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'Panama Odyssey'

What makes this trip special?

Escape the Metropolis

Escape the Metropolis

Casco Viejo - Panama City

Narrow cobbled streets, small plazas and colonial French & Spanish buildings seem a world away from the skyscrapers of modern Panama City. Recently restored under UNESCO World Heritage and dotted with chic boutique hotels, the Casco Vieja offers an atmospheric stay in the capital.

Sail the Panama Canal

Sail the Panama Canal

Panama Canal

Experience the incredible engineering achievement of the Panama Canal first hand by taking either a full or partial transit along the canal.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean

Portobelo

A pretty harbour town, Portobelo was once the end of the Royal Road, where it suffered repeated attacks from Pirates including Welsh buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan and Sir Francis Drake in the 17th & 18th centuries, all vying to get hold of the Spanish Conquistador's Peruvian gold.

The Indigenous way of life

The Indigenous way of life

San Blas Archipelago

The palm-fringed islands, white sands and turquoise waters of San Blas are home to Panama's largest indigenous group, the Kuna Yala. Guests are invited to stay on coral islets, in small simple lodges owned and run by the Kuna community.

Western Highlands

Western Highlands

Cerro Punta - Chiriqui Highlands

On the western flank of Baru Volcano lies Cerro Punta, the highest village in Panama. Misty cloud forests, tumbling mountain streams and fields filled with dairy herds all combine to make an interesting area for touring and exploring.

Coffee, Cloud forest & Adventure

Coffee, Cloud forest & Adventure

Boquete - Chiriqui Highlands

On the Eastern flank of Baru Volcano the growing mountain resort of Boquete offers some great walking, birdwatching trails and adventure activities, such as white water rafting and zip-lining. Boquete is well known for its perfect micro-climate and soil for growing high quality coffee beans.

Wildlife around the Canal

Wildlife around the Canal

Panama Canal Zone

Among the canal's many highlights is its natural surroundings of rigorously protected tropical forests, which provide the water that feeds the canal.

Itinerary map for Panama 'Panama Odyssey' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Panama City
  • 2 Panama City
  • 3 Panama City
  • 3 Partial Transit of the Panama Canal
  • 4 Panama City
  • 5 San Blas Islands
  • 6 San Blas Islands
  • 7 Cerro Punta
  • 8 Cerro Punta
  • 9 Boquete
  • 10 Boquete
  • 11 Gamboa
  • 12 Gamboa
  • 13 Gamboa
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Panama Odyssey'

DAY 1

Panama City & Canal

You are met at the airport on arrival and driven to your preferred hotel for a 4 night stay.

DAY 2
B

Although Panama has much, much else to discover and explore, no first visit could miss seeing the Canal. Your guide picks you up from your hotel to visit the Canal's Miraflores Lock, where massive ships squeeze through with inches to spare, and a small museum neatly sums up the history of the Canal's construction and its engineering feats. It will usually be possible to explore the ruins of Old Panama, founded in 1519 and sacked in 1671 by Welsh buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan. The city relocated to Casco Viejo, formerly with sturdy walls against pirates, where you'll stroll streets redolent of Old Havana. You'll visit the Canal's Pacific entrance at Amador : also the location of the brand new Gehry BioMuseo, bringing you bang up to date.

DAY 3
BL

Partial Panama Canal Transit

Today make a 'partial' transit of the Panama Canal itself, through the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks: so much large scale engineering, so vital for a century of the world's commerce, yet set in a near Garden of Eden with lush tropical rainforests descending to its sides.

DAY 4
BL

Panama Canal Railway, Portobelo & Embera Indians

From the Pacific to the Caribbean on an everyday commuter train, to the sleepy harbour of Portobelo where the vast majority of the Inca's gold was shipped to Spain. The line runs alongside the Canal at many points, crossing Gatun Lake on causeways with super vires. You might just spot crocodiles, monkeys and toucans on the way. From Portobelo your guide will take you to a small dock to travel by dug-out boat to a village of the tribal Embera community for an insight into their ways of life.

DAY 5
BLD

San Blas Islands and the Kuna people

Leaving Panama City with an early morning start for the short flight to the San Blas Islands in the Kuna Yala. You stay at a charming lodge owned and run by the Kuna community: simple and rustic but with bathrooms en suite. You will have the opportunity of visiting their nearby village and experiencing the Kuna way of life (little English or even Spanish is spoken). Lunch and dinner feature fresh seafood.

DAY 6
BLD

Visit other islands in the Kuna community in the morning and later have the chance to relax on one of the beautiful white sand beaches or snorkel.

DAY 7
B

Chiriqui Highlands and Boquete

A morning flight to Panama City, with an onward connection to David in western Panama from where you are driven to the mountain town of Cerro Punta for 2 nights. Stop en route to see pre-Columbian petroglyphs, with dozens of carved stones and boulders among flower filled gardens.

DAY 8
B

A free day to relax or explore your mountain setting. The lodge arranges a guided morning walk for guests, often into beautiful cloud forests alive with birds in La Amistad NP. After lunch, perhaps visit one of Latin America's finest orchid nurseries with over 2000 varieties from all over the world.

