(Panama City, El Valle de Anton, Chitre Azuero Peninsula)
Panama: natural, charismatic, and multicolored. A country that geographically barely shows up on the map, was discovered by ancestors who had no idea what stunning landscapes they were about to discover.
Take in the amazing site of huge vessels passing the Panama Canal from one of the locks outside of Panama city and explore the city’s colonial quarter which epitomizes bygone days. Time spent in the picturesque town of El Valle de Antón will ensure a mandatory dose of nature to your vacation to allow for maximum relaxation and activity. Nestled in the crater of a giant extinct volcano, and ringed by verdant forests and jagged peaks, this is a very special part of the country. Nearby forests offer excellent bird-watching, and the valleys of El Valle are home to an impressive set of waterfalls as well as some rare golden frogs. In contrast, the Azuero peninsula is the wellspring of Panama’s favorite folkloric traditions such as traditional clothing and ceramics based on pre-Columbian designs - all of which you will be privy to as you delve into this side of Panamanian life. Staying in a collection of hand-selected, charming properties in the country, your r&r time "back at the ranch" may prove to be just as rewarding as your fun-filled day time activities
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Upon your arrival you will be met by a local representative who will help you locate your vehicle.
Relax on your private airport transfer with English speaking professional driver in Panama city. This transfer will take approximately 1 hr.
Your English speaking guide will pick you up at your hotel in Panama city this morning and take you on a private tour of the city and the Miraflores Locks before bringing you out of the urban setting and into the beautiful Anton valley at days end. You will start the tour with a short drive to Miraflores to see the huge vessels passing the Panama Canal. The busiest hours are from 9am to 10am and from 2pm to 5pm, so you will be able to see many ships getting lifted or lowered 16 meters in two distinct steps. Take in the view of the Locks from a sheltered terrace and listen to the explanations of your guide. To complete the visit of the Canal you can visit the Museum and Visitor Center at Miraflores which will give you a good idea of the construction of the Canal – a masterpiece of engineering. You will also learn about the history of the canal and its significance for Panama and the entire world trade as well as on the current expansion project.After the visit to the Canal, continue with your guide to the Amador Causeway, a road that connects three Islands in the Pacific Ocean and offers magnificent views of the Canal on one side and of the skyline of Panama City on the other side. The tour continues to the Casco Viejo, Panama City’s colonial quarter. Epitomizing bygone days, the Casco Viejo features lovely colonial houses, narrow roads and impressive churches. You will get a good idea about Panama’s history by driving or walking through the main attractions of this quarter. (includes entrance fees).From here, your final destination is the tranquil village of El Valle, set in an extinct volcano crater. Breathe in the crisp, clean air and feel yourself physically relaxing. This transfer will take approximately 7 hours.
El Valle de Anton offers numerous hiking trails - many of them used by the local farmers that live in the surrounding mountains. Depending on your fitness level there are easier and more difficult trails to chose from. There is for example a trail climbing Mount Gaital, the highest point of the area or the Berrales Trail that takes you to the village's spring water and to La Mesa, another community living in the area. Regardless of your particular route today, your guide will be with you for the duration of the approximate 5 hour hike and transportation to and from the trailhead as needed as well lunch is provided.
Leave Anton valley today and head to the Azuero Peninsula - a paradoxical place. This area of the country feels isolated from modern Panama, frozen in an idyllic past, with lots of charm and natural beauty. Azuero is the wellspring of Panama’s favorite folkloric traditions – beautiful traditional clothing, such as the stunning Pollera, and handicrafts, such as ceramics based on pre-Columbian designs, which are still made here. The same is true of some important musical and literary traditions. Even Panama’s most popular drink, the sugarcane liquor known as “Seco”, is made here. This transfer should take approximately 3.5 hours.
