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If you are due to travel shortly we will be in touch to support and guide you, based on current Foreign Office advice.
 
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* Terms and conditions
We may need to adjust the cost of your trip to reflect any seasonal differences. Sometimes non-refundable deposits are required by local suppliers, which would be specified prior to booking. If you are unable to travel, we would secure a credit note for future travel from these suppliers, but you would not get a cash refund for these items. Flights that have already been issues will be subject to the rules of your airline & therefore may not be refundable or changeable. All other terms and conditions remain as standard.
 
If you are looking to travel closer to home, our sister company Auriel Holidays – offers a wide range of tailor made holidays in the UK, Europe & worldwide.

Warm regards

Claire Farley, Managing Director
2by2 for holidays that will change your life
2by2 for holidays that will change your life
Call 01582 766122

Grand Panama, with Canal Navigation + Bocas Del Toro

Exploring Panama + Bocas Del Toro
QPQ14P
14 NIGHTS
FROM £2,790
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Holidays to Panama Canal Railway Tribe Chiriqui Bocas del Toro Beach

This is one of our best holidays to Panama - exploring the rainforests & beaches of this beautiful country in depth with your own private guide. Navigate along the Panama Canal, ride on the 'Coast to Coast' Railway & visit the indigenous Embera Quera Tribe. Then head to the Gamboa Rainforest in the Anton Valley, Chiriqui Highlands & spectacular Bocas del Toro beach. English guides, all transfers & sightseeing included.

Holidays to Panama Canal Railway Tribe Chiriqui Bocas del Toro Beach
• 
Panama City tour
• 
Miraflores Visitors Centre
• 
Embera Quera Tribe
• 
Panama Railway
• 
Fort San Lorenzo
• 
Panama Canal Navigation
• 
Gamboa Rainforest
• 
Chiriqui Highlands
• 
Bocas del Toro
• 
Snorkelling in Caribbean
• 
Panama City tour
• 
Miraflores Visitors Centre
• 
Embera Quera Tribe
• 
Panama Railway
• 
Fort San Lorenzo
• 
Panama Canal Navigation
• 
Gamboa Rainforest
• 
Chiriqui Highlands
• 
Bocas del Toro
• 
Snorkelling in Caribbean
Day 1
You will be met at Panama City Airport and transferred to your hotel in this modern city, situated on the Pacific Coast at the entrance to the Panama Canal and surrounded by tropical rainforest.
 
Panama was the starting point for the Spanish expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire of Peru, and today it is a major centre for international banking and commerce.
Day 2
Today enjoy a shared tour of Panama City, including a visit to the famous Panama Canal.  
 
We start with a visit the Miraflores Visitors Centre, where you will learn about the history and operation of this engineering wonder, with an audiovisual display and four floors of exhibits about the Panama Canal that cuts through Central America, linking the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean. From the observation deck you can enjoy 180 degree views of the southern locks and the Pacific. Depending on shipping transit schedules, you may even see a ship manoeuvre through the locks.
 
Afterwards we drive along the Amador Causeway, built as a wave-breaker during the construction of the canal and now linking four small islands to the mainland. From here you have panoramic views of the modern city skyline, the old Colonial City, Panama Bay, the Bridge of the Americas, Taboga Island and ships transiting through the canal.
 
Our tour continues with sightseeing in the old Colonial City, which is today a UNESCO World Heritage site. Originally founded in 1519, it was burnt down in 1671 on the orders of its governor, to prevent the city falling into the hands of the pirate Henry Morgan. It was rebuilt a few years later. Here you will see many beautiful baroque, colonial and neo classical churches and monuments. Among the best preserved are the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption, Casa Alarcón (a massive private residence) and the church and convent of Santo Domingo. The restored Old Quarter (Casco Viejo) is vibrant, with many outdoor dining venues, bars, handcraft markets. In the evening you can enjoy live music here.
 
Note: The ruins of the Old City and Canal Museum are closed on Mondays.
Day 3
Today we recommend an optional shared partial navigation through the Panama Canal, as this is the best way to admire this magnificent feat of engineering that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
 
You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to your port of embarkation at the Amador Causeway. From here you will board your boat and navigate either southwards or northwards, passing through two systems of locks on the Pacific side of the canal.
 
