Ultimate Highlights of Panama
Ultimate Highlights of Panama
Ultimate Highlights of Panama: In just under two weeks you’ll experience all of Panama’s main highlights and excursions while staying in beautiful accommodations. You’ll see twinkling city lights alongside old Spanish ruins in Panama City with day trips into the rainforest for up close wildlife encounters. Travel in a dugout canoe deep into the Darien jungle to visit an Embera village to see how this indigenous community lives within thatched roof huts off the banks of the Chagres River. Then you’ll head to the Pacific Coast in Western Panama to explore hidden beaches and white sand islands within the Gulf of Chiriqui. After a couple days beach bumming on the Pacific, you’ll cool off in the green mountain highlands with a three night stay outside the quaint town of Boquete. Boquete is known for its beautiful landscape, plentiful outdoor activities, and the world’s finest coffee roasts. Enjoy leisurely hikes through the cloud forest canopy in search of the famous quetzal, swim in refreshing waterfall pools, zipline through the forest canopy, and enjoy off-roading up the Baru Volcano to watch the sunrise. Finally, you’ll slow the pace down in the Caribbean when you exchange mountain landscapes for turquoise waters with three nights on Isla Bastimentos in Bocas del Toro. While you’re on island time, relax on the beach, snorkel colorful coral reef, or hike to indigenous island communities during three nights on this island oasis. Call us today to book the Ultimate Highlights of Panama vacation package.
Destinations: Casco Viejo, Boca Chica, Boquete, Isla Bastimentos/Bocas del Toro
Duration: 13 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
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. Take advantage of an early arrival to Panama City with a historical tour of two UNESCO World Heritage sites before checking into your hotel. The first site, Panama Viejo, was founded on August 15, 1519 by Pedro Arias Dávila. You’ll have the opportunity to walk around Panama Viejo’s ruins while learning about its history with fires, earthquakes, and pirates. Next, head to Casco Viejo, settled in 1673 after the destruction of Panama Viejo by Henry Morgan. Spend the rest of the afternoon strolling along cobblestone streets lined with colonial architecture while visiting San Jose church, the National Theater, Presidential Palace, and the French Plaza. Check into your flat at Los Cuatro Tulipanes, located in a quieter sector of Casco Viejo. Enjoy dinner this evening at one of many delicious restaurants in Casco Viejo.
Today you’ll cross the Panama isthmus from Pacific to Atlantic to reach Fort San Lorenzo, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fort (or castle) was used to protect the river entrance that led into Panama City and was then later an entry port for the gold diggers on their way up to California during the Gold Rush. Walk around the ruins at Fort San Lorenzo before enjoying a visit to Agua Clara Locks to see the Panama Canal expansion. Witness ships traverse through the newest locks and then hop on the Panama Canal Railroad for a return train ride to Panama City. This railroad route follows a similar route the 49ers used in the 1800s during the California Gold Rush. After a full-day of exploration, enjoy a happy hour cocktail while watching the sunset from a rooftop bar in Casco Viejo.
Now that you’ve experienced a historical journey around the Panama Canal and Panama City, it’s time to choose between a nature or cultural experience within the region. Choose between a cultural activity to visit the Embera indigenous community deep in the Darien jungle or a nature and wildlife tour at Soberania National Park and Gatun Lake. The Embera experience will allow you to see how this indigenous community has lived for decades, starting with a ride up the Chagres River in a dugout canoe to their thatched roof village along the riverbank. You’ll enjoy a tour of the village, learn more about their local lifestyle, and enjoy a music and dance performance. The nature experience will take you on a moderate walk along the Pipeline Road, which is located within 55,000 acres of Soberania National Park’s tropical rainforest. You’ll then take a boat ride on Gatun Lake for more up-close wildlife viewing opportunities. Both Soberania National Park and Gatun Lake host numerous species of birds and mammals, including sloths, monkeys, and tamarins. Enjoy a gourmet dinner in Casco Viejo this evening and then walk around Casco’s cobblestone streets in search of live music.
After breakfast, a private transfer will meet you at Los Cuatro Tulipanes and take you to Albrook Airport. You’ll fly one hour from Panama City over to David and then take an hour private ground transfer to Boca Chica. Check into the beautiful Bocas del Mar Resort and enjoy a poolside lunch. Retreat to the pool the rest of the afternoon to escape the hot sun. Watch the sunset during a mangrove boat tour where you’re likely to see various species of birds, amphibians, sea turtles, and monkeys.
After an ocean view breakfast at Bocas del Mar, you’ll embark on a full day island exploration within the Gulf of Chiriqui. Island hop uninhabited white sand islands lined with palm trees and surrounded by crystal clear waters. Snorkel (or dive) off these islands and enjoy a picnic lunch and drinks ashore. As you cruise from island to island, keep a watchful eye out for dolphins, sea turtles, and whales (July – October). Return to Bocas del Mar and enjoy the vibrant sunset from the edge of their infinity pool.
