Discover Panama: The Land Between the Seas

Day 1: Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Panama City, Panama – Tour Begins

Welcome to Panama, a country of lush rainforests, rich
history, diverse wildlife and spectacular coastlines. Your tour begins
in cosmopolitan Panama City.

Day 2: Thursday, November 07, 2013
Panama City

Meet your fellow travelers for a welcome breakfast before
embarking on a city tour. Visit Panama Viejo Visitors’ Center and
Cathedral Tower, exploring the ruins of the oldest Spanish settlement on
the Pacific. Next, stop at two local markets specializing in fresh
produce and seafood for an introduction to the specialty foods of
Panama. Continue to Casco Antiguo, the Old Quarter – a UNESCO World
Heritage site. A short walking tour down its cobblestoned streets
showcases the Plaza de la Independencia, the Presidential Palace, the
National Theater, and restored colonial churches and monuments. Tonight, experience a private culinary demonstration with a local chef and learn how typical Panamanian dishes are prepared. Then, enjoy a traditional Panamanian dinner. (B, D)

Day 3: Friday, November 08, 2013
Miraflores Locks-Galeta Marine Laboratory-Panama Canal Railway-Gamboa

Head to Miraflores Locks Visitor Center to view the Panama
Canal and learn about its rich past, present and future. Follow the
canal north into the rainforest. Enjoy lunch while overlooking the lush
tropical landscape. Learn more about Panama’s delicate ecosystems at the
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Galeta Marine Laboratory as a
staff biologist brings this breathtaking setting to life. See the
Caribbean side of Panama while strolling on boardwalks through the
mangroves and spotting indigenous birds. At the train station in
Colon, climb aboard the historic Panama Canal Railway and relax in
elegance as you are whisked past stunning scenery in perfectly restored
Continue to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort – your home for the next four nights. (B, L)

Day 4: Saturday, November 09, 2013
Panama Canal Cruise

This morning, follow your guide on a nature walk through the resort’s forest and gardens. Next, board the Pacific Queen for a partial transit through the Panama Canal.
Enjoy lunch on board and pass through two locks as you revel in a
once-in-a-lifetime chance to see this incredible engineering feat first
hand and learn all about its construction and operation. Disembark at
Flamenco Marina. Visit a local handicraft market and peruse artisan
souvenirs made by indigenous peoples, including the “mola” embroidery of
the Kuna Yala. Then, soak up the ambiance at the oceanfront Amador
Causeway and relish a seafood dinner.
(B, L, D)

Day 5: Sunday, November 10, 2013

With a day at leisure, perhaps enjoy the resort’s pool and
spa; soak in the sights and sounds from the hammock on your balcony; go
fishing in Gatun Lake; kayak in the Panama Canal or embark on an
optional day trip to Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute at Barro
Colorado Island Nature Monument for a guided trail walk.

Day 6: Monday, November 11, 2013
Emberá Indigenous Village

Set off for an excursion to an Emberá indigenous village.
Board dugout canoes for a scenic ride up the Chagres River to a
settlement of Emberá, the “Keepers of the Rainforest.” The Emberá strive
to preserve their heritage and love to share their traditional
techniques of homebuilding and handicrafts with visitors. Join in their
dances and partake in a simple lunch cooked traditionally before
returning to the mainland. The remainder of your afternoon is free to
enjoy Gamboa Resort.
(B, L, D)

Day 7: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Gamboa – Monkey Island or Rainforest Tram – Playa Bonita

Choose how to spend your morning! Get an up-close glimpse of
Panama’s wildlife during a cruise to Monkey Island or ride the Aerial
Tram for canopy level views of the rainforest. Spot iguanas, toucans,
sloths, and more. Relax for the remainder of the morning…perhaps take a
nature walk, visiting the resort’s butterfly house and orchid nursery;
or embark on an optional tour to Gatún Locks and the Portobelo Fort.
Depart Gamboa this afternoon for Playa Bonita and your five-star
beachfront resort.

Day 8: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Playa Bonita

Today, enjoy free time for relaxing on the beach, enjoying
the spa or amenities at your hotel, kayaking, or taking a nature walk in
the adjacent Punta Bruja Reserve. You may opt to take a tour to a
pineapple farm or an excursion to the enchanting Anton Valley, nestled
inside the second largest volcanic crater in the world. This evening, enjoy a private salsa lesson where you move to the rhythm of Panama and learn about its rich folkloric tradition. Afterwards, celebrate your journey to Panama at a farewell dinner overlooking the Pacific. (B, D)

Day 9: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Playa Bonita – Tour Ends