Multi-Day Tour

Panama Canal & Caribbean Island Retreat (7 days)

Ancon Expeditions of Panama, Inc.

Panama City, Panama To Panama City, Panama

Valid for Departures Now Through: 01 May 2018


Day 1
Panama City, Panama


Arrival to Panama City

On arrival to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, you will be met by a representative of the Tocumen Royal VIP Salon at the plane´s door to assist with Immigration, Customs and while your luggage is being retrieved, you can enjoy complimentary beverages and snacks at the VIP lounge. Then you will be escorted to your Ancon Expeditions of Panama driver and transferred for approximately 30- 45 minutes to your hotel in the modern banking district of Panama City.


Day 2
Panama City, Panama


Full Day Panama City & the Panama Canal

10:00 hrs This morning you will enjoy a historical walking tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Casco Viejo is home to the Presidential Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Theater, the French Plaza and several other iconic landmarks that offer testament to the city’s rich history, culture and heritage.

From the top of old city’s wall enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean dotted with local fishing boats near port and massive ships lined up waiting to cross the Panama Canal as well as the impressive skyline of modern Panama City. You will then visit the Biodiversity Museum, designed by the world renowned architect Frank Gehry. As a Smithsonian Affiliate museum, the Biodiversity Museum serves as a gateway to new information about the biodiversity and natural history of the Isthmus of Panama. Scientific experts from both the Smithsonian Institute and the University of Panama oversee the contents of the museum and aim at teaching visitors about eco-awareness, conservation and Panama’s extraordinary natural treasures in various unique exhibition galleries. Did you know that the Isthmus of Panama has more bird, mammal, reptile and plant species than the US and Canada together in just 75,990 Km2 (approx. 29,000 square miles)? In fact, 3 million years ago, the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama changed both the climate and the biodiversity in the planet and played a key role in the creation of the world we know today.

Continue with a drive through the former Panama Canal Zone, including the town of Balboa and the old US Amador Army Base. You will reach the Panama Canal visitors’ center at Miraflores Locks where large ships can be seen transiting the canal while you enjoy lunch at the Miraflores restaurant overlooking the locks. Then you will tour the visitor center and exhibitions. A presentation by the Panama Canal Authority on the history of the Panama Canal will be provided. Marvel at the workings of this feat of human engineering and enjoy the different exhibition halls. Drop back to your hotel mid-late afternoon.



Day 3
Portobelo, Panama
El Otro Lado Private Retreat Breakfast, Lunch


Panama Canal Expansion / Embera Indigenous People / Portobelo

After a 90 min drive across the Isthmus you will observe the huge post Panamax ships transiting through the new Agua Clara Locks of the Panama Canal Expansion which was inaugurated on June 26, 2016. The US$5.25 billion project included, among other tasks, dredging works on both ends of the canal and the route itself in order to increase water depth and the straightening of bends along the route that will allow larger ships to transit through the canal. The most important aspect of the project, however, was the building of two new sets of locks, one at each terminus of the canal, which will increase the waterway’s capacity to move cargo from one ocean to the other by 50% within the next 15 years and will allow the passage of bigger ships (almost 3 times the capacity of Panamax, the largest size vessels currently transiting through the canal). An astonishing 4.2 billion cubic meters of structural concrete have been poured in the excavations.

Then continue for approx. 30 minutes to the shores of Gatun River for a cultural visit of an Embera indigenous village. You will board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) and travel up through lush forest to the community. At the Embera village you will be greeted with dancing and music. You will learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature. There will be handcrafts available for sale and you will have a chance to be painted with the traditional jagua, a natural dye the Embera use to adorn their bodies. Enjoy lunch a traditional lunch prepared by the indigenous women which usually consists of fried fish and plantains, accompanied by fresh fruits and snacks brought by your guide.

At last, for about 45 minutes you will be taken towards the North-Eastern Caribbean coast towards the small historic town of Portobelo. Famous for its trade fairs during the 17th century, Portobelo is a World Heritage Site. During colonial times it was one of the most important strongholds of the Spanish Main in the Americas. You will visit Forts San Geronimo and Santiago de la Gloria as well as the Church of San Felipe. You then say goodbye to your private guide and will be transferred by boat for approximately 5 minutes across the bay to El Otro Lado, a small boutique hotel surrounded by the National Park of Portobelo.



Day 4
Portobelo, Panama
El Otro Lado Private Retreat Breakfast


El Otro Lado

El Otro Lado is mixing design, culture, nature and luxury in a unique manner in order to offer its guests authentic, exclusive and custom-made experiences. It is the perfect place to relax and disconnect while contemplating the exuberant vegetation. With views of the sea, its four exclusive houses of eclectic tropical design integrate simple details with traditional handicraft of the Atlantic Coast. A streak of truly unforgettable experiences, El Otro Lado will take you to a harmonious and dreamlike place which is equipped with all the comforts of modern life. The Gazebo is the heart of El Otro Lado, where anything can happen. Enjoy a “Maracuaya” passion fruit mojito while sharing histories from the past with your friends; stimulate your intellect with the wide selection of our library; try the taste of daily fresh fish or listen with nostalgia to a vibrant selection of music, specially elaborated for El Otro Lado by Radio Gladys Palmera. The retreat offers cultural, literary and cinematographic experiences, together with a variety of entertainment games for your disposition. You can also book Spa treatments or special dining experiences during your stay.



