Las Perlas off the beaten track

by Carina Forster

A weekend-visit to the picturesque archipelago of Las Perlas astonished me in several ways. While Panama is lush with occasional rain showers during the green season, the islands of Las Perlas hardly see any rain throughout the whole year. Just after a 1,5 hour boat ride from Panama City, you find yourself in a climate and landscape completely distinct from the rest of the country.

The islands are characterized by dry vegetation and palm-fringed beaches, which are amongst the most beautiful ones I have seen throughout Panama, with incredibly white sand and blue waters. The underwater world is spectacular with colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, turtles and rays. Furthermore, the islands are a paradise for bird lovers with hundreds of migrating species passing by in spectacular formations. From May to October humpback whales can be seen on their way to warmer waters.

Instead of visiting the well-developed island of Contadora, we decided to check out its larger, less developed and more economical neighbor Saboga. Without a doubt the beaches being just as beautiful as on famous Contadora, Saboga offers some nice hiking treks and deserted beaches just for your own. For adventurers, the charming village offers authentic local food and simple accommodation behind the police station with a spectacular view over the bay.

We asked a local fisherman to take us to Bartolome Island in the morning, having the little island completely for ourselves before other people arrived at around 11. This white-sanded Robinson Crusoe Island is perfect for snorkeling, with beautiful coral reefs and large colorful fish. And like if it was not perfect enough already, a large group of dolphins accompanied our little boat on the way back.


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.



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 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.

Whale Watching in Panama: Eco Guidelines for a sustainable adventure

Awe-Ispiring . Amazing . Unforgetable

Observe these elegant giants of the Pacific Ocean during their migration season that goes from July till November. At just 40 miles south from Panama City you will enter a rich biological corridor home the Pearl Islands Archipelago. Observe these amazing creatures as they make there way to their favorite warm tropical waters to give birth to their calves. Join this once in a life time experience with EcoCircuitos Panama; we will guide you through the deep waters of the Panama Bay onward to the Pearl Islands in search for these magnificent mammals.  Other options available in Azuero Peninsula and the Gulf of Chiriqui.

Here is some important guidelines for whale watching:

  • Slowly approach Cetaceans sideways, never from front or rear.
  • Never cross the path of a Cetacean or a group of Cetaceans in the aim to anticipate their moves and facilitate a closer encounter: they will most probably feel chased and avoid you.
  • Slow down to “no-wake” speed, and maintain a steady direction. You will make them feel more secure, and the probability of a close encounter will be higher.
  • Never split a pod or group of Cetaceans.
  • Be aware of other boats in the surrondings. Dolphins and Whales should never feel encircled, and it is very sensible to leave the area if it happens to be already busy.
  • Be especially aware of the presence of mothers and calves, exactly as you would be in your intraspecific relations.
  • Never spend more than 20 minutes with Cetaceans, unless they want to spend a longer time with you.
  • Never feed cetaceans. You do not want to perturb their natural feeding habits, which may cause big problems in the long run.
  • Try to make as little noise as possible.
  • Be aware of possible signs of distress (see below), and leave at very low speed the area if you notice any.
  • Kindly discourage other people from putting a lot of pressure on the Skipper in the aim of making her/him get closer and closer (and finally too close) to Cetaceans. It sadly happens more often than one can imagine. The best Whale Watch Operators are the ones who are more sensible, not the ones who get closer. Moreover, the most sensible operators have often the best encounters.
  • If you swim with Cetaceans, do not try to touch them or get closer than they want you to. As important, check the local regulations before you get in the water with them. Most countries or states do not let people swim with Cetaceans.

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 and tour description please contact us

Fam Trip Archipielago de las Perlas

Por:  Laura Ramirez

Esta es una parte de Panamá inolvidable, pero es muy poco conocida por los panameños y el resto del mundo. Si es muy cierto que no lo conocemos por eso debemos hacer un alto en el afán de nuestra vida cotidiana e ir al archipiélago de las perlas para integrarnos con la naturaleza y de esta manera explorar este parte oculto de nuestro Istmo.

Esta recorrido comienza saliendo del Hotel Tump en donde se toma el “ferrylasPerlas” este toma  aproximadamente unas dos horas para llegar a Taboga. AL llegar a Taboga nos encontramos con los representantes de Almanaque Azul y Gente del mar; los cuales estaban a cargo del recorrido por el archipiélago.  Posterior mente abordamos el velero  el cual nos  llevo alrededor de las Islas del archipiélago cercanas a Taboga.

