Coiba: Sands of Tropical Alcatraz

Price

$8,145/Group of 4 for 6 NIGHTS

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This ultimate Panama countryside excursion takes you to the remnants of Coiba's tropical moist forest in Pacific Central America. A site of extravagant beauty, abundant marine and terrestrial wildlife, preserving endemic and endangered species. This reserve exemplifies successful reef growth under sheltered, but very restricted conditions and serves as a refuge and source of species replenishment for other islands. Winding down your adventure, visit cultural sites and discover Colonial and modern Panama.

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.

Coiba National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Central America, off the southwest coast of Panama, protects Coiba Island, 38 smaller islands and the surrounding marine areas within the Gulf of Chiriqu&#237. Protected from the cold winds and effects of El Nio, Coiba's Pacific tropical moist forest maintains exceptionally high levels of endemism of mammals, birds and plants due to the ongoing evolution of new species. It is also the last refuge for a number of threatened animals such as the crested eagle. The property is an outstanding natural laboratory for scientific research and provides a key ecological link to the Tropical Eastern Pacific for the transit and survival of pelagic fish and marine mammals.

Day to Day Itinerary

DAY #1

TOCUMEN AIRPORT (PTY) PICK-UP WITH TRANSFER TO HOTEL
CHECK-IN AT VICTORIA HOTEL & SUITES (1-NIGHT)

DAY #2

PANAMERICAN HIGHWAY SCENIC RIDE – 8 HOURS
GULF OF CHIRIQUI BOAT RIDE – 1.5 HOURS
COIBA NATIONAL PARK & MARINE RESERVE - WORLD HERITAGE SITE
CHECK-IN AT PARK RANGER STATION LODGE (3-NIGHTS)

DAY #3

MELLOW TRAIL HIKE
BOCA GRANDE ESTUARY (TIDE ALLOW)
BAHIA DAMAS CORAL REEF
PENITENTIARY TOUR

DAY #4

MELLOW RAINFOREST TRAIL HIKE
GRANITO DE ORO CORAL REEF
ISLAND HOPPING AT CANALES ARCHIPELAGO

DAY #5

GULF OF CHIRIQUI BOAT RIDE – 1.5 HOURS
PANAMERICAN HIGHWAY SCENIC RIDE – 8 HOURS
CHECK-IN AT VICTORIA HOTEL & SUITES (2-NIGHTS)

DAY #6

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

DAY #7

TRANSFER TO AIRPORT

Activities

You will immerse yourself in the rich tropical waters of this World Heritage site to explore the reef and its inhabitants, gaining an appreciation for its size and unspoiled beauty. We will enter the Boca Grande Estuary, looking for the Coiba Howler Monkey and Scarlet Macaws along the mangrove banks of the river. Snorkel the coral reef of Bahia Damas, where sightings of Snapper, Grouper, Jack, Moray eels and the benign White-tipped shark are not uncommon. In the vicinity, you can also find a series of natural hot springs. Visit central station of the penal colony, where you are free to roam the installations of the once notorious prison. Abandoned cells, chapels, a cemetery, dining halls and the original 1919 main prison building still stands the test of time. A boat to the nearby Los Monos Trail gives you a great opportunity to explore the inner rainforests of the island, home to White-faced Capuchins, Coiba Spine and Lanced-tailed Manakins among others. Lots of snorkeling and beach time at the northernmost islands in the park known as Canales. In this area, you can find more coral reefs and the chance to see some of the marine mammal life of the park. Migrating Humpback whales, resident Bottle-nosed and Spotted dolphins navigate the channel between Coiba and Canales Islands.

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.

Tour Highlights

  • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF 100% GUIDED ACTIVITIES
  • EXPERIENCE THE STUNNING ARCHITECTURES OF HISTORIC DISTRICTS AND FORTRESSES
  • JOURNEY ALONG THE BREATHTAKING WATERS OF GREAT RIVERS WHILE VISITING MARINE SANCTUARIES
  • DAZZLE YOUR SENSES NAVIGATING THROUGH OCEAN BREEZES AND ADMIRING COASTLINE SCENERIES
  • LOOK OFF THE BOW FOR WHALES, DOLPHINS, FLYFISH, SEA TURTLES
  • EXPLORE LUSH TROPICAL RAINFOREST AND CORAL REEFS
  • VISIT THE 8TH WONDER OF THE WORLD: THE PANAMA CANAL
  • MARVEL AT THE SIGHT OF GREAT VARIETY OF RAINFOREST FLORA & FAUNA

Lodging

Victoria Hotel & Suites

Offering an unbeatable location in the heart of Panama City, Victoria Hotel & Suites is close to shops, restaurants, museums, and other entertainment choices. Enjoy Panama's newest hotel, catering to the leisure traveler with spacious accommodations, modern technology and amenities designed with your comfort and convenience in mind.

Coiba Park Ranger Station Lodge

Coiba Park Ranger Station is the only overnight facility in the Marine Reserve. Surrounded by lush rainforest vegetation, beautiful trails and beaches, the station offers several modest 2-room cabins with air conditioning. Each room provides 5-6 beds, a shared bathroom, lines and electricity between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Transportation

Private transport service offers a safe, convenient, and flexible way to travel anywhere within Panama. Private transport can be scheduled minibuses (passenger vans) driven by reliable and punctual 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.
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  • 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/.