San Jose to Panama City
This tour is a short but exciting trip from Costa Rica to Panama, taking in the highlights of the Caribbean coast and Chiriqui highlands culminating in Panama City. The islands of the Bocas del Toro archipelago are wonderful for water sports, with optional activities like diving and snorkelling. At the charming mountain village of Boquete on the eastern slopes of the Volcan Barú you can relax and enjoy the serenity or enjoy world class adventure activities nearby.
Have more time?
Combine this tour with Nature Trails to form a 14 day adventure from San José to Panama City. Search for tour code CEP.
- Bocas del Toro
6 night(s) in hotels
Staff & Experts
Tucan Travel tour leader, English-speaking local guide(s) on included excursions
What's Not Included
- International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes
- Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
- Optional excursions - Please see the optional excursions on the Tour Notes for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
Day 1 to 1 - Arrive San José
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.
The capital city of Costa Rica, San José, is nestled in a fertile valley among coffee and sugar-cane farms. There is not much left of the colonial era architecture, due to the damage done by earthquakes, but it is certainly worth seeing the National Theatre, built in 1897. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to catch a performance whilst you're here. The Gold, Jade and National Museums are also particularly recommended for a visit
There are plenty of interesting optional day trips that can be undertaken within a close vicinity of San José such as visits to the Poás or Irazú volcano, white water rafting, the Turu BaRi Topical Park or the Rain Forest Aerial Tram.
Day 2 to 3 - Bocas del Toro
Leaving Costa Rica we travel by bus to Panama. We are required to pay a departure tax of US$9 and on arrival in Panama, an entrance fee of US$4. We take the boat to tranquil Bocas del Toro with plenty of options for water sports. The islands of the Bocas del Toro archipelago offer the visitor a great diversity of attractions and natural environments; luxurious rain forests with an abundance of fauna and flora. These sunny islands have beaches, coral reefs & crystal clear waters that compete with the Caribbean's best. You have two days to enjoy Bocas del Toro at your leisure. There are options for diving, snorkelling and kayaking expeditions, as well as bike rentals and boat trips to the nearby Mangrove Forest.
Day 4 to 5 - Boquete
Then we travel onto the highlands and the charming mountain village of Boquete. Located on the eastern slopes of the Volcan Barú, Boquete is quickly becoming a destination for those who wish to bask in the cooler climate and marvel at the exquisite vistas. Boquete is known to produce some of the sweetest oranges and richest coffees in all of Panama as the surrounding hills and slopes are covered in shade-grown coffee plantations known for their sustainable farming practices. These farms are recognised the world over by conservationists and are home to an abundance of birds equal to those found in the cloud forests higher on the mountain.
Coffee is primarily picked by the indigenous Guaymi during the months of October through February. This is considered a festive time and colourfully clad Indian families come from various parts of the province to harvest the coffee cherries. Tours through some of the coffee fincas of Boquete can be arranged for those interested in seeing this spectacle along with wide variety of bird life.
There are plenty of other optional excursions on offer; in fact Boquete is already building up quite a reputation as an 'adrenalin town' with world class rafting facilities, mountain biking, rock climbing and rappelling at nearby Los Ladrillos in Bajo Mono.
Day 6 to 6 - Panama City
Today we head to David where we have a short flight to Panama City. Panama City is the crossing point to South America and home to the infamous Panama Canal which is definitely worth a visit, you could even hop on board one of the regular canal transits.
Other interesting sites are the archaeological site of Panama La Vieja, the first city founded on the isthmus by the Spanish in 1519. The remaining ruins are the vestiges of the city left by Pirate Henry Morgan when he sacked the town in 1671. The second colonial city of Panama, Casco Viejo was built in 1673 to replace the original town. Casco Viejo is now surrounded by modern day Panama City but the charm of this era remains in the colonial streets, buildings, and squares around the French Plaza. The architecture here is a combination of the colonial styles of the French, Italian, American and Spanish.
Day 7 to 7 - Depart Panama City
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Guaranteed departure dates