Three million years ago a narrow landmass emerged from the sea. This country connects Central & South America; two oceans, the Caribbean and the Pacific, with Costa Rica to the west, and Colombia to the east, define its borders. Along this narrow isthmus bridging the Americas, the wildlife and terrain of two continents meld to form the striking contrasts of this country. Oceans (two), mountains, forests, and jungles provide amazing exploration opportunities. Panama is for Explorers, not for Tourists. Today, Panama City, the financial hub of Latin America, is a modern business epicenter. The competing skyscrapers dominate the horizon where one could easily mistake the capital’s skyline for a large, major city somewhere else in the world. So much to see, and so much to do.
In addition to the beautiful islands and stunning ruins, Panama boasts a unique and vibrant shopping opportunity. Bright and colorful Molas, (a hand-made textile that forms part of the traditional women's clothing of the Kuna People of Panama) can be found adorning shops and street markets. A trip to Panama wouldn’t be complete without an authentic straw Panama hat. These too can be found in every shape and style throughout the country. If you’re looking for a place to shop and bring home amazing gifts for friends and family this holiday season, you don’t want to miss this trip!
About the Artist
Terry Gay Puckett is a native Texan and award-winning artist actively involved in the San Antonio art community. Terry Gay has led numerous workshops to Mexico and Guatemala as well as throughout her home state of Texas. She specializes in drawing, painting, mixed media, enameling, and collage. Among her interests are folk art, study of the Spanish language, and art and architecture of Pre-Columbian civilizations.
Terry Gay shares her sketching and painting techniques as well as tips for journaling and sketching “on the move” while conducting her travel workshops. Terry Gay is also an accredited instructor for T’ai Chi Chih and likes to encourage her students to join her in this “moving meditation” to circulate and balance ones cosmic energy. Click Here To View Terry Gay Puckett’s Website
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Cost: $2,990 per person Single Supplement: $595
Our Travel Itinerary
November 13th - 21st
Wednesday, November 13th
Arrive in Panama and transfer to J.W. Marriot, considered one of the most elegant hotels in Panama City.
Afternoon or evening – enjoy the high life at the former Trump Tower; enjoy a beverage and tapas on the 66th floor with an unparalleled view of the Panama City skyline, the world class casino, Spa, pool, several restaurants (we’ll provide a list of the restaurants as well as other services).
As folks may be arriving at later times, dinner will be on your own tonight; we will provide recommendations.
Thursday, November 14th
This morning we will travel to Casco Viejo, the historic district and cultural gem of Panama City. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, Casco was established around 1673 by the Spanish colonists. Walk the cobblestone streets admiring the colonial architecture, the French influences; a quiet, charming district of narrow streets. Step back into time as you stroll past private homes with striking iron balconies overflowing with colorful bougainvillea. Admire the many structures that have been painstakingly restored and now house museums, gourmet restaurants, quaint shops and upscale residences.
