Day 1: Arrival – Panama City
Fly into Tocumen International Airport (PTY) where our local airport representative will meet you as you exit your plane and guide you through the immigration process. Relax in the VIP Lounge where you can enjoy snacks and drinks while they collect your luggage for you. Once you are ready, you will be taken outside to your waiting private transfer and then head downtown to Panama’s bustling and modern capital city. We’ll have you stay in the historic Casco Viejo section of town so you can experience Panama City’s 500+ year history at every turn. Once a forgotten part of town, Casco Viejo is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to some of Panama’s most expensive real estate and in-demand restaurants. Here you can spend your days walking the cobblestone streets while exploring artisan craft stores, historic buildings, cozy cafes, boutique shops, and trendy rooftop bars.
You cannot visit Panama and not see one of the Wonders of the Modern World, so let us start your holiday by visiting the Panama Canal. You have the option to take actually do a partial transit through the locks on a passenger ferry or choose to stay on land and enjoy one of our favorite private guided tours that combines the brand new Panama Canal expansion, 500 year old Spanish history, and the 1800s gold rush all in one day. This full-day tour takes you from Pacific to Atlantic to see the Fort San Lorenzo, which was used by the Spanish to protect their ships in the 1500s as they brought their riches back to Europe. Next visit the brand new multi-billion-dollar expansion of the canal at Agua Clara Locks and their visitors center. Finally, you will head back to Panama City via train on the same route used by the 49ers in the 1800s who were looking for a way to get out west. After a long day of history enjoy one of Casco Viejo’s many fine dining establishments as the food scene is arguably the best in Central America.
Day 3: Activity of your choice
Today you will have the choice between a nature hike for wildlife viewing or a unique cultural experience to visit the Embera Indians. Just north of Panama City you will find the Soberania National Park, 55,000 acres of tropical rainforest that is home to over 500 species of birds, 100 species of mammals, and countless reptiles and insects. This is also home to the Pipeline Road (13.7 miles), one of the best spots for birdwatching in the country. The other option is a cultural tour to visit an indigenous village where the Embera people still live today just as they have for decades. Travel deep in the Darien jungle as you head up the Chagres River on a dugout canoe as your guide tells you about the Embera traditional music, dance, singing, natural medicines, home construction, and more.
After a leisurely breakfast we will take you to Albrook Airport where you will fly from Panama City over to David located in Western Panama. A short 45-minute drive up into the mountains will bring you to the inviting town of Boquete. Surrounded by cloud forest and known for some of the finest coffee in the world, tourism in Boquete has boomed as visitors flock to enjoy the wildlife, cloud forests, bustling food scene, and charming boutique hotels. Use this afternoon to explore town on your own as you scope out cafes, restaurants, craft brew pubs, and boutique shops.
Day 5: Canopy & suspension bridges
Today you will experience two of the area’s best tours. Start the day by traversing through the canopy of the rainforest as you enjoy Panama’s newest hanging bridges tour. A series of suspension bridges will give you an up close and personal viewing experience of the rainforest canopy. Next enjoy a guided hike to The Lost Waterfalls, a set of three waterfalls along a moderate-to-challenging trail. The first two waterfalls are easier to reach while the third does require a bit more effort and concentration. Be mindful of your surroundings as howler monkeys, sloths, quetzals, and tapirs can all be spotted in these forests. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the waterfall pools to cool off before returning to Boqute.
After breakfast you will start your scenic journey across the country to Panama’s Caribbean Coast. The destination where you will end your holiday is one of Panama’s most popular regions, the Bocas del Toro archipelago. We will coordinate your arrival at the dock with the lodge so once you arrive, they will be waiting to load your luggage and take you by boat to their remote island retreat. Enjoy an “off the grid” experience as your eco-luxury lodge sits on 200 private acres of land on the undeveloped Isla Bastimientos. Featuring just 11 private bungalows, this family owned & operated lodge will be the perfect spot to end your holiday as you enjoy the combination of tropical beauty and wildlife in beautiful Bocas del Toro.
Day 7: Birdwatching – Wildlife
The lodge boasts two full time naturalist guides, so wake up early and do a morning bird watching/wildlife tour and be amazed at the incredible biodiversity found on this one island alone. Climb the 60-observation tower where you will get a 360-degree view of the sunrise. After breakfast you can choose between a visit to a chocolate plantation, a visit to an indigenous village, or take a boat back to the main island of Isla Colon where you can explore and shop on your own. You also have the option to simply stay at the lodge and enjoy their waterfront location as they offer complimentary kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and snorkel gear.
Let us hit the water and find some of the beaches that Bocas del Toro so popular. Visit one of the nearby beaches – Red Frog Beach, Isla Zapatillas, or Starfish Beach – as your guides cater to you with coolers packed full of drinks and a fresh-made beach lunch ready when you want it. Snorkel, swim, and relax at the beach to your heart’s content.
You will be boated back to the Bocas del Toro airstrip on the main island and take a quick 40 minute flight back to Panama City. You can fly home this same day or if logistics require you can spend one final night in Panama City and fly home the following day.