Panama Heli-Adventures

Are you planning a Panama getaway this summer or in 2020? If you want to do something more adventurous and exciting, hop on a helicopter ride and have an unforgettable vacation with unique pictures and stories to tell. 

Did you come to Panama to admire the mind-blowing Panama Canal? To see the tropical rainforest, rivers, the Guna Yala Archipelago, pristine islands, coastlines, and maybe the Gatun lake. Taking a helicopter flight in Panama City is not only an excellent way to experience all of that but also to travel far and see more. You also will be able to land in unique areas and start hiking towards beautiful adventures.

The visibility from these helicopters is unparalleled and our pilots are trained with an emphasis on safety and responsibility.  

Our most popular tours are the following:

Panama Canal and Panama City Tour  Full Panama Canal Tour and Panama City Tour.  East and west side of Pacific Canal Locks, Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and The New Cocoli Locks.  Also the Borinquen Dam, Centenario Bridge, Gailard (Culebra) Cut, Gamboa Resort, Gatun Lake, Gatun Dam, “Vietnam” Chagres river flight near its mouth on the Atlantic Ocean, San Lorenzo Spanish Fort, Gatun Locks and new Agua Clara locks (Atlantic Side Locks).  Before returning back to the airport we do a full Panama City Tour. Approximately 55 minutes.  

Panama Canal, Panama City and Cultural Encounter with the Embera It’s more than a full hour flight of the Canal and Panama City Tour, plus a stop at a Native American Community (Embera Quera) who’s origins where in the Amazon and due to their peaceful nature kept migrating north (because of tribal conflicts) to the jungle between Panama and Colombia.  This one hour and 30 minute visit will consist of sharing with the Emberas to enjoy their music, dances, history and food.  The adventure includes the cost of the stop at the Village, lunch and the Village’s Show (everything is included).  It’s really an extraordinary experience with a very healthy and happy community living a relatively modern life while conserving and sharing their culture and heritage.  Total time for this tour, 10 minute preflight speech, 25 minutes first flight, 1:30 visit at Emebera Quera community, and 40 minutes last flight, so allow approximately three and one half hours taking into account the transfer from your hotel and back to it.

Panama Canal and beach day at Contadora Island – Day trip to Contadora Island starting at 10AM with a Full Panama Canal and City Tour prior to flying towards this small island.  This Tour includes everything as described in the first and best selling 55 minute Panama Canal and Panama City Tour, plus a round trip Helicopter flight to Contadora Island which is located 35 nautical miles southeast of Panama City on the Pacific Side of the Istmus.  Not included in this tour are day passes of $35.00/person that includes a beach chair and lunch at the Island’s best beach.

If you want to fly out to other Pearl Islands on the Pacific Side of Panama, such as Pedro Gonzalez (Pearl Island Project), Viveros Island or San José Island (Hacienda Del Mar Resort).

On the Atlantic Side we offer a day trip to San Blas – Helicopter Flight from Panama City to El Porvenir Island, capital of the San Blas Native American Reserve, will take you on a beach escape in the Caribbean side of Panama.  At El Porvenir our boat Captain, Tico and Jaime his mate,  will take you to a beautiful island where you will be able to enjoy its beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of the Panamanian Atlantic coast.  At the same time you will have a chance to meet and engage with the Kuna people and enjoy their food (lunch), maybe buy some of their famous “Molas” and share a little with this small community.  I will either stay at El Porvenir waiting for you, or fly back to Panama and fly back when you are ready to bring you back to the city.  Tico, your boat captain, will stay with you (at your Island, obviously very far from you) so that you can leave the island anytime you want.  We could leave Panama City as early as 8:00am and be back no later than 5pm (6pm in the dry season).  

Beach Day at Famous Playa Venao -Enjoy a whole day at this world famous Surfer’s Beach Break that has surf schools, board rentals and a nice variety of restaurants and quaint small hotels.  The flight would take you over the Western Pacific shores of Panama which are quite scenic and you will be there in approximately one hour (4-5 hours by car).  Included is the round trip flight and you decide the time to leave the city as early as 7AM and come back as late as 5:00PM.

Beach Day at World Famous Santa Catalina Beach  – Enjoy a whole day at this world famous Surfer’s and Scuba Diver’s paradise that has a decent variety of restaurants and activity.  There are surfer and scuba academies and all equipment may be rented there.  The flight would take you over the Western Pacific shores of Panama which are quite scenic and then across the Azuero Peninsula and you will be there in approximately one hour and 20 minutes (6-7 hours by car).  Included is the round trip flight and you decide the time to leave, as early as 7PM and come back as late as 5:00PM.

