10 days

Panama Highlights

Panama Highlights


See the Panama Canal at Miraflores Lock

Trip rating
  • When hiking in Boquete keep an eye out for the resplendant quetzal, a bird with near-mythic status around these parts. Sacred to the ancient Mayans and Aztec people, the feathers of its gorgeous red breast and green crest were worn by priests during ceremonies. In 1944, Dr Alexander Skutch described the male as “a supremely lovely bird; the most beautiful, all things considered, that I have ever seen.”

    Why we love it


    Day 1 - San Jose

    • On arrival at San Jose airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel located in the heart of the city. In the evening you will meet your tour leader and the other members of the group for a pre-tour briefing. This is normally held at 6pm but please check the notice board at reception to confirm the time and place. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents along with you. Following the briefing there is generally an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant.
    • Costa Rica’s capital sits in the centre of a lush, wide valley which has a comfortable subtropical climate. The streets of the town are laid out along a grid iron pattern, with avenidas running east to west and callés running north to south. Many of the most interesting buildings are in the region of Avenida Central – the Teatro Nacional is an elaborate confection of marble staircases, statues, frescoes and mirrors. There are a number of interesting museums in the city; the Museo de Oro has a good collection of golden pre-Columbian figurines. The Mercado Central is the main market which dates back to 1881 – there are some good food stalls here as well as countless artefacts for sale. Elsewhere in San Jose there are some good restaurants – you can dine out on Chinese, Indian, Italian or the more traditional variations on the theme of rice and beans.
    Hotel Plaza Real or similar

    Day 2-3 - San Gerardo de Dota

    • You will drive up the mountains in the south today, to reach San Gerardo de Dota. San Gerardo de Dota is situated in the mountains, it is surrounded by potato and carrot plantations, old growth oak trees and wildflowers and is close to one of Costa Rica's highest peaks.
    • You may catch a glimpse of a quetzal here, a brightly coloured but rarely spotted bird, that was once considered sacred to the Mayan people. This is the best place in Central America to see it.
    • Your guide will take you on a trip where you will hopefully see the bird, along with a umber of other tropical birds including toucans, cormorants, kingfishers and egrets.
    • You will have the opportunity to go rafting, or fly fishing on the Savegre River while you are here (optional). The Savegre River is the cleanest river in Central America.
    Trogon Lodge or similar

    Day 4-5 - Golfito

    • You will continue on to Golfito today, on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Once a banana plantation hub before the area was struck by disease, the banana plantations have since been shut down and the area has instead become a national reserve and duty-free shopping zone.
    • You will stay in the Refugio Nacional Golfito, a rainforest lodge overlooking the Gulf of Dulce. It is a sustainable lodge built from recycled materials and relying on solar power.
    • While you're here you can choose from a number of optional activities, including fishing, hiking, kayaking, snorkelling and yoga. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife that frequents the rainforest and surrounding environment. You might see monkeys, iguanas, dolphins, toucans and bright blue butterflies.
    Esquinas Rainforest Lodge or similar

    Day 6-7 - Boquete

    • You will leave your eco oasis and head across the border and on to Panama today, to reach the small mountain village of Boquete.
    • Located in the valley of the Panama highlands, Boquete is awash with natural delights. It boasts forest reserves, crystal clear creeks and rivers, wildflowers, howler monkeys and quetzal.
    • Panama's highest point, Volcan Bary, is nearby. From the top you can see the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
    • While you are here you can enjoy hiking, canopy tours, river rafting, kayaking and zip lining (all optional). this region is also known for its excellent coffee, so you may like to visit a plantation here, or hang out it in town over a local brew.
    La Casa de la Abuela or similar

    Day 8 - El Valle de Anton

    • Drive approximately 6 hours to El Valle de Anton in Panama's Cocle province.
    • Valle de Antón is a picturesque town located on what was once the crater lake of a now-extinct volcano.
    • Tackle one of the area's many hiking trails, take a soak in the hot springs, or visit the butterfly sanctuary, orchid centre, or La Piedra Pintada petroglyphs - a huge boulder carved with pre-Columbian figures, the meaning of which are still unknown.

    Day 9-10 - Panama City

    • You will drive to Panama's capital today, Panama City. It is approximately a two hour drive.
    • On arrival you will check in to the hotel and then head out on a tour of Panama City, taking in El Casco Viejo, Ancon Hill, Causeway de Amador as well as the Panama Canal Visitors Center
    • Your tour will come to an end after breakfast on Day 10, you are welcome to depart the accommodation at any time.
    The Saba Hotel or similar
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local leader throughout the tour
    • Arrival transfer
    • San Gerardo de Dota - Quetzal spotting tour
    • Piedras Blancas NP - Mangrove kayak tour
    • Boquete - Coffee plantation tour and hot springs
    • Panama City - City and canal tour
    • Accommodation: Hotel (5 nts), Lodge (4 nts)
    • Meals: 9 Breakfasts
    • Tips for services you receive as part of your trip including drivers, specialist local guides, restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff (excluding your tour leader)

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure tax
    • Visas where required
    • Meals not included in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Laundry
    • Any optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips for your tour leader
    • Items of a personal nature

    Safety Information

    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSPA
Group size 1 - 16
Start City: San Jose
End City: Panama City
Style: Small Group

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