7 days / 6 nights
TOUR DESCRIPTION Learn about the deep roots of the country´s history, culture and traditions by exploring Panama City, the Panama Canal and the Azuero Peninsula, the birthplace of folklore. Panama Adentro takes you on an unforgettable journey through the country´s most unique places.
4+ persons: US$2,050 per person plus 7% tax in DBL occupancy
2-3 persons: US$2,290 per person plus 7% tax in DBL occupancy
1 person: US$3,900 plus 7% tax (single occupancy included)
SGL occupancy fee: US$550 plus 7% tax
INCLUDED Hotel accommodation, transportation within Panama meals (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner) as indicated in itinerary, park & related entrance fees, guide fees and expenses (private guide with 4+ participants)
NOT INCLUDED International airfare, meals not specified in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, personal equipment, gratuities for drivers, guides and local staff, extras at hotel
Day 1 (Saturday) - Arrive to Panama
On arrival to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, you will be met by an Ancon Expeditions of Panama representative and transferred to your hotel in Panama City.
Night at THE BRISTOL PANAMA (Deluxe Room)
Day 2 (Sunday) – Panama City´s History and Diversity
This morning your start your city tour by experiencing the Panama Canal visitors’ center at Miraflores Locks where large ships can be seen transiting the canal. A presentation by the Panama Canal Authority on the history of the Panama Canal will be provided. Marvel at the workings of this feat of human engineering and enjoy the different exhibition halls. Continue with a drive through the former Panama Canal Zone, including the town of Balboa and the old US Amador Army Base. You will then visit the Biodiversity Museum, designed by the world renowned architect Frank Gehry. As a Smithsonian Affiliate museum, the Biodiversity Museum serves as a gateway to new information about the biodiversity and natural history of the Isthmus of Panama. Scientific experts from both the Smithsonian Institute and the University of Panama oversee the contents of the museum and aim at teaching visitors about eco-awareness, conservation and Panama’s extraordinary natural treasures in various unique exhibition galleries. Did you know that the Isthmus of Panama has more bird, mammal, reptile and plant species than the US and Canada together in just 75,990 Km2 (approx. 29,000 square miles)? In fact, 3 million years ago, the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama changed both the climate and the biodiversity in the planet and played a key role in the creation of the world we know today.
After having lunch at a Panamanian restaurant on Causeway Amador you continue to the first city settlement: the ruins Panama Viejo, the first official city founded by Europeans on the Pacific coast of the Americas and the starting point of the treasure trails that crossed the isthmus to the Caribbean. This city was attacked and looted by English pirate Henry Morgan in 1671. Visit the Old Panama Museum, climb up the Cathedral tower, and stroll among the stone walls and remnants of what was once considered the richest city in the Americas.
Return to your hotel and refresh, before continuing on an evening historical walking tour to Casco Viejo, the second old city compound and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Casco Viejo is home to the Presidential Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Theater, the French Plaza and several other iconic landmarks that offer testament to the city’s rich history, culture and heritage. From the top of old city’s wall enjoy spectacular sunset views of the Pacific Ocean dotted with local fishing boats near port and massive ships lined up waiting to cross the Panama Canal as well as the impressive skyline of modern Panama City. Your welcome dinner will be served at a local restaurant in the French Quarter before you return back to the hotel.
Night at THE BRISTOL PANAMA (Deluxe Room)
Day 3 (Monday) – Embera Indigenous People on Gatun River & Portobelo
This morning you will be picked up by your Naturalist guide at your hotel in Panama City for a 90min drive to Gatun River, in the Panama Canal watershed, where you will board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe). The river is only way to reach the Embera Quera village. The Embera build their houses along the banks of rivers on stilts. A traditional Embera house can be described as an open-air dwelling raised 6–12 feet off the ground on stilts with thatched roofing made from palm leaves. Travel down river through tropical rainforest where may be able to spot Little Blue and Green Heron, Great Egret, Anhingas, Neotropical Cormorant, Amazon, Ringed, and Green Kingfishers, along with Keel-billed Toucans and Ospreys flying above. Be on the lookout for Three-toed sloth and Howler monkeys frolicking in the forest canopy.
