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San Jose to Panama City

Rating
Travel the Pacific coast of Costa Rica before crossing into beautiful Panama. Encounter cloud forest, jungles, bubbling mud, thermal pools, volcanoes, tranquil islands and abundant wildlife. During the journey, you can take an exhilarating canopy zip line through the forest canopy, try canyoning, white water rafting and kayaking. The beaches and reefs of Bocas del Toro will enchant you on your way to Panama City, home to the world’s most famous canal.

From
GBP
1,257.15
pp

Day 1: Arrive San José

The capital city of Costa Rica, San José, is nestled in a fertile valley among coffee and sugar-cane farms. There is not much left of the colonial era architecture, due to the damage done by earthquakes, but it is certainly worth seeing the National Theatre, built in 1897. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to catch a performance whilst you're here. The Gold, Jade and National Museums are also particularly recommended for a visitThere are plenty of interesting optional day trips that can be undertaken within a close vicinity of San José such as visits to the Poás or Irazú volcano, white water rafting, the Turu BaRi Topical Park or the Rain Forest Aerial Tram.Please note: If you are are travelling into Costa Rica from Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama then you will need a valid yellow fever certificate.

Days 2-3: Manuel Antonio

We travel from the Central Valley to the Pacific coast, through very lush green countryside to the small village of Manuel Antonio, where we will visit the Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most popular parks in the country. This celebrated park is blessed with beautiful lagoons, palm fringed beaches, a vast array of animals and lush green forests. Some of the many creatures that call Manuel Antonio National Park home include sloths, pelicans, white-faced monkeys, anteaters and huge iguanas. It is also famous for its beaches - keep a sharp eye on your belongings, as the monkeys and raccoons are seasoned thieves!

Days 4-5: Santa Elena & Monteverde

We travel to the old town of Quepos, once a very important port for the exportation of bananas. We then ascend a steep and bumpy mountain road that offers great views over lush green hills that flatten to meet the Pacific Ocean. We reach the small town of Santa Elena, nestled up in the clouds and established by American Quakers in the 1950's.From here we visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in search of the mysterious endangered Quetzal, a very rare and timid bird with incredibly beautiful and unique plumage. There are several paths to explore in this privately owned reserve, one of which takes you to the continental divide. On a clear day both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can be seen! We'll also stop at the Hummingbird Gallery where you can grab a drink and a slice of cake. Here you can watch dozens of these energetic birds buzz around sipping on nectar. The area around Santa Elena is famous for its ziplines and hosts the longest zip line in the world. Here you'll have the option to go flying over the cloud forest on a series of cables strung out between the giant trees. For the less courageous, you may opt for a sky walk along a series of suspension bridges above the forest canopy. Along with the lovely horse treks, nature-spotting twilight walks, visits to coffee and dairy farms, you may find it hard to choose between all of the exciting excursions!

Days 6-7: La Fortuna

Our next journey takes us through the mountains of the cloud forest using a combination of minivans and boats. The first leg to Lake Arenal takes about one hour 30 minutes and the landscape is truly spectacular. Rolling hills eventually give way to the distant views of Arenal Volcano and we can stop for photos at some of the best lookouts. Stopping by the side of the road a last time, we walk down a dirt path to our boat on the shores of Lake Arenal. The scenery is truly stunning of the lake and we travel for approximately an hour slowly approaching Arenal Volcano. Once we reach the other side, where we board another minibus and travel for thirty minutes to La Fortuna.The main attraction in La Fortuna is the nearby Arenal Volcano, which was constantly erupting between 1968 and 2010. Although not erupting anymore, the occasional puff of steam can be seen. After settling into our hotel you'll have time for a leisurely lunch and to explore the town. You can visit the luxuriant local hot springs for a relaxing dip.There is also plenty of free time to partake in a variety of spectacular and exhilarating optional excursions while in La Fortuna; a visit to the some local waterfalls, caving, rappelling, white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horse-riding, trekking, biking, and wild-life spotting.

Day 8: San José

We then return to San Jose for another night. In the evening there are plenty of world class restaurants to choose from and some great nightlife especially if you are here on the weekend.

Days 9-10: Bocas del Toro

Leaving Costa Rica we travel by bus to Panama. We are required to pay a departure tax of US$9 and on arrival in Panama, an entrance fee of US$4. We take the boat to tranquil Bocas del Toro with plenty of options for water sports. The islands of the Bocas del Toro archipelago offer the visitor a great diversity of attractions and natural environments; luxurious rain forests with an abundance of fauna and flora. These sunny islands have beaches, coral reefs & crystal clear waters that compete with the Caribbean's best. You have two days to enjoy Bocas del Toro at your leisure. There are options for diving, snorkelling and kayaking expeditions, as well as bike rentals and boat trips to the nearby Mangrove Forest.

Days 11-12: Boquete

Then we travel onto the highlands and the charming mountain village of Boquete. Located on the eastern slopes of the Volcan Barú, Boquete is quickly becoming a destination for those who wish to bask in the cooler climate and marvel at the exquisite vistas. Boquete is known to produce some of the sweetest oranges and richest coffees in all of Panama as the surrounding hills and slopes are covered in shade-grown coffee plantations known for their sustainable farming practices. These farms are recognised the world over by conservationists and are home to an abundance of birds equal to those found in the cloud forests higher on the mountain.Coffee is primarily picked by the indigenous Guaymi during the months of October through February. This is considered a festive time and colourfully clad Indian families come from various parts of the province to harvest the coffee cherries. Tours through some of the coffee fincas of Boquete can be arranged for those interested in seeing this spectacle along with wide variety of bird life.There are plenty of other optional excursions on offer; in fact Boquete is already building up quite a reputation as an 'adrenalin town' with world class rafting facilities, mountain biking, rock climbing and rappelling at nearby Los Ladrillos in Bajo Mono.

Day 13: Panama City

Today we head to David where we have a short flight to Panama City. Panama City is the crossing point to South America and home to the infamous Panama Canal which is definitely worth a visit. You have the option to book a place on the Panama Canal Transit, touring the infamous waterway by boat. Please note that it is not recommended to book any outward travel from Panama on the same day as this excursion due to time restraints.Other interesting sites are the archaeological site of Panama La Vieja, the first city founded on the isthmus by the Spanish in 1519. The remaining ruins are the vestiges of the city left by Pirate Henry Morgan when he sacked the town in 1671. The second colonial city of Panama, Casco Viejo was built in 1673 to replace the original town. Casco Viejo is now surrounded by modern day Panama City but the charm of this era remains in the colonial streets, buildings, and squares around the French Plaza. The architecture here is a combination of the colonial styles of the French, Italian, American and Spanish.

Day 14: Depart Panama City

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

What's Included

13 night(s) in hotels 7 Breakfast(s), 4 Basic Breakfast(s) Entry to Manual Antonio National Park, Entry to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Bocas del Toro Public Bus, Boat, Private Vehicle, flight(s)

Tour Map

Tour Map - San Jose to Panama City

Departure date Price per person Number of seats available
25/08/2018 GBP 1,257.15  
7
13/10/2018 GBP 1,257.15  
7
01/12/2018 GBP 1,316.65  
7
19/01/2019 GBP 1,316.65  
7
09/03/2019 GBP 1,257.15  
7
27/04/2019 GBP 1,257.15  
7
15/06/2019 GBP 1,257.15  
7
03/08/2019 GBP 1,257.15  
7
21/09/2019 GBP 1,257.15  
7
09/11/2019 GBP 1,257.15  
7
28/12/2019 GBP 1,316.65  
7
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