Panama & Costa Rica
10 days / 09 nights
Begins at Tocumen International Airport and ends at San Jose International Airport.
Visit Panama City, Portobelo, Agua Clara, San José, Arenal and Manuel Antonio.
Explore Panama and Costa Rica in 10 days and discover some of their wonders.
- Explore Panama City and its mixture of colonial and modern architecture.
- Share some time with the Emberá Quera Indigenous Community.
- Take a Panama Canal Partial Transit Tour, the best way to experience and enjoy this marvel of engineering.
- Visit Portobelo and Agua Clara Locks by train
- Visit the beautiful museums and historical sites of San José.
- Experience the peacefulness of the rainforest and its impressive views.
DAY 01 Airport – Panama City
Welcoming at Tocumen International Airport. Transfer to your hotel in Panama City. Day at leisure.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Panama City is an upscale hotel located in the financial district of Panama. This hotel is within walking distance to dining, shopping, and casinos. You can also enjoy amazing panoramic views from the rooftop pool, whirlpool, and bar.
DAY 02 Panama City (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Full-day city tour. First thing in the morning, we will visit the Miraflores Locks visitor’s center – the nearest set of locks to the city. This visitor’s center has three main attractions: The Museum, the audiovisual presentation and the lookout point where you’ll have the chance to see the ships passing through each one of the chambers.
After this, and accompanied by your guide, you will visit the charming “Casco Antiguo” or Old Quarter, built in 1673 after Panama La Vieja (the first city) was looted and burned. The predominant architectural style of the Casco Antiguo is a combination of Italian, French and Spanish colonial.
During the expedition through this colonial part of the city you will have the opportunity to visit some churches – including the famous Golden Altar which survived the plundering and destruction of pirate Morgan, and different parks and plazas while you learn about the history of the city.
Lunch is included in one of the restaurants of the Casco Antiguo.
By the end of the day we will visit the Biomuseo, which is located in the Amador Causeway. This museum was designed by the world-renowned architect Frank Gehry and is his only work in Latin America. The Biomuseo 4,000 square meters contain eight permanent exhibition galleries – created by the Canadian designer Bruce Mau, and the main theme is the origin of the Panamanian isthmus and its gigantic impact on the planet’s biodiversity. Biomuseo is closed on Mondays.
Transfer back to the hotel and time at leisure.
DAY 03 Panama City – Emberá Quera community – Panama City (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit to the Emberá Quera Indigenous Community, located at the end of the Gatun River. The tour begins with a 30-minute ride through the river in a canoe with outboard; during the trip is possible to enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna of the region and learn a little bit about the lifestyle of the community.
Once in the community, one of the members will explain you in detail about the culture, the food and the language of the Emberas; and will answer all the questions you may have about their way of life. Besides, a cultural presentation with traditional dances and music will allow you to interact with the group and the members of the community. At the end, you will have the opportunity to shop some of the handmade crafts by the community residents. A light, traditional lunch is included during the tour; usually based on the catch of the day.
Transfer back to the hotel and time at leisure.
DAY 04 Panama City / Panama Canal (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Today we will take a Panama Canal Partial Transit Tour, the best way to experience and enjoy this marvel of engineering. The tour starts at the north end of the Gaillard cut, where the Chagres River flows into the canal. The Gaillard Cut (also known as Culebra Cut) is one of the main points of interest for visitors because it was carved through the Continental Divide and this section of the Canal is full of history and geological value.
The vessel will travel the Gaillard Cut for over 13 kilometers on the way to Pedro Miguel Locks. You will be able to appreciate the continuous maintenance that this area requires, because it is very susceptible to landslides; and you will see the new Centennial Bridge which crosses over the Canal. Once the vessel enters into the Pedro Miguel Locks, it will be lowered 9 meters in one step in order to reach the level of the Miraflores Lake. Once at the Miraflores Locks, the vessel will be lowered 18 meters in two distinct steps to reach the Pacific Ocean level. From there, the vessel will sail to the marina where you will disembark – passing under the Bridge of the Americas, and with the chance to admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City’s splendorous skyline.
DAY 05 Panama City / The Golden Route: Portobelo & Agua Clara Locks by train (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the train station. The Trans-Isthmian railway system was built in 1850 to facilitate the construction of the Panama Canal. The train journey takes about 1 hour, taking you to Colon, going through the jungle, the Soberania National Park and along the Panama Canal.
Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the city of Portobelo, one of the most important American ports during the colonial time. Here, you will learn about the history of the town that in 1668 was attacked by the pirate Henry Morgan and you will visit the forts of Santiago and San Geronimo, the Customs House, the remains of the church of La Merced, and the church of San Felipe. Also, you will visit the beautifully carved statue of Jesus of Nazareth which, because of the dark wood from which it is made, is known as the “Black Christ”.
After lunch, you will start the way back to Panama City; but first, you will stop at the Agua Clara Visitor Center of the Panama Canal. This visitor center offers a breathtaking panoramic view that contrasts two particular scenarios. On one side you will find the famous Gatun Lake, where cargo ships and other vessels transit every day, while on the other side, but from a different perspective, you will be amazed by the view of the modern set of locks.
DAY 06 Panama City – Tocumen Airport – San Jose, Costa Rica (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Tocumen Airport 2 hours before your departure time to San Jose. Welcoming at Juan Santamaria International Airport.
We’ll take a half-day sightseeing tour of the city. We will stop by the University of Costa Rica and the beautiful tree-lined pathways of Sabana Park for a glimpse into daily life in the capital city. We will visit the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, which houses an amazing collection of stone, jade and gold artifacts from around Central America. The museum was built within a repurposed military fort, symbolizing Costa Rica’s modern tradition of peace. Admire one of the country’s architectural gems, the opulent National Theater, reminiscent of the grand opera houses of Europe, the ornate structure dates back more than a century and is a source of national pride. Lunch included at local restaurant.
DAY 07 San José – Arenal (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Private transfer to Arenal. On route we will visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a private reserve of more than 70 acres that features five waterfalls, safe hiking trails and animal exhibits among other interesting attractions.
The Hummingbird Garden attracts 26 different species of hummingbirds. In the Butterfly Garden and on-site laboratory, visitors will have the opportunity to observe the most colorful species of butterflies while learning about the lifecycle and metamorphosis of these beautiful creatures. The Serpentarium exhibits 30 of the most beautiful and deadly snakes of the country including the Golden Eyelash Viper. In the Ranarium, frogs roam freely throughout a landscaped enclosure taken care by knowledgeable guides. La Casita de la Paz is a farmhouse reproduction that gives a cultural insight into the lives of rural Costa Ricans. The park has also a refuge for wild birds and felines.
DAY 08 Arenal – Manuel Antonio (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Shared Sky Tram and Sky Trek Tour, which combines adrenaline and nature. You will have a day full of emotions and amazing views. The slow-paced Sky Tram gondolas soar smoothly, offering impressive views of the rainforest, the Arenal volcano and the lake. Accompanied by a bilingual guide, the ride takes around 20 minutes with the possibility of short stops to take one-of-a-kind photographs or to spot a tropical bird. At the end of the Sky Tram, at the highest point of the mountain, there is a little trail, that will allow you to explore more about the nature that this amazing forest has to offer. On the Sky Trek you will slide through cables that extend in the middle of the forest and canyons on 8 cross-sectional cables with a total length of 1.7 miles and a maximum height of 660 feet. In the afternoon, transfer from Arenal to Manuel Antonio area.
DAY 09 Manuel Antonio (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning shared visit to Manuel Antonio National Park, which is surrounded by a lush tropical very wet forest. Here you can find capuchin monkeys, sloths, coatis, raccoons, iguanas and many species of birds, as well as the squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii citrinellus), endemic to Manuel Antonio. The Park protects also 12 Islands that represent excellent shelter for several species of marine birds. It also has excellent beaches: Espadilla Sur, Manuel Antonio and Puerto Escondido. Manuel Antonio is closed on Mondays.
DAY 10 Manuel Antonio – Airport (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Juan Santamaria Airport. (Duration 3.5 hours). Presentation at the airline counter should be 3 hours before flight departure.
- Meeting assistance at the Tocumen International Airport.
- Private Coach with A/C in Panama.
- Private transfer from Tocumen International – Hotel – Tocumen International.
- Private transfer from Juan Santamaria National Park – Hotel – Juan Santamaria National.
- 09 breakfasts.
- 06 lunches.
- 05 nights in Panama City / standard room.
- 01 night in San José / standard room.
- 01 night in Arenal / standard room.
- 02 nights in Manuel Antonio / standard room.
- Full Day City & Canal Tour (Casco Antiguo, Miraflores Locks & Biodiversity Museum).
- Visit to the indigenous community Emberá Quera.
- Panama Canal Partial Transit.
- The Golden Route tour: Portobelo & Agua Clara Locks by train.
- San Jose Sightseeing Tour.
- Visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
- Shared Sky Tram & Sky Trek Tour.
- Morning shared visit to Manuel Antonio National Park.
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