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adventure travel trip to Panama
Reach exotic regions of Panama
  • Dec 26-Jan 4, 2015
  • Privately on Request
  • Duration 10 days
    Group Size 4-12
    Land Cost $3,295 Details
    Single Supplement $650
    Lodging 2 stars, 3 stars
    Grade I-II
    Best Time

    Panama Golden Isthmus Odyssey

    Engage the wildlife and explore the environs of the Panama Canal watershed

    Day 1      Panama

    On arrival to Tocumen International Airport, you are met by a JOURNEYS representative and transferred to your hotel in Panama City.

    Lodging: Victoria Hotel & Suites (or similar)

    Welcome to Panama!
    Day 2      Jungle Boat Adventure

    Early in the morning, you will be picked up at the lobby of our hotel by our naturalist guide for a 45-minute drive to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. Board an expedition boat and depart on an adventure that will include a voyage across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal, passing by gigantic cargo ships that contrast with the natural surroundings. Along the way, look for green iguanas and three-toed sloths resting on tree branches, crocodiles, ospreys in the hunt for peacock bass, snail kites, and keel-billed toucans, among other wildlife. Gatun Lake was formed as part of the Panama Canal in 1914. At the time of its creation, Gatun Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world with a surface of 165 square miles. The flow of all the rivers within the Panama Canal watershed is contained in Gatun Lake to provide water for the operation of the lock system. More than 52 million gallons of fresh water are used for every ship that transits through the Panama Canal from one ocean to another. Your expedition boat will travel very close to rainforest-covered islands (former hill tops) in Gatun Lake to search for white-faced capuchins, mantled howler monkeys, Central American spider monkeys, and Geoffrey’s tamarins. Enjoy a picnic lunch on a small island with extraordinary views of the Panama Canal and the natural surroundings. Return to Gamboa in the early afternoon and head for Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal where you will learn about the canal's history, operation, and expansion currently underway. 

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Victoria Hotel & Suites (or similar)

    Gatun Locks
    Day 3      Chiriqui / Boquete

    Take a short drive to Albrook domestic airport in order to catch a scheduled flight to David, capital of the Chiriqui province. Chiriqui is known as “Panama’s breadbasket” and contains some of the most breathtaking highland scenery in Central America. Then proceed along the western side of Baru Volcano where you'll spend your day on Janson's estate. Enjoy a typical lunch with freshly brewed coffee overlooking the beautiful mountain range of Baru Volcano and the surrounding valley. In the afternoon, you will learn about planting, harvesting, processing, roasting and packaging of world famous coffee Del Fino and Geisha, grown on the Janson's coffee farm. Late, choose options such as exploring the estate via 4x 4, hike to incredible vistas, kayak on the lake and or take a motorized lake float. Then proceed to the quaint accommodatons and its countryside dotted with flower, fruit, and produce farms, coffee plantations, and lush tropical cloud forests. The afternoon is free to relax, stroll through the town on your own or enjoy the spa services at the hotel. 

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Hotel Bambito (or similar)

    Coffee is grown everywhere
    Day 4      La Amistad International Park

    Shared with neighboring Costa Rica and recognized in 1982 as a World Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Amistad is located at a point on the Central American natural land bridge where flora and fauna from North and South America reach their greatest species mix. With great ranges in altitude, precipitation, soil type, and temperature, biodiversity is at its best. Spend the morning hiking and exploring La Amistad in the area of El Retoño in search of the resplendent Quetzal, the silvery-fronted tapaculo, the Andean pygmy-owl, the barred becard, and the black and yellow silky flycatcher, among many other western highland birds. After lunch at a local restaurant,  you will descend on a scenic road through some rice, corn and sugar cane fields.

    En-route you will have a unique opportunity to experience a century-old tradition at a local Trapiche, a formerly horse-powered sugar mill, where the delicious raspadura blocks are made. The farmers also produce chesse and traditional sweets that are available for purchase. Mid-afternoon you proceed to the quaint town of Boquette on the Eastern side of Baru volcano where you will stay at a small charming mountain for the next nights. the rest of the afternoon is open to relax.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort (or similar)

    Hike through the dense, green forests
    Day 5      Boquete

    Get your adrenalin pumping early in the morning with a canopy tree trek on a zipline that allows you to see the rainforest from fourteen different platforms while smoothly soaring in the heights of the cloud forest. Glide through the trees and encounter a world you'll love discovering. Native species of flora and fauna can be observed. Marvel at the sight of a great variety of orchids, trees, and wildflowers found throughout the area. Put your feet on the ground for a lunch served at the mountain tree trek restaurant, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding cloud forest. In the afternoon,you will have the opportunity to enjoy natural hot springs that are known for their healing properties. The hot springs are located within a private farm about 60 minutes driving from Boquete outside a small town of Caldera, which means boiling pot. The nearby Caldera River itself serves as a refreshing cool off after bathing in the hot springs. Some of the thermal pools are surrounded by man placed stones which give them a touch of intimacy and privacy. The temperatures in these natural pools range from 38ºC - 46ºC.


