Get a taster of Panama's cultural traditions and abundant nature with this adventurous weeklong highlights tour. Hopping between Panama City and the highland town of Valle de Antón, you'll kayak along the Panama Canal at sunset, spot exotic wildlife in the jungles of Chagres National Park, and hike to cloud forest waterfalls. Wind down on your penultimate day with a sailing trip into the San Blas Islands—swimming and beachcombing your way around the Caribbean archipelago.


  • Tour Panama City's atmospheric historic center in Casco Antiguo
  • Spot wildlife with a canoe ride through Chagres National Forest
  • Explore cloud forests and waterfalls with an off-road Jeep excursion
  • Take an epic sailing day trip through the San Blas Islands

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Panama City Panama City
Day 2 Visit Miraflores Locks & Casco Antiguo, Sea Kayak on the Panama Canal Panama City
Day 3 Nature & Indigenous Culture Tour Along the Río Chagres  Panama City
Day 4 Transfer to Valle de Antón, Village Cultural Tour Valle de Antón
Day 5 Cloud Forest Jeep Tour, Hike to Mirador Cerro La Cruz Valle de Antón
Day 6 Return to Panama City, San Blas Islands Boat Tour Panama City
Day 7 Depart Panama City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Panama City

Panama City
Explore the architectural beauties in Panama City's old town, Casco Antiguo

Welcome to Panama! After you arrive at Tocumen International Airport, you'll meet your driver and transfer to your hotel in Panama City. Panama's iconic capital and commercial center is a city of contradictions and charm, where giant skyscrapers meet cobbled colonial streets and a mix of cultures formed by centuries of immigration and trade.

Spend the rest of the day exploring the city on your own. Thanks to its central location on the Pacific coast, you could be lazing by the beach within a few hours, exploring lush rainforests, or sailing along the famous Panama Canal. Visit Panama Viejo, the UNESCO-protected remains of the original pre-Colombian settlement, or explore the historic area, Casco Antiguo, for beautifully preserved colonial churches and the Teatro Nacional. Sample culinary highlights like coffee, chocolate, and the popular raspao (Panamanian shaved ice) wherever you go. 

Day 2: Visit Miraflores Locks & Casco Antiguo, Sea Kayak on the Panama Canal

Miraflores Locks & Casco Viejo
See the famous Miraflores Locks today as you learn more about the Panama Canal

Jump right into the sights, history, and culture of Panama City today as you set out on a guided tour. It starts with a transfer to Miraflores Locks, where you'll see giant ships transiting the world-famous Panama Canal and gain insight into the captivating history of this "Eight Wonder of the World" and its transformative impact on global trade.

The tour continues to the historic center of Casco Antiguo, where you can visit the impressive Biomuseo (Biodiversity Museum), San José Church, and the bustling folk market. You'll finish at the Plaza de Francia (French Square), from where you'll have a panoramic view of the modern city center and the ships waiting their turn to transit the canal.

After some downtime back at your hotel, you'll head back to the canal as evening falls for a memorable sunset kayaking excursion. Hop in your stable sea kayak for an up-close look at the famous waterway, following your experienced guide past busy ports and remote beaches. Pass the Bridge of the Americas, the first permanent structure to link North America and South America, then take a break on a stretch of sand surrounded by tropical forest for bird-watching and a colorful sunset.

Day 3: Nature & Indigenous Culture Tour Along the Río Chagres 

Nature & Indigenous Culture Tour Along the Chagres River
Don't forget to look up into the canopy as you kayak through Chagres National Park 

Today you'll strike out into nature with a day trip into the jungles of Chagres National Park. Located just 40 miles (64 km) north of the capital, this vast reserve is home to diverse ecosystems, plentiful wildlife, and the Indigenous Embera people. Upon arrival at the park, your adventure begins at Lago Alajuela, followed by a piragua (traditional canoe) trip up the Río Chagres. As you paddle, you'll likely have a chance to glimpse plenty of the local wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and toucans.

