Transcontinental Voyage

Price

$4,490/Couple for 6 NIGHTS

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Unveil pre-Columbian, Colonial and modern Panama for 8 days. Navigate through cargo and cruise ships while having a face-to-face Panama Canal experience. This adventure will take you on a train ride across the Continental Divide, from the Caribbean to the Pacific coastlines. Winding down your adventure you will visit cultural world heritage sites and discover a fascinating view of the rainforest flora and fauna.

Summary

It is currently the only airport in Central America with two runways for use and is also the largest and busiest airport in the country and Central America by passenger traffic.

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.

Day to Day Itinerary

DAY #1

TOCUMENT AIRPORT (PTY) PICK-UP WITH TRANSFER TO HOTEL
CHECK-IN AT THE GAMBOA RAINFOREST RESORT (6 NIGHTS)

DAY #2

BOAT RIDE THROUGH GATUN DAM/LAKE
PICNIC LUNCH ON ISLAND AT PANAMA CANAL
DROPPED OFF AT HOTEL

DAY #3

EMBERA INDIAN VILLAGE EXPERIENCE (LUNCH)
DROPPED OFF AT HOTEL
ENJOY DINNER & HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS

DAY #4

SAN LORENZO NATIONAL PARK - WORLD HERITAGE SITE
LUNCH AT THE HISTORIC TOWN OF PORTOBELO - WORLD HERITAGE SITE
TRANS-ISTHMIAN RAILROAD RIDE

DAY #5

ENJOY HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS

DAY #6

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

DAY #7

BREAKFAST AND TRANSFER TO AIRPORT

Activities

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 one hour drive to El Corotu on the shores of Madden Lake, the main reservoir of drinking water for the cities of Panama and Colon, Madden also supplies 40% of the water required for the operation of the Panama Canal. Here you will board a motorized piragua to travel up the Chagres River. The dugout canoe journey will take you through the rainforests of the 320,000-acre Chagres National Park, the largest of the national parks protecting the Panama Canal Watershed. Along the Chagres River, you may be able to spot Little Blue and Green Heron, Great Egret, Anhinga, Neo-tropical Cormorant, Amazon, Ringed, and Green Kingfisher, along with Red lored Amazon Parrot and Keel-billed Toucan flying above. You will reach the Embera indigenous village where you will be greeted with dancing, music and a sumptuous lunch made up of fresh fish, plantains and tropical fruits prepared by your hosts. Learn about their customs and their relationship with nature while visiting the village. The Embera Indians are famous for their basketry and wood carving skills. There will be handcrafts available for sale and you will have a chance to be painted with the traditional "jaguar", a natural dye used to adorn their bodies.

Enter into the rainforest to observe the vast array of animal species that make this pristine habitat home. We will encounter Fort San Lorenzo which is known as the "Guard of the Chagres River" since for 75 years this fort, with only 300 soldiers, repelled numerous attacks by the Pirates of the Caribbean preventing them from trespassing the gateway to the Americas. Its cannons still stand in this living testament to history. From here we continue to the historic town of Portobelo, famous for its trade fairs during the 17th century colonial times, it was one of the most important strongholds of the Spanish Main in the Americas. Once there, we will visit Forts San Geronimo and Santiago de la Gloria as well as the Church of San Felipe. The journey will end with a 45-min Trans-Isthmian train ride back to the Pacific coast of the continent. The railway follows the route used to transport 49ers coming from the east coast of the United States across the Isthmus to continue their journey by boat to California during the Gold Rush.

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.

he 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
  • LEARN ABOUT THE FASCINATING CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE REGION
  • ENJOY BOTH CARIBBEAN SEA AND PACIFIC OCEAN BREEZES AND ADMIRE ITS COASTLINES
  • VISIT THE 8TH WONDER OF THE WORLD: THE PANAMA CANAL
  • NAVIGATE THROUGH CARGO SHIPS AND RAINFOREST COVERED ISLANDS
  • MARVEL AT THE SIGHT OF GREAT VARIETY OF RAINFOREST FLORA & FAUNA

Lodging

Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Located 30 minutes from Panama City, this unique property is located nearby the SoberanĂ­a National Park Rainforest, on the banks of the Chagres River and The Panama Canal. Enjoy an exotic retreat or escape to this jungle paradise to encounter nature without leaving the comforts of a full-service exotic resort. This Panama resort far from the noise and bustle of the city possesses colorful sights, natural wildlife and luxurious accommodations making the Gamboa Rainforest Resort a one-of-a-kind experience for Panama vacations.

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/.