Tailor-Made Holiday

Panama and Costa Rica

Highlights of Panama and Costa Rica

14 days

from £3,255pp (excluding flights)

Combine the culture and history of Panama with the wildlife of Costa Rica bringing two incredibly diverse countries together in one memorable holiday to Central America.

  • Discover Panama City home to the charming colonial district of Panama Viejo
  • Explore the Panama Canal and Caribbean port of Portobelo
  • Spend time on the Pacific Coast and snorkel in the Gulf of Chirqui
  • Travel north into the lush hills of Boquete
  • Stay at El Remanso located on the beautiful Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Panama City and the Canal

The capital Panama City and the surrounding area is a melting pot of cultures and history.   Take the train along the old canal railway; a journey that follows the Panama Canal through scenic jungle to the Caribbean coast.  Visit the delightful town of Portobelo a major port in the 15th Century for gold and silver trading.  Travel by boat to an Embera community to learn about the traditions and customs that are still practised today.  Explore both the old and new Panama City as well as Miraflores Locks for a close-up view of the canal and the enormous vessels that navigate this passage.

Canopy Tower

An old US radar base built in the sixties to protect the Canal, this unusual hotel is an absolute must for those keen on wildlife and particularly birdwatching.  A number of excursions are included in a stay at Canopy Tower including Pipeline Road which is one of the premier spots for birdwatching in the world.

Boca Chica

After a busy few days taking in the culture of Panama, take the opportunity to relax on the shores of the Pacific Coast.  Situated in the Gulf of Chiriqui Marine National Park, Bocas del Mar Hotel offers a delightful stay where sandy beaches meet tropical jungle.  Everything from island hopping to snorkelling, kayaking and nature hikes can be arranged if relaxing by the pool does not seem enough.

Boquete

In contrast to the tropical feel of Chiriqui, Boquete is known as the Switzerland of the Americas. Cooler, where flowers, citrus fruits and coffee flourish, it has fast flowing rivers and mountainous terrain and is at the centre of soft adventure in Panama.  Bird-watching, hiking and white-water rafting are just a few of the many activities that can be organised in the area.

Osa Peninsula

The delightful Osa Peninsula, just across the border from Panama, is an area of dense rainforest at the southern tip of Costa Rica. It is an extraordinary habitat (on and off land) for a wealth of wildlife including big cats, monkey, scarlet macaws, and a huge variety of reptiles and amphibians, dolphin, turtles and in season, whales.  Stay at El Remanso for a few days exploring the jungle. Activities range from surfing, dolphin trips and kayaking to jungle hikes, night walks and waterfall rappelling. 

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 3255 £ 850

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Panama City


Panama City is an exciting cosmopolitan city, a capital of great contrasts. The sparkling skyscrapers of a healthy present tower over the archaeological remain of ancient Panama Viejo, the faded grandeur of the French-style mansions in Casco Antiguo and the clinical Canal Zone.

Explore this fascinating, bustling city, then head out to one of many beautiful national parks to seek out an abundance of wildlife.


You will be staying at Concordia Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Canal Railway, San Lorenzo Fort, Portobelo and Embera Village Tour
Take a train trip on the historical and original railway from Panama City to Colón. This 1-hour journey leads you through the jungle and along the Panama Canal. This course was finished in 1855 by The French Panama Canal company.

Continue with your guide from Colón to Portobelo. This was the gathering point of Peruvian treasures in the 15th century. The gold and silver was shipped from here to Seville and in addition, Portobelo was the centre of control and inspection of the goods, which arrived from Spain. The ruin complex is built and set up in the middle of the tropical jungle and covers a set of fortresses, castles and military bases.

Continue to San Lorenzo Fort, located at the entrance of the Chagres River, close to Colon. It was along this river that the notorious pirate Henry Morgan arrived at Old Panama, to burn and loot the city. To get to San Lorenzo, it is necessary to cross the Gatun Locks and get into Sherman Fort, a former military base, surrounded by a rich jungle with a wide diversity of species

Continue to an Embera Indian Village on Rio Gatun, taking a boat trip through dense jungle. Downriver, you will step out of the dugout canoes and enter the village of the Embera Indians, one of seven indigenous tribes in Panama. The people of the Embera tribe will welcome you at the pier and give you an idea of how they still live today. The chief will give you a brief introduction to the history of the tribe, its traditions, cultures, beliefs and handicrafts. Then, a traditional lunch of fish and plantains prepared by the Embera women will be served to you. In the afternoon you will experience a traditional Embera dance and have the opportunity to shop for handicrafts. The sale of local products directly benefits the village and helps to pay school fees for the children. You can also get a temporary Embera tattoo painted on your arm or leg. After the tour, transportation back to your Panama City Hotel will be provided.


