Chagres National Park & The Highlands Tour
The Chagres National Park is located north of Panama City and east of the Panama Canal. The park protects the Chagres River basin, an important source of water for Panama City and Colón. Operators conduct excursions to villages of indigenous Embera tribe who live along the upper reaches of Lake Alajuela. Also of interest is the 16th-century Camino Real, a trail that was once used by the Spanish to transport gold across the isthmus.
On this tour, hike into the rainforest of the Chagres National Park and have a cultural experience of meeting Panama’s indigenous Embera Indians. Next, hike through the mountains of Chiriquí on the Costa Rican border, and witness rare and elusive bird species in a tropical cloud forest before travelling to the beautiful Bocas del Toro Archipelago. Activities include zipline through the rain forest, scuba diving and swimming with manatees.
Chagres National Park & The Highlands Tour Panama City, San Blas Island, Boquete, Bocas del Toro
(11 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 01 – Arrive
Panama City On arrival at the Tocumen International Airport, you will be met by our representative and escorted by private transfer to your hotel in Panama City.
Overnight at Bristol Hotel.
Day 02 – Chagres National Park
Panama City Visit paradise in its purest form. Today you will take a trip into the thick of a rainforest for a unique cultural experience with the Embera Indians of Chagres National Park. With your local indigenous expert guide, you will travel up river on a "piragua" (a native canoe now motorised) to their village to spend an afternoon. In the village members of the tribe will welcome you into their culture and traditions with performing dances, rituals, and making you their speciality food. You will also have the unique opportunity to partake in jaguar body painting with vegetable ink.
Overnight at Bristol Hotel (B, L)
Day 03 & 04 – Transfer & Explore
San Blas Islands Early this morning board a small plane to the San Blas Islands, located off the Caribbean Coast of Panama. Spend your day to experience the Kuna culture and meet the local chiefs responsible for enforcing the law of the community as well as offering advice on other aspects of life, including marital problems. Learn about the construction of the typical Kuna house, Kuna economy, traditional “mola” and the processing of sugar cane into the local drink.
Stay at the Akwadup Lodge and Resort on a coral island in the heartland of Kuna Yala, built by Kuna builders in traditional style but with modern amenities. The seven cabanas are built over the sparkling Caribbean Sea, linked to the dock and the mainland by short, wood planks. The lodge has its own restaurant offering fresh lobster, crab and fish in season.
Overnight at Akwadup Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 05 – Transfer
Panama City Early in the morning return from San Blas to Panama City. Your afternoon will be free for relaxation or shopping at your leisure. Optional: folkloric show and dinner at Tinajas Restaurant.
Overnight at Casco Viejo (B)
Day 06 & 07 – The Highlands
Chiriqui Cloud Forest Take an early morning flight to David in the western province of Chiriqui, bordering Costa Rica. Then transfer by car to the quaint mountain town of Boquete. Enjoy the afternoon in the beautiful highlands hiking, riding horses.
Next day, explore the trails around the Baru Volcano National Park with a naturalist guide. You will have the opportunity to see the elusive and Resplendent Quetzal in its mountain habitat of wild orchids and bromelias.
Optional tours available: White water river rafting, Tree Trek or zipline adventure in the cloud forest, horseback riding and coffee tours.
Overnight at Finca Lerida or Panamonte Hotel (B)
Day 08 & 09 – Caribbean Coast
Bocas del Toro Early surface transfer to David Airport for your flight to Bocas del Toro in the Caribbean. Here you will experience Afro-Panamanian culture. Transfer to your hotel in the town of Bocas.
You have two days to explore the Bastimentos Marine National Park for its picturesque beaches. There will an opportunity to go snorkelling and observe diverse marine life of the surrounding reef, walk on white sand beaches and relax in the ideal setting of the Caribbean Sea.
Optional: Scuba diving and kayaking tours.
Overnight at Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 10 – Return
Panama City Private transfer to the airport for your flight for Panama City and transfer to your hotel. Your afternoon will be free for town exploration or relaxation.
Overnight at Casco Viejo (B)
Day 11 – Depart
Panama City Private transfer to Tocumen International Airport for your onward flight (B)
Make this your holiday
Getting There International flights arrive at Tocumen International Airport (PTY) in Panama City. Flight from the US are mostly routed through Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston or Miami and other Central and South American cities; KLM and Iberia fly from Amsterdam and Madrid, respectively. Flights from San José, in neighbouring Costa Rica, often stop in David before continuing on to Panama City. The recently upgraded airport in David is expected to see direct international flights from and to the US at some point.
When to go The best time to visit Panama is during the dry season from around mid-December to mid-April. There is a prolonged rainy season from May to November, with the heaviest rain between October and November. Rain in Panama tends to come in sudden short downpours followed by sunshine. The climate is less tropical at higher elevations. In mountain areas, the average annual temperature ranges from 10 C to 19 C at various mountain elevations.