Journey through a country of natural, cultural and constructed wonders. View the Panama Canal—a modern marvel—from both land and sea, to appreciate the stress and struggles of its monumental creation. Tour beautiful, historic Panama City with its cherished churches, convents and colonial palaces, and spend time on white-sand beaches near Portobelo. Enjoy an eco-adventure in the lush mangroves and the Volcan Baru cloud forest. Ride the iconic Panama Canal Railway from the Pacific to the Atlantic, then enjoy an incredible canoe expedition along the Gatun River to meet the isolated 600-year old Embera Indian Tribe. Journey Pace: Active & Challenging
Starts Thursdays. January to December
8 days from $4995.00
Arrive Panama City, Panama
Welcome to Panama! You are met upon arrival in Panama City, and taken to your elegant boutique-style hotel, your home for the next four nights.
The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure.
Today’s sightseeing begins with a tour of “Old Panama;” founded in 1519, and then destroyed in 1671 by the infamous pirate Captain Henry Morgan. Explore the ruins of the churches, convents, colonial palaces, bridges and military buildings that attest to the city’s historic past. Next, visit the artisan Reprosa Factory to learn how they officially reproduce pre-Colombian treasures.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, before continuing to the Miraflores Lock. Visit the Miraflores Visitor Center to view the massive ships passing through the Panama Canal, and tour the center’s comprehensive museum and galleries.
Next, depart the canal area for a walking tour through the historic “Old French Quarter“ a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the richest and most densely populated neighborhoods in the Americas. The streets are filled with homes, cathedrals and churches of varying architectural styles built between the 17th and 20th centuries. Some painstakingly restored, now housing museums, restaurants, and quaint shops. (B,L)
Spend today with your private guide cruising aboard the Pacific Queen, taking a partial crossing through the magnificent Panama Canal. Experience the raising and lowering of your vessel as you travel through the locks. Traverse through the Gaillard Cut - carved through the Continental Divide, it is also known as Culebra Cut because its curves resemble a snake. View the new Centennial Bridge, before entering Pedro Miguel Locks, one of two sets of locks on the Pacific side; your ship is lowered nine meters in one step.
Cruise through Miraflores Lake, a small artificial body of fresh water that separates Pedro Miguel from Miraflores Locks, the final set of locks before reaching the Pacific Ocean. At Miraflores Locks, your vessel is lowered 60 feet in two distinct steps. Pass under the Bridge of the Americas and admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City's splendid skyline before ending your cruise journey at the beautiful Flamenco Marina. (B,L)
Today, enjoy a full day excursions to the Chiriqui Highlands.
Take a morning flight to the Chiriqui Highlands and experience breathtaking scenery. Hike in the lush cloud forest at foothills of the Baru Volcano - looking for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal, Volcano Hummingbird and Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher. Then, enjoy lunch and an interactive, comprehensive coffee experience at a world-class coffee plantation. (B,L)
Panama City to Embera Village & Portobelo
Depart Panama City early this morning to travel aboard the iconic Panama Canal Railway for a one-hour trans-isthmus journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The tracks cross through the jungle, following the east bank of the canal, and offer intimate views of the waterway and the rainforests that blanket its shores.
Disembark in Colon, and then travel on the Gatun River; first by dugout canoe, and then a traditional “piragua” boat. This journey takes you through amazingly quiet and beautiful tropical scenery and into the lives of the Embera Indian Tribe. You are one of the privileged few to meet this 600-year old communal tribe, mingle among them to learn about their origins and their lifestyle, and spend time with their amazing "medicine man" who uses the natural medicines of the surrounding forest. After your unique visit, re-board your canoe and paddle further on the Gatun River towards Portobelo in northern Panama.
Upon arrival, enjoy a tour of historic Portobelo, and its UNESCO World Heritage Site ruins before reaching your luxury resort, your home for the next 3 nights. (B,L)
Today, in the early morning or near sunset, enjoy a half-day eco-adventure through the lush mangroves. Travel in a cayuko (traditional dugout) or modern kayak, and navigate along the More, Sucio and Cascajal Rivers. Get lost in these splendid landscapes of primordial beauty.
Enjoy the rest of the day relaxing or partaking in some of the optional activities at your resort. (B)
The day is yours to enjoy this white sand beach paradise. Explore Portobelo, or one of the neighboring beaches - La Huerta, Puerto Frances, or Playa Blanca. The crystal waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. (B)
Depart Portobelo & Panama City
Today you are driven to the Panama City airport for your flight home or onto your next destination. (B)
Bristol Hotel, Panama City
The Bristol Hotel was created with inspiration from Panama's culture and modern architecture. From stylish furnishings to renowned service, Bristol offers a truly memorable experience for every guest who enters. Style, comfort and luxury have been melded to provide spacious guest rooms and suites fitted with Frette cotton sheets, Hungarian down pillows, plush duvets, Molten Brown toiletries and even 24-hour personal butler service. Guests can also enlighten their palates at the delectable Barandas restaurant which has been praised for its fine Panamanian cuisine.
El Otro Lado, Portobelo
The private retreat of El Otro Lado ensures that guests can completely unwind as they soak in the luxury of the hotel and the warmth of the Panama sun. Situated at the edge of the Bay of Portobelo, Panama, El Otro Lado lies within Portobello National Park, thereby providing guests with a rainforest as their backyard. The hotel also offers indulgent features such as an infinity pool, eclectic tropical design, integrated landscaping, Caribbean fusion dining, room service and opportunities for diving, walking through the mangroves, or simply giving into a massage.