Panama,

Wild Panama Off The Beaten Track

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Tailor-Made Tour
13 Days
From £3180
GEOIP Not Available
Snorkelling and Diving
Off The Beaten Track

Tour Introduction

13 Days from £3180
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you

An actively adventurous tour designed for intrepid travellers eager to experience the best wilderness Panama can offer, both below and above the sea’s surface. Starting with the wildlife of Gatun Lake in the Canal Zone, proceed to explore two extra-special remote wildlife regions: Punta Patino in the legendary Darien for primary dry forest, diverse fauna and great birding (including possibly the harpy eagle) and the extraordinary forests and Pacific marine environment of Coiba Island National Park.

The fact that the Darien is the only gap in the Pan American highway (spanning all of North and South America) speaks for its isolation and wildness. Coiba sits in a deep offshore trench and has been compared to Cocos Island for its marine diversity but is far closer to shore and much more accessible. If you are unworried about having high levels of comfort and seek the authentic wild parts of Panama, you will have a truly wonderful wildlife holiday.

Full Itinerary

Price from £3180
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Arrive in Panama City

Arrive Panama City, capital of Panama in the early evening. Met and transfer to your accommodation in the sleepy village of Gamboa on the edge of the Panama Canal and adjacent to Soberania National Park.

Staying at Canopy Bed and Breakfast. Includes In-flight Meals.

Day 2
Panama Canal

Board an expedition boat and explore Gatun Lake, passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the Panama Canal. Along the way spot green iguana, three-toed sloth, caiman, osprey, snail kite and keel-billed toucan, and look out for white-faced capuchin, mantled howler monkey, Central American spider monkey, and Geoffroy’s tamarin.

Staying at Canopy Bed and Breakfast. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 3
Darien Province

Enjoy a 4 – 5 hour drive east along the Pan-American highway to Puerto Quimba

Arrive Punta Patiño Nature Reserve and take a 1.5-hour boat ride along the Tuira River and Pacific Ocean to the private 65,000-acre In the afternoon explore the tropical dry forest, and in the early evening visit the wetlands to search for capybara, caiman, owls and other nocturnal species.

Staying at Patiño Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 4
Punta Patiño

Morning hike through the tropical dry forest along the Piedra Candela trail. In the late afternoon explore the coastal margins of the reserve including the seabird nesting areas of El Morro.

Staying at Patiño Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Punta Patiño

After breakfast embark by motorised dug out canoe and head for the Mogue River. Passing through millenary mangroves look out for roseate spoonbill, ibis, osprey and raccoons fishing along the river.

Arriving at the Embera village of Mogue, hike to a harpy eagle nest if active, and explore the community.

Staying at Patiño Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6
Panama City

After breakfast return to Panama city by boat and road, arriving back in the city in the afternoon.

Staying at Country Inn and Suites. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 7
Coiba National Park

After breakfast transfer by road 6 – 7 hours southwestwards to Playa El Blanco on the Pacific coast.

Board a boat and cross to Coiba Island in the UNESCO World Heritage Coiba National Park and Special Zone of Marine Protection. The rich tropical waters are home to 760 species of fish including 33 kinds of sharks, as well as 20 species of whales and dolphins. Snorkel at Granito de Oro in the late afternoon.

Staying at ANAM Field Station. Includes All Meals.

Day 8
Coiba National Park

As well as the abundant marine life, Coiba’s Pacific moist tropical forest has exceptionally high levels of endemism of mammals, birds and plants, and is also a last refuge for a number of threatened species, including the crested eagle. Spend the day exploring Coiba National Park both on foot, and in the water. Coiba howler monkey and scarlet macaws might be seen in the Boca Grande Estuary, whilst snapper, grouper, jacks, moray eels and white-tipped reef shark might be encountered at the Bahia Damas reef. Visit some natural hot springs, and finally explore the ruins of the penal colony which was finally abandoned in 2005.

Staying at ANAM Field Station. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Coiba National Park

In the morning hike Los Monos Trail, hoping to encounter white-faced capuchins, Coiba howler monkeys, spinetails, and lance-tailed manakins amongst others.

Another opportunity to snorkel at Granito de Oro before lunch, and an afternoon of exploring the northernmost Canales Islands from above and below the water.

Staying at ANAM Field Station. Includes All Meals.

Day 10
Panama City

After breakfast return to Panama City by boat and road, arriving in the late afternoon.

Staying at Country Inn and Suites. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 11
Depart Panama City

The morning is at leisure to relax, or perhaps explore Casco Viejo, Panama City’s UNESCO World Heritage old town. Established around 1673, sites of interest include the Canal Museum and San Jose Church with its golden altar. In the afternoon transfer to Tocumen International Airport for the flight out.

Includes Breakfast.

Tour Accommodation

Panama Canal Zone

Country Inn and Suites

Overview

This large 4-star hotel offers the best views to the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. All of the 255 rooms have air-conditioning, LCD satellite TV, security safe, minibar, ironing board, balcony, Garden or Panama Canal view and wireless internet access is complimentary.

The only onsite restaurant is a TGI Fridays, but it is a 5-minute taxi ride to the lively bars and restaurants of Amador Causeway. The domestic airport is also within a short drive.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
255
Facilities

Restaurant onsite, swimming pool, fitness centre, air-conditioning, TV, safety deposit box, free Wi-Fi, minibar and business centre.

