|Date||Location||Notes / CME Details|
|November 5th||Arrive Panama City|
|November 6th||Panama City||7:30 AM – 8:00 AM (Registration)|
|November 7th||Panama City||4:30 PM – 7:45 PM|
|November 8th||Anton Valley||4:30 PM – 7:30 PM|
|November 9th||Anton Valley||5:00 PM – 7:00 PM|
|November 11th||Chitre||2:30 PM – 5:30 PM|
|November 12th||Playa Bonita||1:00 PM – 5:15 PM|
The Panama Canal: Connecting the Atlantic & Pacific
Panama is steeped in history – from early Inca traders and Spanish Conquistadors to the Panama Canal, a modern day engineering marvel. Completed in 1914, almost 50 miles long and one of the most complex engineering projects ever undertaken, your journey across the Isthmus of Panama takes you through the Gaillard Cut, carved through the Continental Divide. Take a partial transit cruise on the Pacific Queen for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to view this marvel up close and learn all about its construction and importance in world trade. Pass through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks and learn about the canal expansion project. It’s an unforgettable journey between the seas. And this is only part of your journey.
Day 1 November 5 Panama City
Your tour begins. Arrive in Panama and be met and transported to your hotel, Le Meridian Hotel, Panama City (for 3 nights). You will experience a land of contrasts. Remote rainforests, rich history, diverse wildlife and spectacular coastlines abound. Your tour opens in vibrant Panama City. Meals are on your own today.
Day 2 November 6 Panama City – Embera Village – Panama City
Meet your fellow travellers during a welcome breakfast and register for your CME. After breakfast, travel north to the Gamboa Rainforest Reserve. Board dugout canoes and set off on an excursion up the Chagres River to an Embera indigenous village. As the “Keepers of the Rainforest”, the Embera strive to preserve their heritage and take price in sharing their traditional techniques of home building and handicrafts – such as basket weaving and tagua nut carving. Join in their dances and partake in a traditional lunch. The remainder of your day is free to enjoy Panama City at leisure. Today, breakfast, lunch and dinner will be included.
Day 3 November 7 Panama City – Panama Canal Cruise – Panama City
Today, we explore the canal! Board the Pacific Queen for a partial transit cruise through the Panama Canal. Enjoy lunch onboard and pass through two locks as you revel in a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see this incredible engineering feat firsthand. Learn all about its construction and operation from your onboard guides. Disembark in Flamenco Marina in Panama City. This afternoon, we will have our first CME session. Today, breakfast and lunch are included and dinner is on your own.
Day 4 November 8 Panama City – Anton Valley
After breakfast, depart for the Miraflores Locks Visitor Centre to again view the Panama Canal and learn about its past, present and future as you watch ships traverse the lock system. Continue to Casco Viejo, the Old Quarter (UNESCO). Then, its’ your choice. Follow your guide for a short walking tour showcasing the Plaza de la Independencia and the National Theatre - OR - for a more immersive experience, journey through the same neighbourhood with a local resident. Hear the story of Casco Viejo’s comeback from a member of the community who will take you through the palce he calls home, highlighting the incredible revitalization of the historic area and its people. Everyone then gathers for a visit to the Mercado de Mariscos, a seafood market, to try fresh Panamanian cerviche. Drive a short distance on the famed Pan-American Highway before heading to Anton Valley, a community nestled inside the world’s second largest volcanic crater. Here we check into the Los Mandarinos Hotel (for 2 nights) at the base of the mountains that make up the crater. Upon arrival, we will have another CME session. Today, breakfast and dinner will be included.
Day 5 November 9 Anton Valley
After breakfast, we delve into history and biodiversity. This morning, visit a frog conservation centre that protects critically endangered species, including the emblematic Panamanian Golden Frog, said to bring good luck to anyone who sees it. Then we visit a non-profit orchid nursery which dedicates itself to preserving regional orchids. We follow that with a visit to the Butterfly Haven exhibit. Here we stroll through the screened tropical displays that are home to over 250 live butterflies. Meet the locals at the handicraft market. Try your hand at negotiations (a local pastime) as you peruse items made by indigenous peoples, including the “mola” embroidery of the Kuna Yala. This afternoon, visit El Chorro macho waterfall. Embark on a moderate hike along the rainforest trails, crossing several bridges before arriving at the impressive waterfall. You may even take a swim in the natural pool. Upon returning to the hotel, we will have another CME session. This evening is your at leisure to continue exploring this charming mountain community. Today breakfast will be included.
Day 6 November 10 Anton Valley – Chitre
After breakfast, we step into the heartland of Panama as we visit a village of artists. Interact with the makers of the famous Panama hat and see firsthand how these wearable works of art come to life. Next, meet the legendary cigar rollers of Panama. Then head north to Chitre. Established in 1558, it is one of Panama’s first Spanish settlements. Check into the Cubita Boutique Resort & Spa (for 2 nights). Spend the day meeting the people of Chitre, the “folklore capital” of Panama. Talk to a famous local artist whose whimsical masks are used in traditional Panamanian parades. Then, pause to experience the region’s pre-Columbian and colonial times at the local museum. Tonight, immerse yourself in the local culture during dinner. Learn about the various Panamanian drums and how they are incorporated into song and dance during a folkloric dance performance. Today, breakfast and dinner will be included.
Day 7 November 11 Chitre
Today, we’re off to spend time with Panamanian women who have dedicated their lives to making the handwoven pollera dress. Later, see what a typical day in the life of a Panamanian farmer is like during an inclusive finca experience. Choose to explore the farm by horseback or carriage, milk the cows or feed the sheep. Put your hands to work as you prepare some local dishes to accompany a farm to table lunch. Savour the tastes of a well-known, locally crafted rum cocktail. The remainder of the day is your to enjoy at your hotel. There will also be another CME session. Tonight, you can enjoy dinner on your own or opt to join a home hosted dinner experience (optional extra). This will be an opportunity to learn about a local family’s life, culture and food while enjoying the warmth of their home. Today, breakfast and lunch will be included.
Day 8 November 12 Chitre – Playa Bonita
Before departing Chitre, get to know a traditional way of cooking at a clay oven bakery and sample artisanal bread and sweets along with some sugarcane juice known as guarapa. Your journey continues to Playa Bonita, just outside of Panama City. Arrive midday to soak up the sun and scenery from your beachfront property. Check in to the Westin Playa Bonita (for 1 night). Upon arrival, we will have the final CME session. Tonight we bid farewell to Panama at a special dinner. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.
Day 9 November 13 Tour Ends
Transfers are provided from the hotel to Panama Airport. Today, breakfast will be included.