PANAMA: PANAMA TRIBES AND NEW YEAR'S EVE
8 DAYS // DEC 27, 2015 – JAN 3, 2016

December 27 - Arrival in Panama City (PTY)

Fly from your home to Panama City. Arrival at Tocumen International Airport. Transfer to the Bristol Hotel in Panama City. The hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Panama City’s financial district and just a short walk to Balboa Avenue and close to great shopping, entertainment and cultural pursuits including the Panama Canal, Casco Viejo and Panama Viejo. Welcome dinner included. Overnight at the Bristol Hotel. (D)

December 28 - San Blas Islands

After breakfast depart for the San Blas Islands.  Take SUV’s to San Blas Islands to board your Catamara (2 1/2 hours by road). The San Blas Islands are located on Panama’s beautiful Caribbean Coast, comprised of 378 islands. Thatched huts, tall palm trees, and azure water show beautiful backdrops of the famous Kuna tribes. Our guide is  Anne Gordon. Anne was an animal trainer for film & TV for over 20 years when she was hired in early 2004, to work on a film "The End of the Spear" to be shot in the jungles of Panama. And as fate would have it she is now married to one of the Embera' men from the village of Embera' Puru. Anne has been fully accepted as one of the family and tribe by Otniel's family and tribe members. She has the unique position as an insider into tribal life and culture as well as knowing what interests you have as a tourist viewing the Embera' and their lifestyle as a visitor from the "modern" world.  Three nights on board your Catamaran S/V Swala. (B,L,D)

December 29, 30 - San Blas Islands: Kuna Indians

San Blas is a series of 378 islands of which only 49 are inhabited by the fiercely independent Kuna Indians. A trip to the San Blas islands will transport you 20 centuries into the past. The Kuna Indians, who run all the islands as an autonomous province with minimal interference from the national government, have maintained their own economic system, language, customs and culture, with distinctive dress, legends, music and dance and thus, have avoided traditional tourism development. The economy of the islands is based on coconut sales, fishing and tourism. During these two days you will visit  Carti, which is a Kuna tribal town and Perros in the San Blas Islands to photograph different villages and ttribal communities. Overnight Catamaran S/V Swala. (B,L,D)

December 31 - Panama City-New Year's Eve Celebration

Late morning departure back to Panama City by 4 wheel drive SUV’  (21/2 hours).  After lunch we will do a tour of  the ruins of Panama’s first capital, known as Old Panama or Panama La Vieja. This city was founded in 1519 as the first Spanish settlement on the Pacific Ocean. Next, you will travel to Casco Antiguo, the Colonial City, which is the historic center of the modern capital. Here you will do a walking tour. You will next head through the former “Canal Zone” to see the Miraflores Locks visitor center. This includes the entrance to the Museum and access to the viewing locations. From the observation deck, you can watch ships cross the Panama Canal, and the fascinating process as they pass through the lock. Tonight is our New Year's eve celebration.  (B,L,D)

 

January 1 - Panama City-Gatun Lake and Monkey Island

Free time this morning. Late morning  depart  for our Gatun Lake expedition by boat.   Take a boat tour through the Panama Canal into secret waterways to find hidden islands to photograph capuchin and howler monkeys.  The Monkey Island adventure tour begins on the edge of Gamboa, crossing the Chagres River, up to the Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal, one of the biggest artificial lakes of the world with an area of 425 square kilometers.  Overnight at the Bristol Hotel. (B)

January 2 - Panama City-Embera Tribes

After breakfast, we will be out all day to visit an Embera indigenous village. Board a motorized dugout canoe and travel up through lush forest to the community. Along the river you may be able to spot birds, such as herons, egrets, osprey, toucans, wild parrots, as well as turtles, maybe a caiman and if you are lucky a sloth, otter or monkey from the boat. At the Embera village, you will be greeted with dancing and music. The Embera women intricately paint their faces with deep purple, almost black, juice from the jagua plant. They add red lipstick drawings on their cheeks to further accent their faces and many of the women wear beautiful, heavy necklaces made of beads and coins allowing for stunning portraits. Overnight at the Bristol Hotel. (B,L)

January 3 - Depart for your flight leaving Panama city

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flights back to Panama City. Please book your return flight back to the USA in the afternoon. If you are interested in adding a few days in Panama City please email us. (B)

Itinerary is subject to change.