    Dinner tonight will be at an exquisite restaurant in town, together with your guide.


    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort (or similar)

    Look for many species of birds
    Day 6      Volcan

    In the morning, check out and then explore Boquete and its major interest points. Its countryside is dotted with flower, fruit and produce farms, coffee plantations and also lush tropical cloud forests. From different hill tops and look out points you will have extraordinary views of the town set in the mountain valley at 1060 meters above sea level. Drive by the local houses and farming areas, walk through the historic town center and learn about important facts on the founding of Boquete and its historial buildings, beautiful blooming flower gardens and a scenic drive by local coffee farms, waterfalls and the cloud forest of the Volcan Baru National Park to admire its abundant flora and fauna. After lunch you return to David for your flight back to Panama City. Transfer to the Melia Panama Canal Hotel for dinner and overnight.  

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Melia Panama Canal (or similar)

    Day 7      San Lorenzo National Park / Panama City

    On July 10, 1668, the legendary privateer captain Henry Morgan and a small army of corsairs and buccaneers attacked, overwhelmed and captured the city of Portobelo. Follow the steps of this historical town, which was famous for its trade fairs during the 17th century. During colonial times it was one of the most important strongholds of the Spanish Main in the Americas. You visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and colonial fortifications Forts San Geronimo and Santiago de la Gloria. After lunch in town, you head out by boat in the afternoon to one of the beautiful white-sand tropical beaches that are found nearby. You will have the opportunity to snorkel in the Caribbean waters surrounded by beautiful tropical fish and a lot of marine wildlife around the coral reefs. Return back to your hotel in Colon and enjoy dinner at the hotel.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Melia Panama Canal (or similar)

    San Lorenzo National Park
    Day 8      Embera Indigenous Village

    Board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) and travel up the Chagres River to the Embera indigenous village of Embera Drua. The boat journey goes through the rainforest of the 320,000-acre Chagres National Park, which is the largest of the national parks protecting the Panama Canal watershed. Along the Chagres River, search for little blue and green herons, great egrets, anhingas, neotropical cormorants, Amazon, ringed, and green kingfishers, along with keel-billed toucans and ospreys. At the Embera village, enjoy dancing and music, and learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature. There will be handicrafts available for sale and an opportunity to be painted with the traditional jagua, a natural dye the Embera use to adorn their bodies. After a traditional Embera lunch,you will experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience history in the making by observing close-up the Panama Canal Expansion works on the new Gatun Locks. Panama embarked on a major project to expand the Panama Canal a decade ago. The US$6.25 billion project, due to be completed in early 2015 will give the waterway the needed competitive advantage to operate successfully for at least another century. The Panama Canal will celebrate its 100th anniversary on August 15, 2014. The return to Panama City will be on the Trans-Isthmian train. The railway follows a similar route as the original train built to transport 49ers coming from the East coast of the United States across the Isthmus to continue their journey by boat to California during the Gold Rush. The route was diverted when Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal. After a 1-hour train ride you will be transferred to your city hotel. Dinner together with your guide at the hotel´s restaurant.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Clarion Victoria Hotel and Suites (or similar)

    Celebrate with the Embera Indians
    Day 9      Partial Panama Canal Transit

    Drive to Gamboa and embark a ship for exploring the Panama Canal. The ship will first enter Gaillard Cut, the narrowest section of the canal. The ship will reach Pedro Miguel locks, where the vessel wil be lowered 30.8 ft into Miraflores Lake. After traveling nearly two kilometers, arrive at Miraflores locks, where the trainsition from fresh water to salt water takes place in the locks chambers. Due to the Pacific OCean's extreme tidal variations, Miraflores locks miter gates are the tallest of the locks system. In two steps, the vessel will be lowered 55 ft into the Pacific Ocean. Then, sail under the bridge of the Americas before disembarking at Flamenco Island. Here you will enjoy a brief sightseeing tour on the Amador Causeway. Your farewell dinner will be at a local restaurant with your guide.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Clarion Victoria Hotel & Suites (or similar)

    The canal is currently undergoing expansion
    Day 10      Panama City/Onward

    Transfer to Tocumen International Airport for onward flight. 

    Meals: Breakfast

    Saying farewell

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