Tips for crossing the border from Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama

The border between Costa Rica and Panama, on the Caribbean side of these two countries, is the Sixaola River. The town on the Costa Rican side of the river is called Sixaola, here you will visit customs to check out of the country of Costa Rica and meet your contact from Panama. You will walk across the bridge to enter Panama with your new driver, leaving your Costa Rican driver to return home. The town in Panama, across the Sixaola River, is called Guabito.

The drive in Panama will take you across the low flood plains of the Sixaola and Changinola river valley’s. This area collects the watershed from the massive Talamanca mountain range, which extends through both countries. This is an important wetland for many species of tropical flora and fauna and includes habitats such as rivers, humid lowland forest, mangroves, coastal lagoons and other marine coastal environments.

A wetland reserve taking in the most of the coastal region of this area is called the San San Pond Sak (Humedal de San-San Pond Sak). This sparsely populated area is home to several endangered species such as manatees (sea cows), hawksbill, leatherback, and loggerhead sea turtles.

Next you will come to Changinola, home of United Fruit Co. /Chiquita Brands Intl., this town is older than the country itself and thick on lore of a bygone era when it was simply known as, The Banana Republic.

Crossing the bridge over the Changinola river is like stepping back in time, you might have to stop and wait for the company train to pass over first, it is only a one lane bridge. From here you will be entering the densely forested foothills of the Talamanca Range. Just up in these mountains is La Amistad Bi-national Park, some 2 million acres in size, it is jointly protect on both sides of the border. This represents one of the largest protected tracts of primary forest in Central America, and it is a UNESCO world heritage site. Keep an eye on edge of the canopy, the wildlife is spectacular. You will be passing over several elevated bluffs with spectacular views of Bocas del Toro Archipelago below.

The location of this unique 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.

After several small pueblos, you will be passing the outskirts of Almirante, another antiquated banana town. About 12-13 miles outside of Almirante, at kilometer marker 48 ½, is a yellow sign and pink gate for La Escapada. This small eco lodge is built on a steep slope near the waters edge, the grounds are beautiful, and the birdlife is outstanding. Here you can take a short break and stretch your legs, or have a cold beverage and watch the marine life from the dock.  The boat will be waiting there to transfer to the hotel of your choice.  Tranquilo Bay is our suggested lodge for coming days.  From here it is a beautiful 45-minute boat ride to your final destination. The ocean leg of your journey will take you across Bahia Almirante passing Sheppard and San Cristobal Islands, and into Dark Land. The glassy calm and emerald green sea, and the long shadows from the steep mountainous terrain, blend to make an intense surrounding. A narrow channel passes into another smaller lagoon named Boca Torito, or little bull’s mouth. It is here where the mother dolphins bring their calves to rear. Leaving the dolphins behind, we will enter Bastimentos National Marine Park, the mangrove islets, sea grass beds and coral flats are stunning. Oceanic birds such as brown boobies, magnificent frigates, and brown pelicans will be feeding on marine wildlife that is fleeing from predators below. As we round the southern peninsula of Isla Bastimentos, we will have our first glimpse of the Zapatilla Keys, and the lodge for the next days:  Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure lodge.

Whale watching adventure in Azuero Peninsula

If you want to see humpback whales, the best place is Azuero Peninsula.   Every year thousands of humpback whales are swimming along the coastline of Panama as part of their migratory journey. They will pass Panama over a four months period, from July to October. This is an amazing opportunity to head out to the pacific ocean and admire the huge friendly giants from up close.  Join us in the adventure!

Day 1 – Welcome to Panama!

Today at the appropriate time an EcoCircuitos representative will be meet you at the Tocumen International Airport to assist and transfer you to your hotel located in Panama City. You will aso receive an EcoCircuitos information kit. Once arrival, please check in and overnight.

Your transfer will take 25-30 minutes approximately.

Overnight: Hampton Hotel. Standard Room

Day 2 – Azuero Peninsula!

