(Panama City, Boquete)
Bocas del Toro
Hike through the thick mist that bathes the rainforest floor in an eerie glow and listen to the wild song of the jungle as you explore Panama’s famous cloud forests.
In the Bocas del Toro islands you’ll have the opportunity of potentially meeting parrots, orange frogs, armadillos and rare birds of the Punta Solarte jungle; snorkel the mangroves that line the Bahia Honda waterway; and relax on pristine Red Frog Beach as Panama’s lush mountains rise in the background. You’ll also experience the engineering wizardry of the Panama Canal.
From the man-made achievements of the Panama Canal to the natural wonders of the breath-taking cloud forests, your experienced team of local guides and private drivers will showcase every angle of Panama as you hike, cruise and snorkel through the country’s many highlights. And you’ll stay in a carefully-selected collection of premium hotels, eco lodges and beach resorts that will no doubt exceed all your expectations.
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.
You will be met and greeted at the Airport by an English speaking guide and transferred by private vehicle and driver.
In the morning, your English speaking guide will pick you up at your hotel to take you to the impressive Gatun Locks, the first set of locks situated on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Here you will able to admire a series of three lock chambers where the huge container vessels are lifted or lowered a total of 26 meters. Each lock is 33.5 meters wide and 306 meters long and takes eight to 15 minutes to fill with water. The tour will continue to discover the next 100 years of the Panama Canal at the Expansion Observation Center, located in the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Here you will witness history in the making while observing the construction of the new locks of the Panama Canal, one of the most important infrastructure projects of the early 21st century. To continue the tour you will be taken to the Casco Antiguo, where you feel set back in time as you admire the lovely colonial houses, the narrow roads and the impressive churches. You will get a good idea about Panama’s history by driving or walking through the main attractions of this quarter. A delicious lunch will be served in a distinctive local restaurant. To continue the tour you will be taken to Panama Viejo, the Old Panama. Panama Viejo was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. This first Panama City was looted and destroyed by the notorious English bucaneer Henry Morgan in 1671 and therefore abandoned. Today there are only ruins left. Still, the tower of the ancient cathedral is standing and has become a landmark of the town. After the tour you will be taken back to your hotel. (Entrance fees & lunch included).
Sit back and relax on your private airport transfer with an English speaking professional driver in Panama city. This transfer should take approximately 30 minutes.
Fly from Panama City to David. The direct flight takes approximately 1 hour.
Travel to Boquete by private vehicle and driver. This transfer will take approximately 40 minutes.
The Los Quetzales trail unites the two communities of Boquete and Cerro Punta and is one of Panama’s most visited and popular hikes, named for a particular species of bird called the Resplendent Quetzal. Quite elusive, these birds are a magnificent and rare treat to observe and are a favorite among many birding enthusiasts. In addition to the Quetzal, there are more than 220 other bird species native to the area. From Cerro Punta to Boquete, the 10 km trail goes down steadily (roughly 800 meters) as you pass from tropical cloud forest to tropical rain forest and takes approximately 4-6 hours of hiking to complete. The tour starts with a two hours drive from Boquete to Cerro Punta where your hiking adventure on the Quetzal Trail starts. A normal a/c motorcoach takes you to the ranger station in the park. At the end of the hike you will be transferred for approximately 30 minutes back to your hotel.
(Includes picnic Lunch, Roundtrip transportation from Boquete and English speaking naturalist guide. Bring: Hiking shoes, long pants, rainjacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, camera, water. Special notes: Minimum 2 passengers. Good physical condition is required).
Transfer to Almirante by taxi, 25 pier.
Transfer by boat to La Escapada Pier - Bastimentos Island (this boat ride may be shared).
Three meals a day are included during your stay at Tranquilo Bay. Lunch will be either at the property or a packed lunch if you are on an excursion and dinner, typically includes 3 to 5 courses. Snacks are available throughout the day and appetizers are served daily at cocktail hour. Beverages that are included comprise of non alcoholic, Panamanian beer, house South American wine and Panamanian rum.
During your stay at Tranquilo bay you will have the option between numerous land and water based excursions and activities. The expeditions into the parks are designed to cover a diverse range of ecosystems and terrain as well as to cater to different tastes and fitness levels so there really is something for everyone. Please note that the excursion descriptions below do not follow any specific order but are given merely for informational purposes.
If serious beach time is what you desire, then Bocas del Toro has one just right for you! Tranquilo Bay is centrally located in the heart of the archipelago, which makes it possible to visit a different beach everyday during your stay.
