From San José, hit the beach and mountain retreats on your way to the locks of the world-famous Panama Canal at the centre of the Americas. Visit gorgeous islands and chill to reggae beats on Caribbean beaches. Wander through cloud forests, snorkel, fish, dive or raft before hitting the pulsing clubs of Panama City. You may not know a lot about Panama, but we know you won’t be disappointed by this little gem of a country – in fact you’ll be bragging about beautiful beaches, lush forest and mountain retreats the minute you get back!
Known as the “Crossroads of the Americas,” Panama is not only the geographical point where North America meets South America but also where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet in the country’s famed canal. The original meaning of the word “panama” means “abundance of fish,” and fishing is just one of the many water sports and activities that visitors to Panama can enjoy.
Located about 20 kilometers from Panama City, Isla Taboga is Panama’s favorite escape out of the city to bathe in its sandy beaches, ride Jet Ski’s, speed boats and fishing charters. First settled by the Spanish in 1515, Isla Taboga has a charming village with the second-oldest church in the western hemisphere, a few narrow streets with a few restaurants and great views to Panama City from the top of the Island.
Indigenous peoples populated the Pearl Islands until Spanish Conquistadors discovered the archipelagos’ wealth of pearls in the 1500s. The islands gained new popularity after being featured on the reality television show Survivor. The islands feature lush forests surrounded by white sandy beaches. Contadora Island is the most developed of the Pearl Islands, with several resorts and an airstrip. Visitors can charter private yachts to cruise and explore the islands.
Located in Chiriquí Province, as Panama’s highest geographical point, Volcán Barú offers a true adventure for experienced hikers and mountain climbers. The long climb is steep, and hikers will experience changes in climate as they hike towards the summit. Less adventurous visitors will enjoy the hot springs located around 30 minutes from the town. The springs are fed from the thermal waters below the dormant volcano.
Children Policy: Children two and under are permitted within maximum occupancy at no additional cost using existing bedding. Up to two children three to 12 are permitted in addition to the double occupancy for $40 per child, per night, using existing bedding or a roll-away bed (for an additional cost).
Additional Adult Policy: Up to two adults 13 and over are prmitted in addition to the double occupancy for $40 per adult, per night, using existing bedding or a roll-away bed (for an additional cost).Roll-away beds are based on availability and cannot be guaranteed; they can be requested for $5 per bed, per night.
Additional Person: and bedding fees will be collected by the property. For additional person and bedding requests, please highlight in the Special Instructions field after purchase.
Handicap-Accessible: No, the resort is not accesible by wheel chair.
Arrive at any time and set out to explore the Costa Rican capital. Munch on hot churros as you stroll along Avenida Central or hit up the museums, feasting your eyes on everything from contemporary art to priceless jade. In the evening, you’ll meet up with your Tour Leader and the rest of your group.
The picturesque town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers 14 km of incomparable white and black sand beaches. Rent a bike and beach hop down the coast, or hike in Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. Snorkel, boogie board or explore La Isla Botanical Gardens. Spend your nights dancing away to reggae and calypso, taste delicious Afro-Caribbean cuisine and succumb to the natural beauty of this tropical paradise.
Crossing into Panama, you’ll travel by bus and then boat to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, its name meaning ‘the bull’s mouth’. The archipelago of Bocas del Toro is made up of six islands and contains a wide array of unique wildlife and fauna. The islands are mostly covered in rainforest and have spectacular beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling or diving, so you can be as active as you like. Look out for red frogs at – where else? – Red Frog Beach.
Back on the mainland, you’ll continue to the impressive mountain retreat of Boquete. The town is nestled in a green mountain valley, with a beautiful river running through it and is well-known for its cool, fresh climate and unspoiled natural environment. A plethora of outdoor options await you here. You can hike through the cloud forest, go whitewater rafting or horse riding. For coffee lovers, there are many plantations that offer tours of their factories as well as aromatic taste tests.
Next up are the stunning white sand beaches of Santa Catalina. It’s gorgeous beaches, lush forest and friendly people make it a great stop for travellers wanting to enjoy some of Panama’s best natural beauty and local flair. Head off on a boat trip, snorkelling, diving or surfing. The word ‘panama’ is an indigenous word meaning an abundance of fish and Santa Catalina emphasises the origins of this name – have a go at fishing, as large schools of tuna, wahoo and other game fish can often be seen, as well as white tip reef sharks. Don’t miss the chance to visit beautiful Coiba National Park, part of the nation’s largest marine park which has been described as a cross between the Galapagos and Cocos Islands.
After a short bus trip, you’ll arrive into the modern, bustling capital, Panama City. Explore Panama La Vieja (Old Panama) with its great old buildings, as well as some interesting museums that document the history of the region. You’ll be fascinated by the workings of the Panama Canal and the museum here will help you understand why it is considered to be one of the engineering wonders of the world. Perhaps enjoy a dinner at the restaurant which overlooks the gigantic lock systems which raise and lower the water levels, allowing ships to go from lake to lake (the canal is made up of entirely fresh water), and eventually from ocean to ocean. According to statistics, more than 12,000 ocean-going vessels pass through it a year – that’s over 30 a day! You don’t need to be a ship geek to be mesmerized by a freighter passing through the locks.
Once you’ve roamed Panama’s markets and got your fill of souvenirs, it’s time to head home or off on your next adventure.