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Day 1 - Day 1 - Welcome to Panama City
|Upon arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the 5-star Central Hotel in the heart of Panama City’s Old Town. After checking in, the balance of this day is at leisure to relax, enjoy and explore as you wish.|
Day 2 - Day 2 - History of the Panama Canal
|After breakfast, a full day of guided exploration begins at the Miraflores Locks where you can marvel at the site of ships and freighters entering the Panama Canal. A talk at the Panama Canal Authority delves into the dramatic history of the Canal. Afterwards, you can take some time to peruse exhibits that further explore the past, present and future of this engineering marvel. Then visit Memorial Hill, the only American cemetery in Latin America, and tour the historic Canal Administration Building; opened in 1914, its grand lobby is embellished with impressive murals that vividly tell the story of the Canal’s construction. Your sightseeing ends with a guided stroll along the charming cobblestone streets of Casco Antiguo . Tracing its history to 1673 and filled with splendid Colonial architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is today one of Panama City’s liveliest districts, home to cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques. This evening, raise a glass of wine with your fellow travelers and enjoy a congenial welcome dinner. Meals B+L+D|
Day 3 - Day 3 - Through the Canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic
|Today’s complete transit of the Panama Canal begins from the Flamenco Marina. Enjoy the skyline view of the capital from the Bay of Panama before passing under the Bridge of the Americas to enter the Canal. Transiting through the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks here on the Pacific side of the Canal will raise General Tours sightseeing vessel nearly 90 feet in three distinct steps. From here, we’ll cruise through the Culebra Cut that was excavated to create this passage through the Continental Divide. Reaching the Atlantic side of the Canal, you’ll descend 85 feet through the Gatun Locks and continue to port where you’ll disembark. Then we’ll take you to the Gamboa Rainforest Reserve where riverview balcony rooms have been reserved for General Tours guests. Meals B+L|
Day 4 - Day 4 - Gatun Lake Nature Expedition
|After breakfast, you’ll join General Tours expert naturalist for a guided boat excursion on to the calm waters of Gatun Lake. Venturing close to some of Gatun’s many lush and uninhabited islands, you’ll have a chance to learn about this unique eco-system; created during the construction of the Canal, it’s the second largest artificial lake on the planet. With sharp-eyes, this enriching excursion offers a chance to observe some of the region’s indigenous species including exotic tropical birds, crocodiles, caimans, sloths, and families of capuchin, howler and white-face monkeys.|
Back at Gamboa, you’ll visit the resort’s ecological exhibits. Native orchids, colorful butterflies and rare frogs are among the flora and fauna that you will see and learn about. At the Sloth Sanctuary, you’ll gain insight into the work being done by the Pan American Conservation Association to protect this amazing creature. After your guided touring, the balance of this day is at leisure for you to enjoy the pristine rainforest setting and amenities of General Tours resort. Meals B
Day 5 - Day 5 - Through the Forest to an Emberá Village
|Today’s adventure begins with a scenic one hour drive to the edge of Gatun River where Emberá villagers will meet you with their dugout canoes. Traveling silently up the Gamboa River and deeper into the forest offers a chance to spot herons, egrets and ospreys. With a bit of luck and sharp eyes, you might also see toucans, otters and sloths. Stepping ashore in their village, you’ll have time to explore the community, with your guide on-hand to offer information and insight.|
As you engage with the villagers, you’ll learn first-hand about their cultural traditions, cuisine and language – much of which can be traced to ancestors who migrated from Colombia’s Chocó region in the late 1700’s. Informal presentations will deepen your insight into their daily life, tribal history and enduring ways – from their shamanic rites to dance and music. After lunch with the villagers, you might join a tribal elder for a nature walk to learn about their medicinal use of indigenous rainforest plants. This evening, sit down to an à la carte dinner with wine at the Chagres River View Restaurant. Meals B+L+D
Day 6 - Day 6 - Historic Panama Railroad + Portobelo + General Tours Pacific Resort
|Originally constructed in 1855 during the Gold Rush for those seeking a faster route to their potential fortunes, the historic Panama Railroad was the first transcontinental train. Early this morning, you’ll be transferred to the Pacific-side station for this exciting rail journey. Winding your way through the tropical forest alongside the Canal, you’ll catch superb views of the Canal and its ship traffic.|
Stepping off the train later this morning on the Atlantic side, you’ll visit the Panama Canal Expansion Center. From the Observation Deck 164 feet above ground, you’ll have an enthralling view of the recently-expanded Canal. Opened to traffic in 2016, this new waterway and third set of locks literally doubled the capacity of the Panama Canal, which can now accommodate massive ships up to 1,400 feet long and 180 feet wide. After a Caribbean lunch, you’ll explore Portobelo , a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its wealth of history and the ruins of Colonial-era fortifications, many with their ancient cannons still in battle-ready position. You’ll also visit the 17th-century Customs House and see the revered Cristo Negro statue which appeared mysteriously in Portobelo in the mid 1600’s. After sightseeing, we’ll take you to General Tours deluxe Pacific beach resort where oceanview rooms have been reserved for A+R guests. Meals B+L
Day 7 - Day 7 - The Many Facets of Panama City
|A full day of guided exploration begins on the city’s efficient and modern Metro, a great way to experience daily life. Touring the Afro-Antillean Museum, you’ll find well-curated exhibits that tell the story of the nation’s West Indian community, including their historic role in building the Panama Railroad and Canal. Not far away, you’ll also visit El Carmen Church, built in Neo-Gothic style and revered as one of the city’s most beautiful churches. At the BioDiversity Museum, designed by the renowned architect Frank Gehry, you’ll learn how Panama’s vital role as a land bridge between North and South America has impacted biodiversity and human life on both Continents.|
