Day 1: Panama City
Simply pulsing with the beat of history yet entirely contemporary and cosmopolitan, Panama’s capital offers its guests an abundant array of adventure, culture and leisure activities and central access to the rest of this stunning Central American country.
The most famous of Panama City’s landmarks is the legendary Panama Canal— both a masterpiece of engineering and an important marine thoroughfare. Additionally, Panama City is home to numerous other landmarks and monuments worth a visit., Other attractions to the country’s bustling capital and largest city are its delicious restaurants, rich culture and street vendors scattered about creating a lively energy found nowhere else.
Founded in the early 1500s, Panama City packs a lot of antiquity, which is clear from the scattered ruins of the Casco Viejo to its lovingly restored Colonial architecture. During your stay in Panama City, you’ll find out firsthand why Condé Nast Traveler repeatedly has named the Bristol Hotel the Best Hotel in Panama and one of the Top 10 Hotels in Latin America.
This iconic hotel features slick urban style and uncompromising sophistication that is intimate and upscale. Located in the middle of shopping, dining and culture, the Bristol is a true retreat for discerning travelers. Here, you’ll find modern amenities and gracious service hidden away in an historic mansion near the financial district.
Of particular note at The Bristol is its famous fine dining restaurant, Salsipuedes, that celebrates the spirit of Panama’s spicy and cheerful culture. You won’t want to miss a meal here!
Today, you’ll arrive to Panama and check into Bristol Hotel.
Day 2: Panama City & the Canal
After enjoying breakfast at The Bristol, your guide will pick you up to take you on a half-day tour of the Panama Canal. Your day begins with a private transfer to the town of Gamboa, where the Panama Canal Dredging Division is housed. From there, you’ll board a cruise ship to begin the Canal transit. You’ll enter the Canal at the north end of the Gaillard Cut near where the Chagres River flows in. The Cut is a major point of interest for visitors, as it was carved through the Continental Divide and, as such, is full of geological value and history. Your boat will navigate nearly 9 miles en route to Pedro Miguel Locks. Be sure to keep a look out for the ongoing work for the expansion project, as well as evidence of continuous maintenance required by mudslides. You’ll also see the brand new Centennial Bridge as you near the southern end of the Cut.
Your ship first will enter the Pedro Miguel Locks, where it will be lowered nearly 30 feet before existing into Miraflores Lake. Miraflores Lake is an artificial, freshwater lake created to join Pedro Miguel and the Miraflores Locks, which are the final set before reaching the Pacific. At Miraflores Locks, your boat will be lowered another 50+ feet before existing into the Pacific and heading back to Flamenco Marina. On the way to Flamenco, keep your eyes peeled as you pass under the Bridge of the Americas and float by the Bay of Panama and Panama City’s incomparable skyline.
Your guide will privately transfer you back to The Bristol, where you can freshen up and grab a bite before heading back out for a private night tour of Casco Antiguo.
Once you’ve had a brief respite, our representative will meet you at the hotel to start a private tour of the historical center of Panama City known as Casco Antiguo or the Old Quarter. You’ll enjoy strolling through this charming residential neighborhood filled with flower-decorated balconies, calm, narrow streets and several beautiful landmarks. While in the Old Quarter, you’ll have the opportunity to see French Park, the Canal Museum, the Museum of National History, the mother-of-pearl spires of the old cathedral, the Presidential House and, of course, the Gold Altar of San Jose Cathedral. As night falls, you’ll enjoy a dine-around experience at one of the Colonial quarter’s unique restaurants.
Day 3: Chiriqui, David & Boquete
On day three of your Panama Honeymoon Hideaway, you’ll be privately transferred to the domestic airport to fly to the Chiriqui region that encompasses David and Boquete. When you arrive in the transportation hub of David, our agent will greet you for a private ground transfer to Panamonte Inn & Spa.
The region of Chiriqui packs every possible landscape into one relatively small area, including Panama’s longest rivers, tallest mountains, most fertile valleys, paradisiacal islands, amazing highland rainforests and two huge marine reserves. You’ll be centered around the seemingly untouched and remote Highlands in Boquete, where eco-tourism among one of the most ecologically important regions is king.
An ideal home base for such an important ecological area, Panamonte Inn & Spa, located in Boquete, has attracted adventurers, explorers and nature lovers since 1914. Famous for its gracious hospitality and excellent service, the Panamonte is a memorable treat with a storied past hosting all manner of VIPs. Today, the hotel hosts eco travelers with the same high standards.
After you’ve dropped your bags at Panamonte, you’ll enjoy a private afternoon tour to the renowned Finca Lerida for a coffee tour to learn about the cultivation and processing of beans for coffee. You’ll never look at your morning Joe the same way again once you’ve taken a tour here. Hotel Finca Lerida was one of the first to export Panamanian coffee and began the region’s reputation as a fine producer of coffee. No matter how much you think you know about coffee production, this tour provides insights not only into the growing process but also into the economics of the local indigenous labor and culture, what coffee producers really think about chains like Starbucks, the shade-grown theory for a healthier environment and a better bean, and more. You’ll end the tour with a cupping, which is the coffee equivalent of wine tasting. This gives you the rare opportunity to sample different flavors, roasts and strengths right at the source.