Early in the morning after breakfast you will be transferred to the Azuero Peninsula. This diverse region of the country is made up of three culturally rich provinces: Herrera, Los Santos and Veraguas. The Pacific Ocean is located to the west and the Gulf of Panama to the east of the peninsula. Azuero is known as the folkloric center of Panama, the traditional clothing, such as the beautiful Pollera, and handicrafts, such as ceramics based on pre-Colombian designs, originated and are still made in the areaty in the Pacific off Pedasi is whale watching. Whales are a common sight in the waters of the Azuero Peninsula near Pedasi. Once you arrive you will check in and overnight at hotel.

Turtles Experience at Isla Cañas

At around 4:00 PM you will be transferred from hotel to the port of Cañas, where your boat will be waiting for you to take you to Isla Cañas. On the short boat ride you will enjoy the mangroves and the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Isla Cañas with its 14km long beach is the most important nesting site for sea turtles on the Pacific Coast of Panama. From July thousands of sea turtles of five different species arrive to the coast of Isla Cañas to nest. Once you arrive to Cañas Island you will enjoy a traditional dinner prepared by a local family. After dinner, you will hop on a horse cart and start exploring the beaches of Cañas Island together with your guide, in order to look for the sea turtles to arrive and nest. Once you spot a turtle, your guide will take you closer so you can observe in detail how the impressive animal digs a hole in the beach and lays its eggs.  After the tour you will be transferred back to your hotel. Duration: from 4pm until 11pm approximately.  Overnight: Cubitá Boutique Hotel. Standard Room (B)

Day 3 – Made in Herrera

Discover the manufacturing process of the traditional products of the Herrera Province: sugar-cane, salt, clay and bread. Experience the many uses of sugarcane from refreshing sugarcane juice called “Guarapo”, traditional cooking of sugarcane honey to the production of artisanal sug-arcane liquor; 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. Overnight: Cubitá Boutique Hotel. Standard Room (B)

 Day 4 – Whale Watching at Iguana Island

Today at the appropriate time you will be transferred to Playa El Arenal in Pedasí, to board your boat. After a short briefing about responsible whale watching you will start the tour on the Pacific Ocean. Around Pedasi’s coastline, dolphins are frequently seen and between June and October humpback whales. These whales migrate from cold waters to Panama’s Pacific coast with warmer water temperatures to give birth. Your captain and guide are trained for responsible whale watching and will enlighten you with many interesting de-tails about the whales, while – with a bit of luck – you are able to observe these giants of the seas.       After the whale watching you will head towards Iguana Island – a wildlife refuge 8 kilometers off the coast. The island is famous for its white sand beach, crystal waters and coral riffs including 17 different types of corals that shelter more than 350 species of fish. You will enjoy the white sand beach for a while before returning to the mainland for a lunch.

After the tour you will be transferred to your hotel in Pedasi. Overnight: Hotel Playa Venao. Standard Room (B, L)

 Day 5 – Free day in Azuero Peninsula

Free day for relaxation and optional activities. There are many activities that visitors can do during their stay such as: swimming, snorkeling, horseback riding, walks in a tropical dry forest, surfing in Playa Venao, deep sea fishing, turtle watching and more. Overnight: Hotel Playa Venao. Standard Room (B)

Day 6 – Transfer back to Panama City

At the appropriate time an EcoCircuitos Representative will be waiting for you for your transfer from Pedasi to Panama City.

Overnight: Hotel Playa Venao. Standard Room (B)

 Day 7 – Departure

At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the Tocumen International Airport for your outbound flight. They will arrive to the airport approximately 2 hours before their departure time.

Note: customers will be picked up 3 hours before flight time.

** END OF SERVICES**

PRICES PER PERSON: $1142.00

Minimum 4 people traveling together.

Rates valid from July 15th until Oct 30th, 2015

 The program includes:
– 6 nights of lodging and taxes

– Government taxes

– Private transfers in and out (Tocumen International Airport)

– Tours and meals as mentioned above

– Breakfast at all mentioned hotels (day 2 thru day 7)

– Information kit
– Lodging taxes

 

The program does not include:

– Optional activities

– International airfare and taxes
– Departure taxes ($40.00 per person for Panama)
– Meals not specified in the itinerary

– Alcoholic beverages

– Personal equipment
– Extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service, etc.)
– Gratuities

 

Rates are valid until, October 30th, 2015 and subject to change due increases on fuel prices

  • Prices are net per person.
  • Prices are given in US Dollars.
  • Prices are subject to change without previous notice depending on any significant increase in rates, taxes, fuel or due to availability problems.
  • Prices are based on the minimum of paying participants previously informed.
  • If the minimum number of paying participants changes, the rates would also change
  • Tips for drives and guides not included

**Prices are subject to change without notice, according to fuel increases, taxes and hotel availability.  

Note: This is a quote not a reservation. Please note that all quotations given are subject to availability at the time of reservation and cannot be guaranteed until payment is received. Please note that credit card payments are subject to processing fees.

