Best of Panama - Costa Rica Twist

Price

$7,525/Couple for 7 NIGHTS

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The ultimate excursion to three of the most important properties in the World, Archaeological sites and Historic District of Panama, La Amistad National Park and Guanacaste Conservation Area, all in 8 days. Discover relics of pre-Columbian and Colonial architecture while admiring the sights and richness of the Neotropical rainforests.

Summary

Tocumen International Airport is a regional hub for commercial flights heading to and from The Caribbean, South America, North America and Central America (also, the European cities of Frankfurt, Madrid and Amsterdam are served). It is one of the few airports in the region that has two landing runways able to serve the largest commercial aircraft operating today. Common airliners at the airport include Boeing 737s, Embraer 190s and Airbus A320s. The largest passenger aircraft flying to/from the airport are the Airbus A340 and the Boeing 777 flown by Iberia Airlines and KLM, respectively.

Exotic tropical rainforest, beautiful mountain refuges, and Caribbean-style beaches, one of the best birding sites worldwide, seven living Indian cultures, Panama is the sophisticated capital city with a vibrant night life, Spanish colonial historical sites (UNESCO World Heritage Site), golf, diving, snorkeling, not to mention that 8th wonder of the world and engineering marvel, the Panama Canal. It is hard to think of any other destination in the world that has such a variety of attractions that close and easy to get to.

La Amistad National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Central America, where Quaternary glaciers have left their mark, has allowed the fauna and flora of North and South America to interbreed. Tropical rainforests cover most of the area. Four different Indian tribes inhabit this property, which benefits from close co-operation between Costa Rica and Panama.

Playa Hermosa, which means "beautiful" in Spanish, is an aptly named gray-sand beach that perches between two mountains. In fact there are two Playa Hermosas, the other being in the Central Pacific Coast near Jaco. Guanacaste's Playa Hermosa is situated between Playa del Coco and Playa Panama, Hermosa is seldom as crowded as its neighbors. It is a fabulous getaway for those seeking quality relaxation. Most visitors bring a blanket and sunscreen to soak up Guanacaste's burning sun, and due to its calm surf, Hermosa is a favorite for swimmers.

Due to excellent facilities and its close proximity to scores of attractions, Liberia is an ideal stopover for many visitors. With the recent opening of the Daniel Oduber Quiróz International Airport, the once sleepy cowboy town of Liberia is undergoing comprehensive metamorphosis as it transitions from old colonial town to modern-day tourism hub. Liberia's international airport, Costa Rica's second, serves famed destinations on Costa Rica's Guanacaste coast and Nicoya Peninsula.

Day to Day Itinerary

DAY #1

TOCUMENT AIRPORT (PTY) PICK-UP WITH TRANSFER TO HOTEL
CHECK-IN AT THE COUNTRY INN – PANAMA CANAL (2 NIGHTS)
NIGHT TOUR AND DINING IN AMADOR CAUSEWAY

DAY #2

ARCHEOLOGICAL RUINS & HISTORIC DISTRICT - WORLD HERITAGE SITE
MIRAFLORES VISITOR CENTER
SHOPPING/DINING

DAY #3

BOAT RIDE THROUGH GATUN DAM/LAKE
PICNIC LUNCH ON ISLAND AT PANAMA CANAL
AFTERNOON DOMESTIC FLIGHT TO CHIRIQUI
GROUND TRANSPORTATION TO BOQUETE
CHECK-IN AT THE HOTEL LADERA – BOQUETE (2 NIGHTS)
FREELANCING BOQUETE STREETS AND SHOPS

DAY #4

CLOUD FOREST CANOPY TOUR (LUNCH)
COFFEE PLANTATION TOUR AT BARU VOLCANO - WORLD HERITAGE SITE

DAY #5

TRANSFER TO AIRPORT
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT TO GUANACASTE (COSTA RICA)
LIBERIA AIRPORT (LIR) PICK-UP WITH TRANSFER TO PLAYA HERMOSA
CHECK-IN AT FLAMINGO BEACH RESORT (3-NIGHTS)

DAY #6

PALO VERDE NATIONAL PARK AND GUAITIL POTTERY - WORLD HERITAGE SITE

DAY #7

LEISURE AT HOTEL

DAY #8

BREAKFAST AND TRANSFER TO AIRPORT

Activities

This World Heritage Site is defined by two properties, the Archaeological sites of Old Panama and the Historic District (aka "Casco Viejo"). Old Panama is the oldest European settlement in the Pacific Coast of the Americas (established in 1519 by Spain). It was laid out on a rectilinear grid and marks the transference from Europe of the idea of a planned town. Abandoned in the mid-17th century, it was replaced four miles west of its original location by a 'new town' (the 'Historic District'), which has also preserved its original street plan, its architecture and an unusual mixture of Spanish, French and early American styles. Its massive historic sea wall built in the 1670s to defend the city from attack by the pirates still stands. Today it is one of the most important historical monuments in the Americas. The streets are filled with buildings that served as homes, cathedrals and churches and government buildings over centuries and many architectural phases. Some of these structures have been painstakingly restored and now house museums, gourmet restaurants, quaint shops and upscale residences offering an excellent peek into the varied history that the district has experienced.