When the tour is complete, you’ll be driven back to Panamonte, where we highly recommend dining at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant named among the best in all of Central America by Condé Nast Traveller. Or, simply grab a nightcap in the Fireside Lounge.
Day 4: Chiriqui, David & Boquete
Today, you’ll head back to Finca Lerida on a privately-guided walking tour to see another side of the working coffee farm. Here, you’ll also find a nature reserve that plays host to many hidden wonders, including cloud forest, waterfalls and trails. Along the trails, you’re sure to discover many of Panama’s flora and fauna, as your guide discusses the unique topography and eco-systems of the region.
After a few days of walking tours, you might like to enjoy Panamonte’s tranquil full-service spa after lunch this afternoon.
Day 5: Chiriqui, David & Boquete
Your dream Panama journey is half complete, so why not take free day to explore as you please in this remote, untouched region. You’re free to do as much, or as little, as suits your taste today, but here are some of our favorite things to do in Chiriqui:
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of La Amistad International Park, where it’s possible to spot more than 500 species of tropical birds along the winding trails.
Head out to one of the two National Marine Parks for a day of diving, snorkeling, kayaking or just chilling out. Both Coiba National Park and the Gulf of Chiriqui Marine National Park are worth visits.
Hike the magnificent alpine-like Volcan Baru or partake of one of the more adventurous activities in this area, including zip lining, whitewater rafting or horseback riding.
Plan a visit to one of the many indigenous villages nearby to learn more about local culture, arts and history.
Day 6: Panama City
As we often say, all roads in Panama lead through Panama City, so today is a transfer day as we prepared to head on to the San Blas Islands tomorrow morning. Our representative will meet you at Panamonte for a private ground transfer back to the domestic airport, where you’ll fly back to Panama City and overnight once again at The Bristol.
Although you may desire to simply retire to your room and enjoy the Italian marble bath and generous amenities, a dip in the pool or a visit to The Spa at Bristol for a holistic healing therapy may be just what the proverbial doctor ordered.
Day 7: San Blas Islands
So far, you’ve enjoyed the far reaches of mainland Panama on your dream Honeymoon Hideaway journey, but prepare to indulge in the pulse of the islands as you head to the domestic airport for a short flight out to the San Blas Archipelago.
The San Blas Islands are an unspoiled tropical wilderness of more than 365 islands, many uninhabited. Here, you’ll find sandy beaches and coral isles surrounded by the quintessential turquoise waters of the sea. Roughly 60 of the islands are home to one of the most preserved indigenous tribes in all of the Americas— the Kuna Yala. They’ve maintained control of the region and even have their own government, economic system, culture and language. This province has its own government called the Indigenous Independent Congress, and each island is run by a chief.
Although tourism is limited to only a few of the islands here, the archipelago is well worth a visit for its white sand beaches, warm sapphire waters and local color.
During your time in this remote island paradise, you’ll enjoy three nights aboard the fully-chartered Ti Kay catamaran yacht with complete crew and full board. The 40-foot boat is spacious and comfortable with three double cabins and one single cabin ideal for kids. Everything is included during your stay on Ti Kay, including three meals each day and all drinks (even liquor) and all activities. Sailing San Blas in this way is a treat because the distances to cover are fairly short (only a couple hours each day) and each night is spent at anchor since there are no marinas here.
Days 8-9: San Blas Islands
You’ll have two more full days to explore all the San Blas Islands have to offer with the crew of the Ti Kay:
Learn to sail, as the crew instructs about the basics.
Explore the very best snorkeling spots throughout the islands from 3 to 100 feet for all levels. Your expert crew knows all the best ones! Be aware, though, the Kuna don’t allow SCUBA diving in the islands, so there is no diving equipment on board.
Wile away the hours fishing. You can either catch and release or help catch dinner if you like.
Sit back and enjoy watching all the wildlife, including abundant birds and marine life.
Set out on a kayaking excursion from the boat.
Play some beach volleyball.
Visit the local Kuna tribes to learn more about their strong culture and traditions.
Day 10: Panama City
This morning, the crew of the Ti Kay will drop you at the local airport, where you’ll check in to fly back to Panama City for your last evening in Panama. But, you won’t be heading back to The Bristol because we thought you’d like a new vantage point of this spectacular city. Instead, you’ll relax at a hidden jewel nestled in the heart of the Casco Viejo UNESCO World Heritage Site— Las Clementinas.
Making its home in what once was a 1930’s apartment building, Las Clementinas is just steps away from several of South America’s most famous historical monuments. It also provides spacious and lovingly decorated suites that retain the footprint of the original apartment layouts, including a full kitchen and separate queen-sized bedroom. You’ll also get access to the beautiful roof top terrace and the recently discovered and restored gardens for guests only.
You’ll have most of the day to explore this charming area of Panama City or pack in a day trip if you choose. Some of our favorite activities include:
Grab a bite and watch the world pass by from the hotel’s lobby bar and café.
Take a cooking class to learn about local ingredients and fresh homemade fare.
Relax at the local beaches.
Take the train to Colon to check out the Caribbean seaport commonly called “Panama’s second city.”
Shop for souvenirs at locally-owned shops nearby.
Day 11: Departure from Panama City
After your last morning in Panama, you’ll take a private transfer back Panama’s Tocumen International Airport for the return flight home.