Wonders of Panama

PANAMA

13 days / 12 nights. In June 2009, the people of Panama have elected 10 wonders of their country – one in each of the nine provinces plus the indigenous people which are considered wonder number 10. This itinerary combines nine of the ten natural and cultural wonders and takes you to those places the Panamanians want you to see. Off the beaten path, this program is a true and authentic Panama experience.

Package Includes:

13 days / 12 nights

Itinerary
  • 5 Nts at Country Inn & Suites Amador, Standard Room
  • 2 Nts at Casita Margarita, Standard Room
  • 2 Nts at Panamonte, Garden Terrace Room
  • 3 Nts at Hotel Bocas del Toro, Standard Room
  • Bayano Lake Caving Tour
  • Panama Canal Railway & San Lorenzo Fort Tour
  • Bird Island Tour
  • Embera Indian Village Tour
  • 5 days of car rental (Toyota Yaris Advance Automatic or similar)
  • Basic mandatory car insurances
  • One-way rental fee
  • Local flight in economy class
  • Ground transfers on A/C motor coaches

Itinerary

Day One: Arrival in Panama City

Upon arrival to Panama a representative of Panama Trails will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to your city hotel for your first night in Panama.

Panama City is the capital and largest city in the country. It is home to a diverse blend of cultures and an enormous historical sector in the Old City. The lively and vibrant banking district on the other hand is very modern and often compared to Miami. Panama City is a thrilling location you will surely enjoy during your visit to this gorgeous country.

Overnight at the Country Inn & Suites Amador, standard room with breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Country Inn & Suites Amador

Day Two: Bayano Lake Caving Tour

After breakfast your English speaking guide will pick you up at your hotel and drive with you to the Kuna village of Madugandi on the shores of Lake Bayano, the elected wonder of the Panama Province. The indigenous people of Panama, among them the Kuna, are also considered one of the ten wonders, as they enrich the country's cultural diversity.

Lake Bayano is an artificial lake built in 1979. For its construction, wide areas - among them several Kuna villages - have been flooded. However, today the Kuna live around the lake and live on fishing. The highlight of Lake Bayano are its impressive caves.

Upon arrival to Lake Bayano you will step into a small boat and navigate to the entrance of the caves on the other side of the lake. Once at the caves the adventure begins. You will immediately feel the adrenaline rushing as you walk deep into the heart of Mother Earth. The underground river in combination with spectacular Limestone formations makes this adventure unique and fun for everybody. After a couple of hours of caving excitement, you will go back to the daylight and break for lunch. In the afternoon you can relax in an open area surrounded by huge formations, gorgeous forests and a lagoon, where everyone is invited for a swim.

Overnight at the Country Inn & Suites Amador, standard room with breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Country Inn & Suites Amador

Day Three: Panama Canal Train Ride & San Lorenzo Fort

Undertake a train trip on the historical and original railway course from Panama City to Colón. This 1- hour travel leads you through the jungle and along the Panama Canal. After the beautiful train trip, your English speaking guide will take you from Colón to the fort of San Lorenzo.

The San Lorenzo Fort is located at the entrance of the Chagres River close to Colon. It was through this river where the notorious pirate Henry Morgan arrived to the Old Panama, to take out the treasury. To get to San Lorenzo, it is necessary to cross the Gatun Locks and get into Sherman Fort, a former military base, surrounded by a rich jungle with a wide diversity of species. It is a special place for bird watching. The fort of San Lorenzo is an excellent example for 17th and 18th century military architecture and has been declared as wonder of the Colon Province.

The Gatun Locks which you will visit on the way back are a series of three lock chambers where the huge container vessels are lifted or lowered a total of 26 meters. Each lock is 33.5 meters wide and 306 meters long and takes eight minutes to fill with water.

Overnight at the Country Inn & Suites Amador, standard room with breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Country Inn & Suites Amador

Day Four: Panama City - Rental Car - Pedasi

A representative of Panama Trails will visit you at your hotel to give you a briefing on how to drive in Panama. Afterwards, your rental car, a Toyota Yaris Advance(or similar) will be delivered directly to your hotel.

You now start your self-drive adventure in Panama. Cross the famous Bridge of the Americas and drive on the Panamerican Highway along the Pacific Ocean. Your destination for today is Pedasi, a small village on the Azuero Peninsula. On the way there, you will be able to visit three more wonders of Panama. The population of the central provinces of Panama is very traditional and religious. So it doesn't surprise, they voted churches as wonders of their Province.

In Nata, Cocle Province, you will stop to visit the "Basilica de Santiago Apostol", the oldest church on the American continent. Built in 1522, the basilica is considered Panama's most important religious building from Colonial times.

As you continue towards the Azuero Peninsula, you will pass through the village of Parita. The village's church, wonder of the Herrera Province, is considered a great example of baroque architecture in Panama.

Just a short drive further down the peninsula, you can visit a third church: "Santa Librada de Las Tablas", the wonder of the Los Santos province. This church has also been declared a National Monument thanks to its long history and its precious baroque architecture.

From Las Tablas its just a few more minutes to the village of Pedasi on the southeastern tip of the Azuero Peninsula. This region is the folkloric heart of Panama. The locals have a passion for what they call, "cultura tipica". Here they stitch the national costume - brightly colored, multi-layered, ruffled skirts, "pollera" and make the myriad hued papier-mache masks worn at festivals. This is an arid cowboy ranching region edged by empty Pacific beaches.