The Panama Canal Visitor Center is an expression of the permanent commitment of the Panama Canal Authority to strengthen the public's knowledge of the Canal. Located on the east side of the Miraflores Locks, the Center allows the visitor to observe transiting vessels from a distance of only a few meters and learn firsthand about the various operations of the Panama Canal, the history of its construction, its participation in the world markets, and the importance of its watershed. The center features an ample, fully equipped theater, three observation terraces, two snack bars and restaurant with panoramic view, a gift shop, and a hall for special events. Four exhibition halls constitute the heart of this Visitor Center. The exhibitions include historic pieces, interactive modules, video presentations, models of the Panama Canal, and objects used in Canal operations. The History Hall portrays the background, technological innovations, and sanitary initiatives that went hand in hand with the construction of the Canal. This exhibition hall honors the hundreds of men and women who made this achievement possible. The Hall of Water: Source of Life emphasizes the importance of water, conservation of the environment and biodiversity, protection of the Canal Watershed, and the Panama Canal Authority's commitment to the sustainable management of this resource and the interoceanic region. The Canal in Action depicts in an amusing manner how the Canal operates and allows us the experience of being inside a navigation simulator and one of the lock culverts. A virtual ocean-to-ocean transit is also made possible through the use of a topographical model. This exhibition showcases Canal improvement, modernization, and maintenance projects. The Canal in the World provides information on the importance of the Canal to world trade; describes the trade routes it serves; and identifies its main users, the various types of vessels that transit the waterway, and the commodities they carry. In addition, it presents an overview of studies conducted in order to guarantee the future competitiveness of the Canal and the benefits to the Republic of Panama.

Take a boat tour through the Panama Canal into secret waterways to find hidden islands where Capuchin and Howler monkeys can be seen leaping in the trees above. Occasionally, they become curious of visitors and venture down to take a closer look. This Panama Canal tour provides a unique opportunity for viewing wild monkeys in their natural habitat. Other animals you might spot on this tour include Two and Three-toed Sloths, Crocodiles, and turtles that are native to Gatun Lake. The boat ride to and from the island passes through the Panama Canal, giving you the chance to spot huge container ships and cruise liners during their passage across the world.

Enjoy a cloud forest tree canopy trek on a zip line that allows you to contemplate the rainforest from fourteen different canopy platforms while smoothly soaring in the heights of the cloud forest from one treetop to another. You will glide through the trees and encounter a world unknown. You will discover a fascinating perspective of wildlife that you had never appreciated. Native species of flora and fauna can be observed. You will marvel at the sight of a great variety of orchids, trees and wildflowers that are found throughout the area. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. At an elevation of 2,286 meters (7,500 feet) you will have an opportunity to hike this dormant volcano looking for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled Bellbird, Black-faced Solitaire, Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher and Prong-billed Barbet in their cool habitat of orchids, bromeliads and wild avocados.

An interactive experience with coffee at Café Ruiz. The experts will explain the complete process from growing, green processing, roasting, packaging, and trading of high-end quality coffee. Casa Ruiz is the leading quality coffee company in Boquete and the excursion takes you from the coffee farm, coffee wet and dry processing facilities, roasted to an unforgettable tasting experience at the Coffee Shop. Enjoy a fresh brewed cup of coffee while watching the spectacular sunset over the Baru Volcano, the highest peak of the country at 3,475 meters above sea level.

Have your camera handy as you search the riverbanks for monkeys, crocodiles, and a myriad of birds on this nature cruise through this National Park. After a scenic guided drive through Guanacaste's Sabanero (cowboy) Country, you'll hop into a boat and begin your cruise down the Tempisque River. Best known for its murky water and spectacular wetlands, this area acts as a sanctuary for both resident and migrating marine bird species. Appropriately, this tour is a real treat for bird watchers, as you'll have the chance of spotting a wide range of fowl that includes storks, egrets, spoonbills, grebes and more. Also be on the lookout for monkeys, iguanas, scarlet macaws, anteaters, crocodiles and caimans, which can often be seen lingering along the banks of the river. The tour ends with a visit to the Guaitil indigenous village, where some of the country's most spectacular pottery is made and sold.