Rum Tasting at Panama’s oldest and most prestigious distillery, Hacienda San Isidro, managed and owned by Varela Hermanos – Enjoy a unique tour and Rum Tasting at Panama’s Oldest Sugar Mill and Alcohol Distillery.  Located in the small town of Pesé in the middle of “Panama’s interior” or “heartland”, this factory is where Panama’s national alcoholic beverage “Seco Herrerano” is made, and where one of the finest rums in the world, “Ron Abuelo”, and it’s multiple varieties, is made and aged.  The tour includes round trip transfer by helicopter to Pesé and the factory’s Premium Tour and Rum Tasting.  During the first leg of the flight we will include an over flight of Panama City, Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, Centennial Bridge, new Cocoli Locks and finally over Panama’s Pacific Beach Resorts (Olaya Blanca, Buenaventura and others) before landing at Hacienda San Isidro after about a 1 hour and 15 minute flight (4 hours by car).  After that the Premium Tour begins and includes the following:

  • Visit to the Colonial Home of the Mill’s founder in the town of Pesé
  • Brief Oxcart “Carreta de Bueyes” Ride to experience how the sugar cane was carried to the Mill for years 
  • Welcome cocktail
  • Sugar Mill and Distillery Tour to understand the process of the Seco Herrerano and Ron Abuelo
  • Visit to one of 19 warehouses, were the aging process takes place
  • Panama’s heartland typical lunch
  • Rum Tasting of the 8 rums, including Finish Collection, Two Oaks and Top of the Line Centuria 
  • After the tastings an Open Bar for up to 30 minutes
  • Certificate of Rum Tasting to each participant 

I recommend to takeoff at 9AM, arriving at Hacienda San Isidro at around 10:30AM, do the tour, the lunch, the tasting and lastly the open bar.  Leaving Hacienda San Isidro at 4PM approximately and arriving Panama City at 5PM.

Fishing Day at Famous Tropic Star Lodge at Piñas Bay -all prices upon request!

For details and quotes, please contact annie@ecocircuitos.com

Diving Responsible & Protecting the Corals

From STI

Corals are actually animals! In fact, a single coral formation can be made up of THOUSANDS of tiny little animals called polyps, which are related to jellyfish. Together, polyps create beautiful corals of all shapes and sizes. Some build stony coral reefs, while others form soft corals that resemble bushes, feathers, and trees.

But corals are also extremely sensitive creatures. Something as simple as a change in water temperature or poor water quality can lead to their demise. The rise in climate change and other human impacts is putting coral reefs around the world in jeopardy. Scientists predict that up to 90% of all reefs could be gone by 2050 unless we reduce these impacts.

Coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystem. Though they cover less than 1% of the ocean floor, they are home to more than a quarter of all marine life. 

If this disease continues to wreak havoc across the Mesoamerican Reef, there will be a ripple effect of consequences for marine life and communities. When coral health declines it can throw off the delicate balance of the entire ecosystem and cause fish populations to dwindle. As the reef becomes barren, local people that rely on the reef will need to find other sources of food and income. On top of this, coastal communities will be left exposed to the damaging impacts of waves and storms. And without calcium rich corals you can also bid farewell to white sandy beaches! 

Picture by Sustainable Travel International

Needless to say, the loss of a reef system as expansive as the Mesoamerican Reef would be devastating at a time when coral reefs across the globe are struggling to survive. 

Ways you can Help

  • Use reef-safe sunscreens that don’t contain harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate that are toxic the reef. More information on how sunscreen affects coral reefs and which chemicals to avoid is available here
  • Don’t touch corals or other marine life. Maintaining proper buoyancy is an important skill to keep your fins or equipment from hitting the reef or seafloor.
  • Disinfect your dive and snorkel gear between excursions by removing debris and sanitizing it with a 5-10% bleach solution. For sensitive equipment, use fresh water with antibacterial dish soap instead. Detailed instructions on how to safely decontaminate different types of gear are outlined here. 
  • Don’t litter and reduce plastic use to reduce the amount of debris that is contaminating the reef.
  • Choose responsible dive operators, hotels, and other businesses that practice proper wastewater treatment and use environmentally friendly cleaning products and fertilizers.  

From Sustainable Travel International

Romancing in the Gulf of Chiriqui

Take advantage of the COPA Stopover and explore one of Panama’s best kept secrets: The Gulf of Chiriqui.

Day 01: From Tocumen International Airport, take a flight to the capital of Chiriqui, David. From here, head to the small fishing town of Boca Chica, on the Gulf of Chiriqui. The natural beauty of this place is astounding, and still unknown. Check in to a charming boutique hotel and relax.

Day 02: The Gulf of Chiriqui is known for its amazing wildlife and stunning natural beauty. Certainly, a must is to explore part of this! Accompanied by a local captain, sail out and visit some of the islands, feel the warm tropical breeze and the sand between your toes. Go snorkeling, beach combing and enjoy a romantic picnic lunch.

Day 03: Enjoy a morning at leisure. In the afternoon sail slowly through the mangroves along the tranquil river as you observe a variety of birds and other present wildlife. This unique ecosystem is often under looked, but it’s a key environment for many species, whether they are under the ocean or soaring the skies. Finish off with a drink and appreciate the sunset.

Day 04: Unfortunately, your stay has come to an end. But hopefully, you’ll come back soon to discover more of what Panama has to offer. Check out, and head back to David for your flight back to Panama City.

