Day 1 Panama City & El Casco Viejo (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Welcome to Panama! We will pick you up at the International airport and transfer you to an hotel in Panama City with great views to the Panama Canal. Then at night we will take you out for dinner at a restaurant in one of the plazas of “El Casco Viejo”, the historic district founded in 1673. This area of Panama City, formerly a walled city, is quite unique and well worth a visit, with an unusual combination of beautifully restored buildings, low-income housing, churches, and ruins on just about every block. After dinner we will go for a pleasant walk on it’s lovely narrow streets... Make sure to bring your camera.

Meals: Dinner at El Casco Viejo
Lodging: Hotel in Panama City facing the Panama Canal (Country Inns & Suites)

Day 2 Panama Canal & San Lorenzo (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Today you’ll get to see the Panama Canal in action. We start with a scenic coast-to-coast drive alongside the Canal from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and Gatun Locks, the biggest of the three set of locks and the most impressive of them all. Here you will learn about the history and operations of this engineering marvel of the world as you watch huge cargo ships passing by. Right next to Gatun Locks is the San Lorenzo nature reserve, a hidden treasure and a great place to go for a bicycle ride while looking for wildlife. This ride will take us to the historic ruins of the San Lorenzo Fort, built on the side of a steep cliff by the Spanish crown in the late 1500’s with the purpose of defending the mouth of the Chagres River from the constant treat of pirates. Once back in Panama City, we will go for an early dinner at the Amador Causeway, a breakwater for the ships transiting the Canal with great views to the Panama City skyline, and the “Puente de las Americas” bridge over the Canal.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging: Hotel in Panama City facing the Panama Canal (Country Inns & Suites)
Skill Level: For the bicycle ride you can choose from 20K, 30K, 40K, or skip the bicycle and ride in the support vehicle.

Day 3 Pacific Coast Beach, Surfing Lessons & Sunset Hike

The Pacific Coast beaches near Panama City have become a very popular destination, however, on weekdays we can still have them mostly to ourselves. One of these beaches has a surf school and it happens to be one of the safest places in the country to learn the basics of this fun sport. So if you have never done this before, you will be encouraged to give surfing a try, and if you have some previous experience, you can grab your board and jump in the water right away. After lunch we will continue enjoying the countryside alongside the Pan-American Highway, making stops to try local snacks and check some of the handcrafts made by the local artisans. We then drive up to the mountains, leave our stuff at the hotel, and set off for a sunset hike in one of the highest peaks in the area. It will be the “golden hour” as we get to the top, so you will be able to really use the light to capture some amazing pictures.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging: Hotel in Santa Fe (Hotel Santa Fe)
Skill Level: Aprox. 2 hr hike on a dirt trail with loose rocks on some areas, steep inclines and descents.

Day 4 Hiking to Waterfalls & Rainforest Night Hike

This morning you will be introduced to Panamanian fry bread or “Hojaldras”, which you will probably love and be looking forward to them the following morning. Today is all about going for that “real” flavor of the country, and this is a very good way to start. We will go to secluded areas in an already off the beaten path destination. We will visit an organic farm and spend some time with the friendly family that lives there. Their graciousness of inviting us into their home to experience their way of life is something special that you will cherish for a long time. Oh, and their backyard is surrounded by waterfalls in all shapes and sizes, most of them with the convenient natural pool at the bottom inviting everyone for a swim. On the trails you will have the opportunity to see fruit trees, flowers, and spot colorful butterflies. Then at night, those with some energy left in the tank can go for a walk in the forest in search of the red-eyed tree frog. Regardless if we find it or not, the experience of walking in the jungle at night is memorable enough to give it a shot, and we always find at least a cool looking insect or two.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging: Hotel in Santa Fe (Hotel Santa Fe)
Skill Level: Hiking on uneven terrain, crossing creeks and small rivers, going over boulders and slippery rocks for a total of aprox. 3 hrs (including stops) on each of the two hikes. The night hike is mostly on a flat dirt road and it lasts aprox. 2 hrs total.

