PANAMA DISCOVERY

Day 1 Arrive to Panama

On arrival to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, you will be met by an Ancon Expeditions of Panama representative and transferred to your hotel.

Night at the HOLIDAY INN – PANAMA CANAL

Day 2 Chagres River & the Embera People

Early in the morning you are picked up at the lobby of your hotel by an Ancon Expeditions of Panama Naturalist Guide for a one hour drive to El Corotu on the shores of Madden Lake. The main reservoir of drinking water for the cities of Panama and Colon, Madden also supplies 40% of the water required for the operation of the Panama Canal. Here you will board a motorized piragua to travel up the Chagres River.

The dugout canoe journey will take you through the rainforests of the 320,000-acre Chagres National Park, the largest of the national parks protecting the Panama Canal Watershed. Along the Chagres River, you may be able to spot Little Blue and Green Heron, Great Egret, Anhinga, Neo-tropical Cormorant, Amazon, Ringed, and Green Kingfisher, along with Red-lored Amazon Parrot and Keel-billed Toucan flying above.

You will reach the Embera village where you will be greeted with dancing, music and a sumptuous lunch made up of fresh fish, plantains and tropical fruits prepared by your hosts. Learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature while visiting the village. The Embera are famous for their basketry and wood carving skills. There will be handcrafts available for sale and you will have a chance to be painted with the traditional jagua, a natural dye used by the Embera to adorn their bodies. Early in the afternoon you will return to El Corotu for the drive back to Panama City.

Night at the HOLIDAY INN – PANAMA CANAL (BLD)

Day 3 Panama Canal Jungle Boat Adventure - Miraflores Locks - Chiriqui

Early in the morning you will be picked up by your Naturalist Guide and transferred to the town of Gamboa, at the Panama Canal, where you will board a specially equipped expedition boat. The voyage takes you across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway and making contrast with the natural surroundings. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to spot Green Iguana and Three-toed Sloth resting on tree branches, crocodile, Osprey in the hunt for Peacock Bass, Snail Kite and Keel-billed Toucan among other species. The expedition boat will allow for close approximations to rainforest covered islands in Gatun Lake to search for White-faced Capuchin, Howler Monkey, Spider Monkey and the endemic Red-napped Tamarin. You will have a picnic lunch on an island with extraordinary views of the Panama Canal and the natural surroundings. Early afternoon return to Gamboa and drive to the Miraflores Locks Visitors Center, where you will visit multiple exhibits of the canal and have the opportunity to view the operations of the Panama Canal.

In the afternoon you catch a flight from Albrook domestic airport to David, the capital of the Chiriqui province. Chiriqui is known as “Panama’s breadbasket” and contains some of the most breathtaking highland scenery in Central America. Transfer by van to the eastern side of the dormant Baru Volcano to the quaint town of Boquete with its countryside dotted with flower, fruit and vegetable farms, coffee plantations and extraordinary cloud forest environments.

Night at HOTEL LADERA  (BLD) 

Day 4 Cloud Forest Canopy Ziplining - Coffee Tour

This morning you will do a cloud forest canopy tree trek on a zipline that that allows you to contemplate the rainforest from fourteen different canopy platforms while smoothly soaring in the heights of the cloud forest from one treetop to another. You will glide through the trees and encounter a world unknown. You will discover a fascinating perspective of wildlife that you had never appreciated. Native species of flora and fauna can be observed. You will marvel at the sight of a great variety of orchids, trees and wildflowers that are found throughout the area. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon you have an interactive experience with coffee at Café Ruiz.. The experts will explain the complete process from growing, green processing, roasting, packaging, and trading of high-end quality coffee. Casa Ruiz is the leading quality coffee company in Boquete and the excursion takes you from the coffee farm, coffee wet and dry processing facilities, roastery to an unforgettable tasting experience at the Coffee Shop. Enjoy a fresh brewed cup of coffee while watching the spectacular sunset over the Baru Volcano, the highest peak of the country at 3,475 meters above sea level.

Night at HOTEL LADERA (BLD) 

Day 5 Volcan Baru National Park Nature Walk - Continental Divide - Bocas del Toro

Explore the cloud forest of the Baru Volcano National Park on a  morning nature walk. At an elevation of 2,286 meters (7,500 feet) you will have an opportunity to look for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled Bellbird, Black-faced Solitaire, Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher and Prong-billed Barbet in their cool habitat of orchids, bromeliads and wild avocados.

You will hike through lush vegetation and enjoy lunch before you return to your hotel and prepare for the 3.5 hour drive to Almirante, Bocas del Toro. Enroute across the Continental Divide, you stop at Fortuna Dam. You will be crossing the Palo Seco protected area that serves as buffer zone to La Amistad International Park. The transition from the cloud forests to the coral reefs of Bocas del Toro in the Caribbean Sea will be impressive. In Almirante you are met by your boat and transferred to Isla Colon.

You have ample time to enjoy the hammocks on the upstairs deck or mingle with the locals in the small friendly town.

Night at the BOCAS INN (BLD)

Day 6 Salt Creek Village - Bastimentos Marine National Park

You depart by boat from the Bocas Inn traversing the expanse of Bastimentos National Park, Panama’s first marine national park. You reach Salt Creek by navigating through clusters of Red Mangroves, which provide sea creatures with a protective area during their reproductive and development stages. Upon arrival you first enjoy a walk along Cayman Trail. This trail takes you through several stages of lowland forest dynamics. Here, you will look for birds such as Red-throated Ant Tanager and Golden-collared Manakin (Cerritus sub sp.). Mammals such as Night Monkeys, White-faced Capuchins and Three-toed Sloths also live here. An older tract of rainforest has tall trees that provide life to birds such as the Three-wattled Bellbird and Green-breasted Mango. A nearby lagoon is home to Spectacled Cayman and Slider Turtle. On the ground you will look for the tiny endemic poison dart frog Oophaga pumilio. After the hike, you enjoy a visit to the indigenous community and a chance to purchase handicrafts such as painted woodcarvings and Ngobe handbags, followed by lunch. In the afternoon, you will snorkel among mangroves and coral reefs, searching for numerous fish species, as well as dynamic and brightly colored sea fans, sponges and brittle starfish.

Night at BOCAS INN (BLD)

Day 7 Boca del Drago - Panama City

Early in the morning you take a boat ride to Boca del Drago around Isla Colon. Weather permitting, you visit Swan's Cay, a rock protruding from the depths of the Caribbean Sea, which serves as rookery for Red-billed tropic birds (the only place to be found in Panama) and Brown boobies. Along the coastline, returning to the lodge, you make stops at coral reefs and mangrove isles for snorkeling. Back at the lodge you have lunch and get ready for your return flight to Panama City. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. Tonight you enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Night at the HOLIDAY INN-PANAMA CANAL (BLD)

Day 8 Depart Panama

Today you are picked up at the lobby of the hotel 2.5 hours prior to your scheduled departure flight and transferred to Tocumen International Airport. Fly home. (B)

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