Christopher Columbus touched down on the beautiful white sands of Bocas del Toro, where 92 per cent of the land is covered in dense rainforest.
Panama is a land rich in natural wonder and we get right into the meat of things when we board a passenger ferry down the world-famous Panama Canal.
See the intricate process of how boats are elevated with rising and lowering waters controlled by a purely gravity-powered system.
The country is teeming with an immense population of wildlife. In 1985, a world record was set by a team who counted 385 species of birds in Soberania National Park in a span of just 24 hours.
So, it will be no surprise when we become familiar with originally unrecognizable animals, such as a prong-billed barbet or a volcano hummingbird.
On our Pleasures Of Panama tour, you'll be able to take time to absorb the sights of the valleys that support the interspersed coffee plantations or vegetable farms.
Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table. For general information on flights to/from the tour, click here.
Select a date below to reserve your spot:
Optional Single Supplement: $730 USD (number of singles limited).
Breakfast and dinner daily (hotels and local restaurants). All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, hotel porters (if available). Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.
International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuity, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), departure taxes, domestic and international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on not included meal costs, shopping, and locally paid departure taxes.
Seasonality and Weather
This tour is offered during the northern winter and outside hurricane season. Temperatures are high across the whole country throughout the year, though cooler at higher altitudes. The rainy season lasts from May to November.
Transport and Travel Conditions
Road transport by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Numerous nature walks and walking tours on uneven surfaces. Internal flights via scheduled domestic carriers in smaller aircraft with limited space for luggage.
Our difficulty level "2" rating refers to the above-mentioned busy days, walking tours on uneven terrain, lack of handrails (public and elsewhere, ie shower stalls), and fatigue that can be caused by heat and humidity and unfamiliar food and drink.
Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.
Well-located, heated / air-conditioned, mid-range (3 star) hotels with en suite toilet and bath throughout (probably shower only). Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than doubles. Hotel porter service is sometimes available (see 'inclusions') though you should be independent with your luggage. Some hotels have outdoor swimming pools.
Staff and Support
Tour Leader, driver/s, and local step-on guides at various locations.
Maximum 18 (plus Tour Leader)
This tour is part of a series that can be upgraded to make for a longer trip. For more options, please refer to tour code/s:
Tour Overview Countries Visited: 2 Acivity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
On our Panama & Costa Rica tour you'll see that this bounteous Central American region is one that is often overlooked by the traveller, a factor which, for many, only adds to its allure.
We begin at Panama's most famous attraction; the Panama Canal, an tremendous feat of engineering and human endeavour.
Boarding a ferry, we pass through locks that use not water pumps, but gravity to facilitate our voyage and we cross the Continental Divide before taking to land again and heading to Soberania National Park, whose trails tell stories abundant nature and colonial and history.
We spend time in Amerindian villages and cast off on boats that have been used by the indigenous peoples for centuries before taking to the tracks on the Interoceanic Train, which follows the Canal though spectacular scenery to Portobelo, once the port of entry and exit for all of South America and a city stepped in pirate legend.
We see Panama's nature at its best as our tour leads us through the Chiriqui Highlands with its cloud forests and astonishing arrays of flora and fauna, and when we cross into the Caribbean side of the country to witness the tropical paradise of Bocas del Toro, whose pristine beauty that bewitched Columbus when he first happened upon it centuries ago has changed little.
Coral reefs, white-sand beaches and tropical forest keep us occupied in Bocas del Toro until we head to Panama City for a spot of exploration before crossing into Costa Rica.
With a remarkable 25 per cent of the country protected by national parks and reserves, Costa Rica offers a nature experience like no other.
We amble through lush jungles that come alive with the chattering of monkeys and the squawking of colourful birds and embark on a riverboat cruise to see the remote and untouched areas that other tour companies cannot reach.
From relaxing in the bubbling hotsprings near the magnificent Arenal Volcano, to being spellbound by the mystical atmosphere as we take a canopy walk above Monteverde Cloud Forest, we see the best of Costa Rica and marvel at its nature.
Tour Overview Countries Visited: 2 Acivity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
This Panama and Colombia tour is a nice combination of our highlight-packed tour of Colombia and our ever-popular tour of Panama in one nice three-week package.
Tour Overview Countries Visited: 3 Acivity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
On our Panama, Costa Rica & Nicaragua tour you'll find yourself gliding through the waters of one of the most famous landmarks in the world, the Panama Canal, is the first of many adventures on this exciting 23-day tour through Panama and the naturalist dreamlands of Costa Rica & Nicaragua.
Taking 34 years to reach completion, the Canal stands today as a marvel of design, engineering and human enterprise and is one of the must-see attractions on a tour of the fascinating country. That said, the nation's bounties are by no means restricted to the Canal alone and we discover that Panama in fact has a wealth of other lesser-known attractions, from the historic trails in Soberania National Park and the natural wonder inherent in the primeval rainforests Chiriqui Highlands and Boca del Toro, to the bustling streets of the capital, Panama City.
Crossing into Costa Rica, we begin this stimulating leg of the journey by casting off for a boat trip along interconnecting rivers and canals through remote and untouched wilds to the Caribbean coast. Lush vegetation and unique bird life line the narrows of our course in the Tortuguero region and then it's back onto land for a visit to the museum to learn about the local ecology and to witness it for ourselves with later expeditions into the fairytale-like Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Our time in Nicaragua features beautifully-located Granada, with views of multiple volcanic islands, charming colonial architecture, and some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet.
*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.
The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.