This is the perfect itinerary for birdwatchers, walkers and hikers to explore the Panama Canal Watershed. Visit the Metropolitan Park located right outside Panama City, Smithsonian’s research center Barro Colorado, Soberania National Park, relax in the middle of nature at Sierra Llorona as hummingbirds buzz around your head and learn about the history of gold and pirates at Fort San Lorenzo one of the five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Panama all in one week!
Day 1 Arrival to Panama
Welcome to Panama! Upon your arrival to Tocumen International Airport a representative will be waiting to assist and transfer you to your hotel, Country Inn & Suites Amador, located on the Amador Causeway, 15 minutes away from the town’s city center by taxi. Depending on your arrival time to the hotel, you can walk along the famous Causeway ( 6 km ) that was constructed during the building of the canal. The Causeway also connects three islands: Naos, Pericos and Flamenco. On these islands you will find a number of small restaurants, bars, cafes and other areas to sit down and relax. Tourists can also visit Punta Culebra Marine Exhibition Center, managed by the Smithsonian Institute (STRI) for an introduction of the Marine Life of the Pacific side of the Isthmus of Panama.
Day 2: Smithsonian Barro Colorado Island Excursion - (Available on Tuesday, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun)
The adventure begins at 6:30 AM at your hotel in Panama City, with a car ride through the tropical rainforest towards the small town of Gamboa where a boat is waiting for us in the STRI dock. From there you go on a 45 min - 1 hour boat ride to the Barro Colorado Natural Monument (BCNM), administered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. You will discover the splendor of the tropical rainforest in Barro Colorado, the largest forested island in the Panama Canal waterway. You will learn about research in progress and the rich natural history of the BCNM. We hope to pique your interest in tropical forests, because you are essential to the protection of this natural environment. After a welcoming and introduction about natural history by your guide, you will go on a 2-3 hour group walk along the trail on Barro Colorado Island. The walk ends at the Visitor Center, where you will find an exhibition regarding BCNM. After the Visitors Center you will head to the cafeteria to have lunch. This is a cafeteria-style lunch with a variety of dishes, including a vegetarian section. Most trails are about 2 km long and include steep sections and stairs. The trails are not appropriate for people who suffer from heart and respiratory conditions, knee injuries, or are in generally poor health. Also, if you are traveling from a non-tropical country, please note that tropical weather (high humidity and heat) can stress your body. We recommend bringing water. The forest hike takes around 2-3 hours. (B,L)
Day 3: The Pirate Trail & Panama Canal
Depart from the hotel and cross the Isthmus via the Trans-Isthmian Highway. Stop at Gatún to explore the locks and the lake. Afterwards, cross the Panama Canal by drawbridge and keep going till Fort San Lorenzo. Constructed by the Spaniards in the 16th century, San Lorenzo was occupied by British pirates over the years due to its strategic location on the Chagres River. Sir Henry Morgan conquered San Lorenzo and used it as the entrance point to sack Panama City in 1671. Country Inn & Suites Amador. (BL)
Day 4: Birding Pipeline Road
Early in the morning after breakfast depart to Pipeline Road located in the Soberania National Park. Pipeline Road is considered one of the best birding spots in America for birding with more than 400 species as Slaty-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon Woodpecker, and Chestnut Backed Antbirds, Black faced Antthrush, Fascinated Antshrikes, White Flanked and Checker Throated Antwrens, the Black Breasted & White Necked Puffbirds. A box lunch is included in the area.
Day 5-6: Posada del Cerro La Vieja / Coclé
Today you will have a transfer to the mountains of Cocle Province where you will stay in the charming lodge, La Posada del Cerro La Vieja. Cocle was one of the first areas blacks settled in Panama in the 1600s. The “Cimarones,” as they are known, mixed with the local Indians and their strong, hardworking and honest progeny continue to farm and work in the sugar cane industry. Hike; enjoy nature and the hotel’s new spa facilities.(BLD)
Day: 7 Return to Panama City & Visit to the Metropolitan Natural Park in the afternoon
In the morning after breakfast you will be met by a Representative and transferred back to Panama City. Upon arrival, you will have a visit to The Metropolitan National Park. Situated only 15 minutes from downtown Panama City, it is the most accessible rainforest in the region. It is the only tropical forest in Latin America located inside a major urban center. The MNP and several other protected areas form the “Interoceanic Biological Corridor” that stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans. The MNP is characterized by the increasingly rare dry lowland pacific forest and is home of the two- and three-toed sloth as well as over 200 bird species. In this remarkable park visitors can access four walking trails, a bike trail (you must be in shape for this one), and the Cedar Hill lookout over Panama City and the Canal. Afterwards you will be transferred to your hotel
Day 8: Transfer Out
At the appropriate time the tourists will be transferred to the Tocumen International Airport for their flight back home. They will arrive to the airport approximately 2 hours before their departure time. (B)
2011 Prices per person in US$: $1926 each for 2 people, $1668 each for 4, $1520 each for 6.
* meet and greet upon arrival
* 7 nights lodging
* private air-conditiooned transportation throughout tour
* meals as specified
* entrance fees to national aprks and other attractions, as speicified
* English-speaking guide
* domestic flights
* information kit
* lodging and indigenous taxes
Program does not include:
* optional activities
* international airfare and taxes
* departure taxes ($20 per person for Panama)
* meals not specified
* alcoholic beverages
* personal equipment
* extras in hotels and gratuities