Paradise in Panama

Destination: Bocas del Toro, Panama City

| Activities: Snorkeling, Kayaking, Wildlife, Culture

Panama is a still hidden gem with more bird species than the entire continental USA and miles of pristine protected coastline. It receives fewer visitors than neighboring countries: thus it is possible to feel that you have truly gotten off the beaten track here. With a stable government, US currency, and diverse ecosystems Panama is both easy and exciting to explore. We'll spend nine days exploring this beautiful country, from Panama Canal to the beaches of Bocas. Maximum: 16

Highlights

  • Visiting an incredibly beautiful and eco diverse country that is still off the mass tourism radar
  • Touring an organic chocolate farm
  • Snorkeling and swimming among coral reefs
  • Stand up paddle boarding and kayaking in pristine waters
  • Sampling Panamanian culture and cuisine

Departures and Prices

February 09 to February 17, 2023
$4295.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • An Adventures in Good Company guide and local guides
  • Eight nights double occupancy lodging
  • All activities specified on the itinerary, kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, and hiking
  • All transportation within Panama, including internal flights
  • Meals as specified on the itinerary
  • Gratuities for drivers and day guides
Not included:Travel to Panama city; one dinner; guide gratuities; alcoholic beverages; smoothies and juices at Casa Cayuco

Trip Intro

This trip is rated both a 1 and a 2 and is an excellent choice for women who enjoy being active and trying lots of different activities, and who want to experience the incredible diversity of culture and natural history that Panama offers. Because we will be staying in one place, all activities while at Casa Cayuco are optional, hence the rating of a 1 is also appropriate. No previous experience in any of the activities is necessary.Rating: 1 [2] 3 4 5.A rating of 2 is suitable for any woman who regularly walks at a brisk pace 3 to 4 days a week for 35 - 45 minutes. These trips typically involve 3 to 5 hours of daily activity.

This trip includes swimming, snorkeling, hiking, cultural sightseeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and relaxing. No experience is necessary in any of them - your guides will teach you everything you need to know.

We stay the first two nights and the last night at a modern hotel in Panama City. The rest of the time we will be staying at a private eco-resort. This stunning resort is right on the coast, nestled against a dense backdrop of verdant jungle. Casa Cayuco We'll have the entire resort to ourselves, with 3 to 4 people per cabin. Accommodations will be assigned by lottery.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Welcome to Panama! Plan to arrive at Tocumen International Airport (PTY) by 12PM for the 1PM group shuttle to the hotel. (If you would like to fly in a day early, we have a block of pre-trip rooms reserved.) Panama City is a literal and cultural global connection point and we start our adventure with a walking tour of the historical part of the city. Casco Antiguo is a Unesco World Heritage Site, full of amazing architecture, vibrant plazas, colonial churches and fascinating history. After our tour we'll sit down to our first delicious group meal together. (D)

Overnight: Radisson Hotel Panama Canal or similar
DAY 2
Panama is best known for the Panama Canal, so it's fitting that our first full day here should be spent learning about it. After breakfast we drive a short distance to the town of Gamboa, the geographic center of the Panama Canal to start our kayaking adventure on Lake Gatun. The lake was created by flooding the area now contained in Sobernia and Chagres National Parks, turning many mountain tops into islands and creating an amazing kayaking resource with endless channels to explore. At its time, Lake Gatun was the largest manmade lake in the world, designed to feed the locks of the Panama Canal for the large vessels traveling through. The ships aren't the only interesting thing to see here though. The islands and shoreline of the lake are teeming with wildlife; we may see monkeys (including Capuchin (white-faces), howling, spider, and titi), sloths, and toucans among other animals. In the afternoon we'll visit the Miraflores Locks to learn more about the intricate workings of the Panama Canal. We'll see how the locks work and watch ships rise (or descend) over 40 feet as they transit through it. The Canal is still vital to world trade today and indeed, without it there isn't world commerce as we know it. (B, L, D)

Overnight: Radisson Hotel Panama Canal or similar
DAY 3
We will catch a domestic flight to Bocas, gateway to the Caribbean. The Bocas del Toro area of northwest Panama, is a place that looks exactly like a picture postcard of paradise. Pristine white sand beaches, brilliant blue sea waters, and small islands that seem as if they were made by the hand of a talented designer all add up to immediate relaxation. The archipelago contains 68 different islands, and all of them are open for exploring, bird watching, swimming, or just enjoying as you sit on the sand and soak up the sun. Upon arrival, we will take a water taxi to our home for the next few days, a truly unique self-sustaining ecolodge. Casa Cayuco

After an organic lunch, we’ll practice snorkeling near the eco lodge. If time and weather allow, we'll jump on a short boat ride to two nearby uninhabited islands surrounded by coral reef. These are considered to be the best conserved coral reefs in the carribean coastline. Experience this magnificent national marine park and its sandy beaches, clear turquoise water and abundant fish activity up close while snorkeling. Be on the lookout for angelfish, groupers, parrot fish, butterfly fish, lobsters and moray eels. (B, L, D)

Overnight: Casa Cayuco
DAY 4
Start the day by getting to know the locals. Boat through dense mangroves en route to an indigenous village that is home to all of the ecolodge’s employees and their families. A tour in the Salt Creek village is one of the most exciting and important aspects of Casa Cayuco’s eco-experience. After getting to know the village we’ll hike the Caiman Trail to learn about local flora and fauna, looking for caimans, poison dart frogs, monkeys, sloths and countless birds. Spend the afternoon in the warm waters close to the lodge learning to stand-up paddle board. (B, L, D)

