Travelers with 2 weeks will be able to see all of Panama's highlights without feeling as if they're on a tight schedule. This itinerary gives travelers an option of visiting the funky, laid-back region of Bocas del Toro, or of experiencing the rustic, indigenous culture of the Comarca Kuna Yala and its gorgeous islands. They are two very different island destinations that appeal to different kinds of people.
Days 1 & 2: Panama City & Environs
Follow Days 1 and 2 in the "Panama in 1 Week" itinerary, but skip the Emberá village trip because you'll visit one in the Darién.
Day 3: Pirates, Ruins & Gold
Ride the train along the historical trans-isthmus route to Colón, but skip the city and head out to visit the ruins of Fuerte San Lorenzo and Portobelo to learn about pirate raids and the historic gold trade. Dine on fresh seafood while gazing out over the sea at Los Cañones, near Portobelo. Drive across the canal and visit the Gatún Locks and Gatún Dam. You can even plan a 1-day Caribbean scuba-diving adventure from Panama City, with a tour around Portobelo, by calling Panama Divers.
Days 4 to 6: Wild Darién & Emberá Villages
Join Ancon Expeditions for their "Coastal Darién Explorer" that offers a taste of Central America's last great wilderness area. You'll get there by small plane to La Palma, and fill the next 3 days with activities such as traveling the Tuira River by dugout canoe as you search for dolphins and a wealth of birds, visiting an Emberá indigenous village, and trekking through dense and diverse tropical forest. Nights are spent in their simple but comfortable lodge overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Day 7: Off to the Islands
On this day you’ll board an early flight from La Palma to Panama City. The next destination is the Caribbean, and here travelers have two options: Visit Bocas del Toro or the Comarca Kuna Yala and its gorgeous islands. Travelers to Bocas del Toro can grab a flight out on the same day (Day 7), and lodge anywhere of their choosing. Travelers to the Comarca will need a 6:30am flight out the next day (Day 8). If the Comarca is your choice, do a little souvenir shopping and catch the Panama City sights you missed on your first days there.
Days 8 to 10: Caribbean Fun
Now for a little fun in the Caribbean sun. Stay in one of the Comarca's all-inclusive lodges such as Sapibenega. Visit traditional Kuna villages, and spend the rest of your days swimming, snorkeling, or just swaying in a hammock. In Bocas, organize a scuba-diving and/or snorkeling trip to Crawl Cay or Zapatillas Cay. Hike through jungle on Isla Bastimentos and end at a long, empty beach. Visit the Bahía Honda bat caves. You can also sea kayak or take a surf lesson. Or just take it easy; you deserve it.
Days 11 to 14: To the Highlands
Fly from Bocas to David, or from the Comarca to Panama City, and then to David. Grab a taxi or rent a car for the 45-minute drive to Boquete. Settle into your hotel and spend the afternoon getting to know town by foot or bike, visiting the town's public gardens and other sights. Aside from the region's trademark coffee tours at farms like Kotowa, you'll be able to hike through cloud forest on the Quetzal Trail, bird-watch at Finca Lérida, zip through the trees on a canopy ride with Boquete Tree Trek, or spend the day rafting on a Class II to Class V river. You can even see both oceans, clouds willing, from the summit of Volcán Barú National Park, or plan a sport-fishing trip leaving from Boca Chica, on the Pacific Coast. The final day you'll head back to Panama City from David.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.