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By connecting the new world with the old, the Panama Canal made the tiny isthmus of Panama synonymous with progress. But strip away the canal and its capital, and you'll find a timeless paradise of glorious unspoiled tropical rainforests and deserted picture-perfect white-sand beaches. On this vacation, you'll experience the primordial splendor of the country, absent the crowds of popular Latin American coastal get-aways.
Explore the western highlands where world-class whitewater rafting is popular, hike in mountainous forests teeming with tropical wildlife and enjoy some of the country's most beautiful beaches. Travel through immense national parks and sample the remote islands off the Caribbean coast where waters are calm and tourists few. Discover spectacular Panama before everyone else does.
- Day 1: Arrive Panama City
Arrive at Panama City's Tocumen International Airport and be transferred to your hotel for the night.
- Day 2: Soberania National Park - Boquete
- This is a very early morning, begin your Panama vacation adventure with a hiking tour of Soberania National Park to explore a lowland tropical forest that is part of the famous track “Camino de Cruces” that connects the Pacific to the Atlantic coast. As you hike, keep your eyes open for the over 390 bird species that frequent the park. You may also see two-toed sloths, howler monkeys, leaf-cutting ants, rhinoceros beetles and litter toads. Following the excursion, you'll catch a late afternoon flight to the western highland city of David in Chiriqui Province to spend three nights in Boquete. Nestled in the foothills of the country’s tallest mountain, Volcan Baru, this charming town is surrounded by coffee plantations and one of Central America's largest nature preserves, La Amistad (Friendship) International Peace Park. This 407,000-acre park is overseen jointly by Costa Rica and Panama, and is one of the most unique, enjoyable experiences on Panama vacations. With slightly more than half of its area in Panama, the park is one of the country's most bio-diverse areas, containing seven of the twelve life-zones. With luck, you may spot some rare species during your time in Boquete. One of the world's most beautiful birds, the Quetzal, can found here. There have also been sightings of Harpy eagles and ninety species of mammals, including jaguars and pumas. Spend the evening at a comfortable hotel. (B)*This is a 4 hour tour 1 hour round trip transportation from Panama City and 3 hours moderate hiking over 3 miles.
- Day 3: Giant Millenary Querus Tree Hike & Canopy Tour
This amazing hike begins in a Nature Reserve that belongs to Baru Volcano National Park, it retraces the steps of pre-Columbian Indians into a remote virgin cloud forest, surrounding the perimeter of Baru Volcano, habitat of five of the most ancient trees in Panama. During the hike you’ll have the experience of visiting the enormous Quercus Trees that survived a volcano eruption 800 years ago. These magnificent millenary trees grow naturally throughout primary forests of Panama and Costa Rica. The trail parallels Quebrada La Mina, a gorgeous creek that meanders through the ridges and valleys above Boquete. With more than 220 bird species native to the area, including the elusive Resplendent Quetzal, birding opportunities abound. During the hike, you will also have many opportunities to spot mammals such as howler monkeys, white faced capuchins and two-toed sloths. This adventure offers the chance to see the cloud forest like no other hike will do and it is suitable for all passengers given the easy and accessible trails. In the afternoon, enjoy a thrilling canopy tour. Glide through the treetops of century-old forests, high above the pristine rivers and waterfalls that make up the incredible collection of natural landscapes bordering the National Park La Amistad and the famous Baru volcano. A harness, an ultra-resistant steel cable and gravity are the only elements necessary to suspend and propel the fearless rider in this incredible adrenaline rush. Travel through the rainforest canopy on a series of ziplines and platforms. After your exciting tour, return to your comfortable Boquete hotel. (B,L)
(This is a 4 hour tour 30 min round trip transportation from Boquete and 3 hours easy hike and 30 min lunch.)