Our Panama experience continues with a visit to the Panama Canal and the Mira Flores Locks to learn the history of what is considered one of the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE MODERN WORLD. A major ship canal that traverses the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, it connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Construction of the canal was one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. At the locks, we will watch as these ships (some massive) maneuver into the lock to be lowered to a level that will take them out into the Pacific Ocean – an incredible engineering feat and a fascinating and unforgettable show to watch the steel giants going through the locks. (B/L/D)
Friday, November 15th
Chagres National Park
In the Chagres National Park, we will travel by dugout canoe up the Chagres River into the jungle to the village of the gentle indigenous people called the Embera. Along the way explore the river,and keep an eye out for wildlife before arriving at the village of Tusi Pono where you will delve into this indigenous culture. Here you’ll be welcomed by the indigenous people and given an interesting insight into their history, traditions and current way of life, including their music and dance. Of special interest are their masterfully woven baskets and masks, carved tagua nut (vegetable ivory) and beautifully carved Cocobolo wood figures. The Embera belong to the Carib culture. Their territory of origin is the Choco region in Colombia and the Darien Rain Forest in Panama. Enjoy a lunch served in a banana leaf. Return to our hotel. We will meet on Floor 66 for a drink and a view that will knock your socks off (if you have any on), then enjoy a delicious dinner at a bayside restaurant. (B/L/D)
Saturday, November 16th
Have your bags ready to go and check out this morning. After a sumptuous breakfast, we will board our coach for the regional airport and fly to the city of David. From here, our coach will take us to the mountain town of Boquete, home to many expats who have moved to Panama in search of a simple and tranquil life. Set high on the eastern slopes of Volcan Baru this charming mountain village is known as the center of production for Panama’s sweetest oranges and best coffee. The hillsides are cloaked in picturesque plantations that are worked by local people. The sustainable farming practices mean the region is rich in exotic birdlife. Making our way up the mountains overlooking Boquete we will arrive at Finca Lerida, a coffee plantation nestled within a historic coffee farm and surrounded by a private nature reserve with spectacular mountain views. Our beautifully decorated and deluxe rooms will have hammocks hanging outside your door; laze and enjoy the tranquility. The grounds are filled with colorful flower beds and are ideal for bird-watching. A cozy library and bar is the perfect place to warm up by the fireplace before dining on the terrace in the gourmet restaurant. (B,L,D)
Sunday, November 17th
Awaken today to the cool air of the mountains and the sound of birds singing. We will offer an optional bird watching tour this morning. As suggested in Robert S. Ridgley’s A Guide to The Birds of Panama “Finca Lerida is the place to go searching for Quetzals and other specialties”. With a network of professionally built trails Lerida is a destination for birdwatchers from all over the world in search of the elusive Resplendent Quetzal. After a delicious coffee plantation breakfast you may venture into the gardens; the flora and fauna is magnificent within the estate grounds.
A visit to this plantation would be incomplete without learning of the coffee legacy here. A coffee tour begins in the fields of Boquete where we can get a glimpse of the three vital factors that influence the coffee’s quality: the soil, the micro-climate, and the particular genetics of the variety. Next we will learn about the history, origin, qualities and secrets of coffee handling. In the second phase of the tour, we will learn about coffee production all the way from ripe coffee cherry to roasted bean. What makes this tour unique, besides the invaluable ecological reserve that the coffee plantation shares, is its history that was always tied to Toleff Boche Monniche. Toleff was a Norwegian engineer and graduate from the Royal College of Dresden, Germany, who worked on the design and construction of the Panama Canal’s emergency gates. After his work at the canal he traveled to the Highlands of Chiriquí in 1911. He was looking for a place with clean, fresh air to rest and he found this exceptional spot. He and his wife moved to Finca Lerida and built his house, completely by hand in a Norwegian countryside style and created the first Coffee Plantation in Panama.
The Coffee tour ends at the Tasting Table where the long, intense and complex coffee process ends. This is also the place where we find out whether or not a whole year’s work produced a high quality coffee. Those that participate will taste different varieties of coffee and learn how to distinguish between different taste tones. Instruction will be given on how to prepare a good cup of coffee by learning about water temperature, time, toasting and grinding, and different brewing methods like Coffee Maker, French Press, Drip brew and Boiling. This tour illustrates the coffee culture in a fun way, so that you gain a better understanding of how to enjoy this legendary aromatic drink. After a tour like this, a cup of coffee will never taste the same!
Dinner tonight at La Brûlerie Restaurant, just up the slope and behind the lush herb garden. Enjoy Lerida’s signature dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients and creative flair where you may dine indoors or enjoy the views and bird watching on the terrace. (B/D)
Monday, November 18th
Bocas Del Toro
Have your bags packed as this morning we travel across the Continental Divide to the Caribbean side of Panama, a unique drive through Panama’s Central Mountain Range. The vegetation along the way is amazing and will become thicker and thicker as you get closer to the Caribbean Sea. You will be impressed by the ‘’Sombrillas del Pobre’’ with their huge leaves… You will pass little Indian villages on the side of the road that belong to the Ngobe Bugle tribe, also called ''Guaymies'' by the Panamanians.