The Miraflores Locks are the tallest on the canal, due to the extreme tidal variation of the Pacific Ocean. Your boat will be raised or lowered 55 ft (17 m) above sea level in two steps, as the canal joins Miraflores Lake which is nearly 1.2 miles (2 km) long. A transition from the salt water of the Pacific Ocean to the fresh water of the lake and canal takes place here.
 
At the Pedro Miguel Locks your boat will be raised or lowered by 30 ft (9 m) in one step. This is where the Gaillard Cut, the narrowest section of the Panama Canal, joins Gatun Lake. The Chagres River flows into the canal here, near the town of Gamboa that is the headquarters of the Panama Canal's dredging division.
 
We also sail under the Bridge of the Americas, which rises over 100 m above sea level and re-unites the land divided during construction of the canal, forming a crucial link on the Pan-American Highway. Lunch is included today as well as soft drinks, but as the weather can be variable remember to wear comfortable shoes and bring rain gear, as well as a sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Afterwards disembark and transfer back to Panama City.
 
Note: The canal navigation is usually only available on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Day 4
Request a breakfast box from your hotel this morning, as you will be collected early (around 06.00) and transferred to Panama Canal Station in good time to board your train to the city of Colón on the Atlantic coast.
 
The Panama Canal Railway is one of the great train journeys of the world, travelling for 1-hour along a  picturesque route that crosses the Isthmus of Panama from 'Coast to Coast'. As the train proceeds from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, it follows the Panama Canal with its astonishing locks - passing through lush tropical jungle, the Culebra ('snake') Cut and across Gatun Lake.
 
You will be met at Colón Station on arrival and driven along a jungle track to Fort San Lorenzo on the Caribbean coast. At this World Heritage site you can see some interesting 17th and 18th century military fortifications built by the Spanish to defend their transatlantic trade.
 
Afterwards we visit the new locks at Agua Clara, which were put into use following an expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016. Enjoy an included lunch, with some time to enjoy beautiful Lake Gatun, before returning to Panama City by road at the end of your tour.
Day 5
Today enjoy a full day shared excursion to learn more about the traditions and way of life of the indigenous Embera Quera tribe (meaning 'Embera Perfume').
 
We travel 1-hour by road and 30-minutes by motorised boat into the heart of their territory, situated at the mouth of the Gatun River. Here you will receive a warm welcome, as you observe them in their daily activities that are centred on fishing, hunting, farming and artisan pottery. You can share their traditional dances, music and body paintings that will transport you back in time.
 
After a light traditional lunch (fresh river fish accompanied by yucca plant or plantains) served in banana leaves, there is the opportunity to buy handcrafts made by the community. After a day of simple pleasures, we return to Panama City.
Day 6
This morning we leave Panama City and travel 30-minutes to the 340-acre Gamboa Rainforest, situated in Soberania National Park at the meeting point of the Panama Canal and the Chagres River.
 
Travelling 600 m aboard a gondola that rises above the rainforest, you will have wonderful views over the treetop canopy, with its amazing wildlife and exotic birds. You can commune with nature in a pristine environment and view some ecological exhibits, before enjoying an included lunch at the Gamboa Rainforest hotel.
 
In the afternoon we continue 3-hours travelling along the Pan-American Highway, before heading inland to the beautiful Anton Valley. Here a small rural community lives in the crater of an extinct volcano, surrounded by mountains and forest. This cloud forest offers sanctuary to a variety of flora and fauna quite different from those found in the humid coastal forests. Cerro Gaital National Park protects 3 hills: Cerro Gaital, Cerro Pajita and Cerro Caracoral. The park is home to hundreds of species of endemic birds including the red-legged honeycreeper, the bay-headed tanager and the blue-crowned motmot.
Day 7
This morning we explore the Anton Valley, before heading to the Azuero Peninsula.
 
Our first stop is at the beautiful El Chorroel Macho waterfall, which cascades down 115 ft (35 m). We also visit Piedra Pintada, a set of ancient Pre-Colombian petroglyphs traced on a giant stone, whose meaning has not yet been understood. Following this visit we stop at the fruit & vegetable market, which also sells local handicrafts. Here will have some time to enoy the area.
 