At the Embera village you will be greeted with dancing and music. You will learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature. Fish (bedá) are an important staple of the Embera diet along with plantains (pata), and rivers play a central role in daily life for fishing, bathing, transport, and many domestic chores. Boats have also played important roles in Embera tradition and cosmology. The craft of constructing dugout canoes was historically a very significant skill for Embera men, at times serving as a rite of passage or prerequisite for marriage according to oral history. Enjoy a short walk through the village and their botanical trail where. After a traditional Embera lunch you will head back by dugout canoe to where you started the tour in the morning and then continue to the historic town of Portobelo. Famous for its trade fairs during the 17th century, Portobelo is a World Heritage Site. During colonial times it was one of the most important strongholds of the Spanish Main in the Americas. Guided by the local Mama Ari you will hear the story about Portobelo just as her ancestors told her and visit the forts, Customs House and Church of San Felipe.
Dinner is at your own tonight, and you may enjoy Panama City´s nearby culinary and nightlife attractions just within walking distance from your hotel!
Night at THE BRISTOL PANAMA (Deluxe Room)
Day 4 (Tuesday) – Jungle Boat Tour on Gatun Lake – Azuero Península
This morning you will check out from your hotel and join your Ancon Expeditions of Panama Naturalist guide on a 45 minute drive to a small marina at the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. Here you board an expedition boat and depart on an adventure that will include a voyage across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway, making contrast with the natural surroundings. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to spot Green Iguana and Three-toed Sloth resting on tree branches, Crocodile, Osprey in the hunt for Peacock Bass, Snail Kite and Keel-billed Toucan among other wildlife. Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal in 1914. With a surface of 423 square-kilometers, at the time of its creation was the largest man-made lake in the world. The flow of all the rivers within the Panama Canal Watershed is contained in Gatun Lake to provide water for the operation of the lock system. More than 52 million gallons of fresh water are used for every ship that transits through the Panama Canal from one ocean to another. Your expedition boat will allow for close approximations to rainforest covered islands (former hill tops) in Gatun Lake to search for White-faced Capuchin, Mantled Howler Monkey, Central American spider monkey, and Geoffrey’s Tamarin. Enjoy a light picnic lunch on the boat with extraordinary views of the Panama Canal and the natural surroundings.
Afternoon domestic flight from Panama City to Chitre, transfer to Cubita Hotel. NOTE: for 1-3 travelers you will have a local bilingual guide in the Azuero region, while for 4+ travelers we send a private Ancon Expeditions guide from Panama City throughout the entire program.
Upon arrival to Chitre, the capital of the Herrera province, you will settle in at the Cubitá Boutique Resort & Spa, which is determined to rescue and preserve the roots, heritage and traditions of the Azuero Peninsula. The name Cubitá is borrowed from the indigenous people who once inhabited the banks of the La Villa River on the Azuero Peninsula. This unique boutique hotel offers you a first class experience with a lot of attention to details in a colonial environment. The hotel’s facilities include a spiral shaped swimming pool, a Panamanian Gourmet Restaurant, two bars, a museum, gift shop with local handcrafts, a state-of-the-art gym and Cubitá Spa, using local organic ingredients to ensure the guests’ wellbeing.
Azuero’s numerous colonial villages are the wellspring of Panama’s favorite folkloric traditions – beautiful traditional clothing, such as the stunning Pollera, and handicrafts, such as ceramics based on pre-Columbian designs, originated and are still made here. The same is true of some important musical and literary traditions. Even Panama’s most popular drink, the sugarcane liquor known as “Seco”, is produced in Azuero.
Night at CUBITÁ RESORT (Standard Room)
Day 5 (Wednesday) - Herrera Highlands
Today explore the Herrera Highlands, another area profusely inhabited by indigenous groups in the pre-Columbian era, and which contains the most important wildlife refuge in the province. On a horseback ride through Finca Guazán you will get to know the local flora and fauna while enjoying stunning views on the Gulf of Montijo and Gulf of Parita. You will then continue to El Montuoso Forest Reserve - known as “The Lung of Azuero” – to hike to a mysterious site of ancient petroglyphs. In the small community of Chepo de Las Minas, a traditional lunch will be served. In the afternoon you will hike a nature trail and cross several hanging bridges in order to get to the origin of La Villa River to take a refreshing swim in midst of the forest.
