Buffet breakfast daily (B) and 4 lunches (L), and 2 dinners (D); Local Host service in each city; Sightseeing with a Local Guide and transportation as outlined in the day-by-day itinerary (inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE).
Day #1 Arrive Panama City, Panama. Arrive in Panama City, a beautiful, colorful, and vibrant city. Built in 1519 by Pedro Arias de Avila, a Spanish conquistador who made it his base for plundering Peru’s riches, today, Panama remains one of the central hubs for commerce and trade in the Americas. Panama offers diverse natural wonders, a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures, and historical as well as modern cityscapes.
Day #2 Panama City–David–Boquete. A short flight brings you to David in the province of Chiriqui. This enchanted land is the Chiriqui Highlands, the part of Cordillera Central that defines the northern border of the province of Chiriqui. It is a beautiful landscape of cloud forests, volcanic peaks, and coffee plantations, and is home to most of Panama’s Ngöbe Buglé Indians. Here you will find rainforests bedecked full of chattering iridescent birds, flowering epiphytes high above the forest floor, and gurgling streams making their way toward the nearby sea. Arrive at your resort in Boquete this afternoon. (B)
Day #3 Boquete. This morning, the choice is yours. Perhaps visit Finca Lerida, located just outside Baru Volcano National Park. Keep an eye out for the elusive resplendent quetzal, 3-wattled bellbird, black-faced solitaire, volcano hummingbird, long-tailed silky flycatcher, and prong-billed barbet amid the ancient trees covered with orchids, bromeliads, and lichens. Or, explore La Amistad International Park. Shared with neighboring Costa Rica, La Amistad is located on the Central American natural land bridge where flora and fauna from North and South America mix. Spend some time hiking and exploring the area in search of the resplendent quetzal, the Andean pygmy owl, and many western highland birds. (B)
Day #4 Boquete. Today is free to do as you please. Perhaps take an optional trip to the Caldera Hot Springs to soak in the thermally heated waters, visit Café Ruiz, where experts explain the process coffee beans go through, take an adrenaline-filled zipline tour through the cloud forest’s canopy, or enjoy a scenic horseback ride. (B)
Day #5 Boquete–David-Panama City. Depart Boquete and transfer to the airport for your flight to Panama City. (B)
Day #6 Panama City. After breakfast, your Panama City TOUR visits Casco Antiguo or the colonial area of the city, which is the oldest sector of modern Panama City, founded in 1673 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This historic district was built as a protected walled city after Panama City was burned down in a pirate attack in 1671. Here, see the restored colonial buildings, churches, and historical monuments. Next, visit the MIRAFLORES LOCKS at the Panama Canal to witness this engineering genius in operation. During your guided tour, learn about the history of the canal and its construction and observe transiting vessels navigate the locks from just a few feet away. (B)
Day #7 Panama City–Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Today a special treat is in store when you board a vessel for a Panama Canal PARTIAL TRANSIT. Your boat will enter the canal at the Gailard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the canal and where the canal was carved through the Continental Divide. Enter the Pedro Miguel Locks, where your vessel will be lowered approximately 30 feet into Miraflores Lake. Continue to the Miraflores Locks to be lowered almost 60 feet to the Pacific Ocean. Disembark your ship and head to Gamboa Rainforest Resort within Soberania National Park. (B,L)
Day #8 Gamboa Rainforest Resort. An enchanting journey takes you deep into the dense jungles of the Chagres, where the Emberá Indians have lived for centuries. The adventure begins with a CRUISE up the river in dugout canoes, the Emberá traditional hand-carved boats. Upon arrival at the INDIAN VILLAGE, you will be taken back in time as you are immersed in ancient Emberá cultural dances and music that have not changed much since Columbus arrived in the 1500s. The Emberás will give you a glimpse into their mystical rituals and amazing knowledge of medicinal plants and other natural remedies. The Indians will invite you to explore the area’s abundant variety of birds and wildlife during a trek that takes you through the untouched jungle and past sparkling waterfalls. Top off your visit with a typical lunch in the village. (B,L)
Day #9 Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Enjoy a free day to take advantage of the resort’s many activities, like an aerial tram tour, kayaking, fishing, or birding and monkey tours. Alternatively, simply relax by the pool or at the spa. (B)
Day #10 Gamboa Rainforest Resort–Panama City–San Blas Islands. A short flight brings you to the San Blas archipelago in the Caribbean, governed by the Kuna Indians, who maintain their autonomy and run their own economy, language, customs, and culture. The San Blas Islands, known locally as Kuna Yala, are comprised of over 365 islands surrounded by spectacular reefs, turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, and centuries-old native Kuna villages. Traveling here is like stepping back in time! Upon arrival, visit a nearby Kuna VILLAGE to learn about the traditional way of life. During your visit, you are welcomed into a communal house of the Kuna chiefs (Sahilas), who are the political and spiritual leaders of the community. Also learn about age-old ceremonies, the local laws of the native villages, and the stories behind the colorful molas worn by the Kuna women. (B,L,D)
Day #11 San Blas Islands. Today, enjoy a SNORKELING tour around the nearby islands and view the colorful marine life and coral reefs found in the crystal-blue waters. Return to your lodge this afternoon for time on your own. (B,L,D)
Day #12 San Blas Islands–Panama City. After a morning free to explore some more, transfer to the airport for your flight to Panama City and your final night in Panama. (B)
Day #13 Panama City. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)