From $2,709* pp | 9 Days • 15 -16 Meals *Rate is per person, land only, double occupancy.
Between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans lies Panama, a country where bustling cities surround Spanish ruins, and rainforests cradle luxury resorts.
- Enjoy three relaxing nights in a deluxe river view room – complete with balcony and hammock – at Gamboa Rainforest Resort.
- Travel by dugout canoe to an Emberá village and learn about their traditional indigenous culture.
- Traverse the Panama Canal through two locks aboard the Pacific Queen and learn about this engineering marvel.
- Meet the locals and artisans making cigars, traditional Panamanian hats, pollera dresses, folklore masks and world-class rum.
Explore a Cultural Crossroads
Explore the colours 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 Resort. 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 Centre. Visit an orange grove as you learn about the importance of this crop. Stay in Anton Valley, a community nestled entirely within a volcano crater. Meet the locals and learn about Panamanian folklore, artisan crafts, and rum distillation in Chitré. Complete your Panama experience with a final night in your resort overlooking Playa Bonita.
Day 1. Gamboa, Panama – Tour Begins
Welcome to Panama, a country of lush rainforests, rich history, diverse wildlife and spectacular coastlines. Your tour opens at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort where you’ll enjoy your private balcony and hammock overlooking the beautiful surroundings. During your leisure time, feel free to use the complimentary bikes or kayaks to explore.
High 31 Low 26 Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Meet your fellow travellers during a welcome breakfast. Your guide then leads you on a nature walk through the resort’s jungle forest and gardens for a chance to spot unique birds as well as various flora and fauna. Set off on an excursion to an Emberá indigenous village. Board dugout canoes for a scenic ride up the Chagres River to a settlement of Emberá, the “Keepers of the Rainforest.” The Emberá strive to preserve their heritage and love to share their traditional techniques of home building and handicrafts – such as basket weaving and tagua nut carving – with visitors. Join in their dances and partake in a simple lunch cooked traditionally. The remainder of your day is free to enjoy Gamboa Rainforest Resort.
Day 3. Gamboa – Panama Canal Cruise – Panama City – Gamboa
Start the day off with an incredible highlight. 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 first-hand. Learn all about its construction and operation from your onboard guides. Disembark at Flamenco Marina in Panama City. Visit the Mercado de Mariscos, a seafood market, and try fresh Panamanian ceviche. Continue to Casco Viejo, the Old Quarter. It’s your choice on how you will visit this UNESCO World Heritage site, which was settled in 1673. Perhaps you’ll follow your guide for a short walking tour down its cobblestone streets showcasing the Plaza de la Independencia, the Presidential Palace, the National Theatre, plus restored colonial churches and monuments. For a more immersive experience you may journey through this same neighbourhood with a local resident…hear the story of the 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.
Day 4. Gamboa – Anton Valley
Arrive at Miraflores Locks Visitor Centre to view the Panama Canal and learn about its rich past, present and future as you watch ships traverse the lock system. Drive a short distance on the famed Pan-American Highway before heading up the mountains to Anton Valley, a community nestled inside the second largest volcanic crater in the world. Meet the locals at the handicraft market and try your hand at negotiations, a local pastime of market-goers. You’ll get to peruse artisan souvenirs made by indigenous peoples, including the “mola” embroidery of the Kuna Yala. Afterwards, check in to your hotel at the base of the mountains that make up the crater.
Begin the day with a visit to the Museum El Valle which houses a small collection ranging from geological wonders to pre-Columbian art. Your next stop is a not-for-profit orchid nursery that dedicates itself to cultivating and conserving local and regional orchids. It houses over 100 different types. Continue to the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Centre, working to protect critically endangered species including the emblematic Panamanian Golden Frog, said to bring good luck to anyone who sees it. Your afternoon is free to continue exploring this charming mountain community.
Day 6. Anton Valley – Chitré
This morning, step into the heartland of Panama and become immersed in the culture as you visit a village of artists. Interact with makers of the famous Panama hat and see first-hand how these wearable works of art are created. Continue on to meet the famous cigar rollers of Panama, whose craft has become legendary within the cigar community. Next, visit an orange grove, one of the region’s main crops, and savour the taste of an orange fresh from the tree. Head north to Chitré, one of the first Spanish settlements in Panama, established in 1558. Get to know a traditional way of cooking at a clay oven bakery and sample these delectable sweets. After visiting a local pottery artist, it’s on to a sugarcane mill for a taste of sugarcane juice called “guarapa.” Next, pause to experience the region’s pre-Columbian and colonial times at the local museum. Tonight, get acquainted with the local culture at dinner featuring a folklore and dance show.
Day 7. Chitré
Spend the day meeting the locals in Chitré, the “folklore capital” of Panama. Meet Panamanian women who have dedicated their lives to making the handwoven pollera dress. Then it’s off to spend time with a famous local artist whose whimsical masks are used in traditional Panamanian parades. Your day continues with a visit to one of Panama’s famous rum producers. Visit the historic hacienda to discover the life of the founder, a Spanish immigrant who brought jobs and prestige to the region with the development of the distillery. Learn the art of making rum, as well as the local drink “seco,” also distilled from sugarcane. If you like, you may take an ox-cart ride through the sugarcane fields. Enjoy a typical lunch, then finally sample the product for yourself during a tasting session and discussion in the bodega. The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy at your hotel. Tonight, you have the option of experiencing an authentic home-hosted meal in a local family’s house; take this opportunity to learn about their lives, culture and food.
Day 8. Chitré – Playa Bonita
Journey to Playa Bonita, just outside of Panama City. Arrive midday to soak up the sun and ocean views from your beach-front property. You can also meander through the hotel’s shops or use their complimentary kayaks. After enjoying some fun and relaxation at your resort, bid farewell to Panama at a special dinner.
Day 9. Playa Bonita – Tour Ends
Meals as per itinerary
Activities as stated
Please note: Accommodation is subject to change.
Meals not indicated on the itinerary
Comprehensive travel insurance
Items of a personal nature – laundry, telephone, room service
Tips and gratuities
- Panama is 16 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time, and does not honour Daylight Saving Time.
- The highest elevation on this tour is 3,888 feet above sea level in Anton Valley.
- The US dollar is the only paper currency in circulation in Panama.
- Electricity in Panama is 110 Volts.
- Why not consider a pre and post tour extension. Start and end your holiday rested.
This tour requires average physical activity. You should be in good health, able to climb stairs and walk reasonable distances, possibly over uneven ground and cobblestoned streets.
Mar 3 – Mar 13. $3,079
Mar 10 – Mar 20. $2,829
Mar 17 – Mar 27. $2,829
Apr 7 – Apr 17. $2,949
Apr 14 – Apr 24. $2,949
Apr 21 – May 1. $2,949
Jun 6 – Jun 26. $3,979
Jun 20 – Jul 1. $3,979
Jul 18 – Jul 29. $3,979
Aug 8 – Aug 19. $4,299
Aug 15 – Aug 26. $4,299
Sep 5 – Sep 16. $3,979
Sep 12 – Sep 23. $3,979
Sep 26 – Oct 7. $3,979
Oct 10 – Oct 21. $3,979
Nov 7 – Nov 18. $3,469
Mar 13 – Mar 24. $3,469
Mar 27 – Apr 7. $3,599
Apr 3 – Apr 14. $3,729
Apr 24 – May 5. $3,729