Classic Panama Vacation

Classic Panama Vacation

Classic Panama Vacation: Experience the main highlights of Panama as you visit three distinctively unique locations – Panama City, the mountain highlands of Boquete, and the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro. During your time in Panama City you’ll follow the 49ers gold route traversing via railroad from the Atlantic to Pacific Ocean while also visiting old Spanish forts and the Panama Canal expansion at the Agua Clara Locks. Another day in Panama City is spent exploring nature and cultural sites by hiking the Pipeline Trail in Soberania National Park or visiting the Embera Indians in Chagres National Park. Make your way to western Panama where some of the world’s finest coffee and Panama’s best adventure tours are located, including the 4×4 ride up Baru Volcano to see the sunrise from over 11,000 ft. Finally, unwind on the beach at Bocas del Toro where your days can be spent boating to various white sand beaches for wonderful snorkeling, diving, and lounging opportunities.

Destinations: Casco Viejo/Panama City, Boquete, Bocas del Toro

Duration: 10 days

*Price Range: $$$

*Rates inclusive of full vacation experience – hotels, tours, domestic transfers, and tax (excluding international airfare).  Actual price based on length of travel, number of travelers/rooms, seasonal rates (high, low, peak), number of tour activities, and mode of domestic transportation.

$$$: At or under $1,200 per person.

$$$: $1,200 – $1,800 per person.

$$$: $1,800+ per person

  1. Day 1

    Fly into Tocumen International Airport (PTY) where one of our local airport representatives will meet you as you exit your plane and guide you through an expedited immigration process.  They will show you to the VIP Lounge where you can enjoy snacks and drinks while they collect your luggage for you.  Once you are ready, the airport representative will guide you to your private transfer waiting outside the airport.  A 30-minute drive will bring you to Panama City’s oldest neighborhood (over 340 years) and a UNESCO site, Casco Viejo.  Check into the historic American Trade Hotel, which sits right in front of the main Plaza Herrera in Casco Viejo.  If you’ve arrived early enough in the day, walk along Casco Viejo’s old cobblestone streets while exploring sidewalk artisan crafts, historic buildings, delicious restaurants, cozy cafes, boutique shops, and trendy rooftop bars.  For a guided experience, sign up for a historical tour of both Panama Viejo and Casco Viejo before being dropped off at American Trade Hotel.  This evening enjoy dinner in The Dining Room at American Trade Hotel.

  2. Day 2

    After breakfast at American Trade Hotel, you’ll visit one of the Modern World Wonders, The Panama Canal.  Take a guided canal transit on a passenger ferry through the canal locks or choose to stay on land with a city and canal tour where you’ll visit Miraflores Locks along with the Biodiversity Museum.  Alternatively, see the most recent history made to the canal by visiting the canal expansion on the Trans-Isthmian Route tour.  This full-day tour takes you from Pacific to Atlantic to see the Castle of San Lorenzo, the canal expansion at Agua Clara Locks, and the 49ers gold route aboard the Panama Canal Railroad train.  Whichever way you see the canal, you’re sure to return to Panama Cityl hungry.  Refresh and regroup at your hotel and dine out tonight at one of the many local restaurants in Casco Viejo.  Return to Danilo’s Jazz Club located in American Trade Hotel to catch a local or international jazz performance.

  3. Day 3

    Today, choose between a nature hike and boat ride or a cultural experience to visit the Embera Indians.  A nature tour will take you on a moderate walk at your own pace along the Pipeline Road (13.7 miles), which runs through Soberania National Park’s 55,000 acres of tropical rainforest. There are over 500 species of birds and over 100 species of mammals inside Soberania National Park with more up close wildlife viewing opportunities on a boat ride along Gatun Lake.  Alternatively, the cultural tour is a wonderful opportunity to visit an indigenous village where the Embera people still live today as they have for decades deep in the Darien jungle.  You’ll travel up the Chagres River on a motorized dugout canoe within the 320,000-acre Chagres National Park.  Learn about the Embera traditional music, dance, singing, natural medicines, home construction, and more.  Return to American Trade Hotel for your final night in the city.

  4. Day 4

    After breakfast, a private transfer will take you to Albrook Airport where you’ll fly from Panama City over to David located in Western Panama.  A short one-hour drive north of David will bring you to the charming town of Boquete, a mountain town surrounded by cloud forest and known for some of the finest coffee in the world.  Located in the mountains just outside of Boquete sits the charming Finca Lerida hotel whose history dates back to 1929 when it was originally a coffee farm exporting coffee to Germany.  Check into your room and then have lunch at the lovely La Brulerie Restaurant overlooking the valley below.  In the afternoon enjoy a coffee tour at Finca Lerida to learn the entire coffee production process, from the coffee cherry to the roasted bean.  You’ll have the opportunity to taste different coffee roasts while learning the best methods to make an excellent cup of coffee.  Enjoy dinner this evening at La Amistad Bar followed by a glass of wine or cup of tea alongside a cozy fire.