 

EcoCircuitos Travel Policy

EcoCircuitos realizes that has important environmental and social responsibilities in and out of the office.  We create memorable travel experiences in Panama’s natural history and cultural heritage.   Our office team and supplier ensure quality service, cultural sensitivity, local knowledge, innovation and social and environmental responsibility.  As travellers ourselves we believe giving something back is essential.  Therefore we work with our team, suppliers and customers to ensure that benefits will contribute directly to the communities we visit and their environment.

For more information, please visit our web page www.ecocircuitos.com at Responsible Travel Policy.

Enhance the traveler experience with local talents… local knowledge.

Whale Watching in Boca Chica: Featuring Bocas del Mar Lodge

Enjoy a luxurious bungalow room with panoramic views of the ocean and tropical gardens in the best boutique hotels in 2014. This is a magnificent place to view the migrating humpback whales.

Whale Watching

  • Ride in a fast and comfortable boat from the hotels private dock in Boca Chica, Chiriqui.
  • Observe humpback whales in their natural environment
  • Includes visits to beaches, including 2 deserted islands covered with palms in the Gulf of Chiriqui. Enjoy the white sand beaches, warm waters while touring the Bay.
  • Includes snorkeling (depending on the weather)
  • Observe other marine life such as dolphins and manta rays
  • Depart at 9:00am and return at 1:30pm, 4 hours of an unforgettable excursion (this includes beach time

Contact us for detailed information about this tour.

The Submarine Explorer by Louie Celerier

The submarine “Explorer” is a submersible built by Julius H. Kroehl and Ariel Patterson in Brooklyn, New York for the Pacific Pearl Company in Panama. The keel was laid down in 1863, was completed in 1865 and placed in service in 1866. In 1869, the submarine was abandoned in the Pearl Islands Archipelago, where it had been working, and its hull still rests there.

Construction

The “Explorer” is 39.4 feet long, 12 feet high and has a beam of 11 feet. The bottom of the craft bottom is perfectly flat and has two hatches 4-1/2 feet wide by 6 feet long for harvesting operations. It had a displacement of 80 tons and carried a complement of 3 to 6 men. The submarine was hand powered, had a single propeller and could achieve a maximum speed of 4 knots.

The design of the craft included a large volume external high pressure air chamber (200 PSI) as well as water ballast tanks. The water ballast was used to submerge while the pressure air pressurized the crew’s compartment to the pressure of the water at working depths of up to 103 feet allowing them to open the hatches on the floor and giving them access to the oyster on the

ocean floor. This air pressure was also used to empty the ballast tanks when the vessel was ready to surface.

The Harvesting Operation

As the submarine approached the bottom, the hatches were opened for the purpose of gathering the oysters. The water was kept out of the vessel by the pressured air contained in the chambers. As the sub rested on the bottom, the oysters were collected by the crew and stowed away. They moved around the ocean floor by means of the 3-foot diameter propeller cranked by hand.

Diving Fever

The problem of decompression was still not clearly understood in 1869 and again and again, the reports after a dive or two would report, “all the men were again down with fever.” A contemporary (August 1869) newspaper account of dives in the Pearl Islands documents 11 days of diving to 103 feet, spending 4 hours per dive, and ascending with a quick release of the pressure to ambient (sea level) pressure. Modern reconstruction of “Explorer’s” system suggests an ascension rate of 1 foot per second which would have brought the men to the surface in less than two minutes. The result was decompression sickness. Using present day U.S. Navy diving standards, a two-hour dive (half of the documented time spent by the men in “Explorer”) at a depth of 103 feet would require a surfacing schedule of one hour, 32 minutes and 40 seconds with staged stops at 30 feet, 20 feet and 10 feet. As it was, in 1869 the men were all sick from their fast ascents with the submarine operations grinding to a halt.

