'The Camino Real Trek'

What makes this trip special?

Riches of the Incan empire

Riches of the Incan empire

Panama la Vieja

On the eastern outskirts of Panama City lie the ruins of the original city. Panama la Vieja is where the riches of the Incan empire first arrived by ship from Peru and were carried by the 'Royal Road' across the isthmus to the Caribbean coast for onward shipment.

Crossing the continent by foot

Crossing the continent by foot

Camino Real trek

A demanding trek through primary rainforest, the Camino Real path follows the gold of the Incas from the mountains to the Caribbean coastline.

Beside the Panama Canal

Beside the Panama Canal

Panama Canal Zone

Take a ride on the historical commuter train to the Caribbean coast, running parallel to the Panama Canal it offers a magnificent overview of the whole structure.

Itinerary map for Panama 'The Camino Real Trek' holiday


  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Panama City
  • 2 Chagres National Park
  • 3 Chagres National Park
  • 4 Chagres National Park
  • 5 Chagres National Park
  • 6 Nombre de Dios
  • 7 Panama City
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'The Camino Real Trek'


Panama City

On arrival at the airport you are driven to your hotel in Panama City to meet your guide and the rest of the group.


Old Panama and Embera village

We visit the ruins of Old Panama where Spanish ships from Peru landed with their cargoes of Incan gold and silver. The Camino Real, or ‘Royal Road’ began here; we drive inland to join it in the mountains of the Serranía de San Blas in Chagres National Park. Boarding a dug-out at Madden Lake we are taken to the starting point of our trek, near a village of the Embera people. We are their welcome guests: their rich culture, music, dances and crafts make this a special day. We camp in tents in the village - a real privilege.


Crossing the continent

Our trek on the Camino Real is mostly through primary rainforest: home to jaguar, howler monkeys, anteaters and more than 560 species of bird, including the harpy eagle - the largest in the world. We experience the forest at first hand while reliving the trail’s evocative history. We walk 5-7 hours each day, sleeping in tents in the forest. Original cobbled sections of the trail date back to the time when this was the principal route between the Caribbean and the Pacific. Conditions underfoot can be muddy, steep, and slippery. At first the Camino Real follows the Boquerón River ascending close to its source in the mountains before cresting the ridge and descending to the Caribbean. Along the route we will also find remains of manganese mines from the late 1800s, complete with railway tracks and the relics of old locomotives abandoned to the forest.


Trekking the Camino Real


Trekking the Camino Real


Nombre de Dios

On our fourth day of trekking we reach Nombre de Dios on the Caribbean, where the Incan silver and gold arrived from the Camino Real until the town was sacked by Sir Francis Drake in 1596. A short drive along the coast takes us to Portobelo which replaced Nombre de Dios (high in the hills we will have passed the fork in the Camino Real that led down to Portobelo). We visit the Spanish forts and some of its old colonial churches. Overnight in a waterfront lodge.


By train to Panama City

There is free time today to relax by the sea or go snorkelling or diving (extra cost) - perhaps to look for Drake’s lead coffin which was lowered into the waters here. In the afternoon we catch the train for Panama City on the first railway to cross the American continents, with great views of Gatun Lake and the canal. We stay at our original hotel with a farewell dinner by the ocean


If not extending your stay, you can be taken to the airport for your flight home.

Guide prices for 'The Camino Real Trek'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide price 2 people sharing
Prices are per person and include:
  • all travel in Panama
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • any optional excursions you may buy locally

Customer reviews for 'The Camino Real Trek'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.


Seasonal information for 'The Camino Real Trek'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Panama City 31°C rainfall 43mm
2 Chagres National Park 27°C rainfall 145mm
3 Chagres National Park 27°C rainfall 145mm
4 Chagres National Park 27°C rainfall 145mm
5 Chagres National Park 27°C rainfall 145mm
6 Nombre de Dios 29°C rainfall 119mm
7 Panama City 31°C rainfall 43mm

Typical weather for January


Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'The Camino Real Trek'