Enjoy a free day to relax around the resort or sign-up for another half-day excursion. You can explore more hidden beaches on an off-road ATV ride through the rainforest or reach these hidden beaches via horseback. If you prefer to play in the ocean, you can water ski, banana boat, or kayak within the calm bay waters. Watch the sunset during happy hour at the neighboring Tiki Bar at Seagull Cove Resort. Stay for a BBQ dinner at Tiki Bar or return to Bocas del Mar’s restaurant.
After breakfast, your private transfer will take you to the charming town of Boquete, a mountain town known for some of the finest coffee in the world. Check into Finca Lerida, which is located up in the cloud forest mountainside and whose history dates back to 1929 when it was a coffee farm exporting coffee to Germany. Enjoy a delicious lunch at La Brulerie Restaurant with gorgeous views of the valley below. Stick around the property this afternoon with a coffee tour to learn the entire coffee production process, from cherry, to bean, to cup. After the tour, taste different coffee roasts alongside Finca Lerida’s homemade pastries. Enjoy dinner at La Amistad Bar followed by a glass of wine or cup of tea alongside a cozy fire.
Enjoy a hearty, fresh breakfast including Finca Lerida’s own coffee in preparation for your guided cloud forest hike to three different waterfalls. This moderate-to-challenging hike is rewarded with a refreshing swim in the waterfall pools. Return to Finca Lerida to change and have lunch before exploring a bird’s eye view of the cloud forest canopy with a guided nature walk over hanging suspension bridges and an adrenaline rush along 12 different canopy ziplines, both at Boquete Tree Trek. Have dinner this evening just outside of town at The Rock restaurant, one of the top-rated dining experiences in Boquete.
Choose one or both of the following excursions for a day of adventure. Wake up early to catch the sunrise from atop Panama’s highest point at 11,398 feet. You’ll take an adventure off road ride up the side of Baru Volcano to catch the sunrise and the opportunity to see both oceans from the same point on a clear day. Return to Finca Lerida by 10am for a late breakfast and a quick power nap. Spend the rest of the afternoon hiking the trails around Finca Lerida on your own or with a guide. If you’d like to explore more around Boquete, sign-up for a half-day activity such as horseback riding or rock climbing. Enjoy your last dinner at the historic Panamonte restaurant located in downtown Boquete.
Enjoy your last breakfast at Finca Lerida before a scenic drive to the Caribbean Coast. Your private transfer is yours to enjoy, so feel free to take pictures, stop for a snack/lunch, or stretch your legs along the 3.5 hour drive. Upon arrival to Almirante dock, your driver will assist you with your luggage and with purchasing a public boat ticket to Bocas del Toro’s main island, Isla Colon. Azul Paradise will greet you upon arrival to Isla Colon when you’ll take another 45-minute boat road to your island paradise on Isla Bastimentos. Sip on a tropical beverage or cold coconut at you check into your overwater Caribbean bungalow. This barefoot luxury retreat is surrounded by white sand and turquoise water. Step into the warm Caribbean Sea right from a ladder on your deck.
Relax in paradise! Sip on a cold beverage as you lounge in the shade of a palm tree or stroll on the beach around the island. Take the kayak and a set of snorkel gear to explore the nearby reef. Learn about the lifestyle of the local Ngöbe and Buglé indigenous communities on a guided walk to their villages.
Spend your last full day in paradise relaxing along the beach, wading in shallow Caribbean water with a tropical drink, or splurge on a spa treatment. Off-site activities include an organic chocolate farm tour, surf lessons, or island hopping to Red Frog Beach, Isla Zapatillas, or Starfish Beach.
Azul Paradise will take you back to Isla Colon. Fly from Bocas del Toro to Panama City for your international flight home.
- See the best of Panama City – the Panama Canal, 3 UNESCO sites, the Embera indigenous community, and Soberania National Park
- Watch the sunrise from Panama’s highest point, Baru Volcano, along with seeing both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from the same point on a clear day
- Walk through the cloud forest canopy on hanging suspension bridges or fly through the canopy on a zipline
- Sip the finest coffee in the world after an informative coffee tour at Finca Lerida
- Swim in both oceans on the same day
- Experience Panama’s natural beauty from swimming in sparkling waterfalls to snorkeling in crystal clear oceans
Best for: Family, Couple, Small Group
Bucket list experiences: Panama Viejo, Casco Viejo, Panama Canal, Biodiversity Museum, UNESCO sites, Panama Canal transit, Miraflores Locks, Agua Clara Locks, Biodiversity Museum, Trans-Isthmian Route, Fort 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, horseback riding, rock climbing, monkeys, birding, snorkeling, whale watching (seasonal), water ski, kayak, sunset cruise, (Playa Estrella), Bastimentos National Park, surfing
Accommodations & Location:
- Los Cuatro Tulipanes, Casco Viejo/Panama City
- Bocas del Mar, Boca Chica
- Finca Lerida, Boquete
- Azul Paradise, Bastimentos Island/Bocas del Toro
Every Central America Vacation itinerary includes 24/7 in-country support. We’re here with you every step of the way to insure the best experience possible, from the initial planning stages to the moment you’re on your flight home!