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It's easy to see why Panama, Latin America's newest eco-vacation spot, is becoming increasingly popular as a family adventure destination. Panama vacations offer an ideal mix of deserted beaches, pristine rainforests and fascinating wildlife galore. When car rides are necessary, the trips are picturesque, and more importantly, short. While Panama is known for its canal and its capital, the rest of the country is one big rainforest surrounded by beautiful coastlines and many islands. Explore tropical Soberania National Park, spending the night at the family-friendly Gamboa Rainforest Resort. See the engineering marvel that changed the course of history, the Panama Canal. Your Panama vacation adventure is topped off by three idyllic days at Panama's Playa Bonita Pacific resort. With such one-of-a-kind Panama rainforest adventures and relaxing days spent at Panama beach resorts, it's difficult to say whether the parents or kids will love the vacation more.
- 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, exploring this cosmopolitan city on your own.
- Day 2: Tour of Panama City and Canal
The second day of your Panama vacation begins with you being picked up at your hotel for a day-tour of the historic capital, starting with a visit to the extensive ruins of Panama La Vieja, founded by the Spanish colonizers and later sacked by the notorious pirate, Henry Morgan. Next take a walking tour through the neighborhood that used to be Panama's second city, Casco Viejo, dating back to 1673 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The colonial buildings that line its narrow streets are being restored to their original charm, reflecting a variety of European architectural styles. Along the way, you'll stop at French Plaza that commemorates the many thousands of French who lost their lives in the first attempt to build the canal. Then it’s off to see the canal itself from the Pacific entrance, Miraflores Locks, its most accessible viewpoint. The massive scale of this astonishing human achievement makes the canal a big hit with the kids. (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 to Pacific Coast Resort
Today you’ll be transferred from the rainforest to the beach. (One hour drive). You will cross the famous Bridge of Americas to reach the stunning Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the many amenities of the resort. (B, L, D)
- Day 6-7: Playa Bonita
Enjoy the next two days at the Playa Bonita Resort. (B,L,D)
- Day 8: Pacific Coast Resort - Panama City
You will be transferred to Tocumen International Airport for your family's flight home, ending Southern Explorations' services. (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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Panama Family Adventure Tour
- Per Person$2,295
Child Rate: $800*
*Applies to children under 12 sharing a room with parents, maximum two children per room.
- 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 Family 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.Saturday, August 11, 2018 to Saturday, August 18, 2018AvailableSaturday, September 1, 2018 to Saturday, September 8, 2018AvailableSaturday, October 20, 2018 to Saturday, October 27, 2018AvailableSaturday, November 17, 2018 to Saturday, November 24, 2018AvailableSaturday, December 22, 2018 to Saturday, December 29, 2018AvailableSaturday, January 19, 2019 to Saturday, January 26, 2019AvailableSaturday, February 16, 2019 to Saturday, February 23, 2019AvailableSaturday, March 16, 2019 to Saturday, March 23, 2019AvailableSaturday, April 13, 2019 to Saturday, April 20, 2019AvailableSaturday, May 25, 2019 to Saturday, June 1, 2019AvailableSaturday, June 22, 2019 to Saturday, June 29, 2019AvailableSaturday, June 29, 2019 to Saturday, July 6, 2019AvailableSaturday, August 10, 2019 to Saturday, August 17, 2019AvailableSaturday, August 31, 2019 to Saturday, September 7, 2019AvailableSaturday, October 12, 2019 to Saturday, October 19, 2019AvailableSaturday, November 16, 2019 to Saturday, November 23, 2019AvailableSaturday, December 21, 2019 to Saturday, December 28, 2019AvailableSaturday, January 18, 2020 to Saturday, January 25, 2020AvailableSaturday, February 15, 2020 to Saturday, February 22, 2020AvailableSaturday, March 14, 2020 to Saturday, March 21, 2020AvailableSaturday, April 11, 2020 to Saturday, April 18, 2020AvailableSaturday, May 23, 2020 to Saturday, May 30, 2020AvailableSaturday, June 20, 2020 to Saturday, June 27, 2020AvailableSaturday, June 27, 2020 to Saturday, July 4, 2020AvailableSaturday, August 15, 2020 to Saturday, August 22, 2020AvailableSaturday, September 5, 2020 to Saturday, September 12, 2020AvailableSaturday, October 10, 2020 to Saturday, October 17, 2020AvailableSaturday, November 21, 2020 to Saturday, November 28, 2020AvailableSaturday, December 12, 2020 to Saturday, December 19, 2020Available
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.