Tour Highlights

  • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF 100% GUIDED ACTIVITIES
  • EXPERIENCE THE STUNNING ARCHITECTURES OF HISTORIC DISTRICTS AND FORTRESSES
  • LEARN ABOUT THE FASCINATING CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE REGION
  • JOURNEY ALONG THE BREATHTAKING WATERS OF GREAT RIVERS WHILE VISITING MARINE SANCTUARIES
  • VISIT THE 8TH WONDER OF THE WORLD: THE PANAMA CANAL
  • MARVEL AT THE SIGHT OF GREAT VARIETY OF RAINFOREST FLORA & FAUNA

Lodging

Country Inn & Suites – Panama Canal

Country Inn & Suites – Panama Canal is situated in the outskirts of the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal in the popular Amador Causeway and features 159 comfortable rooms some with balconies and excellent views of the Panama Canal and the Bridge of the Americas. Some of its amenities include an outdoor pool and a fitness facility, a TGI Friday's restaurant and a marina.

Hotel Ladera

Hotel Ladera is located in the Highlands of Chiriquí, only 45 minutes from its international airport. This newly built hotel with its 20 rooms has a beautiful view over the Caldera River, Bar Volcano and the Town of Boquete. The main plaza of Boquete is only 10 minutes walking distance from the hotel. The Standard rooms are equipped with one queen size bed and one twin bed, Cable TV, free Wi-Fi, balcony with river view. The beautifully designed restaurant and bar with outside terrace and seating area offers all three meals (international cuisine) and cocktails at night.

The Flamingo Beach Resort

The Flamingo Beach Resort sits on Playa Flamingo, on the northwest coast of Costa Rica. This is an intimate oasis for travelers seeking an exotic and enchanting escape. Just picture yourself lounging on the pristine white sands of Flamingo Beach - one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, framed by tall coconut palms and lush mountain foliage. 1 Family Studio -**** All Inclusive*****, sleeps 6.

Transportation

Private transport service offers a safe, convenient, and flexible way to travel anywhere within Panama. Private transport can be scheduled anytime you wish and from any airport, hotel, private home or identifiable landmark in Panama. All the vehicles used for private transportation are air conditioned, well-maintained minibuses (passenger vans) driven by reliable and punctual Panamanian professionals, who are eager to help your group move safely about the country.

Not Included

  • MEALS (U.N.O.)
  • INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE
  • GRATUITIES
  • HOTEL EXTRAS

What to Bring

  • Binoculars (preferably 7x35 or bigger, also available for purchase at FTS online store)
  • Camera with extra batteries & film
  • Flashlight with extra bulb & batteries
  • Insect repellant, Sunscreen, bathing suit
  • Hat, Day pack / dry sack
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
  • Sandals, sneakers / hiking boots
  • Long pants, Rain gear, Windbreaker
  • Money in small denominations
  • Toiletries & personal medications

What to Expect

Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the finest in the eco-tourism industry. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:

  • Naturalist guide/Tour leader: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
  • Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
  • Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
  • Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase
  • International airport bellmen (red caps): US$1.00 per piece of suitcase
  • Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to tidal/weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.
  • Weight restrictions apply to luggage in domestic flights as follows: each passenger is allowed 1 bag of up to 25 lbs. (11 kg) per person. Carry-on luggage is limited to 10 lbs. passenger (4.5 kg).
  • Passengers are responsible for excess baggage fees and are subject to US$1.00 per extra pound and only allowed depending on flight occupancy.
  • Free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to a foreign country.
  • It allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.
  • Provides routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • We encourage you to enroll before boarding your flight by visiting https://step.state.gov/step/.
  • Travel protection is the unique combination of insurance benefits and assistance services specifically designed to help protect travelers.
  • Coverage benefits can include Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical/Dental Coverage, Emergency Medical Transportation, Travel Delay, Baggage Delay, Baggage Coverage, and Accidental Death.
  • Travel protection insures your prepaid and nonrefundable tickets, accommodations and other travel expenses, in case you miss your trip for a covered reason.
  • There are many covered reasons for cancelling a trip; however, the most common is an injury or illness. For example, a family is planning a summer vacation and a week before the trip, a close relative is admitted to the hospital with a life-threatening illness. The family could file a claim for any prepaid, nonrefundable expenses or other costs associated with a change or cancellation of their vacation plans.
  • While you can buy travel insurance up until the day before you depart, we recommend you purchase as early as possible to receive the maximum benefits if you have to cancel your travel arrangements for a covered reason.
  • Travel protection policy coverage generally starts at 12:01 A.M. on the day the scheduled trip begins. Therefore, travel protection cannot be purchased after that time.
  • FTS can only recommend the services of companies that provide top-quality coverage and impeccable customer service to our clients. You may purchase your policy directly by contacting Allianz Travel Insurance at http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/.