjoy the capital and environs at your leisure. Many optional tours of the vicinity are available upon request. To name a few: Hike through a nearby rainforest or take a boat tour on Gatun Lake. Visit Portobelo, once a critical Spanish port and today a sleepy seaside town where scuba enthusiasts on Panama vacations enjoy easily-accessible dive sites. Sir Francis Drake is supposedly buried at sea off the coast here. Go biking or hiking on Isla Grande, located on the Caribbean Coast. You will spend another evening at your Panama City hotel. (B)
- Day 4: Tour Ancon Hill, Valle de Anton to Playa Blanca
Just after picking you up at your Panama City hotel, your guide will take you to Ancon Hill, a steep 654-foot hill which overlooks Panama City. On a short walk you will climb the top and enjoy the stunning view down on Panama City’s old town, the modern city, the port of Balboa and Panama Canal. The hill was under U.S. jurisdiction as part of the Panama Canal Zone for much of the 20th century and therefore was never developed like most of the surrounding urbanized parts of the city. As a result, it became a kind of an “island” of jungle in an urban area, where wildlife still survives cut off from other jungle areas. It is not uncommon to see sloths, white-nosed coati, nine-banded armadillos, Geoffroy’s tamarins or deer on Ancon Hill. After enjoying the view from Ancon Hill, you will continue with your guide to El Valle de Anton. El Valle de Anton or Anton Valley is famous for its market featuring handcrafts, fresh fruits, vegetables and beautiful native plants such as orchids and bougainvilleas. El Valle, emerged from an extinct huge volcano crater; features several picturesque small towns and a moderate and spring-like climate. In El Valle you will visit the market and then continue to La Casa de Lourdes, a must visit gourmet restaurant, for lunch. Here you will enjoy the delicious cuisine of Chef Lourdes Fábrega de Ward. Her food features updated takes on standard Panamanian fare, blended with other Latin American influences. Chef Lourdes Fábrega de Ward studied with Martha Stewart and Paul Prudhomme, and her well-honed flair and technique is evident in every dish she prepares. After lunch, your guide will take you to JW Marriot Hotel at Playa Blanca, your luxury accommodations for the next two days. (B,L)
- Days 5-6: Free Days in Playa Blanca
Spend these two days enjoying the many amenities of your luxury hotel. Relax by the pool, book a spa treatment, play a few rounds of golf, or customize your vacation with an optional day tour. Overnight at JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort. (B)
- Day 7: Playa Blanca to Panama City
Enjoy the morning at leisure before your private transfer back to Panama City for one last night in the capital. (B)
- Day 8: Panama City - Home
A Southern Explorations driver will transfer you from your hotel to Tocumen International Airport for your flight home. (B)
WeatherWhen to Visit
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.
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.
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.
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BOCAS DEL TORO
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- Per Person$2,395
- Included in tour cost
- Private transportation
- 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)
- Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear
- Trip Dates
- This trip is offered on a private basis only. Please contact us to arrange your private departure.Available
- Luxury Panama Hotels
- Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
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.