Then join city residents shopping at the lively fish market and visit with one of the vendors, pausing to sample some ceviche and local beer. For lunch, we’ll take you to a local restaurant where traditional Panamanian dishes are prepared and served with gastronomic flair. The day’s sightseeing ends with a tour through the archaeological ruins at Panama Viejo . Founded in 1519, this was the earliest European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Return to General Tours deluxe Pacific resort in the late afternoon where the evening is free to enjoy and dine as you wish. Meals B+L
Day 8 - Day 8 - A Day in the Countryside
|Another genuine experience of daily Panamanian life is yours this morning as you step aboard one of the region’s Diablos Rojos – buses that have been custom painted with colorful, often narrative murals. It’s a popular and fun way to get around! Then we’ll take you into the lofty hills of Altos de Campana National Park. Founded in 1966 as Panama’s first national park, it’s only an hour’s drive from the capital; but for all of its natural beauty and appeal, it remains relatively unknown by most travelers and even among some Panamanians. Surrounded by cool rolling mountains that descend to the Pacific Ocean, you’ll travel all the way to one of the Park’s highest points for sweeping views of the Canal Basin and Chame Point with its groves of mangrove forest. Altos de Campana is home to a variety of exotic birds like the orange-bellied trogon and white-tailed hawk, making this Park a great destination for bird watchers.|
At a nearby orchid farm, you’ll learn about their cultivation of these delicate plants and sample some of the tropical fruits that are also grown here. For lunch we’ll take you to a popular local fonda; these typical countryside restaurants are known for their fine farm-to-table Panamanian food – and chilled local beer! Back at the Westin resort, you’ll have time to relax or even go for a swim before freshening up for this evening’s Farewell Dinner. Enjoy the fine cuisine of General Tours 5-star resort and toast your fellow travelers with a glass of wine. Meals B+L+D
Day 9 - Day 9 - Adios, Playa Bonita
|After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your onward flight. Meals B|
Hygiene and Safety Protocols for Alexander Roberts Tours
Committed to Your Well Being While You’re With Alexander Roberts
- All Alexander Roberts' staff will maintain appropriate physical distancing at all times, so expect a warm and genuine greeting but not a handshake or a hug!
- All high-touch surfaces in coaches and private cars – like door handles, railings, arm rests, and window controls – will be sanitized each morning and regularly throughout the day.
- Alexander Roberts' expert guides and drivers will don face masks whenever in proximity to guests.
- Alexander Roberts staff have been trained on Extra Care procedures – and how to respond to issues that may arise as you travel.
- Complimentary face masks and hand sanitizer will be available in all vehicles while touring.
- Larger luxury motorcoaches so each traveler will have two seats to themselves while touring.
- Private airport transfers with a spacious luxury vehicle when you come and go for every tour
- Regular and frequent sanitizing of all high-touch vehicle surfaces.
- Prearranged entry for all sightseeing minimizes standing in line with other travelers.
- Whisper Headsets for groups of 5 or more allow for proper physical distancing while sightseeing, except for certain nature activities in remote areas like the Amazon.
- Alexander Roberts carefully selects restaurants to avoid crowded high-capacity venues; Alexander Roberts emphasizes fine farm-to-table dining with attentive and efficient service – and the choice to dine al fresco whenever available.
- No large-group dining; enjoy more spacious dining settings and smaller, well-spaced tables for included meals.
- Restaurant staff will follow the guidance of local health authorities and WHO protocols which may include facial coverings.
- Alexander Roberts' hotels are always selected for their outstanding locations, evocative ambiance, impeccable service – and cleanliness.
- OAlexander Roberts' partners include the most respected luxury brands – like Belmond, Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Kempinski and JW Marriott; they are now leading the industry with their sophisticated hygiene standards and protocols to ensure the well being of all their guests.
- Hotels will be continuously and rigorously vetted to ensure that they are following established WHO guidelines including social distancing and sanitizing procedures of guestrooms and public spaces.
- Hotel breakfasts will usually feature à la carte service and group seating will be replaced by smaller, appropriately distanced tables.
In a Small Group of Never More than 16 Guests or on a Privately Guided Tour for just your traveling party, their experienced guides have the flexibility to adjust your sightseeing based upon local conditions – to avoid times of heaviest traffic and crowding, for example. Alexander Roberts can dine in smaller authentic restaurants, minimize the time waiting in lines, and leave a lighter footprint. You’ll learn the history and stories behind the world’s most iconic landmarks, immerse more deeply in the wonders of the natural world, and delight in genuine cultural engagement not possible in a larger group. It’s travel without a crowd.
Central Hotel - Panama City, Panama
General Tours stylish luxury hotel is an architectural landmark overlooking Plaza de la Independencia in the heart of Casco Antiguo - Panama City’s Old Town. Since its opening in 1874, this historic hotel has hosted a variety of luminaries – from the French builders who attempted to build a trans-Panama Canal in the 1880’s to Theodore Roosevelt who oversaw the realization of its construction in the early 1900’s. Today, the Central Hotel continues to set the standard for unmatched ambiance and service. Spacious, beautifully furnished guestrooms feature free WiFi, luxurious linens, in-room digital safe, 47” flat-screen HDTV, a generously stocked minibar and complimentary bottled water.
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Our tour guide was the best! He was knowledgeable about the country, always early, courteous and made us feel welcome in his country. Our tour had a side trip that was incredible due to our guide's particular experiences, The pick of our guide for our trip was absolutely perfect. Thank you for making our trip so wonderful.
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