History Of “Explorer”

After construction, the submarine “Explorer” was partially disassembled and shipped to the Panama Pacific side of the Isthmus in December 1866. There, in the Gulf of Panama, laid the Pearl Island Archipelago with its rich pearl bearing oyster beds. Since the early days of the Spaniards, men had been diving for the treasure without the aid of any breathing apparatus. But, since the advent of a somewhat practical submarine design during the American Civil War, The Pacific Pearl Company thought the submarine was the answer to the mass harvesting of pearls.

Once in Panama City, the submarine was assembled and one of its builders, Julius Kroehl, carried out experimental dives in the Bay of Panama (not to be confused with the Gulf of Panama). These dives cost him his life as he contracted the “diving fever” and died in September 1967. The submarine languished on the beach until 1869, when a new engineer and crew took it to the Pearl Islands to harvest oyster shells and pearls. The 1869 dives to depths and profiles that would inevitably lead to decompression sickness, resulted in the entire crew succumbing to the “fever”. Because of this, the craft was laid up in a cove on the shores of the island of San Telmo in the Pearl Islands and remains there to this day.

The submarine’s rusting hull was well-known to the locals, but they had presumed it to be a remnant of World War II. In 2001 the remains of the submarine piqued the interest of archaeologist James P. Delgado of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. Since then, many studies of the wreck have been carried out and a 2007 report summarized preservation options of the vessel for the Panamanian government and recommended the recovery, preservation and public display of the raft in Panama. Metal analysis confirms the craft is in critical stage and faces irreversible deterioration and loss.

SOURCES

Photos and Material

1. “Sub Marine Explorer”, Wikipedia and google
2. “Misadventures of a Civil War Submarine”, by James P. Delgado, 2012.
3. The Wait Institute.
4. The Hunley Store.
5. Institute of National Archaeology.

Traveling to Guna Yala? the San Blas islands?

Our Guna Yala Expedition  involves hiking, camping, dugout boat and snorkeling.  Below some information for those interested in this amazing adventure.

All participants must sign a Waiver and Release Form before the trip begins.

MEDICAL MATTERS
The trip leader is responsible for the safety of all trip members and he or she may withdraw or disqualify a trip member in the field if anyone’s safety is jeopardized. Please be aware that hospital facilities for serious medical problems may at times be a long way away, that a doctor may not always be available, and that evacuation can be delayed, complicated and expensive.
Remember that EcoCircuitos, S.A. is not a medical authority and that we can only give you general information, which may not be accurate by the time you travel. You should discuss with your physician, local health department.

Immunizations
No immunizations are required at this time to enter Panama. The standard recommended immunizations currently are:
Insect repellent is a very essential part of preventing insect-born diseases, and you must bring your own personal supply.
We advise you to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants in the early morning and early evening hours is also a good precaution against insect bites.

PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT
We suggest you to bring a basic first aid kit for emergencies, bring your own personal first aid supplies with any medications you may need. Also we advise you to bring extra prescription medicine in case of an emergency.

MONEY MATTERS
You won’t need to take a large amount of money on the trip –enough for any souvenirs, drinks and incidental items. Anywhere from $100 to $300 should be adequate for incidentals and souvenirs, depending on how much shopping you like to do, plus some money for staff tips.

GRATUITIES
It is customary in Panama to tip the staffs that have assisted you on the trip. Trip members can contribute toward a group tip to be share among cooks, camp staff, and local guides. Your trip leader will give you more guidelines on how to tip the staff. Tipping is at your own discretion and you are under no obligation to tip. In cities and in larger country hotels, lodges, restaurants, and shops, you can use credit cards to charge purchases such as accommodations, food, and clothing. American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Diner’s Club are accepted. You can also use your credit card or ATM card to withdraw funds from participating banks in Panama. Outside of cities it may be difficult to find an ATM or use credit cards.

WEATHER & CLIMATE
The days in the Kuna Yala are normally sunny and hot, with temperatures between 75º and 95º Fahrenheit and occasional high humidity. Nights are comfortably cool with temperatures in 70s and 80s. In the Caribbean it can get fairly windy, causing wind directions to change constantly. In the event of high winds and stormy conditions in could be necessary to change our itinerary.
During the Rainy Season between May thru December, storms and heavy rain are possible.