Overnight at Casita Margarita, standard room with breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Casita Margarita

Day Five: Pedasi

Enjoy a free day in Pedasi. Explore the traditional peninsula by car, try surfing on one of the wavy beaches or book an optional tour for example to Iguana Island.

Overnight at Casita Margarita, standard room with breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Casita Margarita

Day Six: Pedasi - Boquete

Today you will visit the next two wonders of Panama. In the Province of Veraguas you will visit the quaint village of San Francisco, just above Santiago. The local church is another great example of Central American Baroque architecture. The series of altars have been beautifully restored just a few years ago so churchgoers and tourists alike can enjoy the magical place.

Continuing on the Panamerican Highway towards David is one of the most picturesque drives in the entire country. Beautiful landscapes, cattle farms, quaint villages - this road offers it all. In the Chiriqui Province you will visit the natural wonder "Los Cangilones de Gualaca". This special rock formation in the Esti River forms big pools that look as if they were manmade. The formations resulted from the last eruption of Baru Volcano - thousands of years ago. The perfect shapes and the crystal clear water of the Esti River invite you to have a swim at this special place.

From Gualaca you will continue towards Boquete, one of the country's major outdoor and active destination.

Overnight at the Panamonte Inn & Spa, Garden Terrace Room, breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Panamonte Inn & Spa

Day Seven: Boquete

Free day for to explore Boquete. We recommend a visit to one of the high quality local coffee estates to learn all about the process from cultivation to grinding. There are plenty of hiking, bird watching, white water rafting, zip line and hot springs offerings available locally, plus some extraordinary gardens which are open to the public.

Overnight at the Panamonte Inn & Spa, Garden Terrace Room, breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Panamonte Inn & Spa

Day Eight: Boquete - David - Bocas del Toro

After breakfast, drive down to David where you will return your rental car at the domestic airport. Then, you will enjoy a spectacular transfer over the continental divide to Panama's Caribbean Coast. A short boat ride will bring you to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro.

Overnight at Hotel Bocas del Toro, Standard Room, breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Hotel Bocas del Toro

Day Nine: Bird Island Tour

Today's tour starts at the Bocas del Toro pier with a short boat ride to Playa de las Estrellas, the sea star beach. You will practice some snorkeling at that beach and admire the numerous sea stars in the clean Caribbean waters. You will continue to Boca del Drago where you will have time to relax on a white sand beach and a calm turquoise sea. At Boca del Drago you will also find a restaurant where you can have lunch (not included in the tour!). In the afternoon you will continue to Bird's Island. The protected island is considered the wonder of Bocas del Toro Province and offers spectacular scenery and a large number of sea birds nesting here.

Overnight at Hotel Bocas del Toro, Standard Room, breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Hotel Bocas del Toro

Day Ten: Bocas del Toro

Free day in Bocas del Toro. Visit one of the beaches of the archipelago, enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the town or book an optional tour.

Overnight at Hotel Bocas del Toro, Standard Room, breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Hotel Bocas del Toro

Day Eleven: Bocas del Toro - Panama City

In the morning your guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you up north towards Lake Alajuela. There you will step into small boats, which will carry you up the Rio Chagrés. A fascinating and dense jungle will accompany you on your boat trip. Upriver, you will step out of the dugout canoes and enjoy a short hike (can be a bit muddy) to a beautiful waterfall in midst of the rain forest. Enjoy this tropical paradise far away from any civilization, take a swim in the refreshing pool just beneath the waterfall and submerge in this true tropical getaway. Now you are ready to visit the village of the Embera Indians, one of seven indigenous tribes in Panama which were elected the tenth wonder of Panama. The people of the Emberá tribe will welcome you at the pier and gladly give you an idea on how they still live today. The villages chief will give you a brief explication on the history of the tribe, its traditions, cultures, believes and handicrafts. Then, a traditional lunch of fish and plantains prepared by the Embera women will be served to you. In the afternoon you will experience a traditional Embera dance and have the opportunity to shop for handicrafts. The sale of local products directly benefits the village and helps to pay the school fees for the children. You can also get a temporary Embera tattoo painted on your arm or leg.

Overnight at the Country Inn & Suites Amador, breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Country Inn & Suites Amador

Day Twelve: Embera Village Tour

In the morning your guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you up north towards Lake Alajuela. There you will step into small boats, which will carry you up the Rio Chagrés. A fascinating and dense jungle will accompany you on your boat trip. Upriver, you will step out of the dugout canoes and enjoy a short hike (can be a bit muddy) to a beautiful waterfall in midst of the rain forest. Enjoy this tropical paradise far away from any civilization, take a swim in the refreshing pool just beneath the waterfall and submerge in this true tropical getaway. Now you are ready to visit the village of the Embera Indians, one of seven indigenous tribes in Panama which were elected the tenth wonder of Panama. The people of the Emberá tribe will welcome you at the pier and gladly give you an idea on how they still live today. The villages chief will give you a brief explication on the history of the tribe, its traditions, cultures, believes and handicrafts. Then, a traditional lunch of fish and plantains prepared by the Embera women will be served to you. In the afternoon you will experience a traditional Embera dance and have the opportunity to shop for handicrafts. The sale of local products directly benefits the village and helps to pay the school fees for the children. You can also get a temporary Embera tattoo painted on your arm or leg.

Overnight at the Country Inn & Suites Amador, standard room with breakfast included.

Where you will sleep: Country Inn & Suites Amador

Day Thirteen: Departure

After breakfast you will be transferred to the Tocumen Airport for your international flight back home.

Pricing

PER/PERSON
Based on Double Occupancy. Not valid during Holidays $2205