Panama, the Canal & Beyond

Panama Harbor
8 Days from $2,175 per person

It may feature the famous and dynamic capital, an unforgettable canal cruise and the sands of Playa Blanca but this trip also takes you beyond all that to meet locals in villages and the rainforest.

You'll enjoy Insider moments like... learning about the biodiversity of the Panama Canal with a Smithsonian researcher who explains of the environmental impact of the canal across its 90 years of history.

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Tour Pace: Active
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  1. Bienvenidos a Panama, Central America's most beautiful gem and home to the eponymous Canal. You are greeted at the airport by a local host and transferred to your hotel overlooking the Bay of Panama, just steps away from Calle Uruguay with its many popular restaurants and shops. This evening, join your fellow travel companions and your Travel Director at 6 p.m. for a Welcome Reception.
    hotel:Le Meridien Panama
  2. Board your vessel and cruise the Canal, Panama's premier attraction. As you enter the most important waterway in the world, cruise down from the north end of the Galliard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the Canal, and witness firsthand the engineering wonder of the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks, the final set before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Cruise over the Continental Divide and under the Centennial Bridge and Bridge of the Americas. Snacks and lunch are included onboard. Once in the beautiful Bay of Panama, prepare for the best views of Panama City's modern, fast-changing skyline. Afterward, your time is free for independent activities. Enjoy the evening in Panama City to sample local cuisine. Note: The start time of the canal cruise is dependent on ship traffic and in some instances the trip may operate in the afternoon.
    meal(s):FB, L
  3. Discover Panama City's role long before the Canal put it on the map. Visit Panama Viejo, site of the ruins of the original Panama City before it was sacked by pirate Henry Morgan. Next, wander the quaint streets of Casco Antiguo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Panama's Historic District. Afterward, make a stop at the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center and Canal Museum. Then head for the lush vegetation and tropical climate of the rainforest. Once at your resort, join a guide on an exciting nature walk and aerial tram ride. Glide smoothly through the treetops and possibly spot birds and animals that inhabit the rainforest canopy. Visit the Observation Tower and admire the panoramic views of the Chagres River and Panama Canal. After dinner, join a discussion with a Smithsonian researcher, a Local Specialist, and learn more about the diversity of Panama.
    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:Gamboa Rainforest Resort
  4. Embark on a different kind of water adventure and meet your boteros (boatmen) at the edge of the Chagres National Park. Enjoy a ride up river through the jungle, possibly sighting toucans, sloths and monkeys. Arriving at the village of Emberá Drua, you are met with a traditional greeting and will learn about the Emberá Indians' fascinating culture, lifestyle and crafts. Enjoy a Cultural Insight as you taste delicious and traditional patacones (fried plantains) with small samples of fried fish or chicken. Then, listen to local music and watch traditional shamanic dances. Back at the resort, the afternoon is free.
  5. Fly to David and travel up the mountain slopes of the Chiriquí Province. At Cerro Punta, take in the superb views of Volcán Barú, a dormant but prominent volcano and the tallest mountain in Panama. An exclusive Be My Guest lunch awaits at a thoroughbred breeding farm situated in Cerro Punta Valley, one of the most beautiful scenic jewels in the country. As guests of the owners—one of Panama's most prominent families—explore the farm and learn how they breed these magnificent horses in a chemical-free environment. Later, arrive at the mountain resort of Boquete in beautiful Valle Escondido.
    meal(s):FB, BG
    hotel:Valle Escondido Resort, Golf and Spa
  6. Visit a coffee plantation and learn how coffee in Panama is making a grand entrance on to the world stage of gourmet grounds with several award-winning, estate-grown varietals. Learn about the coffee-making process with a Local Specialist and see the Ngobe-Bugle, an indigenous group who hand-pick the red coffee berries when they are perfectly ripe. The rest of the day is free in the Valley of Flowers to do some exploring before dinner.
    meal(s):FB, D
  7. Descend from the Chiriquí Highlands to the Inter-American Highway, the Central American section of the Pan-American Highway. Stop in Santiago for lunch on your own. Then it's on to Aguadulce and Natá in Coclé Province, the heart of Panama's sugar cane industry. In Natá, view the beautiful basilica, said to be the oldest church in Central America. Arrive at your resort, nestled alongside the Pacific Ocean. This evening, recount cherished memories of your Panama vacation with newfound friends at a festive Farewell Dinner.
    meal(s):FB, FD
    hotel:JW Marriott Playa Blanca
  8. In the morning, depart Playa Blanca for your transfer to Panama City International Airport or choose to extend your stay in Playa Bonita.