DAY 9
BL

Your guide takes you for a leg-stretching walk on the first section of the Los Quetzales Trail, through lovely cloud forest which opens out here and there to give fine views. Among the birds and wildlife, there is a good chance between January and May of seeing the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal. Then travel by road around the volcano to the thriving little town of Boquete, where you stay for the next 2 nights.

DAY 10
B

Visit a coffee farm today, coffee from this region is among the world's best and you will see how it is harvested, selected, dried and roasted.

DAY 11
B

Wildlife around the Canal

A free morning to relax and enjoy the hotel's pretty gardens or potter around Boquete. Later return to Panama City by air and on by road to Gamboa Rainforest Resort for 3 nights.

DAY 12
B

After breakfast take a wildlife boat trip on Gatun Lake. There are good chances of seeing spectacled caiman, green iguana, land turtle, capuchin monkey, two-toed sloth, capybara, and many different birds. Spend the afternoon at leisure.

DAY 13
B

Together with your guide you take a stroll on the 'Pipeline Road' to the Rainforest Discovery Centre, a birdwatching centre on the border of the Soberania NP and with an observation tower.

DAY 14
B

Morning free at Gamboa Resort. Transfer back to Panama City and either embark on additional journeys in Panama, perhaps to the beach, or fly home.

Guide prices for 'Panama Odyssey'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide Price with mid-range hotels 2 people sharing £3,095 £3,135
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 'Panama Odyssey'

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.

Average customer rating 97%

rating

Everything - the pace was perfect.

rating

We liked the canal, the fish market in Panama City, we visited a horse stud and enjoyed the coffee plantation. We liked meeting people and loved the warm weather.

rating
rating

Seasonal information for 'Panama Odyssey'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Panama City 31°C rainfall 43mm
2 Panama City 31°C rainfall 43mm
3 Panama City 31°C rainfall 43mm
3 Partial Transit of the Panama Canal 29°C rainfall 64mm
4 Panama City 31°C rainfall 43mm
5 San Blas Islands 30°C rainfall 81mm
6 San Blas Islands 30°C rainfall 81mm
7 Cerro Punta 19°C rainfall 76mm
8 Cerro Punta 19°C rainfall 76mm
9 Boquete 22°C rainfall 52mm
10 Boquete 22°C rainfall 52mm
11 Gamboa 29°C rainfall 51mm
12 Gamboa 29°C rainfall 51mm
13 Gamboa 29°C rainfall 51mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

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

Hotels for 'Panama Odyssey'

Days 1 - 4

Toscana Inn Hotel

Centrally located nearby to popular tourist attractions. The hotel has standard rooms for single, double and triple occupancy. All rooms have air conditioning, wifi and TVs. The hotel has a terrace with views of the city and a restaurant serving Panamanian dishes.

Toscana Inn Hotel
Days 5 - 6

Akwadup

San Blas

This is a lodge run by the Kuna Yala community who also operate the Dolphin Lodge. Akwadup is the superior of the two properties. It comprises of wooden cabins set on stilts, built in over-the-water style. It has 24 hour electricity, private bathrooms with flush toilets and showers, ceiling fans and a terrace with hammock. Guests stay on a full board basis and get an opportunity to interact with the local Kuna people.  

No children under 14 years.

Note: bring your own masks and snorkels if you enjoy snorkelling.

Akwadup
Days 7 - 8

Los Quetzales Lodge & Spa

Guadalupe
rating

Average rating 4.5 (13 ratings)

Tucked away in a highland cloud forest, Los Quetzales Lodge & Spa is 2200 meters above sea level inside the primary forests of Volcan Baru national park. The climate here varies from 24°C on a sunny day to 7°C  in the chilliest winter night (the cold nights means biting insects are virtually absent). Timber-built, Los Quetzales Lodge is beside a river in the picturesque agricultural village of Guadalupe. The simple spacious rooms all have private bathrooms with hot water, room service and telephone service. The Lodge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a friendly laid-back atmosphere.  There is a small spa in the grounds, next to the river and surrounded by trees.

Los Quetzales Lodge & Spa
Days 9 - 10

Finca Lerida

Boquete
rating

Average rating 4.7 (12 ratings)

This small working coffee farm has two types of accommodation:

The first, "Finca Lerida Bed and Breakfast", comprises of Scandinavian style cabin cottages dotted in the grounds near the entrance to the property, each with a living room, open fire, two bedrooms, bathroom and verandah.

The newer "Finca Lerida Ecolodge" has 11 comfortable modern double rooms each with private bath, a porch overlooking the forest and the lodge's own small coffee plantation.

Finca Lerida
Days 11 - 13

Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Gatun Lake
rating

Average rating 4.6 (10 ratings)

Just 20 minutes drive from Panama City beyond the Miraflores lock surrounded by the forest of the Soberania National Park and set on Gatun Lake is the Gamboa Rainforest resort. A  large upper-range North American style hotel built in 2000.

All the hotel rooms have balconies which overlook the Chagres River. They have easy chairs, mini bar, safe deposit box, satellite TV,  showers, hair dryers, iron and ironing board, coffee and coffee maker and 24 hours Room Service.

The resort has a Business Center, Gift Shop, Library, Swimming Pool, Tour Desk, Spa, three restaurants and a pool bar.

Gamboa Rainforest Resort