Disembark at a small Embera village, where you can meet the locals, immerse yourself in their culture, delve into their nature-entwined customs, and savor a freshly made meal. Traditional meals here are rich in local flavors, offering an authentic gastronomical experience. At the end of the day, you'll be transferred back to your hotel in the capital to spend the evening unwinding in the city. 

Day 4: Transfer to Valle de Antón, Village Cultural Tour

Transfer Panama City to Valle de Anton
Head to the Panamanian highlands to visit the mountain town of Valle de Antón

You're off to the Panamanian highlands today with a transfer to the picturesque mountain town of Valle de Antón, or "El Valle." The 2.5-hour trip takes you to a new world, from the modern capital to the friendly, remote village. With a cool, spring-like climate throughout the year, lush forests, and a relaxing small-town atmosphere, El Valle has plenty of appeal. Striking panoramic mountain views surround the town, which sits inside one of the world's largest inhabited volcanic craters. 

Choose your own adventure as you dive into the nature and culture around El Valle. Visit the dramatic Chorro El Macho Waterfall, stop by El Nispero Zoo and Botanical Garden to see the local wildlife, or take a trip to El Valle Public Hot Springs & Mud Bath to swim in the healing volcanic springs. You can also visit the Aprovaca Orchid Nursery & Conversation Center, the snake park and nursery at El Serpentario, or Rana Dorada (Project Golden Frog) to see the famous local frog, nearly extinct in the wild.

You'll also have the option to embark on a cultural tour. Your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel for a 30-minute transfer to a nearby village, where artisans will demonstrate traditional weaving techniques, soapstone carving, and the art of totumas (cups and bowls from the calabash tree). You'll also learn about the sombrero pintado, a traditional handwoven hat, and an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO that represents the identity of the Panamanian. 

Day 5: Cloud Forest Jeep Tour, Hike to Mirador Cerro La Cruz

Slot canyon waterfall
Hike to the Slot Canyon Waterfall in the middle of a cloud forest

Get off the beaten path today with a rugged Jeep tour through the countryside of El Valle. Sit back and enjoy views of mountains and cloud forest on the way to the picturesque Slot Canyon. After a short hike into the forest, you'll have time to relax and cool off in the three different waterfalls and natural pools at the Slot Canyon Waterfall (don't forget your swimsuit!).

In the afternoon, you'll enjoy another ride through the impressive mountain landscapes at the base of such mountains as La Silla or La Antena. After an hour's drive, you'll arrive at the observation deck Mirador Cerro La Cruz. On a clear day, a short, 30-minute hike to the hill's summit ends in incredible views of the valley and even the Pacific Ocean. 

Day 6: Return to Panama City, San Blas Islands Boat Tour

One day to San Blas
Take a day trip to the San Blas Islands, located off Panama's Caribbean coast
Plan your trip to Panama
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Say your goodbyes to the highlands this morning as you transfer back to Panama City. Then it's time for another change of scene as you set off on a day trip to the San Blas Islands, located off the Caribbean coast of eastern Panama. A transfer will take you to the port, where you'll set out on a catamaran cruise around the archipelago. Spend the day sailing between various islands, meeting the Indigenous Gala Yuna people, snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, or relaxing on the beach. 

One notable stop is the Natural Swimming Pools, a group of islands submerged after the largest earthquake in Panama in 1882. Now these shallow sandbars are home to starfish colonies and are ideal for safe ocean swimming. After your day trip to this island paradise, you'll be transferred back to Panama City for your final night in the country.

Day 7: Depart Panama City

Take a quick cruise up the Panama Canal on your way to the airport
Today you'll say hasta luego to Panama with one last visit to the Panama Canal. Take a short cruise to get another perspective of this world-renowned site before heading home. You'll be transferred to Tocumen International Airport with plenty of time to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Panama Culture & Nature Highlights Tour - 7 Days
Map of Panama Culture & Nature Highlights Tour - 7 Days