February 4 – 13, 2021

Essence of Panama

Day 1  USA / Panama City, Panama Depart the USA on your flight to Panama City.  Upon arrival, you’ll be met by a Mayflower Cruises & Tours representative and transferred to your hotel.  The afternoon is at leisure to become acquainted with your new surroundings.  This evening, join your Tour Manager for an orientation meeting at the hotel.


Day 2  Panama Canal Cruise Today may will be a highlight of your trip!  Depart for the Gamboa area and embark a ship to begin the partial transit of the Panama Canal, narrated by a local expert.  Cruise through the Gaillard Cut, cross under the Centennial Bridge and transit the Pedro Miguel Locks.  Enjoy lunch onboard while experiencing the operation of the lock as you descend 30 feet in one step and reach Miraflores Lake.  Enter the Miraflores Locks in the Pacific Ocean where you are lowered 60 feet in a two-step process.  Sail on the Pacific Ocean, pass under the Bridge of the Americas and disembark at Amador Causeway in the Panama Bay.  After an exciting day in the Panama Canal, return to the hotel by coach for an afternoon and evening at leisure.  Meals:  B, L


Day 3   Panama City After breakfast, depart the hotel with your local guide for a combination panoramic and walking tour of this historic city.  Enjoy a stroll through Casco Viejo – the oldest section of Panama City and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Take note of the architecture – from crumbling facades of days gone by to beautifully restored buildings in the classic style.  See the local people as they go about their everyday life from selling local crafts on street corners, to shop keepers running their businesses.  This little area is filled with cultural diversity!  Continuing on, arrive at the Miraflores Lock Visitor Center for exposure to the country’s most famous icon – the Panama Canal.  View a movie on the history and construction of the canal and visit the mini-museum, depicting the struggles that were encountered.  From the balcony, you have a chance to see the operation of the lock, as you overlook this amazing architectural masterpiece.  After the excursion, return to the hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure before this evening’s included dinner at a local restaurant.  Meals:  B, D


Day 4   Journey to Azuero Peninsula Leaving Panama City, journey by coach through Panama’s countryside.  Along the way, stop in El Valle de Anton to visit an old style family operated candy factory.  See how this 100-year-old family business produces the popular handmade candy known throughout the country.  Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before a late afternoon arrival at the hotel.  Meals: B, L


Day 5   Country visits Today is an immersion into local life as you visit the province of Los Santos.  Meet a professional designer of ‘cutarras’ – traditional sandals of Panama, mostly worn by men, handmade by local artisans.  At another stop, see how they make the ‘Pollera’ – typical costume of Panama worn by women.  And a highlight of the day may be visiting a designer who takes four years to create the dress worn by the Queen during the four-day carnival celebration.  Admire the artistry, skill and dedication demonstrated by these proud craftsman.  Return to the hotel for some free time before an included dinner.   Meals: B, L, D


Day 6   Hacienda San Isidro Today’s adventure begins with an excursion to the Hacienda San Isidro where Ron Abuelo rum and Seco Herrerano (considered the national drink) are made by the Varela Hermanos.  Learn how a small sugar cane mill grew into one of the country’s leading liquor manufacturers.  Almost 100 years later, the traditions continue as the world’s most awarded Panamanian rum and Seco Herrerano area are produced.  Of course the visit wouldn’t be complete without a sampling of the famous products!  Following lunch at the hacienda, continue to a local home where you observe how the native clay crafts are made.  This evening, an included folklore show is the perfect end to an amazing day.  Meals: B, L, D


Day 7  Azuero / Playa Bonita After breakfast, depart by coach to Playa Bonita where the final three nights are spent at an all-inclusive beach resort.  En route, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.  Upon arrival at the hotel, the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax on the beach or by the pool.  Meals: B, L, D


Day 8  Day at leisure Enjoy a full day at leisure, discovering all the amenities of the resort, or, join an optional excursion to the Embera Indigenous Village.  Mix and mingle with these happy people living in the rainforest, with no ‘modern conveniences’.  See some of their cultural dances and explore the area’s abundant variety of birds and wildlife during a trek through the untouched jungle and past sparkling waterfalls.  Meals: B, L, D


Day 9   Day at leisure The last day is left free of planned activities.  An optional excursion – the Portobelo Historical Tour and Train Ride – will be available.  The tour includes a visit to the sleepy bayside village of Portobelo, full of colonial history and ancient fortifications, and a train ride on the Panama Railroad along the Panama Canal.  This evening, join your Tour Manager and traveling companions for a farewell dinner at the resort.  Meals: B, L, D


Day 10   Return to USA After breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye to Panama as you return to the Tocumen International Airport for your flight home.  Meal: B.


Price per person Twin Room $3,974          Single Room add $999


Includes round trip airfare from Charlotte.


Tour Highlights:


* 22 Meals (9 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 6 dinners)

* Airport transfers on tour dates when air is provided by Mayflower Cruises & Tours

* Tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Casco Viejo in Panama City

* Discover the operational marvel of the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Lock Visitor Center

* Sail to the Pacific Ocean on a partial transit of the Panama Canal

* Learn how the beautiful Panamanian dresses (polleras) and traditional sandals (cutarras) are made during visits with professional designers in the workshops

* Visit the Ron Abuelo rum factory and sample the local product

* Relax during the three-night stay at an all-inclusive beach resort

*$50 in Mayflower Money