LUGGAGE, CLOTHING & TRAVEL ACCESSORIES
Try to travel as light as possible and take only the essentials. Excess baggage can be a burden to you and to our support personnel. Also keep in mind; there are limits on how much your duffel and daypack can weigh (25 lbs. for the duffel and 10 pounds for the daypack) because of weight restrictions on the domestic flights within Panama.

LUGGAGE
• Duffel bag. We advise that you bring one duffel bag for your gear, and we suggest a size of about 14” x 30” or 15” x 36” with a lock. Make sure your duffel is made of a sturdy material. “When you fly, always bring in your carry-on bag all
irreplaceable items, such as cameras, medications, spare eyeglasses and important papers.”
• Daypack. It should have a capacity of 1500 to 2000 cubic inches and can double as your carry-on bag.
• Small waterproof dry bag to carry personal items (camera, etc.) while on board the kayaks.

CLOTHING
In this tropical journey you will be exposed to sun, wind, and saltwater. Lightweight cotton clothes are suitable for warm weather and are recommended on this trip. Light clothing is truly all that is considered necessary (long sleeves are suggested for sun protection during kayaking). A light covering (cotton sleeping bag liner or silk or fleece bivy) is adequate for a comfortable sleep. Plastic garbage bags are recommended as liners for your dry bag as added protection.
Note: While in communities, women should dress modestly wearing long pants or sarongs and sleeves (no bikinis, tank tops or short shorts) out of respect for the locals.

TRAVEL ACCESSORIES
Pack based on expected weather conditions and weight restrictions for you your luggage.
• Regular underwear. Synthetics are easier to wash and dry.
• Long-sleeved shirt. Short –sleeved synthetic and cotton T-shirts. Lightweight lycra top or “skin” for sun protection while snorkeling.
• Full-length pants, preferably of quick-drying synthetic fabric. Hiking shorts, preferable or a synthetic fabric.
• Sun Hat with wide brim, preferably with chinstrap to keep it from blowing off. Bandanna. It will keep your neck from getting sunburned and can double as a hand towel.
• Lightweight Gore-Tex rain/wind parka.
• A small umbrella is optional (lightweight and collapsible – good for sun and rain protection).
• Athletic socks (synthetic for easy washing and drying) that is suitable for your walking shoes. You should bring along a couple of extra long socks so that pants can be tucked into them (e.g. for when encountering sand fleas).
• Comfortable walking shoes with good ankle support and good traction, or lightweight hiking boots.
• Water sandals with a strap, or Neoprene Kayaking slippers such as Aqua socks.
• Swimsuit. A change of bathing suits is recommended to avoid salt-water rash.
• Cotton or silk bivy bag or sleeping bag liner.
• Water bottle, 1- or 1.5-quart capacity. Make sure it is leak-proof, heavy-duty plastic.
• Synthetic chamois towel and additional small tower (one for salt and one for fresh water).
• Toiletry kit – soap, toothbrush, and so on.
• Insect repellent. It’s important that you bring an ample supply of good quality repellent.
• Ace bandage or brace if you’re prone to sore knees or ankles.
• Sunglasses.
• Spare pair of prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses, or contact lenses. (Attention
contact lens wearers: you will encounter lots of dust and sand — plan to wear glasses
some of the time).
• Sunscreen and lip protection with at least SPF 15 rating.
• Small flashlight or headlamp with spare batteries. A headlamp is handy for reading in your tent.
• Hand sanitizer or disposable pre-moistened towelettes for quick hand washing and hygiene.
• Plastic bags of various sizes for keeping things sorted out in your duffel. Zip-lock bags work well. (
• Snorkeling mask (please don’t bring fins – they are not necessary, they destroy the reef, and take up valuable space).
• Earplugs for noisy roosters, crashing waves on the beach, etc.
• 30-foot, three-millimeter thick, nylon cords to hang clothes to dry.
• Talcum powder, to prevent salt-water rash.
OPTIONAL TRAVEL ACCESSORIES
• Washcloth
• Reading and writing material
• Binoculars
• Your favorite snack food. The community will provide plenty of excellent food on the trip, but you might want to bring along your favorite snack food.