  5. Day 5

    Fuel up with a delicious breakfast with fresh coffee in preparation for your morning waterfall hike.  Today you’ll hike to The Lost Waterfalls, a set of three waterfalls along a moderate-to-challenging trail.  The first two waterfalls are relatively easy to reach while the third is slightly more challenging.  Keep a watchful eye out for howler monkeys, sloths, quetzals, and tapirs while hiking along the trail.  Take a swim in the waterfall pools to cool off before returning back to Finca Lerida.  Have lunch at La Brulerie Restaurant and spend the afternoon relaxing in your hammock or hiking on site trails at Finca Lerida.  Head into Boquete later in the afternoon or early evening to walk around and explore one of the many local restaurants for dinner.

  6. Day 6

    Choose between one or both of the following activities for a day of adventure.  At 4am you’ll depart on an extreme 4×4 off road ride up the Baru Volcano to see the sunrise from the highest point in Panama.  It’s a very bumpy and adventurous ride with gorgeous panoramic views from 11,398 feet.  You’ll be back in Boquete by 10am for a hearty breakfast (and likely a nap).  If waking up early on vacation isn’t for you, then enjoy a later morning exploring the tropical cloud forest canopy at Boquete Tree Trek.  Hike along 8 suspension bridges while learning about the flora and fauna of the Talamanca Mountain Range and keep a watchful eye out for the famed quetzal that is often seen nesting along the trail.  Then, swing from the trees on 12 different zip-line cables while looking for howler monkeys and sloths.  Enjoy your last meal in Boquete at the historic Panamonte Restaurant and then return to La Amistad bar at Finca Lerida for a drink by the fire.

  7. Day 7

    After breakfast at Finca Lerida, you’ll enjoy a scenic drive to Panama’s Caribbean Coast.  Feel free to stretch your legs, take pictures, or stop for a snack along the 3.5 hour drive.  Once you’ve arrived to Almirante dock, your driver will assist you with your luggage and with purchasing boat tickets to Bocas del Toro’s main island, Isla Colon (boat ride should take about 45-60 minutes).  A shuttle from Island Plantation will be waiting for you at the dock in Isla Colon to assist you with your luggage and to transport you to the hotel.  After checking into your room, head down to The Beach Club to stick your toes in the sand while enjoying an afternoon snack and cold drink on the beach.  Take a swim in the pool and enjoy sunset wine before a gourmet dinner at Mora Mora Restaurant.

  8. Day 8

    After a delicious breakfast, hike along a nearby trail to a small waterfall on the Island Plantation property.  Once you’ve worked up a sweat, jump in the pool to cool off and head down to the beach for the rest of the day.  Lounge in front of the ocean with a tropical beverage in hand and order a light lunch from The Beach Club.  Mingle with other guests during sunset wine and cocktails on the beach and then head back up to Mora Mora for a delicious candlelit dinner.  After dinner, enjoy a guided turtle tour on the beach in search of giant sea turtles nesting or the hatchlings make their journey out to sea.

  9. Day 9

    Sign up for a tour on your last day in Bocas del Toro.  Visit one of the nearby beaches – Red Frog Beach, Isla Zapatillas, Starfish Beach (Playa Estrella), or Bastimentos National Park.  Chocolate tours, horseback riding, nature hikes, snorkeling, scuba diving, and ATV tours are also available.  For dinner this evening, head into town (30 minutes each way) or enjoy another candlelit dinner at the top-rated Mora Mora Restaurant.

  10. Day 10

    Island Plantation Hotel will take you back to the Bocas del Toro airstrip.  Enjoy your domestic flight back to Panama City for your international flight home.

Itinerary Highlights:

  • Visit Panama Viejo and Casco Viejo on a historical tour as you travel from the PTY airport to American Trade Hotel
  • Visit the Panama Canal expansion at Agua Clara Locks and ride along the 49ers gold route on the Panama Canal Railroad
  • Hike along the Pipeline Trail in Soberania National Park or visit an Embera indigenous community deep within the Darien jungle
  • Listen to nightly jazz performances at American Trade Hotel’s onsite jazz club
  • Enjoy an in depth coffee tour and tasting at Finca Lerida hotel
  • Watch the sunrise from atop Panama’s highest point at Baru Volcano
  • Walk along Playa Buff at night in search of turtles nesting or the hatchlings making it out to sea

Best for: Family, Couple, Small Group

Bucket list experiences: Panama Viejo, Casco Viejo, jazz club, Panama Canal, UNESCO sites, Panama Canal transit, Miraflores Locks, Agua Clara Locks, Biodiversity Museum, Trans-Isthmian Route, Castle of San Lorenzo, Panama Canal Railroad, Pipeline Trail, Soberania National Park, Chagres National Park, Gatun Lake, Embera Indians, cloud forest, coffee tour, The Lost Waterfalls, Baru Volcano, canopy zip-line, hanging bridges, turtle nesting, Red Frog Beach, Isla Zapatillas, Starfish Beach (Playa Estrella), Bastimentos National Park, chocolate tour

Accommodations & Location:

  • American Trade Hotel, Casco Viejo/Panama City
  • Finca Lerida, Boquete
  • Island Plantation Resort, Bocas del Toro

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