Local Wildlife

The nearby Panama Canal is home to an astonishing diversity of wildlife that includes 546 bird species, 112 species of reptile and 80 species of amphibian. Brown-throated three toed sloths, white fronted capuchins, Geoffrey’s spider monkeys, mantled howler monkeys and caiman are all regularly spotted.

Optional Activities

The hotel is well positioned for exploring the Panama Canal and other attractions nearby include the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Frank Gehry-designed Biodiversity Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Panama Darien Park Region

Punta Patino Lodge

Overview

Comfortable yet rustic, Punta Patiño Lodge sits on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by the natural splendour of the Darien. The lodge is set within the 60,000-acre Punta Patiño Nature Reserve which consists largely of rare primary and secondary dry deciduous tropical forest and is the largest area of privately protected forest in Central America.
The Punta Patiño Nature Reserve is part of the Darien National Park complex of preserved wilderness. The lodge’s 10 cabins are air-conditioned and have private bathrooms (cold water only). A dining room serving tasty local cuisine and a chapel dating back to the 20th century are all part of the lodge’s facilities. There is also a small seating area to relax in and enjoy the birdlife that abounds.

The mangrove-filled coastline around the lodge is a haven for coastal birds, with brown pelicans, frigatebirds, American oystercatchers and herons frequently spotted. Further out to sea humpback whales and pods of pilot whale and bottle-nosed dolphin can also be seen.

The Mogue River is relatively nearby and is a great area for birdwatching: roseate spoonbill, ibis and osprey can all be seen. There is a harpy eagle nest (active usually every three years) in the local forest and a great diversity of other birds, mammals and amphibians. You can opt to stay in the Mogue’s Embera village for an introduction to Panama’s intact indigenous people, the Embera being amongst the most friendly.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
10
Facilities

Private bathrooms (cold water only) restaurant, lounge, air- conditioning,

Local Wildlife

Harpy eagle, black-tailed trogon, brown pelican, frigatebirds, American oystercatchers, boat-billed herons, Geoffroy’s tamarin, night monkey, three-toed sloth, collared peccary, tamandua, jaguar and tayra all occur in the forests and waters – some are difficult to see. Offshore humpback and pilot whales and bottle-nosed dolphins are occasionally seen.

Optional Activities

Bird and wildlife watching and hiking in the National Park and local forest

Panama Gulf of Chiriqui Region

ANAM Field Station

Overview

The ANAM Field Station offers simple accommodation on the island of Coiba, 7 hours by road south west of Panama City (you can also fly to David) and 1½ hours by boat off the Pacific Coast.

The 194-square mile island of Coiba, 38 smaller islands and the surrounding marine areas in the Gulf of Chiriqui are all part of the UNESCO World Heritage Coiba National Park and Special Zone of Marine Protection.

Coiba has remained so unspoilt because for many years it was a penal colony, the ruins of which can be seen today. The island has exceptionally high levels of endemism and a great diversity of marine fauna offshore – it’s a great base for diving trips, and the snorkelling is good too.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Facilities

The station offers simple 2-room cabins with air-conditioning. Each room has 5–6 beds and a shared bathroom. There is electricity between 1900 and 0600. A pillow and sheets are provided but you must bring your own towels.

Local Wildlife

760 species of fish including 33 species of shark and numerous whale and dolphin species.

Optional Activities

Boat trips in the mangroves and to outlying islands. Diving and snorkelling. Walks in the interior. Visit the thermal pools.

Panama Canal Zone

Canopy Bed and Breakfast

Overview

Part of the Canopy Tower family, the Canopy Bed and Breakfast is a relatively new guesthouse in Gamboa providing good quality accommodation just 15 minutes’ walk from the world famous Pipeline Road. The wooden building is an historic, restored canal house that dates back to 1937 when the Canal was being built.

Accommodation is in five air-conditioned rooms, all with comfortable double beds and modern private bathrooms. A hearty breakfast is included, and dinner can be pre-ordered. Friendly staff are always on hand to provide any assistance.

Canopy Bed and Breakfast is just a 45-minute drive away from Panama City and located next to the famous Panama Canal. Gamboa town itself has plenty of history and points of interest.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
5
Facilities

Private bathrooms, air-conditioning, kitchen, dining room (breakfast and pre-booked dinner only), and lounge.

Optional Activities

Tours to the Rainforest Discovery Centre, Canopy Tower, mountain bike hire, wildlife boat trips and guided birdwatching along the Pipeline Road.

Route Map

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Punta Patino Lodge: 8.243725, -78.224829
Canopy Bed & Breakfast: 9.119143, -79.697930
ANAM Field Station: 7.469308, -81.756825
Country Inn and Suites: 8.940977, -79.555859

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:

Fly from London and certain regional airports to Panama City on KLM via Amsterdam, on Iberia via Madrid, or via the USA on Delta, American or United.

Best Visited:

December to April

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

John Melton

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965

For us this was a naturalist tour and covered everything, birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, plants and fungi…Panama is a wonderful country and we would recommend it to anyone with a love of nature.

Mrs S P - Kent