- Day 4: Free Day in Boquete
Today is yours to enjoy as you wish with several one-of-a-kind experiences from which to choose. Whitewater rafting is exhilarating on the Chiriqui River, internationally renowned for its easily accessed non-stop Class III-IV rapids. The steep canyons and thick jungle provide a breathtaking setting for the adrenaline-packed trip. Other Panama adventure tour options include a horseback ride to local hot springs or a challenging all-day hike on Baru Volcano. If you prefer more relaxing activities on your Panama vacation, you may choose from an assortment of excursions around Boquete. A local coffee plantation tour or birdwatching along nearby hiking trails is highly recommended. This cooler wet region will be a refreshing change from the warm coastal weather. (B) **Please note that whitewater rafting is only available from Monday – Friday**
- Day 5: Travel to Bocas del Toro on Isla Colon
Today your Panamanian guide will escort you through the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range to the charming Caribbean town of Bocas del Toro on Isla Colon. Along the way you’ll visit Almirante to witness the impressive engineering work of the Fortuna Dam Bridge. From there, you'll board a water taxi and navigate through the Bocas archipelago's narrow canals, passing villages and mangroves, arriving in time for lunch. The rest of the day is yours to explore this interesting town on your own and soak up the relaxed Afro-Caribbean atmosphere, a Panama travel highlight. (B)
- Day 6: Isla Bastimentos & Red Frog Beach
Today you'll board a motor launch to explore some of the area's most idyllic beaches, forests and snorkeling venues. The island's midsection and surrounding waters are protected in the Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park, offering nature lovers an array of wildlife to observe, both terrestrial and marine. Here you'll find brilliant parrot fish, angel fish, red snapper, slender needlefish and many other species. Four species of sea turtles come ashore here to nest on the beach, and the forests are home to many endemic and endangered species such as neon-colored frogs, the red-billed tropicbird and two and three-toed sloths. Your snorkeling tour begins at Dolphin Lagoon; an important feeding area for bottle-nosed dolphins. Then it's onto Coral Cay and a short walk through mangroves to reach Red Frog beach, where you may catch a glimpse of its endangered namesake. You'll enjoy a relaxing swim or lounge on the beach before heading to Hospital Point for more snorkeling. Formerly the primary medical center for the United Fruit Company, Hospital Point is now a popular locale for snorkeling and diving. Tonight, enjoy the laid-back night life of Bocas and its famed multi-hued sunset. (B)
- Day 7: Panama City and Canal Tours
Your Panama travel continues with a morning flight over vast jungles to the vibrant capital. You'll be met at the airport and taken to see the city’s major sights on the way to your hotel. These include: the ruins of Panama La Vieja, where much Peruvian gold was once transported, leading to the city's 1671 destruction by pirate Henry Morgan; Casco Viejo, Panama's "second" city, where the Spanish and French left an elegant architectural legacy; and the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal, considered the eighth manmade wonder of the world. 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. Spend the evening in Panama City, strolling along the Canal’s famous causeway, conveniently located just steps from your hotel and dotted with restaurants, bars and cafes. (B,L)
- Day 8: Panama City - Home
Transfer to the Tocumen International Airport for your return flight home or arrange to spend a few more days here, visiting the San Blas Islands, learning about the Kuna Indians, taking a zip-line adventure through the rainforest canopy and more. We'd be happy to fill extra days with some fascinating Panama vacation extensions. (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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*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
BOCAS DEL TORO
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Panama Adventure Tour
- 2 Travelers$1,995
$330 Airfare (Panama City/David/Bocas del Toro/Panama City) - Subject to change
Single Supplement: $595
A single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.
- 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
Panama Adventure Tour
- 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 Friday, June 2, 2017AvailableFriday, September 1, 2017 to Friday, September 8, 2017AvailableSaturday, October 7, 2017 to Saturday, October 14, 2017AvailableFriday, November 17, 2017 to Friday, November 24, 2017AvailableSaturday, December 9, 2017 to Saturday, December 16, 2017AvailableSaturday, January 20, 2018 to Saturday, January 27, 2018AvailableSaturday, February 17, 2018 to Saturday, February 24, 2018AvailableSaturday, March 17, 2018 to Saturday, March 24, 2018AvailableSaturday, April 21, 2018 to Saturday, April 28, 2018AvailableSaturday, May 19, 2018 to Saturday, May 26, 2018AvailableSaturday, June 23, 2018 to Saturday, June 30, 2018AvailableSaturday, July 21, 2018 to Saturday, July 28, 2018AvailableSaturday, August 18, 2018 to Saturday, August 25, 2018AvailableSaturday, September 8, 2018 to Saturday, September 15, 2018AvailableSaturday, October 20, 2018 to Saturday, October 27, 2018AvailableSaturday, November 17, 2018 to Saturday, November 24, 2018AvailableSaturday, December 22, 2018 to Saturday, December 29, 2018Available
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.