The archipelago of Bocas del Toro, surrounded by the Talamanca range, is an expanse of turquoise Caribbean waters dotted with lushly forested islands, mangrove Cayes, and flats of coral and turtle grass. The windward islands are blessed with pristine coconut-lined white sand beaches, several of which are protected by Bastimentos National Marine Park. Four species of sea turtles nest on these shores and inhabit the reefs laden with tropical fish. Sand dollars, seashells and driftwood are easily admired on these uninhabited beaches. It is not uncommon to find yourself exploring the whole day without ever encountering other footsteps.
Relax in the seclusion of crescent shaped beaches surrounded by rock cliffs, snorkel the barrier and patch reefs of uninhabited white sand islands covered in coconut palms, or slip into the lush rainforest of Bastimentos to explore the flora and fauna.
There are several family-friendly beaches in the area for those bringing young children. These areas are safe year round, geographically protected from open ocean swell and prevailing winds, there is little to no wave action and minimal currents.
Expeditions into the parks are designed to cover a diverse range of flora, fauna and terrain. A knowledgeable guide, equipped with appropriate equipment and extensive experience in the area, will accompany guests on all excursions. Most land explorations have a post-breakfast departure and include a picnic lunch in the field. Some birding excursions require an early morning departure.
The archipelago of Bocas del Toro earned the name "Galapagos of the Caribbean" by being one of the most biologically diverse places on earth. Tranquilo Bay is fortunate enough to be surrounded by the extremely diverse 28,600 marine acres of Bastimentos National Marine Park. In a protected corridor no wider than seven miles, the oceanic diversity, sub-sea topography, marine ecosystems, life zones and species are extreme. Our water excursions are designed to explore as many different realms as possible while focusing on habitat and species diversity.Kayaking, snorkeling and surfing are all offered as shared excursions at the property. All water based excursions depart directly from the propertys' facility where staff will handle the preparation, maintenance and portage of the equipment. Snorkel gear is provided on all excursions to fully explore the underwater realm of brilliant tropical fishes living amongst vibrant coral reefs. All you have to do is paddle and absorb the breath-taking scenery. No experience is required for many of the excursions. Whether you're searching for the serenity of calm backwaters, need to feel the surge of jagged frontal coastline, or want to try a little whitewater, we will schedule your group's excursions to accommodate various experience levels. A chase boat used to haul extra gear, food, beverages, safety and first aid equipment, will accompany all outer excursions. The 80-degree clear Caribbean waters of Bocas del Toro are ideal for those who are not familiar with the equipment. For those new to the sport, we will provide a thorough Kayak/Safety lesson to familiarize you with the equipment and techniques so that you are adequately prepared for your adventure.
On the kayak excursions you will get to enjoy the tranquility and thrill of sea kayaking as you paddle along dramatic stretches of the archipelago, allowing you to explore secluded white sand beaches, coral flats, small offshore islands and rock ledge coastline, navigate mangrove forests, paddle up spring fed rivers, shoot the mountain rapids or snorkel pristine reefs and rock formations. Many of the daily explorations cover more than three separate ecosystems.Snorkeling: Much of the marine park has never been explored under the surface, and many of the known underwater sites are as yet unnamed. Within the marine park, sea fan gardens, vibrant coral reefs, and over 200 species of tropical fish live amongst a dramatic sub-sea terrain, which seems to transform every few hundred yards. If snorkeling is the primary objective of your trip, note that the Caribbean Sea is calmer and there is less rain from February through June and September through November, September and October being the most consistent of all months.The visibility, While visibility is good at most times of the year it does not compare with that of other well known dive destinations such as Cayman Islands or Cozumel. That being said, most of the interesting formations here in Bocas del Toro are in shallower water. In many areas the maximum depth is 40 feet and the light penetration is excellent.
Surfing: The Caribbean water is warm year round, so wet suits are not necessary. The average tidal fluctuation is less than 20-inches, so sessions never need to be planned around the tide. The best and most consistent swells hit Bocas del Toro at the peak of winter. The season starts late November and begins to fall off in February. The peak of summer can also produce a mini season during the months of July and August. When the swells arrive, Bocas del Toro has some of the best waves and variety of breaks in the Caribbean. The sub-sea topography of the archipelago is extreme, with depths of several thousand feet just a few miles offshore.
Tranquilo Bay has listed over 180 species of birds on-sight and over 400 from daily excursions to nearby bird-rich environments. Bocas del Toro, Panama is geologically gifted, creating extreme species diversity; there are an incredible variety of ecosystems, habitats and altitudinal zones only a short distance from the lodge. The guides are passionate about observing wildlife, and excellent at spotting as well as identification.
In less than a week you might see white faced monkeys, night monkeys, two and three toed sloths, iguanas, caiman, blue morph butterflies, a variety of frogs and lizards. On the wildlife viewing excursions you will get to explore these areas from the comfort of the facility and often cross three or more ecosystems in a single excursion.
