Panama Highlights

With breathtaking scenery, sensational beaches, modern infrastructure and few tourists, it's easy to see why Panama has gained a reputation as Latin America's most spectacular up-and-coming adventure travel destination. In eleven glorious days, you'll experience much of what Panama travel has to offer: the crashing waves of the Pacific and the tranquil aqua waters of the Caribbean, three national parks, hikes through lush tropical rainforests accompanied by naturalist or indigenous g... READ MORE >>
Day 1: Arrive Panama City
Day 2: Visit Embera Indians - Lake Alajuela - Chagres River
Days 3-4: San Blas Islands
Day 5: Panama City & Canal Tour
Day 6: Chiriqui Cloudforest and Travel to Boquete
Day 7: Giant Millenary Querus Tree Hike & Canopy Tour
Days 8-9: Bocas del Toro
Day 10: Return to Panama City
Day 11: Panama City - Home
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Day 1: Arrive Panama City

A Southern Explorations representative will meet you at the airport in Panama City to transfer you to your hotel.

Day 2: Visit Embera Indians - Lake Alajuela - Chagres River

In the morning, your guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you up north towards Lake Alajuela. There you will step into small piaragua (native boat) which will carry you up the Rio Chagres. A fascinating and dense jungle will accompany you on your boat trip. Upriver, you will step out of the dugout canoes and enjoy a short hike (can be a bit muddy) to a beautiful waterfall in midst of the rain forest. (This stop will be made depending on the weather conditions). Now you are ready to visit the village of the Embera Indians, one of seven indigenous tribes in Panama. The people of the Emberá tribe will welcome you at the pier and give you an idea on how they still live today. The villages chief will give you a brief explanation on the history of the tribe, its traditions, cultures, believes and handicrafts. Then, a traditional lunch of fish and plantains prepared by the Embera women will be served to you. In the afternoon you will experience a traditional Embera dance and have the opportunity to shop for handicrafts. The sale of local products directly benefits the village and helps to pay the school fees for the children. You can also get a temporary Embera tattoo painted on your arm or leg. (B,L)

Days 3-4: San Blas Islands

Depart from your hotel early in the morning for a short flight to the San Blas archipelago airstrip on Panama’s Caribbean coast. From there, you’ll be transferred by a motorized dugout canoe to the charming quite rustic San Blas Lodge to spend the next two nights. You may visit the Kuna Indians’ principal community and enjoy exquisite beaches on the nearby islands. Lunch and dinner feature fresh San Blas Islands seafood. Rent (or bring your own) snorkeling gear to explore the beautiful reefs of the San Blas Islands. If you prefer, relax on white-sand beaches in a hammock under the palms. (B,L,D)

*Please note that there are only flights to and from the San Blas Islands on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday

Day 5: Panama City & Canal Tour

Enjoy 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. To continue the tour you will be taken to Panama Viejo, the Old Panama. Panama Viejo was the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. This first Panama City was looted and destroyed by the notorious English bucaneer Henry Morgan in 1671 and therefore abandoned. Today there are only ruins left. Still, the tower of the ancient cathedral is standing and has become a landmark of the town After the tour you will be taken back to your hotel. (B,L)

Day 6: Chiriqui Cloudforest and Travel to Boquete

Early morning transfer by plane to the provincial city of David. Located in Chiriqui, the western province bordering Costa Rica, the region is known for its whitewater rafting and coffee and flower fields. Here you'll be transferred by car to the quaint mountain village of Boquete, a must for foreign visitors. Enjoy this afternoon of your Panama vacation in the beautiful (and cooler) highlands, hiking, riding horses or taking optional tours such as visiting a private flower garden or coffee plantation. Spend the night at a lodge in Boquete. (B)

Day 7: 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)

Days 8-9: Bocas del Toro

Early today travel through the beautiful Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range to Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean where you'll experience the country's Afro-Panamanian culture. Transfer to a hotel in the town of Bocas. The rest of the day you are free to explore on your own or we would be happy to arrange optional tours. On day 9, after breakfast, spend the day in Bastimentos Marine National Park, touring, snorkeling or beachcombing and enjoy an outdoor lunch. If you'd like to scuba dive in these bio-diverse waters or go kayaking, optional tours may be arranged. Lodging will be at a hotel in Bocas(B)

Day 10: Return to Panama City

In the morning, return to Panama City and transfer to your hotel. On your last day in the capital, you’ll be free to explore on your own or just relax. (B)

Day 11: Panama City - Home

A Southern Explorations representative will return you to the international airport for your scheduled departure home. (B)


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.

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.


Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall


*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches


Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall


*Year Round Temperatures in °F


Avg Temp

Avg Rainfall


*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches


Panama Highlights

2 Travelers

Domestic Airfare:  $480      
Airfare (Panama City/Playon Chico/Panama City/David/Bocas Del Toro/Panama City) – Subject to change


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 Highlights

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, January 18, 2019 to Monday, January 28, 2019
Friday, February 15, 2019 to Monday, February 25, 2019
Friday, March 15, 2019 to Monday, March 25, 2019
Friday, April 12, 2019 to Monday, April 22, 2019
Friday, May 10, 2019 to Monday, May 20, 2019
Friday, June 14, 2019 to Monday, June 24, 2019
Friday, July 12, 2019 to Monday, July 22, 2019
Friday, August 9, 2019 to Monday, August 19, 2019
Friday, September 6, 2019 to Monday, September 16, 2019
Friday, October 18, 2019 to Monday, October 28, 2019
Friday, November 15, 2019 to Monday, November 25, 2019
Friday, December 20, 2019 to Monday, December 30, 2019
Friday, January 17, 2020 to Monday, January 27, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020 to Monday, February 24, 2020
Friday, March 13, 2020 to Monday, March 23, 2020
Friday, April 10, 2020 to Monday, April 20, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020 to Monday, June 1, 2020
Friday, June 12, 2020 to Monday, June 22, 2020
Friday, July 17, 2020 to Monday, July 27, 2020
Friday, August 14, 2020 to Monday, August 24, 2020
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Monday, September 14, 2020
Friday, October 9, 2020 to Monday, October 19, 2020
Friday, November 20, 2020 to Monday, November 30, 2020
Friday, December 18, 2020 to Monday, December 28, 2020
Bocas del Toro
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Panama City
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
San Blas
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One 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.