Costa Rica & Panama Discovery
From 20/12/2023 to 07/01/2026
Put your chef’s hat on and help prepare a traditional Caribbean dinner with a local family in their home in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.
Swim in clear ocean waters, stop in at shacks serving cold cerveza and kick back on sandy shores covered in starfish in the Bocas del Toro, where you spend three nights on Isla Colon.
Head to the coffee plantations, waterfalls and caldera hot springs of Boquete – a highland town so beautiful you’ll hardly miss the beach at all!.
Go on a jungle walk at night with your expert trip leader in the rainforest district of Sarapiqui – look out for various snakes, sloths, and frogs.
Get to know Panama City during a guided stroll along the Cinta Costera, right to the city’s salty belly – the Mercado de Mariscos (seafood market).
By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects.
Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.
Dinners Included: 1.
Hotel (10 nights),Lodge (1 night).
Private vehicle,Public bus,Taxi,Shared boat.
Age: min 15.
Group Size: 1 - 16.
Sarapiqui – Night Jungle Walk.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - Leader-led orientation walk.
Puerto Viejo - Hands-on dinner in local home.
Boquete - Leader-led orientation walk.
Leader - led Informal Spanish Lesson.
Panama City - Leader-led walk in Casco Viejo.
Panama City - Leader-led walk along part of the Cinta Costera (Causeway) including a visit to the Fish Market.
Itinerary / more information
1 - San Jose Bienvenidos! Welcome to Costa Rica. Your adventure begins in San Jose with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight at your hotel. As this trip spends very little time here, it's recommended that you arrive a day or two early and see the sights. If you do, maybe take an Urban Adventure with an expert local guide. Maybe visit The Gold Museum and it's amazing collection of Indigenous gold art. If you're in the mood for a bit of shopping, head to the Mercado Municipal de Artesanias or the city's Central Market, where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.
2 - Sarapiqui This morning, hop on a public bus and make your way to Sarapiqui - a town known for its rich biodiversity and lush rainforest. When you arrive, enjoy some free time here to go birdwatching, spot some local wildlife or hike to one of the nearby waterfalls. Tonight, you'll head out on a leader-led jungle walk. This is a great opportunity to see some Costa Rican wildlife, especially the elusive beasts who only venture out under the cover of darkness - look out for sloths, snakes and frogs.
3 - Puerto Viejo de Talamanca Today, take a private transfer to Puerto Viejo. When you arrive, get to know this laid-back jungle town during an orientation walk with your local leader, then enjoy the rest of the day to explore at your leisure. A small and coastal city, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca has a lively main street featuring dance halls, reggaeton bars and modern restaurants. If you're looking for a little bit of relaxation, you'll also find great surf beaches and rainforest fruit farms to kick back on.
4 - Puerto Viejo de Talamanca Today is free, so you can ease into the vibes of the Caribbean coast. You might like to take your time exploring Cahuita National Park, which is easily accessible from Puerto Viejo and home to sloths, monkeys, raccoons, snakes and a great variety of birds. If the waves are calling (but your footing isn't so sure), surf lessons are also on offer in town. Of course, you could also simply find a cool spot and relax with a beer in hand. To top today off, you'll prepare a traditional Caribbean dinner with a local family in their home. Enjoy a mixture of fruits, seafood, tubers and vegetables combined with coconut flavours, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, curry Panamian pepper and thyme.
5 - Bocas del Toro Today, take a local bus to the border, then walk across an old railway bridge into Panama. Continue by taxi or collective minivan to Almirante, where you'll take a short boat ride to Isla Colon in the Bocas del Toro archipelago - rapidly becoming a Caribbean favourite, this place has it all. Hit the palm-shaded beaches with crystal-clear waters, enjoy some spectacular snorkelling opportunities and look out for lots of wildlife. Culturally, Bocas is home to West Indians, Latinos and expats, resulting in diverse music, nightlife and food scenes. For the next three nights, you'll stay in Isla Colon - the main town of Bocas del Toro. It's a great spot to start your exploration of the archipelago, with most bars, restaurants and local activity operators just metres from your hotel.
6 - Bocas del Toro Today is the first of two free days to explore this tropical archipelago. Several beaches are within reach of town, between 8 and 14 km from your hotel. With azure waters, pristine coral reefs and a rollicking nightlife, it's easy to see why these islands are a favourite for so many travellers. The safest beaches are Starfish, Sandfly and Big Creek - be aware that others may have strong riptides. When the sun goes down, why not head into town and check out the local bar and restaurant scene? Ask your leader about the best place to grab a drink.
7 - Bocas del Toro Enjoy another free day in the Caribbean sun. Maybe take the opportunity to do some surfing or snorkelling, rent a bike and explore the main island, or simply soak in the chilled-out vibe while enjoying a cold one on the beach.
8 - Boquete Travel by boat and local bus to Boquete - this is a bit of a lengthy journey, so be sure to have a book, podcast or daydream to keep you occupied. Boquete is a picturesque town located in the highlands of Panama, surrounded by mountains, crystal-clear creeks and rivers, forest reserves and colourful wildflowers, as well as coffee plantations and orange groves. Head out on an orientation walk with your leader and enjoy an informal Spanish lesson to get to grips with the local language. Tomorrow will be a free day, wide open for exploring - most optional activities can be organised directly from the hotel, though it's a good idea to book them when you arrive tonight if you know what you want to do.
9 - Boquete There are plenty of ways to experience Boquete today, so be sure to chat to your leader and the hotel front desk to get the best insider tips. You could discover the secret waterfalls only locals know about on a walking tour in the jungle. Or maybe you'd prefer to soak it up in the Caldera hot springs. If you're a coffee lover, consider visiting a plantation or simply kicking back in town with a cup of the local brew - some of the best coffee in the world is grown and processed right here in Boquete!
10 - Panama City Trade in the beach for the city and travel to Panama City - Central America's glitziest capital. This is another long drive, so grab a window seat if you can. Along the way, you'll visit Penonome - a small town well-known for its artisans specialising in the Sombrero Pintao (the iconic and original Panama hat). Maybe grab some lunch here and take a quick visit to one of the many vendors that specialise in this traditional hat and learn a bit about their trade. Arrive in Panama City in the late afternoon and head into the city for a leader-led orientation walk. Take in the great views of the historic Casco Viejo (Old Town) and the Panama City skyline as you stroll past crowded waterfront soccer fields, running paths and food carts.
11 - Panama City Today, head to the city's gorgeous waterfront promenade - the Cinta Costera (causeway) - for a walk with your leader. Stop at the nearby Fish Market and maybe grab some fresh ceviche. This afternoon is yours to explore, so if you like, maybe visit the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal or take a stroll through the rainforest in the Metropolitan Nature Park. Panama City is also famous for its shopping centres - the biggest being Albrook Mall. For more traditional souvenirs to bring home, head to the National Artisan's Market.
12 - Panama City With no planned activities today, you can depart at any time. If you would like to spend some more time in Panama City, just speak to your booking agent.
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