30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Add air to your reservation

Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals

Meal Summary

7 nights' accommodations, 7 full breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners.

Included Highlights

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure.

Cultural Insight

  • Taste delicious patacones.

Be My Guest

  • Dine on a traditional lunch at a local family's equestrian estate.

Local Specialist

  • Meet a Smithsonian researcher in Gamboa and learn about Panamanian coffee with the Ngobe-Bugle.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour of Panama City
  • Visit the historic district of Casco Antiguo in Panama City, Panama Viejo, Gamboa Rainforest, Chagres National Park, and a coffee plantation in the Chiriquí Highlands
  • Cruise a portion of the Panama Canal
  • View the Volcán Barú volcano, the Natá basilica and the Pacific Coast
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
13 Jan 17 20 Jan 17 checkmark $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
27 Jan 17 3 Feb 17 checkmark $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
10 Feb 17 17 Feb 17 checkmark $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
24 Feb 17 3 Mar 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
17 Mar 17 24 Mar 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
31 Mar 17 7 Apr 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
7 Apr 17 14 Apr 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
21 Apr 17 28 Apr 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
5 May 17 12 May 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
19 May 17 26 May 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
6 Oct 17 13 Oct 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
20 Oct 17 27 Oct 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
3 Nov 17 10 Nov 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp
8 Dec 17 15 Dec 17 $2,395$2,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,395 $2,175 pp

Crossovers: These departures will operate as per the 2016 itinerary; hotels and inclusions may vary.

undefinedFestive Departures: Christmas or New Year's Eve celebration offered for this departure.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $795.

Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $85 per person.

Land and Intra-Air: prices include economy air and air-related charges for flight between Panama City - David and are accurate as of May 1st, 2016.

Luggage: There is a 25 lb baggage weight limit per person on the internal flight to David, therefore a small carry-on is recommended. Additional luggage will be transferred by coach the evening of Day 4 and will be waiting for you on arrival in Boquete on Day 5.

Hidden Journey itineraries have a maximum of 26 guests.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here 

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to Panama must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering Panama.

  • The currency in Panama is the Balboa.  You can pay with your debit or credit card at many places in Panama and the most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks.  We recommend bringing an extra credit card and informing your financial institutions of your travel plans before leaving the country.

  • One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling different types of cuisine.  In Panama the food is varied and reflects the influence of Spanish, American, and Afro-Caribbean cultures on the country’s cuisine.  A typical meal consists of coconut rice, beans, and meat served with yucca and plantains.  Other popular foods include empanadas, tamales, and sancocho stew packed with meat and veggies.  For dessert, try a piece of decadent tres leches cake.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of comfortable, lightweight clothing that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Sturdy walking shoes are important. Insect repellant and sunscreen will come in handy, as well as a light jacket and reusable water bottle. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • It is appropriate to tip 10 percent at restaurants in Panama.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Panama, The Canal and Beyond Vacation
Service rating : No complaints.
Product : Great tour, through Trafalgar, of Panama!
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Panama, The Canal & Beyond Vacation
Service rating : Flawless traveling throughout the country. Guide Irving was best ever. He knew local history, politics and social aspects of Panama. We could do with less deluxe accommodations and more on experiences for our $. Did need the air conditioning though.
Product : but too hot for us Puget Sounders.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Welcome home! We're so happy to see that you enjoyed your trip to Panama, even with the hot weather! Thank goodness for that air conditioning! Thank you for taking the time to write.

Grand European Travel
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Panama, The Canal & Beyond Vacation
Service rating : they provided very informative and professional tour guides
Product : there was a lot of bus time-that part was not my favorite

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