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Day 1 MIAMI/PANAMA CITY
Board your flight for Panama where you are escorted to your deluxe resort hotel. Situated in the heart of Panama’s 55,000-acre Soberania National Park, it is surrounded by large tracts of lowland tropical rainforest. The balance of your day is at leisure, after meeting with your naturalist guide for a briefing and welcome cocktail. GAMBOA RAINFOREST RESORT. (C/P)
Day 2 MIRAFLORES LOCKS/CASCO VIEJO
Wake to the sounds of the birds and the music of the rainforest. Start by touring the Miraflores Locks and watch cargo ships cross the canal. The Canal has three sets of Locks, two situated near the Pacific coast (Miraflores and Pedro Miguel) and the third along the Atlantic (Gatun). Continue to Casco Viejo, climb the newly restored cathedral tower and tour the colonial fortress of Casco Antiguo, San Jose Church, the Presidential Palace, and the Panama Canal Museum. Visit the Biodiversity Museum, designed by world renowned architect Frank Gehry, affiliated with the Smithsonian, showcasing Panama’s extraordinary natural treasures in various unique exhibit galleries. Conclude your tour with a drive to Ancon Hill for a panoramic view of the city. GAMBOA RAINFOREST RESORT. (B,L,D)
Day 3 SOBERANIA NATIONAL PARK/GATUN LAKE
Early this morning, drive the famed Pipeline Road in the heart of the virgin lowland rainforest of Soberania National Park, considered one of the best birding spots in the world, with nearly 400 bird species. Next, on to the Rainforest Discovery Center, an eco-tourism and educational facility featuring a rounded stair from the Rainforest Ground Layer to the Emergent Rainforest Layer. Your adventure continues on a guided tour of the canopy on the aerial tram which traverses a mile-long tract of forest. After lunch at the Los Lagartos Restaurant, travel by small boat to Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal. Along the way, you may see green iguana and three-toed sloth, crocodile and Keel-billed Toucan. Local primate species include the white-faced capuchin, howler and spider monkeys and the endemic red-napped tamarin. GAMBOA RAINFOREST RESORT. (B,L,D)
Day 4 CHAGRES NATIONAL PARK/EMBERA VILLAGE
Your journey takes you to Chagres National Park, the largest of the national parks protecting the Panama Canal Watershed. Later today, you are honored guests at an Embera village. This native tribe lives much as they did when Columbus visited in 1502. Trek to local waterfalls and learn about the Embera’s extensive botanical knowledge and their contributions to modern pharmaceuticals. During your visit you will have a short workshop with the members of the community to make some handicrafts. GAMBOA RAINFOREST RESORT. (B,L)
Day 5/6 PANAMA CITY/DAVID/CHIRIQUI HIGHLANDS
Fly to David, the capital of the Chiriqui province and home to most of Panama’s Guaymi Indians. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then take a walking tour of the scenic mountain town of Boquete. Check into your hotel, nestled in the middle of a coffee plantation and surrounded by a private natural forest. Next day, spend the morning hiking through a cloud forest trail to see the waterfalls. Enjoy the gorgeous scenery and search for the Resplendent Quetzal. In the afternoon, visit a strawberry farm to learn about farming in this paradise. Alternatively, enjoy a full-day rafting adventure at Rio Chiriqui Viejo, considered one of the best rivers in the world for whitewater rafting. FINCA LERIDA ECOLOGE. (B,L,D)
Day 7 JANSON COFFEE PLANTATION/FINCA DRACULA ORCHID FARM
This morning drive to the Janson Coffee Farm to learn about planting, harvesting, processing, roasting and packaging the world class coffee, Del Fino and Geisha. Next, visit Andrew Maduro’s Finca Drácula Orchid Farm, named for the rare Drácula genus of orchids. Nestled at the edge of La Amistad, a World Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Finca Drácula boasts more than 2200 different orchid species from Central and South America including the Drácula. It is the largest collection in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. Your hotel tonight is an intimate Alpine-style resort next to a rippling stream with lush gardens frequented by hummingbirds. CASA GRANDE BAMBITO. (B,L,D)
Day 8 LA AMISTAD INTERNATIONAL PARK/PANAMA CITY
Spend the morning hiking and exploring La Amistad, which stretches across the boundaries of both Panama and Costa Rica. With an array of ecosystems ranging from cloud forests to coral reefs and to mangrove forests, La Amistad is rich in biological and cultural diversity, in fact it is the most culturally and ethnically diverse region in both countries. In the afternoon fly back to Panama City and transfer to your centrally located hotel. MARRIOTT PANAMA HOTEL. (B,L)
Days 9/10 PARTIAL CANAL CROSSING/PANAMA CITY/MIAMI
Transfer to Balboa Pier for a half-day tour, northbound on the Panama Canal, with a guide to explain the trials and tribulations of this engineering feat. The ship will be raised 55 feet above sea level in two steps and enter Miraflores Lake which is about a mile long. A transition from salt water in the Pacific Ocean to fresh water in the locks chambers and lake takes place here. Navigate in the lake until reaching the Pedro Miguel locks, where the vessel turns around and exits into the Pacific Ocean. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner at Manolo Caracol, a modern restaurant in a French-styled building dating to the 1800s, featuring an open kitchen, local art on the walls, and very tasty wine. MARRIOTT PANAMA CITY. (B,L,D) Next day, transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B)
OPTIONAL POST EXTENSION TO BOCAS DEL TORO
Transfer to Balboa Pier for a half-day tour, northbound on the Panama Canal, with a guide to explain the trials and tribulations of this engineering feat. The ship will be raised 55 feet above sea level in two steps and enter Miraflores Lake which is about a mile long. A transition from salt water in the Pacific Ocean to fresh water in the locks chambers and lake takes place here. Navigate in the lake until reaching the Pedro Miguel locks, where the vessel turns around and exits into the Pacific Ocean. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner at Manolo Caracol, a modern restaurant in a French-styled building dating to the 1800s, featuring an open kitchen, local art on the walls, and very tasty wine and tapas style fresh food. MARRIOTT PANAMA CITY. (B,L,D) Next day, transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B)
YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:
- Roundtrip airfare between Panama City and David.
- Roundtrip airfare between Panama City to Boca del Toro for the post-extension.
- All ground transfers in air-conditioned motorcoach.
- Superior accommodations throughout as indicated, or similar.
- Services of English-speaking guide throughout the tour with 6 travelers.
- All meals as specified. (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
- All entry and park fees.
- All applicable hotel/lodge taxes and gratuities for baggage handling.
- Complimentary baggage tags and passport wallet.