You will be staying at Concordia Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Full day city tour
Your English speaking guide will pick you up at your hotel for a tour of Panama City and the Miraflores Locks.

Start the tour with a 30 minute drive to Miraflores to see the huge vessels passing through the Panama Canal. The busiest hours are from 9am to 10am and 2pm to 5pm, when you will be able to see many ships being lifted or lowered 16 metres in two distinct steps. A sheltered terrace offers great views of the process as you listen to the explanations of your guide.

Continue with a visit to the museum and visitor centre for a well thought out presentation on the construction of the Canal - a masterpiece of engineering. You will also learn about the history of the canal and its significance for Panama and world trade.

Head then, to the Amador Causeway, a road that connects three islands in the Pacific Ocean and offers magnificent views of the canal on one side and of the Panama City skyline on the other.

Lunch is included in a Panamanian restaurant, after which the tour continues to Casco Viejo, Panama City's colonial quarter. Step back in time and admire the lovely colonial houses, narrow roads and impressive churches. You will be given an introduction to Panama's history as you walk through the quarter.

Carry on to Panama Viejo, the Old Panama. Panama Viejo was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. This first Panama City was looted and destroyed by notorious English buccaneer Henry Morgan in 1671 and therefore abandoned. Today there are only ruins left. Still, the tower of the ancient cathedral is standing and has become a landmark of the town.

After the tour you will be taken back to your hotel.

Drive from Panama City to Gamboa (Road Journey)


You will be staying at Canopy Tower, full board

Day 4

Excursions from Canopy Tower
Your stay at Canopy Tower includes a daily choice of tour. These operate on different days and when you arrive, ask to see the selection of activities available during your stay. Canopy Tower employs some of the best birding and nature guides in Central America and whichever tours are included during your stay, you can guarantee that you will be accompanied by expert natural historians. The tropical forests surrounding the tower and fringing the canal offer incredibly rewarding bird and mammal watching opportunities.


You will be staying at Canopy Tower, full board

Day 5

You will be staying at Canopy Tower, full board

Day 6

Fly Panama City to David

Drive from David to Boca Chica (Road Journey)


You will be staying at Bocas del Mar, bed and breakfast

Day 7

You will be staying at Bocas del Mar, bed and breakfast

Day 8

You will be staying at Bocas del Mar, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Drive from Boca Chica to Boquete (Road Journey)


Boquete, the placid and wonderful 'Valley of the Flowers and Eternal Spring', is a cool and fertile valley 1,600 meters above sea level. Its spring like climate - a comfortable year round average temperature of 20°C - produces the sweetest oranges and the richest coffee. Chiriqui's majestic volcanic mountain ranges, trout filled mountain rivers and beautiful agricultural scenery will leave you utterly enchanted


You will be staying at Finca Lerida, bed and breakfast

Day 10

You will be staying at Finca Lerida, bed and breakfast

Day 11

Drive from Boquete to Puerto Jimenez (Road Journey)


You will be staying at El Remanso Lodge, full board

Day 12

El Remanso Excursions
Your stay at El Remanso includes return transfers between Puerto Jimenez Airport and the lodge, full board accommodation with breakfast, lunch and dinner, yoga classes payable locally. There are a selection of guided tours to choose from, payable locally, including early and sunset bird tours, wild waterfall walk and swim, a number of different treks and walks and night hikes. There are also a great selection of off-site tours and activities available that include whale and dolphin boat trips, snorkelling trips, horse riding, water rappelling, surfing, kayaking and tree climbing. The closest sandy beach is Mata Palo, approx three kilometres away. It is possible to walk approx 850 metres to the rocky beach below the property.

According to National Geographic, the south pacific region of Costa Rica is 'the most biologically intense place on earth'. The Osa Peninsula with Corcovado National Park is home to more than 100 species each of amphibians and mammals. The tropical, humid, primary forest, more than 40,000 hectares of protected land, is home to monkeys, scarlet macaws, coatimundis and other wildlife. Even ponderous humpback whales can often be seen breaking the surface of the water (December to February). This is paradise found for nature lovers.


You will be staying at El Remanso Lodge, full board

Day 13

You will be staying at El Remanso Lodge, full board

Day 14

Fly Osa Peninsula to San Jose

Fly San Jose to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Finca Lerida

Finca Lerida

Finca Lerida is a 23 room boutique hotel located on the lower slopes of Baru Volcano, just a 10 minute drive from the town of Boquete....

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Canopy Tower

Canopy Tower

The Canopy Tower was built in the Sixties by the US Air Force as a radar base for the protection of the canal....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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