Arriving in Almirante we will board a boat taking us out to the island of Colon and Bocas Del Toro. In Bocas town we will have lunch and see the sights of this bohemian town before heading out to Bluff Beach and our Caribbean style lodging just steps away from the beach. After settling in, this evening we will walk down a dirt road to a beach where we’ll enjoy some good food and music at a Caribbean beach bar/restaurant. Allow the sound of the waves to put you to sleep tonight. (B/D)
Tuesday, November 19th
Bocas Del Toro
Prepare for a day filled with stories, surf, sun, and sailing as we embark on an experience of a lifetime. Jager Knights is a 42ft French-made catamaran fully equipped with three sails to send you on a trip that will be the highlight of your Bocas del Toro getaway. The best way to visit the wonders of the archipelago of Bocas del Toro is by boat because from the sea you can better appreciate the still wild nature of these islands. Explore bays with secret beaches, snorkel between corals and colorful fish, sail between the islands and enjoy good company. And the Capitan of this vessel is super cool and very experienced. You will enjoy scratch pasta and red wine for lunch off Starfish Beach. Lounging on the deck, snorkeling around the reef, and then sailing at 16 knots. Destinations may include:
Starfish Beach is by far one of the most spectacular beaches in Bocas del Toro! Its water is crystal clear and certainly very calm during most of the year. Hanging out here for a few hours, you can snorkel, relax on the beach or enjoy a beverage from a coconut cup before we eat lunch on board.
Dolphin Bay is a lagoon in Bocas del Toro that hosts bottlenose dolphins throughout much of the year. The bay has calm waters and is surrounded by mangroves which draw an abundance of small fish and crustaceans into the water. Here we can snap a few photos and enjoy the company of our dolphin friends,
Coral Cay boasts some of the healthiest corals in the region. The healthy reef is full of macro photo opportunities and hawksbill/green turtles can be seen (infrequently) at the right time of year. Depths range from four to eighteen meters, making this a great snorkel destination!
Afterwards we disembark in Bocas Town to catch our ride back to Bluff Beach and our private lodging. Dinner tonight at Hummingbird Inn. (B/L/D)
Wednesday, November 20th
Bocas Del Toro & Panama City
After a hearty breakfast, have your bags ready and check out as we will be transported to the island airport for our flight back to Panama City. Before landing at Albrook Airport you will enjoy a breath-taking view on Panama City and the Canal’s entrance.
From the airport we will make our way to the J.W. Marriot to freshen up. Then our coach will transport us to Casco Viejo for lunch at one of our favorite places; In Casco you will enjoy some sight-seeing and shopping. Later we will find a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the Panama City skyline. Dinner in this magical French/Spanish Colonial Historical District…Casco Viejo, before heading back to our hotel. (B/D)
Thursday, November 21st
Breakfast and hotel check out.
Departures for home. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and it is time for you to go back home with your eyes full of Panama’s natural beauty. Your trip will finish where it started, at Tocumen international airport where you will be transferred to your airline by one of our drivers. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
*Before you register, please read Explore Amazing Places Terms and Conditions
Included in your Tour: ▪ 9 days, 8 nights at unique and luxury hotels ▪ meals per itinerary, including gratuities ▪ hotel baggage handling gratuities ▪ deluxe motor coaches and private boat, including driver tips ▪ in-country flights ▪ excursions and entrance fees listed in itinerary
NOT Included: ▪ Airfare from your hometown to Panama ▪ Airport baggage handling tips ▪ Any “optional” venues listed as such in itinerary ▪ Alcoholic beverages and tips (10%) for alcoholic beverages ▪ Any Airport Security Taxes ▪ Any expenses incurred should you choose to deviate from the itinerary ▪ Guide tips
Price: $2990 (Double Occupancy), $595 (Single Supplement)
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