Electricity
The 120V, 60Hz system works in Panama. Sockets are normally the flat two-pin variety (like in the US), but can vary. We still recommend you to bring a converter and plug adapters if you are planning to use a hairdryer or an electric shaver.

Time Zones
The Republic of Panama is on Greenwich Mean Time minus five hours. Panama City is the same time as New York and 3 hours ahead of California. Then with daylight savings time, Panama is the same as Central time.

Communications
Fax machines and telephones are available at most hotels in the capital. In some of the Kuna Yala communities you will have a phone; at times they do not function.

Cross Cultural Issues
While traveling in a foreign country you must remember that you are a visitor/guest and try your best to become accustomed to the local culture and customs. English is spoken in larger cities, but as you travel further away from these cities you will find there are very few people who speak English. If you are having any difficulties with communicating, ask your guide for
assistance. Also at times it is common for events to take place in a foreign country that are different from your personal beliefs. It is important to have patience and respect the local culture; these are key elements for a successful and inspiring experience.

Women adventure week in Panama (June 18 – 24, 2016)

 

An active outdoor program just for women during the week of June of 2016. This 7 day adventure includes: Beach combing in Bocas del Toro, active and cultural activities in the City and in the highlands of Panama, bilingual guides, and the fun of the City. Great opportunity for professional networking. This will have a maximum of 20 participants and minimum of 10. Includes: all transfers, 6 night of lodging – 2 nights in Panama City and 2 nights in the highlands of Boquete, 2 nights in Bocas del Toro, day tours, all breakfasts, lunch during tours, entrance fees to national parks and attractions, information kit and taxes.

Day 1 – Welcome 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.

Day 2 – Day 2 Kayaking the Panama Canal Watershed & Rain Forest Discovery Center Early in the morning you will be greeted by your guide in the lobby of your hotel to begin your kayaking adventure in the Panama Canal Watershed. As you begin your journey into the Panama Canal Watershed you will leave the Panama City limits and enter in to the Soberania National Park, building will slowly be replaced by secondary and primary rain forest, and you will pass the former Fort Clayton, Miraflores Locks before entering the Park. Keep your eyes open for toucans, sloths and other animals as they awake with the morning sun. Once you reach dock you will receive a safety briefing and introductory paddle lesson before slipping into your kayaks to start paddling into the heart of the Panama Canal Zone. Seated at water level in your kayak will give you an interesting perspective of the Panama Canal in action. Our guide will lead you to places of special interest, while educating you about the flora and fauna of the area. After kayaking we will visit the Rain Forest Discovery Centre, where we will learn more about the Panamanian rain forests´ secrets. Climb the rain forest tower that is 30 meters high with emergent trees reaching 40meters. It is an amazing experience in the core of the tropical rainforest. We will have a picnic lunch, while observing the numerous species of humming birds in the area.

IN THE AFTERNOON: The Highlands of Panama

You will be transferred to Albrook Domestic Airport to take your one hour flight to David, the capital of Chiriqui Province. ****Flight is not included***Upon arrival, you will be met by an EcoCircuitos Representative and transferred to Finca Lerida state coffee lodge. This Ecolodge is nestled in the middle coffee plantation and surrounded by a private natural forest reserve. You will wake up to the symphony of birds and to the aroma of our home grown “Finca Lerida” Estate Coffee brewed specially for you. All the rooms are individually decorated and named after birds found in Finca Lerida Highlands. (B, pic nic lunch)

 Flying within Panama has a luggage weight limit of 25 pounds (lbs) per person.

Day 3 – Los Quetzales Trail This is considered one of the most spectacular trails in Central America and one of the most popular hikes of the western highlands. Depart from your hotel in Boquete at 7:00 AM in a 4×4 to the ranger station in Baru National Park where you will begin your trek along the Quetzales Trail. Walk through different elevations and landscapes giving the group the opportunity to see a great variety of tree, plant and bird species, including the Resplendent Quetzal, the Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Silvery-throated Jay, Black-faced Solitaire and the Barred Becard. Includes: Transportation, Box Lunch, and specialized Guide. Duration: Full day tour. This trail is only recommended for experienced hikers and people with an excellent physical condition due to its difficult nature. (B, pic nic lunch)

