Panama Explorer (trip)

Panama Explorer

  • Panama near Tocumen International Airport
  • Culture & Nature
Panama, Central America

from $2,500* per person10 DaysDecember-January, March, April, July-October
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Wildland Adventures 24 people max
Experience the astonishing ecological and cultural diversity of Panama on this small group adventure. Accompanied by master naturalist guides you discover plentiful wildlife in the lowland rainforests of Gatun Lake, and the Panama Canal. We search for the Resplendent Quetzal on hikes in the highland cloud forests of the Amistad Biosphere Reserve and explore the local industries of orchids, coffee, and rum. A short flight to the San Blas archipelago in the Caribbean delivers us to our thatch-roof cabanas on a tropical island where we snorkel, swim and visit with native Kuna Indians. Our adventure concludes with a partial transit through the famous Panama Canal.

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Locations visited/nearby

Panama, Central America

0 testimonials about this trip.

3 testimonials about the provider, Wildland Adventures:

  • Reviewer: Kate Steinbacher located in Roanoke, VA USA
    You are the kind of tour operator the world needs more of...caring of your groups AND the beautiful places and people we get to experience!

  • Reviewer: Ginger and Richard Lang located in Clyde, NC USA
    Congratulations on the kudos from National Geographic Adventure magazine. Our experiences in travel with Wildland underscore this commendation. We have loved traveling to Costa Rica and Southern Africa with you and are now involved in planning a trip to East Africa. Great job from a superb company! You are first in our minds!

  • Reviewer: Libby Volckening located in Northfield, MA USA
    How can I begin to thank you for the most amazing, wonderful, incredible vacation of my life?!?!?!  Everything was better than I could have hoped.  So many precious memories.  Such wonderful chemistry of personalities.  It has been very hard to leave it all behind and get back to my real life...

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.


Arrive at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City where you are met and transferred to overnight at the Holiday Inn. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and orientation with our Naturalist Guide. Overnight at Hotel Holiday Inn, El Panama or similar.

We board the Endemic, a specially equipped 14-passenger boat, to voyage across Gatun Lake, part of the Panama Canal, watching for gigantic cargo ships as we keep a lookout for Green iguanas resting on tree branches, ospreys in the hunt for Peacock Bass, and Snail Kites. Keep you gaze turned upward as you look for White-faced capuchins, Red-naped tamarins, Howler monkeys and two sub-species of Spider monkeys. After a picnic lunch we return to Gamboa and catch a scheduled flight to David, capital of the Chiriqui Province. Chiriqui is known as Panamas breadbasket and contains some of the most breathtaking highland scenery in Central America. Transfer by van to the western side of the Baru Volcano to the town of Volcan. Overnight at Hotel Dos Rios [BLD]

Shared with neighboring Costa Rica and recognized in 1982 as a World Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Amistad is located at a point on the Central American natural land bridge where flora and fauna from North and South America reach their maximum species mix. With great ranges in altitude, precipitation, soil and temperature, bio-diversity here is at its peak. We spend the morning hiking and exploring La Amistad in the area of El Retoo in search of the Resplendent Quetzal, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Barred Becard, Black and Yellow Silky Flycatcher among many other western highland birds. After lunch at a local restaurant we will visit Finca Dracula home to over 1500 orchid species. We stop at the Jansons Coffee Estate where experts demonstrate coffee production from bush to cup. Shade grown and scrutinized, Jansons Coffee is world renown. Enjoy a fresh brewed cup of coffee while watching the spectacular sunset over the Baru Volcano, the highest peak of the country at 10,000 feet above sea level. Overnight at Hotel Dos Rios [BLD]

On the way to Boquete we visit Sitio Barriles, an archeological site of the former Barril culture where an expert on-site guide interprets petroglyphs that explain the history of the people who once lived on the slopes of the dormant Baru Volcano. We proceed to the eastern side of Baru Volcano to the quaint town of Boquete. The countryside is covered with flower, fruit and vegetable farms, coffee plantations and lush tropical cloud forest. We stop atop a bluff for a picnic lunch with an extraordinary view of the town set in the mountain valley at 3100 elevation. Enjoy free time to walk around this quaint town. Overnight at Hotel Finca Lerida or similar [BLD]

