Inside Azuero Peninsula and The Panama Canal

Inside Azuero Peninsula The Inside Insight:

  • Learn the history of the Panama Canal, a marvel of modern times engineering
  • Explore the longest river in Panama, Santa Maria and the marshes and mangroves that
    surround it’s estuary
  • Visit Isla Iguana frigatbirds nesting colony and pictures the sunsets off the rocky coast of
    Azuero peninsula
  • Live the life of the Embera Indian, one of Panamá best preserved indigenous nations
  • Meet local artisans during a visit to a clay pottery shop

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Itinerary:

Day 1: Depart home/Arrive Tocumen International Airport.
Your trip leader will meet you at the airport. Transfer from Tocumen to your hotel.

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Day 2: Panama City and The Panama Canal.
Today our adventure will start at 09:00 on a Full Day City Tour.

We’ll start our tour visiting the ruins of Old Panama, which was the first city built on the Pacific
Ocean shore in 1519 by Pedro Arias Davila a Spanish Governor, and then destroyed in 1671 by the
greed of pirate Henry Morgan who set it on fire.

Then we’ll head about 8 kilometers and reach the Casco Antiguo and enjoy walking along alleys and
colonial buildings, ruins and streets of stone, museums and antique churches, where three styles
of construction are combined: Spanish, French and Italian.

A stop at the folk art market at the old YMCA building will be our following stop, just before
having lunch at a Panamanian restaurant.

After noon, we’ll reach our final destination of the day, The Miraflores Visitor Center, where visitors
have the opportunity to observe transiting vessels from a distance of only a few meters and learn
firsthand about the various operations of the Panama Canal, the history of its construction, its
participation in the world markets, and the importance of its watershed.

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Day 3-4: Anton Valley.
A 2 hours drive will take us to an ancient volcanic crater with a town full
of activities. After checking in at our hotel, we will visit “El Macho” waterfall and “La Piedra
Pintada” a giant rock with geroglyphs that give us a better understanding of the native ancestors of
today’s residents. “El Valle” as the locals know it, is home to hundreds of artisans who sell their
products in the already famous market.

During our second day will hike the cloud forest of “El Convento” trail in Cerro Gaital and learn from our trip leader the uniqueness of this cloud forest. During the afternoon we will relax in the mood of the famous El Valle hot springs in order to regain energies.

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Day 5-6: Azuero.
After driving from El Valle to Azuero will settle in Los Guayacanes hotel and
continue the tour on board a “panga” boat that will give us acces to the Santa Maria River and its
wildlife. Santa Maria River drains one of Panama largest agricultural areas and provides water to
the rich and flat plains of Azuero who produces a great proportion of the sugar we export today. The
margins of this river are forested and are home to a great variety of waterbirds: herons, cormorants,
rails, gallinules and storks. Caimans of Santa Maria are among the largest in Panama.

During our second day in Azuero your hands will get dirty during our visit to the clay pottery shop.
You will have a chance to volunteer and practice your sculpting skills or you can practice painting
one of the pots.

After a typical lunch, will drive to the town of Pesé and visit the “Villa Varela”. We will learn the process
that torn sugar canes into Panama famous liquor: Seco Herrerano.

Our last morning in Azuero will visit the tiny island of Isla Iguana which is home to the largest
colony of Magnificent Frigatbirds in the Gulf of Panamá. Hundreds of frigatbirds will fly over and a
little trail will give access to a closer view to this remarkable birds. The sand and the coral reef will
drive the attention to the rich marine wildlife that boost in the Gulf of Panama.

After this tour we’ll head to our next destination “Los Buzos Lodge” at Cambutal.

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Day 7-9: Cambutal.
This is perhaps the highlight of the tour since you will have diferent choices
to enjoy the scenary and the wilderness of this remote corner of Panama. During our stay in
Cambutal we will do horseback riding, boat tours, relax on the beach or plan other activities from
the many choices you have around.

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Day 10: The Canal and much more.
During our drive back to Panama City will stop in Santo
Domingo de Las Tablas, a tiny town where the ladies make “polleras” in the same way the traditions
from Spain arrive here. If time permits it, we will stop also in Nata de Los Caballeros to see what is
believed to be the oldest church in mainland of the whole continent.

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Day 11: Many visitors have the misconception that the Panama Canal is the only attraction here. During
the last 72 hours of your vacation you will see that there is much more around the Canal that deserves a
visit. During day 11 will spend the afternoon admiring the abundance of wildlife that the area around the
canal offers. Monkeys, crocodiles, many birds and if you are lucky even a Manatee could be check marked
in your list.

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During day 12, you’ll be picked up at the Hotel at 9am and transferred to El Corotu on the shores of the Madden Lake,
which is the main reservoir of drinking water for the cities of Panama and Colon, as well as a supplier of a 40% of the water
required for the operation of the Panama Canal. Here, we board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) and travel
up the Chagres River to an Embera indigenous village.

The boat journey takes us through the rainforest of the 320,000 acre Chagres National Park, which is the largest of the National
Parks protecting the Panama Canal Watershed. Once at the Indian community, we’ll learn about Embera customs and their
relationship with nature.

There will be handcrafts available for sale and we’ll have a chance to be painted with the traditional
jagua, a natural dye the Indians use to adorn their bodies.

We will have lunch (fish & fried green plantain) prepared by the Indians and then we’ll visit the
nearby waterfall where we can take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Chagres River.

Be sure to bring: camera, cap or hat, sunscreen lotion, insect repellent, light clothing (extra t-shirt
and shorts), light raincoat, good traction footwear, bathing suit and towel.

Note: Cash in small denominations is suggested if interested in purchasing handicrafts.

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Day 13: Departure.
Transfer to Int’l Airport

Included: all lodging, meals, private transportation on a/c minivan, tour guide; entrance fees
where needed & taxes.

Not included: International airfare, tourist card ($5 per person), departure taxes ($20 per
person), alcoholic beverages, tips, extras in hotels (laundry, telephone calls, room service, etc.).