Discover the traditional products of the Herrera Province: sugarcane, salt, clay and bread. On your tour today you'll get to experience the manufacturing process of two important local liquors: seco and rum, from the sugarcane plantations until its distillation and bottling; see the extraction of salt from the Pacific Ocean; visit the production of handmade clay pottery; and learn how the famous La Arena bread is baked. (includes entrances fees)
Considered by many “the cultural heart of Panama”, the inhabitants of the Azuero Peninsula live their traditions and their folklore proudly and display it throughout the year in many festivities. On this tour you will see in detail the handcrafting of the pollera, one of the most beautiful costumes in the world, by visiting an elderly lady that has dedicated all her life to the typical dress of the Panamanian women. Afterwards, you'll have the chance to enjoy visiting small studios of local artisans who produce colorful devil’s masks, drums used in local music and gold ornaments that are part of the traditional Panamanian culture. (includes entrance fees).
Relax on the approximate 4hr drive between the Azuero peninsula and Panama city. This transfer should take approximately 4 hours.
The TRYP by Wyndham Panama Centro is located in the heart of Panama City in the upscale El Cangrejo, Bella Vista neighborhood just 15 miles from Tocumen International Airport. The hotel has 90 rooms equipped with the best technology including free Wi-Fi, to help you stay productive while you travel. Take the time to enjoy the Panama City sunlight at the outdoor pool. There is a fitness center incorporating the most innovative contemporary equipment as well as a Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. There is also a Gastro Bar to satisfy your taste buds.
With a tender, humble ambiance, Los Mandarinos Boutique, Spa & Hotel is tucked into the bosom of the Anton Valley. Sharing an intimacy with its natural surroundings, the hotel is small and cozy, with 14 rooms. Each is individually decorated to taste, and offers simplicity with all the amenities of home. A genuinely caring staff is available for all concerns. Los Mandarinos is popular for its restaurant, which serves meals with an authentic Panamanian flair. Enjoy the culinary expertise of local chefs, who also dabble in international fare. Then consider your options from planning a horseback riding trip, hike, or short drive into town to visit the market or perhaps a rejuvenating spa package onsite.
Set among beautifully landscaped gardens with a thematic backdrop evocative of the region’s Spanish colonial heritage, the facilities of the Cubitá Boutique Resort & Spa include a 100-room luxury hotel, convention center, restaurant, pool, sauna, and a state-of-the-art spa and gym. Two of the most unique features of the hotel are the colonial chapel located in the courtyard – providing the perfect setting for unforgettable destination weddings in Azuero – and the museum, a beacon of culture in Azuero which will offer both visitors and locals the opportunity to explore the variety of influences that have shaped the history, art and folklore of the region.
Bob More ,
April 21, 2014
"Every detail was taken care of, and all connections were on time. We were extremely pleased, couldn't stop telling everyone about our great trip. Each room / hotel was better than the last. Wow great holiday!"
Steve Walling ,
January 20, 2014
"We are home safe and sound from the best vacation I can remember. It seemed seamless to us but I know that you worked very hard to make our experience so good.
The guides and drivers were always punctual and reliable. They were very knowledgeable, personable, and funny. They provided us with very helpful information and helped us work on expanding our Spanish. The hotel staff was friendly and helpful and the rooms were very nice.
I especially appreciate our ability to update our plans while we were in Costa Rica. The zip lines were the highlight of our trip. I hate to think we almost missed out by not including it in our original plan.
You have made a friend and supporter for life. I will certainly recommend you to anyone I know going to Costa Rica.
Merrel Bowles ,
November 07, 2013
"I would highly recommend this company for overseas travel. We had personal drivers that spoke perfect English and were also very knowledgeable in conversation pertaining to their country. Drivers were always early and eager to please. Your wish was their command!!!Every tour included educated guides who knew how to make our experience fun and exciting! I loved having personal drivers and guides, as well as many inclusive meals. We will definitely use this company for future travels."
April 09, 2013
"Our Costa Rica trip was amazing. The whole family thinks its the best we've ever taken! Kensington did an excellent job of organizing everything. The two hotels they picked were amazing.
Arenal -- The Springs Resort & Spa was almost too good since as soon as the family saw it they wanted to cancel activities so they could take full advantage of all it offered. We ultimately did cancel the safari to give us a free day to spend a day at the spa, pools and Club Rio (riding the river in innertubes!). The activities Kensington setup were excellent and very adventurous. Our favorite was canyoneering (repelling), We were all terrified at the first drop-off! It's more thrilling the zip lining (also lots of fun) and river rafting (a blast as well).