Day 5 River Tubing & Fun at the Beach

After a delicious Panamanian breakfast of fruit, scrambled eggs, “hojaldres” of course, and a good cup of coffee, we put on our swimsuits and go to the river to have some fun. We suit up with a life-vests and a helmet, sit on a big inflatable tube, and let the river current do the rest. The scenery along this joy ride is absolutely fantastic, and we will make the most of it. Later on in the day we come down from the mountains and go back to the beach, this time to one of the longest beaches in Central America, with miles upon miles of unpopulated coastline stretching as far as the eye can see. The beach is one of those that remains shallow for a very long way, the water is warm, the sand is soft, and it’s a lot of fun to play in the waves. The hotel where we will be staying at is located right next to the beach and it has a well stocked bar, so you can order a cold beer or a cocktail as we relax and watch the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging: Las Lajas (Casa Tao B&B or Las Lajas Beach Resort)
Skill Level: Floating down the river and swimming at the beach.

Day 6 River Canyon & Coffee Farm Tour in Boquete

Wake up to the sound of the waves and walk a few steps from your room to enjoy the ocean breeze and the beautiful view as we have breakfast. After a few more pictures, we say goodbye to this tropical paradise and shortly thereafter say hello to a new one, this time a river canyon were we can go for a refreshing dip and have some fun with the local kids jumping to the water from the rocks. From here we move on to Boquete, a small mountain town picked by Forbes as one of the top 5 places in the world to retire. The town is nestled in a valley where flowers bloom everywhere and rainbows are a common sight. On the surrounding mountains you will find small family-run coffee farms producing some of the best coffee in the world. Needless to say, it’s appropriate to do a coffee farm tour here. We will tour the grounds of one of these small farms and learn about the picking, roasting, and processing of coffee. Whether you are an avid coffee drinker or not, you will find much to enjoy about this unique experience.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging: Hotel in Boquete (Isla Verde or Panamonte).
Skill Level: Swimming at the beach and river canyon.

Day 7 White Water River Rafting & Boquete

Today is nature's roller coaster day, as you will be river rafting on an exciting Class III river, rich with virgin forest, waterfalls dripping from canyon walls, and a great variety of exotic wildlife. The day starts with a scenic drive to the put in, going high up in the mountains, and at some point "riding the border" with Costa Rica. Once on the water, you will experience what many river experts consider to be one of the finest river runs, with excellent speed, non-stop excitement, thrilling rapids, and breath-taking scenery. The tour itself is set up very safely and professionally. For lunch, the guides flip the boats on the riverbank and set up a picnic area with fresh fruits, cold cuts, cheeses, veggies, breads, and cakes. We take out, and transfer back to Boquete for the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging: Hotel in Boquete (Isla Verde or Panamonte)
Skill Level: River rafting is an adrenaline rush type of activity, you have to pay close attention to the safety instructions and do your best not to fall off the raft as you go over the rapids, if you do, remain calmed while the safety kayakers come to pick you up. No previous experience necessary.

Day 8 Boquete Zip-Line & Panama City Nightlife

This morning you will have the opportunity to experience the Boquete zip-line canopy tour, with 12 platforms set high up in the cloudforest trees and with some spectacular views to the Volcan Baru and other surrounding mountains. After lunch, we will meet at the hotel and drive to the airport in the city of David for the afternoon flight back to Panama City. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to a comfortable hotel in the lively downtown area of the city, with many restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and casinos at walking distance.

Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: Hotel in downtown Panama City (Torres de Alba Suites)
Skill Level: The zip-line tour only requires you to lift your feet from the platforms and gravity will do the rest, however, the altitude of the cables can easily scare those afraid of heights.

Day 9 Departure

After an amazing trip, we will drive you to the International Airport for your return flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

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