Finca Lerida is a privately owned preserve in Boquete, situated within the buffer zone of Baru Volcano National Park. At 7,500 elevation we have an opportunity to look for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled Bellbird, Black-faced Solitaire, Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher and Prong-billed Barbet in their cool habitat of orchids, bromeliads and wild avocados. We hike through lush vegetation to the Collins shade-grown coffee farm where lunch is served. Overnight at Hotel Finca Lerida or similar [BLD]

After a leisurely breakfast we drive 90 minutes to David for a mid-morning flight to Panama City. Upon arrival we begin exploring Panama City, a contrasting metropolis with World Heritage Sites, rainforests and a flourishing business district filled with skyscrapers. Today we explore the ruins of Old Panama City, the first European settlement to be established along the shores of the Pacific Ocean (1519), Casco Viejo with its colonial landmarks and cobblestone streets, the Panama Canal Museum and the modern city. Overnight at Holiday Inn Panama Canal [BLD]

Located along the northeastern coast of Panama in the Caribbean Sea, the San Blas Islands are the home to the Kuna Indians. Determined to protect their unique culture, the Kunas were granted regional autonomy forming the Comarca (autonomous territory) of Kuna Yala where to this day an indigenous congress rules. Kuna women spend countless hours stitching the very colorful reverse appliqud cotton molas which is part of their daily wear. Essentially, the Kuna are fishermen, but they also farm coconut, corn, rice, cocoa, yucca and other staples.

We depart by scheduled flight to San Blas at the crack of dawn. To enhance the interaction with the Kuna, travelers go without our Naturalist Guide. A representative of Dolphin Lodge will greet us upon landing at the airstrip and transfer to the lodge on a motorized dugout canoe to check in and have breakfast.

Uaguinega Lodge is located on Uaguitupo (Dolphin) Island, about five minutes from the Achutupo airstrip via dugout canoe. Owned and operated by a Kuna family, the accommodations at Dolphin Lodge are rustic but comfortable in traditional Kuna-style huts with cozy beds, indoor bathrooms and a hammock on the front porch. Meals are served in the Bohio dining room overlooking the Caribbean Sea. We visit the Kuna village of Achutupo in the company of a local guide who introduces us to Kuna culture and traditional ceremonies. Visit the communal house of Sahilas (Kuna chiefs) where the chiefs are responsible for enforcing the law of the community as well as offering advice on other aspects of life - including marital problems! Learn about the building of the typical Kuna house, their economy, the traditional mola, and the processing of sugar cane into the alcoholic drink known as chicha. We return to the lodge to relax at one of the hammocks and to have lunch. Later this afternoon we will go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea to look for stunning marine and coral life. Overnight at Uaguinega Lodge [BLD]


After breakfast we board our plane bound for Panama City. Upon arrival we meet our Naturalist Guide and board a van for our trip to El Corotu on the shores of Madden Lake. The main reservoir of drinking water for the cities of Panama and Colon, Madden Lake also supplies 40% of the water required for the operation of the Panama Canal.

Here, we board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) and travel up the Chagres River to the Embera indigenous village of Embera Drua. The boat journey takes us through the rainforest of the Chagres National Park, the largest National Park that protects the Panama Canal Watershed.   At the Embera village we will be greeted with dancing and music. We will learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature.  You will have a chance to be painted with the traditional jagua, a natural dye the Embera use to adorn their bodies.  After a picnic lunch we visit the nearby waterfall where we can take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Chagres River before heading back to Panama City. Overnight at Hotel Holiday Inn - Panama Canal or similar [BLD]

Early morning pick-up for the 15 minute drive to the port of Balboa where we board our boat to take us on the world famous journey through the Panama Canal. Cruise through Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, Gaillard Cut at the Continental Divide, the narrowest part of the Panama Canal, arriving at the town of Gamboa home to the canals dredging division, an important part in the functioning of the canal. At Gamboa we disembark and drive back to our hotel in Panama City with a stop on the way at the Balboa handicraft market. Farewell dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at Hotel Holiday Inn, Hotel El Panama or similar [BLD]

Depart for the airport approximately two and a half hours before your scheduled international flight. [B]

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