International Travel to Panama

Discover Panama: The Land Between the Seas
January 18-26, 2018 (9 days, 8 nights) 


Highlights:
 
Gamboa Rainforest Resort, Panama Canal Cruise, Panama City, Emberá Indigenous Village, Miraflores Locks, Anton Valley, Chitré, Rum Bodega and Playa Bonita

Day 1:
Gamboa, Panama – Tour Begins Welcome to Panama, a country of lush rainforests, rich history, diverse wildlife and spectacular coastlines. Your tour opens at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort where you’ll enjoy your private balcony and hammock overlooking the beautiful surroundings. During your leisure time, feel free to use the complimentary bikes or kayaks to explore.

Day 2:
Panama Canal Cruise – Panama City – Meet your fellow travelers during a welcome breakfast which is followed by an incredible highlight. Board the Pacific Queen for a partial transit cruise through the Panama Canal. Enjoy lunch onboard and pass through two locks as you revel in a once-in-a­ lifetime chance to see this incredible engineering feat firsthand. Learn all about its construction and operation from your onboard guides. Disembark at Flamenco Marina in Panama City. Visit the Mercado de Mariscos, a seafood market, and try fresh Panamanian ceviche. Continue to Casco Viejo, the Old Quarter. It’s your choice on how you will visit this UNESCO World Heritage site, which was settled in 1673. Perhaps you’ll follow your guide for a short walking tour down its cobblestone streets showcasing the Plaza de la Independencia, the Presidential Palace, the National Theater, plus restored colonial churches and monuments. For a more immersive experience you may journey through this same neighborhood with a local resident …hear the story of the Casco Viejo’s comeback from a member of the community who will take you through the place he calls home, highlighting the incredible revitalization of this historic area and its people. (B, L, D)

Day 3:
Embera Village – This morning, your guide leads you on a nature walk through the resort’s jungle forest and gardens for a chance to spot unique birds as well as various flora and fauna. Set off on an excursion to an Embera indigenous village. Board dugout canoes for a scenic ride up the Chagres River to a settlement of Embera, the “Keepers of the Rainforest.” The Embera strive to preserve their heritage and love to share their traditional techniques of home building and handicrafts – such as basket weaving and tagua nut carving -with visitors. Join in their dances and partake in a simple lunch cooked traditionally. The remainder of your day is free to enjoy Gamboa Rainforest Resort. (B, L)

Day 4:
Anton Valley – Arrive at Miraflores Locks Visitor Center to view the Panama Canal and learn about its rich past, present and future as you watch ships traverse the lock system. Drive a short distance on the famed Pan-American Highway before heading up the mountains to Anton Valley, a community nestled inside the second largest volcanic crater in the world. Meet the locals at the handicraft market and try your hand at negotiations, a local pastime of marketgoers. You’ll get to peruse artisan souvenirs made by indigenous peoples, including the “mola” embroidery of the Kuna Yala. Afterwards, check in to your hotel at the base of the mountains that make up the crater. (B, D)

Day 5:
Anton Valley – Begin the day with a visit to the Museum El Valle which houses a small collection ranging from geological wonders to pre-Columbian art. Your next stop is a nonprofit orchid nursery that dedicates itself to cultivating and conserving local and regional orchids. It houses over 100 different types. Continue to the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, working to protect critically endangered species including the emblematic Panamanian Golden Frog, said to bring good luck to anyone who sees it. Your afternoon is free to continue exploring this charming mountain community. (B)

Day 6:
Chitre – This morning, step into the heartland of Panama and become immersed in the culture as you visit a village of artists. Interact with makers of the famous Panama hat and see firsthand how these wearable works of art are created. Continue on to meet the famous cigar rollers of Panama, whose craft has become legendary within the cigar community. Next, visit an orange grove, one of the region’s main crops, and savor the taste of an orange fresh from the tree. Head north to Chitre, one of the first Spanish settlements in Panama, established in 1558. Get to know a traditional way of cooking at a clay oven bakery and sample these delectable sweets. After visiting a local pottery artist, it’s on to a sugarcane mill for a taste of sugarcane juice called “guarapa.” Next, pause to experience the region’s pre­Columbian and colonial times at the local museum. Tonight, get acquainted with the local culture at dinner featuring a folklore and dance show. (B, D)

Day 7:
Chitre – Spend the day meeting the locals in Chitre, the “folklore capital” of Panama. Meet Panamanian women who have dedicated their lives to making the handwoven pollera dress. Then it’s off to spend time with a famous local artist whose whimsical masks are used in traditional Panamanian parades. Your day continues with a visit to one of Panama’s famous rum producers. Visit the historic hacienda to discover the life of the founder, a Spanish immigrant who brought jobs and prestige to the region with the development of the distillery. Learn the art of making rum, as well as the local drink “seco,” also distilled from sugarcane. If you like, you may take an oxcart ride through the sugarcane fields. Enjoy a typical lunch, then finally sample the product for yourself during a tasting session and discussion in the bodega. The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy at your hotel. Tonight, you have the option of experiencing an authentic home­hosted meal in a local family’s house; take this opportunity to learn about their lives, culture and food. (B, L)

Day 8:
Playa Bonita – Journey to Playa Bonita, just outside of Panama City. Arrive midday to soak up the sun and ocean views from your beachfront property. You can also meander through the hotel’s shops or use their complimentary kayaks. After enjoying some fun and relaxation at your resort, bid farewell to Panama at a special dinner. (B, D)

Day 9:
Playa Bonita – Your tour comes to a close today. (B)

$3299 per person – double occupancy
$3999 per person- single occupancy (limited availability)
$3269 per person, triple occupancy
(Price includes bus transportation to and from FCC, round-trip air from Washington D.C., air taxes and fees/surcharges, lodging, hotel transfers, and 15 meals – 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 4 dinners)

Click here for a downloadable PDF brochure and booking forms.

Register by July 8th – Seats are Limited
A FREE information session will be offered to learn more about the trip on May 23rd, from 10:00 – 11:30 am in the E Building (Conference Center)
For more information please contact Collette at 1-800-581-8942. Refer to booking #816667

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