Hiking explorations into the rainforest are planned with three distinct variables: naturalist, destination and extreme, each providing a different experience. Each excursion may include elements of each variable or may be completed using one variable alone.
A naturalist hike will slowly and quietly move beneath the canopy actively searching flora and fauna such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, hardwoods, forest palms, vines, bryophytes, ferns, bromeliads, orchids, and other epiphytes. This type of hike generally consists of a short, brisk walk to reach an area of interest. Once there, the pace slows and there is more observation and learning than hiking.All ages and fitness levels can enjoy this casual and invigorating hiking experience. A destination hike is more of a cardiovascular workout and can be paced to meet the group's needs. This hike's main objective is to move toward the primary target, such as a waterfall, beach, or cave perhaps, while observing the jungle through a "wide angle lens".The pace is brisk and distance longer. Short rests will be taken at areas of interest, such as poison dart frogs or blooming orchids. These hikes require a moderate level of physical fitness, and are not suited for children younger than 10. Extreme hiking is for the cardiovascular workout enthusiast. The primary goal is to cover as much varied terrain as possible. Because of the long distance covered, topography and habitat changes are abrupt and frequent.You might run down the beach as the trail slips in and out of the jungle, or scale an oceanfront rock face -- the only barrier between you and the next beach.There will be many hills of steep grade and the terrain variable. When the hike is done you should be wet, dirty, and completely satiated. High fitness levels are required, keeping in mind that the distance can be shortened.
Enjoy a shared vehicle and boat transfer from Isla Bastimentos to Isla Colon Airport terminal. The transfer will take approximately 45 minutes.
Fly from Bocas del Toro to Panama City. The transfer will take approximately 1.25 hours.
Relax on your private airport transfer with English speaking professional driver in Panama city. This transfer will take approximately 1 hr.
Amidst inspiring architectural flourishes like neo-classical ironwork and red tile gables, The Bristol luxury hotel in Panama City summons the ambiance and grace of a historic private mansion. Beautifully appointed room and suite accommodations are enhanced by a charming colonial décor and artwork by the finest artisans in Panama. Exquisite luxury refinements include Frette cotton sheets, Hungarian down-filled pillows, plush duvets, Molton Brown bath amenities, and a personal butler skilled in the art of intuitive yet discreet service. At every moment, guests will enjoy the dedicated attention of the dedicated hotel staff. Recognized as the “Best Hotel in Panama” and among the “Top 10 Hotels in Latin America” by Condé Nast Traveler, this legendary hotel envelops each in an embrace of uncompromising urban style and sophistication.
Hotel Panamonte is located in the cool highlands of Boquete, in the Chiriquí region, a 45-minute drive from David, just below the Costa Rican border. Experience the service traditions of one Boquete’s grandest hotels at Panamonte Hotel. Panamonte Inn & Spa is located just outside the Baru Volcano National Park. Its stylish suites offer free Wi-Fi and terraces with stunning garden and mountain views. With almost over a century of experience Panamonte Hotel has achieved an incomparable reputation for gracious hospitality and excellent service standards.
Tranquilo Bay Eco-Adventure Lodge is surrounded by national parks and protected areas creating 1.4 million contiguous acres, the single largest remaining tract of virgin forest unit in Central America. Located on Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro, adjacent to Bastimentos National Marine Park, it is surrounded by three distinct ecosystems where biodiversity and wildlife thrive. It boasts over a kilometer of Caribbean coastline covered in coral gardens teaming with tropical fish and its facilities encompasses over 100 acres, with over a mile of hiking trails teaming with wildlife. At least 75% of the acreage has been left to evolve in its natural state. Tranquilo Bay’s two most overlooked features are its amazing location and superior facilities. If you are into eco-adventures such as birding and wildlife watching, hiking, snorkeling the coral reef, kayaking or forest ecology, be prepared for the experience of a lifetime! Each cabana features a spacious tiled interior with French doors opening to a large, covered elevated porch area, a large bathroom with a walk-in shower, a full size water heater and an air conditioner. Tranquilo Bay is your home base for your Panama vacation. Tranquilo Bay is family friendly. It is perfect for the avid adventurer, families, and couples as well as those looking to get away from “real” life for a few days.
American Trade Hotel and Hall opened its doors in the fall of 2013 in Panama City, occupying a lovingly restored landmark building in Casco Viejo. The property stands at the ecological and cultural crossroads of the Americas, deeply connected to both the historic Old Quarter and the nascent new Panama City – a meeting place for influencers, and cultures from around the world. The property and surrounding area are steeped in local heritage and culture, while the hotel has been thoroughly outfitted with the contemporary conveniences and modern luxuries today's traveller requires.
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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