Contact us for rates and more information. info@ecocircuitos.com

Discover Azuero Peninsula: the Folkloric path

Visit the idyllic Peninsula de Azuero with its year-round dry weather and laid-back lifestyle. Dive into the authentic culture of this region, which feels isolated from modern Panama, explore its colorful traditions, tasty specialties, abundant wildlife, and natural beauties, including the Sarigua dessert.

EcoCircuitos’ Azuero program starts just after a short, direct flight from Panama City, with first-hand experience of the rich culture and diverse wildlife of the Peninsula. Experience the manufacturing process of producing Panamanian rum and have a taste of the local liquors Seco and rum. See the extraction of salt from the Pacific Ocean; visit the production of handmade clay pottery, and learn how the famous La Arena bread is baked. The basic program will furthermore take you on a boat ride to the idyllic island of Isla Iguana Wildlife Refuge, with its mangrove forests, pristine white-sanded beaches, crystal waters, and colorful coral reefs. Also check our Folkloric path for a more in deep experience.

Keep on exploring the facets of charming Azuero with joining our various extension tours: Surf on laid-back Playa Venao, watch the large variety of birds at Playa Aguillito, the nesting turtles of pristine Isla Canas or join adventurous canopy zipline tours over the treetops of the forest.

This is an ideal program for a StopOver in Panama. Contact us for more information: annie@ecocircuitos.com

Kayaking the Panama Canal Water Trails

The construction of Gatun Dam in the Chagres Valley in the early 1900’s has provided waters for thousands of ships to transit across the Isthmus of Panama. Today these waters are the massive 470km2 Gatun Lake, that in years past, was the largest manmade lake in the world. Paddling Lake Gatun along its pristine bright green banks, between its numerous islands, over the extensive underwater vegetation and through the still standing tips of submerged trees is a real neo-tropical safari. 

Kayaking the Gatun Lake

Thousands of refugee wildlife species live in this spectacular environment. 

Soberania National Park touches Gatun’s borders. This park is one of the most accessible tropical forests in the country. Paddling along the Soberania National Park, the primary rainforest edges provide some of the best wildlife viewing in the world. This can include manatees, sloths, kinkajous, coatimundis, capybaras, caimans, crocodiles, white faced capuchins, Geoffroy’s tamarins, spider monkey, night monkeys and howler monkeys are all common in the area. Legendary beautiful species like jaguars and harpy eagles also call this home. 

Along the coastal forest shore, common bird species include soaring magnificent frigates, gliding brown pelicans, darting flocks of parrots, ibis and various other wading migratory shore birds.   Contact us for amazing itineraries filled with adrenaline! Ideal for couples, groups and families.

Contact us: info@ecocircuitos.com

Family Fun Adventures

This fun-filled trip is perfect for families who are ready to start an exciting adventure holiday in the tropics. Explore the natural beauties of Panama together with your whole family and keep an eye out for wild animals with your fun guide. Get ready for the vacation of the year!

Experience the facets of the Panama Canal in this great itinerary combining the history of this amazing feat of human engineering with the biodiversity of its lush rainforest surroundings in the Soberania National Park. Our guides are specialists trained to provide in-depth insights and understandings in their field, from ornithology, botany, and herpetology to history, culture and traditions. These understandings foster unforgettable travel experiences, as well as responsible encounters between travelers and nature, animals and local people.

On this unique adventure you will visit the Atlantic locks and the UNESCO site in Portobello and San Lorenzo, a magnificent example of 17th- and 18th-century military architecture, these Panamanian forts on the Caribbean coast form part of the defense system built by the Spanish Crown to protect transatlantic trade. What an unforgettable adventure for families! Recreate the real Pirates of the Caribbean! 

Panama is for foodies

Celebrating 500 years since its foundation, in 2019 Panama City was designated Gastronomic Capital of the Americas. For many years, the country has been a treat for the food enthusiasts – particularly in September when Panama City holds Restaurant week. Panamanian cuisine is a mix of African, Spanish, and native American influences where dishes and ingredients, reflect our diverse and beautiful population.

Sometimes hot and spicy, the food is hearty with rice present at just about every meal. Seafood is excellent and abundant, especially along the Caribbean coast. The ceviche is superb, usually served with an ice-cold beer. Panama’s national dishes are a traditional chicken soup: sancocho de Gallina served with herbs, tamal de maiz (a type of polenta filled with meat), guacho de mariscos (seafood stew).

Casco Antiguo Food tours

One of the best ways to discover Panamanian cuisine is to eat and drink your way through Panama City’s historic Casco Antiguo district, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old quarter, now home to some of the city’s hippest food and drink venues. Our tour includes a visit to a coffee roaster (here you can try a sample of the best coffee in the world: Geisha), a chocolate shop (sample a piece of organic chocolate from Bocas del Toro area), a rum house, a microbrewery, the seafood market (enjoy fresh and authentic ceviche), and a rooftop cocktail bar, sampling more culinary delights as you go.