Panama: A Family Adventure
NUMBER OF DAYS 8

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Panamaland of colorful contrasts and mind-boggling eco-diversity! It’s where you can stand beside the world’s most impressive engineering marvel and visit with indigenous tribes-people whose way of life has remained unchanged for centuries. Where you can snap a photo of your kids zip lining through the rain forest canopy in the morning and shoot an underwater movie of them snorkeling in the afternoon. It’s where you can lounge on a beach in the company of sunbathing iguanas, look for impish capuchin monkeys (or are they looking at you?) along a forest trail, and witness a brilliant flash of red against the blue sky as a scarlet macaw streaks by.

Thomson’s exciting, well-balanced itinerary is designed to showcase the country’s cultural and natural wonders and, of course, the amazing Panama Canal. From multiple vantage points—including a boat ride on Gatun Lake where you gaze vertically up to the bow of gigantic freighters, to a fascinating tour of the intricate workings of the Miraflores Locks—your kids will come away with an understanding of the importance of this 51-mile engineering miracle.

In addition to hiking through the rain forest in search of wildlife, swimming in clear waterfall-fed pools, rafting on a river that cuts through the rugged Panamanian countryside, investigating coral wonderlands teeming with marine life, marveling at the ruins of a 16th-century Spanish fort targeted by multiple pirate attacks, and sampling delicious foods, you’ll have the rare opportunity to meet the Embera people in a village along the banks of the Chagres River. This personal interaction is sure to be a trip highlight and you’ll be moved by the Embera’s dignified determination to keep their traditional cultural beliefs intact.  

One of the Americas' last undiscovered destinations, Panama truly honors the “something for everyone” promise. This relatively close-to-home destination is perfect for a family vacation, grandparents and grandkids traveling together, or even a multi-generational gathering for active families who share a love of exploration.

2014 Dates
Dates 6 to 9
travelers
2 to 5
travelers
Internal Air
12/20 - 12/27 $3,990 $4,490 $300
Space is Limited!
12/26 - 01/02 Sold Out
2015 Dates
Dates 10 or more
travelers
6 to 9
travelers
2 to 5
travelers
Internal Air
03/21 - 03/28 $3,690 $3,940 $4,190 $300
04/11 - 04/18 $3,690 $3,940 $4,190 $300
06/27 - 07/04 $3,690 $3,940 $4,190 $300
12/20 - 12/27 $3,990 $4,290 $4,490 $300

Child Discount:$200 per child under 12

Triple Discount: $400 for children under 12 sharing with 2 adults in 2014; $200 in 2015

Alumni Discount: if you are a returning Thomson guest, please subtract $500 per family from these prices

Price includes: All entrance fees, accommodations based on two to a room, land transportation, private bi-lingual guide throughout, all meals, bottled water & snacks in the vehicle, Comprehensive Travel Insurance.

Prices are based on the number of people in your party.

Don't see your travel dates?

Call us, we can personalize any trip to meet your travel needs!

Day 1 – Depart home / Arrive Panama City

Welcome to Panama! While the Panama Canal is one of the wonders of the modern world, Panama has many more wonders waiting to be explored. From lush forests to magnificent beaches, from the cosmopolitan Panama City to a traditional Embera village, you’ll discover them all as you embark on this exciting adventure.

Day 2 – Panama City

Indigenous tribes make up roughly 5 percent of the total population of Panama. Many of these groups still hold fast to their ancient dress and traditions.

 

  • Welcome breakfast
  • Voyage up the Chagres River
  • Meet the Embera (indigenous people)
  • Friends Across Borders Meeting (pen pals)
  • Traditional lunch
Day 3 – Panama City Area

Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of the Panama Canal in person. Cutting 9 miles across the Continental Divide, its locks raising ships 85 feet above sea level, this marvel of modern engineering will amaze you and your family. And that's only the beginning!

 

  • Take a train ride to the port city of Colon
  • Bike along a rain forest trail
  • Forest walk option
  • Visit Fort San Lorenzo
Day 4 – Panama Canal Zone / Chiriquí Highlands

Cloud forests, volcanic peaks and coffee plantations create the remarkable landscape of the Chiriqui Highlands.

 

  • Jungle boat adventure
  • Tour the Miraflores Locks
  • Flight to David
Days 5-6 – Chiriquí Highlands

Chiriquí, the “Valley of the Moon,” hosts a stunning diversity of tropical Central American landscapes, from beaches and plains to mountains and dense rainforest. Due to abundant rainfall and a temperate climate, the Chiriquí highlands are one of Panama’s most productive growing regions, with crops consisting of oranges, strawberries, and coffee beans.

 

  • Whitewater river rafting
  • Visit Games Island (Isla Games) in the Gulf of Chiriquí
Day 7 – Chiriquí Highlands / Panama City
 
  • Soar through the rain forest canopy via zip line
  • Abbreviated coffee tour option
  • Free time in Panama City
  • Farewell dinner in Panama City's Casco Antiguo
Day 8 – Depart Panama City / Arrive home

Unfortunately, it has to happen sometime! Today we’ll say our goodbyes to this enchanting land and return to reality, where we’ll undoubtedly be at a loss for words in our attempts to do justice to such an indescribable experience. Hasta luego...