Overnight: Casa Cayuco
DAY 5
Today we explore the Green Acres Chocolate Farm. Hike through 30 acres of paradise while finding out how organic chocolate is made in a sustainable manner. We will walk through impeccably maintained botanical gardens with a guide, identifying the local flora and fauna, and getting the opportunity to taste various delicacies straight from the plant itself. We finish our visit with a hydrating cup of chocolate iced tea while perusing the range of chocolate products available for sale. Once we get our fill of chocolate, we will spend the afternoon snorkeling through the mangroves. We may see octopus, crabs, starfish and many varieties of fish while in this underwater garden. Keep a lookout for pods of dolphins on the boat ride back to the lodge! (B, L, D)

Overnight: Casa Cayuco
DAY 6
You can choose to start your day with self guided morning yoga (real life sun salutations outside on the balmy beach!) or stroll the coastline before breakfast. Today we take a one-hour boat ride to the remote village of Ensenada on the Peninsula of Punta Valiente. After a short hike to the windward side of the island, we will arrive at the pristine beach known as Nidori, where the waves are excellent for boogie boarding, body surfing or just playing. Relax on the white sand beach, visit the local village, or swim among the waves. There will be plenty of time in the afternoon back at the ecolodge to relax or continue honing our stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking skills. (B, L, D)

Overnight: Casa Cayuco
DAY 7
Today is our last full day at Casa Cayuco and we'll spend our time meeting some of the nocturnal creatures that inhabit this area. This tour is not for the faint of heart as it involves spelunking, or cave exploration. You may be wading through water up to your waist (depends on your height!) and climbing up and over boulders, all while lighting your way with a headlamp under your helmet. You'll be accompanied by your AGC guide and a local team of guides the whole way.

For those who prefer not to spelunk, there is a leisurely walk to La Punta through the jungle with our Casa Cayuco guide or you are welcome to play in the calm waters in front of the lodge. (B, L, D)

Overnight: Casa Cayuco
DAY 8
Last chance for a snorkel and beach activities before packing up for an afternoon flight back to the capital. Sigh, our time in this sandy paradise is coming to an end. After a last delicious meal at the ecolodge, we'll boat back to Bocas and then hop on our domestic flight. Once settled back in our hotel in Panama City, we'll gather together for a farewell dinner, toasting our accomplishments, the beauty of Panama, and the fun we had together. (B, L, D)

Overnight: Bristol Hotel or similar
DAY 9
This morning we bid a fond farewell to Panama. Fly out anytime after 12pm, with one group shuttle included at 9:30AM. (B)

4.5

(11 reviews)
4.8 Food
4.1 Lodging
4.8 Safety
5
(6)
4
(4)
3
(1)
2
(0)
1
(0)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

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Allison S.
1 month ago

Lainie was fantastic at every step of the way from helping us get checked in to helping me manage my anxiety during snorkeling.

Katharene S.
2 months ago

Our guide was fantastic and very attuned to the needs of the group and group dynamics. I loved CasaCayuco especially the accommodations, staff, and quality of the food. Snorkeling was wonderful and opportunities for kayaking on my own at CasaCayuco were my favorite.

Diana K.
3 months ago

The snorkeling was magnificent, the camaraderie of the group was super fun, and the vibe from the resort where we stayed was special.

Nancy N.
3 months ago

I especially enjoyed the Casa Cayuc eco lodge with excellent food and helpful staff.

Liz F.
3 months ago

Being among the many recent widows. We all looked out for each other.

Kim C.
3 months ago

Casa Cayuco Eco Lodge was really nice. All of the people there were great and the food was fantastic. It was cool to snorkel in the mangrove forest, it looked other worldly. It was also fun to see the Panama Canal and to kayak at Lake Gatun.

Gayla P.
3 months ago

The time on the island and the snorkeling.

Alaina W.
3 months ago

I really enjoyed getting to do this trip with my mother. Also, Laine Reisman was absolutely THE BEST guide I could ever have hoped for. Her patience, professionalism, and general can-do attitude was everything we needed and more.

Julia G.
3 months ago

The women, the trip leader and the snorkeling.

Judith B.
3 months ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip! I grew up in San Juan and being in Panama brought me back "home". The beautiful scenery and wonderful people of Panama were very special to me.

Catherine B.
3 months ago

A good variety of activities, the nature and wildlife, the remoteness of and very good accommodations at the eco-lodge, the healthy food, the awesome guide, Lainie, for AGC. Also, the diversity of interesting co-travelers. And, the history and culture, and local people. The local guide in the city was also very knowledgeable. Very much enjoyed kayaking and snorkeling.

  1. Where do we eat?

    While in Panama City, breakfasts will be at our hotel. Lunches and dinners will be either in the hotel, in local restaurants, or a picnic lunch. While at the eco-lodge, all of our delicious, locally sourced meals will be eaten on site
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    Vegetarian options for this trip are available but may be more limited than you are used to. If you are concerned about having enough protein during your trip, plan to bring some plant-based protein sources such as nut butter, instant dried hummus, or high-protein energy bars. If you cannot eat gluten or if you have other dietary restrictions i.e. vegan, you will need to bring some supplemental food with you.
  3. I have never kayaked or paddle boarded before, is this the right trip for me?

    This is the perfect trip for both new and experienced kayakers and paddle boarders. We will give detailed demonstrations and lessons so you feel comfortable during water activities.
  4. What is the weather like at this time of year?

    Delightful! Days are typically in the 70s and 80s.
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