Dentro de este recorrido pudimos apreciar diversa especie de aves, como nos encontramos en la temporada las ballenas y estas nos deleitaron con sus acrobacias las cuales no dejan de encantar a sus observadores.  De igual forma puede realizar snorkel y caminata en las diferentes islas.  Conocer de la cultura de las personas del área.

Dato súper curioso de la Isla de Saboga: en esta isla existen dos corles, si suena extraño coral  si esto se trata de barreras de piedra creadas cerca de la orilla de la playa y estos fueron creados hace muchos años atrás por los primero pobladores de  estas islas. Nuestros ante pasados la utilizaban para pecar ya que en estas áreas cuando sube la marea entra el pescado y al bajar la marea el pescado queda capturado en ellas. Hoy día las mujeres del poblado lo siguen utilizando para pesca.

Fam Trip to Azuero Peninsula

By Franzisca Beyer

Just at the end of my internship I was invited to a great trip to Azuero and for sure I was more than happy to go on this last trip with Panama Al Natural who organized the whole trip.
Our trip started with visiting the archaeological park el Cano (province of Cocle), where remains of bodies, weapons, tools and pieces of gold, whose antiquity dates between 700 and 1,000 years were found. The excavations in el Caño started in 2006 in an area of about 5,000 square meters, but the first archaeological finds of bodies and parts were found between 2008 and 2009, when the first discoveries were reported. Visiting this place was a very nice start to our trip.
Later that day we arrived to Parita a small town near Chitre, where we visited a man who produces traditional masks. We were invited to his home, he explained and showed us how to fabricate these masks. It was heartwarming to see him working with so much passion.
Having arrived in Pedasi, we got picked up by our guide for the next hours. I already had been to Pedasi, but I had not heard before about Isla Cañas, which is about an one hour ride from Pedasi. This island is the most important place in Panama where turtles  come to spawn and whales on their migration path can be observe.

After delicious fried fish with patacones we took a long walk at the beach, hoping to meet a turtle. It was deep dark..I was listening to the sounds of the ocean and trying to keep this amazing atmosphere in mind.
And it was our lucky day because just when we started our way back to the hotel we saw a big and beautiful turtle spawning. It was one of the best days in my life…we all sat down and observed her patiently. The turtle finished spawning and started to cover the eggs carefully, after assuring herself that all eggs were well protected she started her long way back to the ocean. Impressed of this wonder of nature we also got back to the hotel.
The next day after having lovely prepared and delicious pancakes at Hostal Doña Maria we continued our trip to a small town called San José, where we had traditional lunch and got an introduction about the pollera, the typical dress of Panama which was quite interesting. It is incredible how enthusiastic these women produce the polleras and how successful they are. We finished the day with a tasty diner at hotel Mykonos in Santiago.
Early in the morning we started our last day with a boat trip to an island in the bay of Montijo. Our boat was accompanied by dolphins, the sun was shining and the island was just stunning beautiful with a white-sand beach and pristine water. While eating my picnic lunch at the beach, I watched pelicans catching fish and I was thinking about how lucky I am to experience Panama with EcoCircuitos.
Now I am back in the office writing my last report and I would like to thank EcoCircuitos for my internship here in Panama. This last trip and the Panama Canal Transit are definitely experiences that I will remember a life time.

Whale Watching Panama

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.

From Panama City you will take a boat into the direction of the Pearl Islands and as soon you are in the wide open water the first humpback whales will emerge from the water. They are gigantic! This enormous animal is even bigger than the boat. You will keep a safe distance, but it will still be possible to see them really close.

After you have admired the whales for a while you will set sail to another spot. This because we do not want to disturb the whales too long with the spluttering boat. Here you could see more humpback whales. Some of them are taking it easy and other ones are jumping around. Maybe, if you are really lucky, you will see a mother with her child. Do not forget to bring your camera and to take some beautiful pictures. This way you can always remember this wonderful day.

On the way back to Panama City the show is not over yet. You could be accompanied by a group of dolphins. They will be swimming along side the boat and they will be jumping around and performing a show you can not miss.

In the evening at dinner you will still be amazed by the wonderful day you have had. You will look at your pictures and can not believe you have seen these massive giants for real. This was a day you will never forget.

If you are interested in the whale watching tour please check our website


By Jiske Schaling