 Day 4 Transfer to Bocas del Toro Archipelago (A day Tour!!) You will be transferred by land and boat from Boquete to Bocas del Toro Archipelago. You will pass through the Talamanca Continental Divide and you will enjoy the amazing landscape of our highlands. Enjoy the view of some areas of the Palo Seco and La Fortuna Natural Reserves during the transfer. Upon arrival to Almirante (Bocas del Toro Mainland pier), you will board a water taxi that will head you to Isla Colon. (Boat transfer 25 minutes) Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Check in at the hotel Playa Tortuga. Transfer duration: 3 ½ hrs approx.

 Day 5 Bocas del Toro Archipelago After breakfast you will visit a local indigenous community where you will learn about their conservation initiatives to protect their surroundings. Look for local wildlife species such as Three-toed Sloth, the quintessential Red poison-dart Frog, White-faced Capuchins and Howler Monkeys, along with many bird species, and venture inside a rainforest cave. Later today, after an outdoor lunch you will enjoy a tour of Bastimentos Marine National Park to snorkel, and relax at the beach. Lodging will be at a hotel in Bocas. (B,L)

 DAY 6 – Return to Panama City  Return to Panama City and upon arrival Full Day Historical City Tour During the half-day morning tour you will visit the ruins of Old Panama, climb up the Cathedral tower, visit the Old Panama Museum and then continue to Casco Viejo (the old city compound), which dates from the late 1600’s. A bilingual guide will describe the events in history leading up to the eventual movement of the capital city to its present location. Casco Viejo is home to monuments to Ferdinand de Lesseps and other Frenchmen instrumental in the ill-fated attempt of the French to construct a canal through Panama. Your tour ends with a visit to the Panama Canal Museum. 
The full day tour continues with a visit to the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal where large ships can be seen transiting the canal. Enjoy a presentation by the Panama Canal Authority on the history of the Panama Canal and marvel at the workings of this feat of human engineering. Lunch will be serving at a local restaurant. The tour then continues to the Panama Canal area, including the town of Balboa, formerly part of the Panama Canal Zone. You will stop at the folk art market at the old YMCA building. Late afternoon you will return to your hotel in Panama City. (B,L). (B)  ****Flight is not included***

  Day 7 – Departure At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the Tocumen International Airport for your outbound flight. You will arrive at the airport approximately 2 hours before your departure time. Note: customers will be picked up 3 hours before their flight time. ** END OF SERVICES**

Prices upon request!

The program includes:  6 nights of lodging , Private transfers in and out of Tocumen International Airport, Tours as mentioned above, bilingual guide accompany the group during complete itinerary, Breakfast at all mentioned hotels, Information kit, Lodging taxes

The program does not include:  Optional activities, International airfare and taxes, Departure taxes ($40.00 per person for Panama), Meals not specified in the itinerary, Domestic and international flights, alcoholic beverages, Personal equipment,
Extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service, etc.), Gratuities

Rates are valid until June 15th, 2016 and subject to change due increases on fuel prices

  • Prices are net per person.
  • Prices are given in US Dollars.
  • Prices are subject to change without previous notice depending on any significant increase in rates, taxes, fuel or due to availability problems.
  • Prices are based on the minimum of paying participants previously informed.
  • If the minimum number of paying participants changes, the rates would also change
  • Tips for drives and guides not included

Note: This is a quote not a reservation. Please note that all quotations given are subject to availability at the time of reservation and cannot be guaranteed until payment is received. Please note that credit card payments are subject to processing fees.

EcoCircuitos realizes that has important environmental and social responsibilities in and out of the office. We create memorable travel experiences in Panama’s natural history and cultural heritage.   Our office team and suppliers ensure quality service, cultural sensitivity, local knowledge, innovation and social and environmental responsibility. As travelers ourselves we believe giving something back is essential. Therefore we work with our team, suppliers and customers to ensure that benefits will contribute directly to the communities we visit and their environment.

For more information, please visit our Responsible Travel Policy link.

Encourage the channeling of part of our revenues towards supporting the conservation and sustainable use of Panama’s biodiversity. We are committed to the conservation of protected areas, education and local community development.

