Discover Panama: The Land Between the Seas
9 days with Collette Vacations Rating:
Day 1 Gamboa, Panama - Tour Begins
Experience a land of contrasts. Remote rainforests, rich history, diverse wildlife and spectacular coastlines abound in Panama. Your tour opens at the Gamboa Rainforest Reserve where you’ll enjoy your private balcony and hammock overlooking the beautiful surroundings. During your leisure time, enjoy the amenities offered by the rainforest resort.
Day 2 Gamboa - Emberá Village - Gamboa
Meet your fellow travelers during a welcome breakfast. Then board dugout canoes and set off on an excursion up the Chagres River to an Emberá indigenous village. As the “Keepers of the Rainforest,” the Emberá strive to preserve their heritage and take pride in sharing their traditional techniques of home building and handicrafts – such as basket weaving and tagua nut carving. Join in their dances and partake in a traditional lunch. The remainder of your day is free to explore the resort’s garden and surrounding nature for a chance to spot unique birds and other wildlife. (B,L,D)
Day 3 Gamboa - Panama Canal Cruise - Gamboa
Today we explore the canal! Board the Pacific Queen for a partial transit cruise through the Panama Canal.* Enjoy lunch onboard and pass through two locks as you revel in a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see this incredible engineering feat firsthand. Learn all about its construction and operation from your onboard guides. Disembark at Flamenco Marina in Panama City. (B,L)
Day 4 Gamboa - Panama City - Anton Valley
Arrive at Miraflores Locks Visitor Center to view the Panama Canal and learn about its past, present and future as you watch ships traverse the lock system. Continue to Casco Viejo, the Old Quarter (UNESCO). Then, it’s your choice! Follow your guide for a short walking tour showcasing the Plaza de la Independencia and the National Theater -OR- for a more immersive experience, journey through this same neighborhood with a local resident…hear the story of Casco Viejo’s comeback from a member of the community who will take you through the place he calls home, highlighting the incredible revitalization of this historic area and its people. Visit the Mercado de Mariscos, a seafood market, and try fresh Panamanian ceviche. Drive a short distance on the famed Pan-American Highway before heading to Anton Valley, a community nestled inside the world’s second largest volcanic crater. Afterwards, check in to your hotel at the base of the mountains that make up the crater. (B,D)
Day 5 Anton Valley
Delve into history and biodiversity. This morning, visit a frog conservation center that protects critically endangered species, including the emblematic Panamanian Golden Frog, said to bring good luck to anyone who sees it. Then we explore a nonprofit orchid nursery which dedicates itself to conserving regional orchids. We follow that with a visit to the Butterfly Haven exhibit; stroll through the screened tropical displays that are home to over 250 live butterflies. Meet the locals at the handicraft market. Try your hand at negotiations (a local pastime) as you peruse items made by indigenous peoples, including the “mola” embroidery of the Kuna Yala. This afternoon, visit El Chorro Macho waterfall. Embark on a moderate hike along the rainforest trails, crossing several bridges before arriving at the impressive waterfall. You may even take a swim in the natural pool. The evening is yours to continue exploring this charming mountain community. (B)
Day 6 Anton Valley - Chitré
Step into the heartland of Panama as you visit a village of artists. Interact with makers of the famous Panama hat and see firsthand how these wearable works of art come to life. Next, meet the legendary cigar rollers of Panama. Head north to Chitré. Established in 1558, it is one of Panama’s first Spanish settlements. Spend the day meeting the people of Chitré, the “folklore capital” of Panama. Talk to a famous local artist whose whimsical masks are used in traditional Panamanian parades. Next, pause to experience the region’s pre-Columbian and colonial times at the local museum. Tonight, immerse yourself in the local culture during dinner. Learn about the various Panamanian drums and how they are incorporated into song and dance during a folkloric dance performance. (B,D)
Day 7 Chitré
Today it’s off to spend time with Panamanian women who have dedicated their lives to making the handwoven pollera dress. Later, see what a typical day in the life of a Panamanian farmer is like during an inclusive finca experience. Choose to explore the farm by horseback or carriage, milk the cows or feed the sheep. Put your hands to work as you prepare some local dishes to accompany a farm to table lunch. Savor the tastes of a well-known, locally crafted rum cocktail. The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy at your hotel. Tonight you may opt to join a home hosted dinner experience; take this opportunity to learn about a local family’s life, culture and food while enjoying the warmth of their home. (B,L)
Day 8 Chitré - Playa Bonita
Before departing Chitré, get to know a traditional way of cooking at a clay oven bakery and sample artisanal bread and sweets along with some sugarcane juice known as guarapa. Your journey continues to Playa Bonita, just outside of Panama City. Arrive midday to soak up the sun and ocean views from your beachfront property. After enjoying some fun and relaxation at your resort, bid farewell to Panama at a special dinner. (B,D)
Day 9 Playa Bonita - Tour Ends
Your journey comes to a close today. (B)
All This Included
Explore the colors and natural beauty of Panama – a land between the seas. Cruise through the canal aboard the Pacific Queen on a partial transit and stay at the Gamboa Rainforest Reserve. Travel via dugout canoe to meet the indigenous Emberá people. Explore bustling local markets. Visit the historic district in Panama City, Casco Viejo, and the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center. Hike along rainforest trails to a waterfall. Stay in Anton Valley, a community nestled entirely within a volcano crater. Meet the locals and learn about Panamanian folklore and artisan crafts, including the traditional pollera dress. Enjoy a farm-to-table experience at a finca in Chitré. Complete your Panama experience with a final night in your resort overlooking Playa Bonita.
Gamboa: Gamboa Rainforest Reserve
Anton Valley: Los Mandarinos Hotel
Chitré: Cubitá Boutique Resort and Spa
Playa Bonita: Westin Playa Bonita
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.