After lunch in one of the local restaurants (own account), we then drive 2.5-hours along the Pan-American highway to Chitre on the Azuero Peninsula. Check into your hotel in this town that is one of the oldest in Panama.
Day 8
This morning enjoy an excursion to the Hacienda San Isidro in Pese, in the heart of Herrera province.
 
This is where Ron Abuelo Anejo, the best rum in Panama, is produced. After a brief introduction in the colonial house, you will be transferred in a car across the sugar cane fields to the distillery. Here you will learn about the different processes required to produce alcohol from sugar cane, including grinding, fermentation and distillation.
 
We then visit the wineries where the rum is aged and ripened in barrels of oak. Here you will be able to taste the different rums that are produced at the Hacienda San Isidro, including 5, 7, 12 and 30-year old vintages. After the tasting enjoy an included traditional Panamanian lunch, with an open bar of rum and dry cocktails.
Day 9
After breakfast we leave the Azuero Peninsula and drive 5-hours to the beautiful Chiriquí Highlands.
 
Along the way we stop at the impressive La Palma Waterfall, hidden in secluded woods. Its crystalline waters have a spectacular free fall of nearly 100 ft (30 m) and at the bottom of the waterfall there is a natural pool with pleasantly refreshing waters.
 
We then continue to Chiriquí Province, which is known as the bread basket of Panama due to its rich agricultural lands. It also has some of the most breathtaking highland scenery in Central America. We drive to the eastern side of the dormant Baru Volcano and check into our hotel in the quaint town of Boquete, whose countryside is dotted with flowers, fruit and vegetable farms, coffee plantations and extraordinary cloud forest.
Day 10
Today enjoy a Coffee Tour that begins in the fields of Bouquete, with a glimpse of the three vital factors that influence coffee’s quality - the soil, the micro-climate and the genetics of the coffee bean.
 
We will learn about the history of coffee, some of the secrets of coffee handling and see production all the way from a ripe coffee cherry to a roasted bean. We also find out about the link this facility had with te Norwegian engineer, Toleff Boche Monniche, who worked on the design and construction of the Panama Canal’s emergency gates.
 
The tour ends at the tasting table where the long, intense and complex coffee process ends. This is also the place where the farmer finds out whether or not a whole year’s work produced a high quality coffee. Taste different varieties of coffee and learn how to distinguish between different taste tones. Instruction will be given on how to prepare a good cup of coffee by learning about water temperature, time, toasting, grinding and different brewing methods like coffee maker, French press, drip brew and boiling. This tour will illustrate Panama's coffee culture in a fun way, helping you better enjoy this legendary drink.
Day 11
This morning we leave the cloud forests of the Chiriquí Highlands and drive 4-hours to the coral reefs of Bocas del Toro.
 
Along the way we stop at Los Cangilones de Gualace. This mini canyon has majestic rock formations and crystalline waters that pass through it in the dry season. Impregnated on the rocks you can find marine fossils such as starfish. It is also an excellent place to take are refreshing swim.
 
We continue to the seaside village of El Almirante, from where we take a 30-minute boat ride to Bocas del Toro on Colón Island. You will see many colourful clapboard houses, as you are driven to your hotel on this spectacular archipelago. Check in and absorb the Caribbean vibe, whilst relaxing on some of the best beaches in Central America.
Days 12 To 13
At leisure to relax and enjoy the Caribbean atmosphere of Bocas del Toro and the paradise beach at Boca del Drago.
 
You can search for colourful star fish, swim or snorkel amongst beautiful coral reefs and mangrove isles. If you wish to explore a litle futher afield, a network of water taxis can take you to remote beaches and pristine snorkelling sites for only a few dollars.
Day 14
Transfer to Bocas del Toro Airport for your light aircraft flight to Panama City.
 
You will be met at Albrook Airport and transferred to your hotel in the city.
 
Note: As you will be flying in a light aircraft, you can take only soft sports bags, with a maximum weight of 14 kg (including your hand luggage), which is strictly enforced for safety reasons.
Day 15
Transfer to Panama City Airport for your flight home.
 
Note: International airport departure tax of $50 per person payable locally.