Day 5
Portobelo, Panama
El Otro Lado Private Retreat Breakfast


El Otro Lado

El Otro Lado offers a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, navigating by the mangroves, hiking, observing unique birds, enjoying a picnic on the beach, diving at coral reefs or submerging in the water together with professional scuba divers with the chance to see shipwreck treasures. Enjoy canoe races, Congo dance, and impressive sunsets. For the creative ones, there are also available wood and art workshops on-site or in Portobelo. With a variety of options, a young artist from Portobelo will help you in your creation of handicraft in our carpentry workshop. You get the chance to develop your skills in painting, carving or cabinet making. When finished, you get to bring home your own creation.



Day 6
Panama City, Panama
None Breakfast


El Otro Lado

With the lodge´s boats the trip to the nearest beaches is fast and convenient. Once there, you will enjoy an idyllic place, with white sands and surrounded by palm trees. Swimming and snorkeling are popular activities in the crystal-clear, transparent water. Observe the fascinating species which can be seen in this underwater universe. Distances: La Huerta is 10 minutes away, Puerto Francés 20 minutes and Playa Blanca 30 minutes. The boats are equipped with life jackets and dry towels. If you wish to snorkel, you can choose among a wide selection of equipment for all sizes.

This afternoon, you will be picked up by your private driver at El Otro Lado´s boat dock in the town of Portobelo for a 1.5 – 2 hour transfer back to your hotel in Panama City

Night at the BRISTOL PANAMA – Virtuoso amenities included


Day 7
Panama City, Panama
None Breakfast


Depart Panama

Enjoy a leisure day before being transferred to Tocumen Airport approximately 2 hours prior to your flight departure. Return back home with loads of memories about Panama!

Exclusively for Virtuoso Guests

- Tocumen Royal Salon VIP Arrival Service

- Virtuoso Amenities (if you book with us the Virtuoso hotels Bristol Panama and Waldorf Astoria)

Tour Features


  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Islands & Beaches
  • Romance & Honeymoons
  • Sightseeing
  • Wildlife & Nature


A unique and high-end experience to learn more about the history, nature, culture and current topics of Panama, in combination with the country's most beautiful and sustainable private retreat El Otro Lado in Portobelo to spend the last days in paradise! Add-on helicopter tours over the Panama Canal or a private yacht experience to the Pearl Islands to see the humpback whales (from late June through September), live jazz concert at the Danilo Perez Jazz Club in Casco Viejo, special dining venues such as the Miralfores Locks' Atlantic Pacific Restaurant overlooking the lock's ship operation by night! Panama has it all (except for snow!), let us know what your clients would like!

About Us

Ancon Expeditions is the best in Panama!

Insider Tip

Ancon Expeditions will enhance your experience: unforgettable honeymoon, a helicopter flight from ocean to ocean, a private yacht through the Panama Canal - we make it happen for you!

Terms & Conditions

Reservations: To confirm a reservation we must receive a 50% deposit at the time of booking a tour. The balance of the cost of the tour is due 30 days prior to the first day of the tour. Cancellations: Cancellations made with more than 30 days notice from the first day of the tour are subject to a full refund of the deposit. Cancellations made between 30 and 15 days prior to the first day of the tour are subject to a 50% refund of the total cost of the tour. Cancellations made within 15 days of the first day of the tour are not subject to refunds. All cancellation requests must be done in writing.

The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for Ancon Expeditions of Panama, Inc.


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Highly recommended

By: Travel9

Reviewed on: 07 Jan 2014

Both guides were nice, competent, interesting and knew a lot about their country history and politics and economics

Ancon was wonderful!

By: GB1001

Reviewed on: 28 Dec 2016

Their guide "Ivan" was excellent and had knowledge way beyond our expectations. Wendy, the church tour guide, was more of the same. We only had 2 minor transport issues on the entire 9 day trip. One was having to stop for gas and the gas station attendant instructed us to get out of the van and stand by the pump while fueling. We should not have been getting gas on our time in the first place and it was disconcerting to get out of the van under his instruction. Another was our pickup from one hotel 30 minutes late.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Jenkins

Great service and informative staff

By: Carlita

Reviewed on: 20 Oct 2017

We were picked up at the airport by Ancon staff, delivered to our hotel after an informative, engaging discussion along the route. Each of the drivers that we utilized were knowledgeable, spoke English (which helps as we are American), proud to share information about their country and prompt. We really appreciated when our driver dropped us in Casco Viejo and clearly pointed where to venture and where NOT to venture safely. We had a wonderful day exploring and he was waiting as planned to take us back to Panama City. Highly recommend this group.
Travel Advisor:  Sharon Carr

Panama and the canal locks

By: traveller

Reviewed on: 15 Jan 2018

Our Ancon tour guides were both well versed in the subject matter of their individual tours. But Sr. Hernan Arauz was possibly the most interesting tour guide we have ever encountered. His knowledge of the animals and birds of the Panamanian jungle was exceptional. His knowledge of the history of the country is as complete as anyone we have had the pleasure of talking to. He is someone that I will truly recommend personally to whomever asks me about this Panamanian experience.
Travel Advisor:  Karen Upchurch

Very Helpful

By: Sue

Reviewed on: 14 Mar 2018

These folks were very responsive, courteous and ontime for our appointments. Would highly recommend.
Travel Advisor:  Randie Rosenberg