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

The Journey between the Seas: Panama Exploration Cruise

Discover some of Panama’s greatest wonders on this unique marine adventure. The journey on the Discovery will take you from cosmopolitan Panama City to the remote jungles of the Darien, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. During seven days you will get to experience the true spirit of our amazing country, the secrets of the tropics, the rich and different forms of life these coasts harbor.

The Journey on the Discovery is the perfect way to explore this diversity: Passenger numbers are limited to just 24, ensuring everyone can enjoy serenity and privacy together with the excitement and closeness of a true exploration cruise.

The purpose-built catamaran is comfortably appointed with fully equipped cabins, an all-glass restaurant and lounge, as well as a barbecue and sun deck on the topmost observation area.

To get even closer up to this amazing country and its natural wonders, the Discovery carries a number of Kayaks, and is equipped with a special platform for easy boarding of those.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival to Panama – Today at the appropriate time an EcoCircuitos representative will meet you at the Tocumen International Airport to assist and transfer you to your hotel located in Panama City. At this time you will also receive an EcoCircuitos information kit that will provide you with all the details for your stay in Panama. Once you arrive to your hotel, please check-in. MARRIOTT EXECUTIVE. Welcome dinner at the hotel. Other hotel options includes American Trade Hotel in Casco Viejo for a supplement.

Day 2 – Panama City – Flamenco Marina – Pick up around 2:00 p.m. at the hotel for transfer to Flamenco marina where you embark the boat. Sail the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean towards Contadora, where the M/V Discovery will stay the first night before navigating to the Darien Jungle. Take this opportunity to meet your expedition leaders, the crew and your fellow travelers while you savor our tempting native cuisine. (D)

Day 3-  Darien Jungle – Step aboard a time machine and travel back more than 600 years to a place that not many have had the privilege of experiencing. More than an excursion, this is a journey into the lives of the Embera Indians. A proud people who have been able to maintain their traditions and lifestyle as they were before the Spaniards colonized the region. These natives are also master crafters of cocobolo wood carvings and basketry. After motoring up river you will see the village emerging from the jungle, as if by magic. Keep your eyes open along the way as the region offers abundant wildlife that is particularly active along the river’s edge. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Pearl Islands – San Telmo & Mogo Mogo – Snorkel and swim in the waters of the Pearl Islands. The archipelago owes its name to the abundance of pearl oysters which supported a substantial fishery in the early 1900’s. On the outer portion of the archipelago, the islands of San Telmo and Mogo Mogo are home to some pristine beaches and fertile fishing grounds. View the remains of the submarine Explorer built in 1865 during the Civil War and which sunk off the coast of San Telmo during the oyster fishery of the late 1800´s. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Panama Canal Transit – Gatun Lake – Wake up at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal and join the morning’s ship convoy for our northbound canal passage traversing Miraflores Locks and Pedro Miguel Locks. The Discovery will be raised 85 feet above sea level to Gatun Lake. You will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience up close the history and operation of this engineering marvel. Navigate the Gaillard Cut, the narrowest section of the Panama Canal, bisecting the Continental Divide. This section of the canal is full of history and geological value and you will be able to appreciate the continuous maintenance that this area requires, because it is very susceptible to landslides. Spend the night in Gatun Lake on Panama Canal waters. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Panama Canal – Barro Colorado – Prior to the construction of the Panama Canal, the vast jungle area that is now the Gatun Lake was teeming with an overwhelming abundance of wildlife. As the region was flooded to create the lake, animals took refuge in the mountain peaks, which are now the many islands that dot the renowned lake. Explore Barro Colorado Island where the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Center is located. Your expedition leader will take you on board small crafts past lush rainforests to secluded areas of the lake to witness first-hand the splendor and excitement of the jungle. Exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and crocodiles are just a few of the animals that you could see in  their native surroundings. The sights, sounds and scents that make up this beautiful, tropical jungle will engulf you. Cameras are a must as this is considered the world’s premier location for viewing monkeys and other animals in the wild. The Discovery will exit the Panama Canal in the afternoon on its way to the mouth of the Chagres River. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Chagres River – Fort San Lorenzo – Experience the magnificent Chagres River which was used by the conquistadors to move their gold across the Isthmus of Panama en-route from Peru to Spain and by the gold prospectors who attempted a “short cut” from the US East coast to the gold fields of California. The river was the center piece of the colonial inter-oceanic route and is now the lifeline of the Panama Canal full of wildlife and tropical jungle. Explore Fort San Lorenzo which is located on a cliff at the mouth of the Chagres on the Atlantic side where your leader will offer details of the immense amount of history found on this area. The fort was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend their well known gold trail. Later that evening, the Discovery will reposition to Colon, where it will spend the night before disembarking the next day. (B,L,D)

 Day 8 – Portobelo – Caribbean – Wake up to a farewell breakfast before you disembark the Discovery. Travel by motor coach to Portobelo and enjoy this town located on Caribbean waters which was founded by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage to the new continent in 1597. This quaint town is rich in history as it was the site of many sea and land battles between the Spanish colonials and the pirates and corsairs raiding the Spanish Main. Explore the fortifications built by the Spaniards to protect their treasures and visit the Church of San Felipe, the sanctuary of the Black Christ. Later in the afternoon, board the Panama Canal Railway train back to Panama City. This one hour railroad trip will allow you to traverse the picturesque trans-isthmian route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The line flanks the Panama Canal passing through lush rainforests, cruising alongside the Canal’s locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut and gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake. Arrive to Panama City with the train around 6:15 p.m. and be transferred to your hotel in the City. (B,L)

Day 9 – Depart Panama – At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the Tocumen International Airport for your outbound flight. They will arrive to the airport approximately 3 hours before their departure time. End of services. (B)

 **NOTE: THE SOUTHBOUND JOURNEY FOLLOWS THE SAME EXPLORATION ROUTE IN REVERSE

Contact us for complete itinerary, schedule and prices at info@ecocircuitos.com