 

Learn to Surf in Panama! (Beginner and intermediate levels)

Surfers represent a diverse culture based on riding the waves. Some people practice surfing as a recreational activity while others make it the central focus of their lives.  For those who currently surf, or wish to learn to surf, Panama offers to the surfing enthusiast two oceans from which to choose, the Atlantic and Pacific. This allows locals and visitors to take advantage of currently weather and wave conditions, not to mention that some of the most popular surf spots are within an hour or two from the cosmopolitan Panama City.

Day 1 – Welcome to Panama!

Today at the appropriate time an EcoCircuitos guide will be meet you at the Tocumen International Airport to assist and transfer you to your hotel located in Panama City. You will also receive an EcoCircuitos information kit. Once you arrive to your hotel, please check. Your transfer will take 25-30 minutes approximately.

Day 2 – Surfing the Pacific

After breakfast you will be transferred to El Palmar Beach located an hour and 15 minutes away from Panama City in San Carlos, Panama. It is one of the most renowned surf spots on the Pacific Coast of Panama and features waves ideal for both beginners and advanced surfers. The lessons are designed to teach you the fundamentals of surfing. Whether you have never surfed before or tried a couple times, professional instructors will teach you the secrets to speedy progress while having lots of fun.   This course starts with on the beach instruction. Then you will hit the water with an instructor, who will guide you through the different techniques to help you catch and ride waves on your own. Surfboards are included and we have special boards for beginners. Lodging will be in a hotel nearby, (B,L)

 Day 3 – Surfing the Pacific Part 2

After breakfast you will be heading to one of the several surf spots of Rio Mar or another nearby surfing spot to continue with your surfing lessons. Rio Mar suits beginners and surfers of all levels. There are consistent beach breaks – lefts and rights, and a world class right point break. Other breaks close are within 15 minute driving distance. Transfers to other surf spots are available upon request. At the appropriate time in the afternoon, you will be transferred to your hotel in Panama City. Hotel in the City, (B,L)

 Day 4 – Caribbean Coast of Bocas del Toro Archipelago

Early in the morning you will be transferred to Albrook domestic airport for an one-hour flight to the Bocas del Toro Archipelago located in the Caribbean of West Panama near the border of Costa Rica and has become an outdoor lover’s paradise. Surfing in Bocas Del Toro, is different from surfing in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua or other places in Central America. The surf here is island/reef surf, similar to what a surfer might find in the South Pacific or Indian Ocean. Upon your arrival, you will be pick up by our representative and transferred to you hotel. After lunch in the afternoon, you will have a yoga class with a certified instructor to get ready for your upcoming surfing adventures. After yoga you can organize a tour or activity to get to know the Bocas area. Depending on the time we may be able to sneak in a quick visit to a nearby beach. Hotel in the area, (B,L).

Day 5 & 6 – Bocas del Toro Archipelago

After breakfast you will meet your surf instructor that will give you a theory class about surfing Bocas del Toro. The instructor will explain to you all different wave details including where the peak and channel are. According to your level, stance and personal preference the instructor will select the most suitable spot for your session. All sessions include theory class, bilingual certified teacher, surfboard, rash guard and transport to and from the break. Hotel in the area, (B,L).

Day 7 – Return to Panama City-Full Day City Tour

In the morning you will be transferred to the Bocas local airport for your flight back to Panama City. Upon arrival an EcoCircuitos representative will take you on a tour to visit the ruins of Old Panama and continue to Casco Antiguo (the old city compound), which dates from the late 1600’s.
A bilingual historical guide will describe the events in history leading up to the movement of the capital city founded by Pedrarias to its present location. Casco Antiguo is home to monuments of Ferdinand de Lesseps and other important historical Frenchmen that attempted to construct a canal through Panama. The full day tour continues with a visit to the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal where large ships can be seen transiting the Canal.
Enjoy a presentation by the Panama Canal Authority about the history of the Panama Canal and marvel at the workings of this feat of human engineering. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. The tour will continue to the Panama Canal area, including the town of Balboa, formerly part of the Panama Canal Zone. In the late afternoon you will return to your hotel in Panama City. Hotel in the City,(B,L).

Day 8 – Departure

At the appropriate time, you will be transferred to the International Tocumen Airport for your departure. (B)