Gamboa Rainforest Resort

The Gamboa Rainforest Resort is a luxury destination resort located on the Panama Canal in the heart of the lush Panamanian rain forest. The hotel’s 100 clean, air-conditioned rooms each have a balcony with spectacular views of the Chagres River. Other highlights include an aerial tram that goes all the way from the rain forest floor to the canopy, a fitness center, kayaks, pedal boats, tennis courts, jogging and cycling trails, a spa, and multiple restaurants.

Panamonte Inn & Spa
Tucked into the flourishing highland cloud forest landscape of Boquete, in the valley of an immense dormant volcano, the Panamonte Inn & Spa offers unexpected European-style luxury. Although simple and charming, the rooms at this bed and breakfast are spacious, elegant, and quite comfortable.
Country Inn & Suites

The Country Inn & Suites Hotel is conveniently located right in front of the entrance to the famous Panama Canal. The hotel offers over 150 clean, comfortable rooms, each featuring a balcony. Other highlights include an outdoor pool, tennis court, exercise center, business center, playground, Jacuzzi, boardwalk, T.G.I. Friday’s and high-speed internet access.

Why Panama?

An undiscovered destination, with something for everyone: history, nature, culture
You know about its legendary canal, that stunning marvel of modern engineering. But what about its misty mountains and brilliantly colored orchids? Its exotic wildlife, staggering eco-diversity, amazing snorkeling and warm, welcoming people? Panama is one of the last undiscovered destinations in the Americas, and whether you are traveling with youngsters or teens, or grandparents looking to share an adventure with your grandchildren, we have created an itinerary that specializes in activities that are fun and informative for all ages. Panama is home to a largely tourist-free system of national parks, an abundance of plants and wildlife to rival neighboring Costa Rica, and easy access to both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. And Panama is just a short plane ride away from the US!
Fascinating canal system and interesting history
There is something very moving when seeing the Panama Canal for the first time. The enormity of this engineering marvel boggles the mind. There’s the vast jungle that had to be divided, the massive locks that had to be constructed, and then there are the 40 ships that pass through the Canal every day. History books can supply the amazing facts about this monumental achievement, but actually standing in full view of the Canal itself brings its story palpably and eloquently to life in a way that no book can match—and in a way that your kids will never forget. In Panama, history is one cool adventure.
Stunning landscapes and a variety of wildlife
Within our stunning itinerary, you’ll experience cloud forests and rain forest canopies, rolling hills and brilliant white sand beaches. From soaring frigatebirds to lounging lizards and capuchin monkeys, and from profusions of orchids to undersea coral gardens, Panama offers show-stopping eco-diversity that rivals most countries on earth.
Meeting the Embera
One of six indigenous groups that still maintain their cultures and traditions, the Embera recently migrated to the riverbanks of Chagres National Park near Panama City from farther south in the Darien province.  Villagers will share the story of their migration with you, a rare and special opportunity.

Why Panama with Thomson?

Zip line tour
Gliding from platform to platform high in the rain forest canopy is an indescribable thrill as you wind your way along a zip line course. Hike up to the first platform where everyone is outfitted, safely and securely, for an unforgettable Panama experience.
Dugout canoe ride to Embera Village
Board motorized dugout canoes and head down the Chagres River, deep into the rain forest. As you wind your way to an Embera village keep your eyes peeled for wildlife on the shores. Upon arrival, you and your family will be met by welcoming and traditionally dressed members of the Embera and escorted to the village. You’ll learn about their traditions and history, including songs and dances, food and crafts, traditional medicines, and the story of their people.  Kids (and adults) might opt to receive a traditional tattoo!  (Don’t worry; it’s painless and made from vegetable dye, and will only last about a week.)
Friends Across Borders—Meeting your pen pal
Thomson families love this program! Children traveling with us can choose to exchange letters with a local Embera child of a similar age before leaving on their adventure. In Panama, your child will get to meet his or her pen pal through a fun activity while visiting the Embera Village. It’s amazing how much kids learn about one another—and the appreciation they gain for one another’s culture—when they meet through this eye-opening program.
Jungle boat adventure in the Panama Canal
Set out on a journey across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal in our jungle boat, cruising past gigantic cargo and passenger ships. You’ll all be amazed at how big some of these vessels are—they dwarf everything in sight! And of course you’ll likely see plenty of wildlife along the way in the rain forest—iguanas, crocodiles, monkeys and peacocks, just to name a few.
Miraflores Locks
If your kids are into Legos or Lincoln Logs, they’ll love this engineering phenomenon. Stretching almost a mile long, Miraflores is part of a lock system that takes ships from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific (and vice versa). After watching a ship go through the locks make sure to visit the museum—the exhibits and views from there are fantastic!
Included travel insurance
As a family company, we understand the value of peace of mind. For that very reason, travel insurance is automatically included for all scheduled adventures. This covers your family for trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expenses, travel delay, lost baggage, and more.