Manuel Antonio -- The Preserve at Los Altos was very nice. It was like staying in a 3 bedroom apartment at a boutique hotel (same feel as Athenum in London but nicer). The drive to get there was a bit long but worth it when our driver made a surprise stop at the the "crodillio bridge". The tour through Manuel Antonio National Park is a must do for nature lovers (3 types of monkeys, sloths, etc). Our guide was excellent. If you go MA NP, try Kapi Kapi for dinner.
I'd highly recommend using Kensington (Brandi was our rep) for a Costa Rica trip. Thanks for hooking us up with them.
L Huber ,
April 03, 2013
We returned yesterday from our wonderful Costa Rican vacation and I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed it. We loved staying at the El Silencio (the kids would have liked to stay even longer so we could have taken some of the nature hikes). Being surrounded by the cloud forest was an amazing sensation that really helped us to feel that we were in a completely different world and was a perfect way to begin the trip. Maria Lucia was a very kind tour guide and showed us the all sites in a huge day (the waterfalls, Poas volcano, the coffee plantation & Sarchi). The staff at El Silencio was wonderful and Jeff and I very much enjoyed the food and the very elaborate wine tasting there.
In La Fortuna the activities ruled. We loved everything, the exhilarating waterfall rappelling, the zip lining (& tiger swing - the kids LOVED IT) the volcano hike and we had a FANTASTIC time on the river safari with Gerald and his friend Tom. Gerald was a great guide and was able to share many stories while letting us see the wildlife. We saw a spectacular Toucan flock and of course the monkeys were a huge hit. Ending up at the farm was a fun end note to the trip. Of course we enjoyed the hot springs at the Tabacon - they are pretty amazing. Jeff and I had a chance to have a massage at the Tabacon spa and it was spectacular. The service at the hotel was lovely and our room did have a beautiful view of the volcano. I think the hot springs & spa are far superior at the Tabacon.
Alex drove us from both El Silencio to La Fortuna and then from La Fortuna to Punta Islita (that is a lot of driving and he did a great job - he was so friendly and made the travelling very enjoyable). On the way to La Fortuna he made a point of showing us the Iguana restaurant and it was a great wayside stop for everyone.
Punta Islita was stunning. Our villa Ilan Ilan was ideal, the view and the setting were spectacular. The kids loved the pool (when they weren't swimming & playing in the ocean), Jeff loved being able to finally drive around a bit like a native (the villa came with a small 4 wheel car), and I enjoyed waking up every morning to see the sunrise over the cliffs at the ocean's edge, and hear the incredible variety of birds (and on the last day even the howler monkeys). We enjoyed so many of the activities the hotel had to offer. Andrey & Hector and the whole staff were so warm and hospitable. They really worked hard and made every effort to make our stay so much fun. Hector helped us plan some more zip lining, surf lessons, a dolphin sighting/fishing boat trip and a sunset horseback ride which was the perfect way to wrap up the trip.
Ronald picked us up and got us to the airport in plenty of time. Ronald was very interested in showing us the wildlife as we drove through the different areas and we really enjoyed that.
Everywhere we went the people were absolutely wonderful, kind, and proud to show us their country and it made our trip spectacular.
Erika, thank you for all you did to help make the trip such a huge success.
Brian Blades ,
April 24, 2013
"Very prompt at getting information back to us and very helpful with any changes we wanted.
This trip was as good as the last trip we did with Kensington, could'nt have been any better. Our guides were excellent, especially Gerald.
Stephen Strom ,
April 22, 2013
"The transfers went flawlessly; the guides were all superb (knowledgable; thoughtful; sensitive; responsive to our needs). The recommended hotels were, with one exception (see below), also first rate and well matched to our needs and temperaments.
Our thanks for providing 3 wonderful guides: Gary Ortiz (Antigua); Carlos Antonio Lopez (Tikal and Yaxha); and Israel Canto (Belize). All of them understood that we have ‘peculiar’ tastes (for example: photographing lichen covered tree trunks while the magnificent structures at Tikal were but meters away!). It is really critical that guides not try to make sure that we see every ‘important’ thing, but recognize instead that ‘importance’ is very much a personal thing.
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