Night at CUBITÁ RESORT (Standard Room)
Day 6 (Thursday) – The Best of Azuero – Panama City
Your last day in the countryside will be a highlight with lots of local Panamanian flavor: experience the local industry and Azuero’s traditions and roots on an exciting full-day tour. In the morning you will discover the manufacturing process of the traditional products of the Herrera Province: sugarcane, salt, clay and bread. Experience the many uses of sugarcane – from refreshing sugarcane juice called “Guarapo”, traditional cooking of sugarcane honey to the production of artisanal sugarcane liquor; see the extraction of salt from the Pacific Ocean; visit the production of handmade clay pottery; and learn how the famous La Arena bread is baked. Lunch will be served at a “Fonda”, a local restaurant where you will be able to taste traditional snacks and dishes from the Azuero Peninsula. Considered by many “the cultural heart of Panama”, the inhabitants of the Azuero Peninsula live their traditions and their folklore proudly and display it throughout the year in many festivities. In the afternoon, you will visit an elder lady that has dedicated all her life to handcraft the Pollera, the typical dress of the Panamanian women, considered by many one of the most beautiful costumes in the world. Together with your guide you will also see several workshops of local artisans who produce the colorful devil’s masks, the drums used in local music and the gold ornaments that are part of the traditional Panamanian culture.
Afternoon transfer to Chitre Airport, return on a short domestic flight back to Panama City. Transfer to the Bristol hotel.
Tonight you have included a farewell dinner at Salsipuedes at the Bristol. This is a popular destination restaurant for visitors and the elite Panamanians, who come for its gracious service and superb Gourmet Panamanian cuisine taking full advantage of the wonderful local ingredients in the menu.
Night at BRISTOL PANAMA (Deluxe Room)
Day 7 (Friday) – Depart Panama (or add a post-extension)
Pick up at the Bristol Hotel for a 30-45 minute transfer to Tocumen Airport in Panama City. Return back home with unique memories about Panama´s Highlights or continue your journey to other parts of this beautiful country.
NOTE: Optional pre-tour and post-tour extensions are available to Bocas del Toro, San Blas, Pearl Islands and the Chiriqui Highlands
- Easy/moderate hiking 2-4 hours per day with rolling, slippery hills.
- Hotel or lodge accommodation comfortable
- upon request
DISCLAIMER & NOTE
- Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to tidal/weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.
- This program includes a private Ancon Expeditions´guide accompanying the group throughout the entire itinerary.
WHAT TO BRING
- Binoculars (preferably 7x35 or bigger, also available for rent at Ancon Expeditions of Panama)
- Camera with extra batteries & film
- Flashlight with extra bulb & batteries
- Insect repellant, Sunscreen, bathing suit
- Hat, Day pack / dry sack
- Water bottle
- Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
- Sandals, sneakers and comfortable walking shoes
- Rain gear, Windbreaker
- Money in small denominations
- Toiletries & personal medications
Ancon Expeditions is Panama’s top eco-tourism operator. Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the country's finest. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:
- Tour leader: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
- Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
- Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
- Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
- Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase
- International airport bellmen (red caps): US$1.00 per piece of suitcase
THE BRISTOL PANAMA - ranked as one of the Top 5 hotels in Central America by Condé Nast Traveler
Long considered the city’s finest, the Bristol Panama offers distinctive charm and warmth in the heart of the financial district, minutes from shopping, cultural attractions and nightlife. Unrivalled in its service and setting, this is a highly acclaimed hotel with timeless architecture including 125 luxurious guest rooms and 48 suites; are handsomely appointed and spacious. Enjoy your complementary 24 hour butler service, daily fresh fruit and newspaper in your room, fitness room, business centre, 8°58´Lounge and one of Panama’s finest culinary delights by the hotel’s award-winning chef Cuquita Arias offered at the Salsipuedes Restaurant.
Address: Avenida Aguilino De La Guardia, Panama City, Panamá
Phone: +(507) 264-0000
CUBITÁ BOUTIQUE RESORT & SPA
“Cubitá, territory of indigenous people who inhabited the region surrounding the La Villa River, located in the Azuero peninsula, which preserves thousands of years of the history of our pre-Columbian ancestors who fought bravely during the Spanish conquest.” The region of Azuero is considered today the “cultural heart” of Panama, cradle of traditions, which offers an opportunity of getting to know the purely Panamanian lifestyle. At Cubitá Boutique Resort & Spa you are being offered quality accommodations and a warm and friendly service. At approximately 250 km from Panama City, Chitre offers with this new hotel a modern accommodation with 90 elegant fully equipped rooms, 2 Junior Suites and 4 Master Suites including cable TV, safety box, telephone, hairdryer, wireless Internet, mini bar, AC and ceiling fan, coffee facilities, complimentary breakfast, and 24 hours room service. At Los Maizales restaurant you can enjoy the local cuisine and at La Jaba bar the local national drinks to end the day in a relaxing ambience. The hotel facilities include an outdoor pool, El Guarapo pool snack bar, a small gym and Spa, museum, chapel, and commercial plaza.
Address: Ave. Roberto Ramírez de Diego (Circunvalación), Chitré, Panamá
Phone: (+507) 978 0200