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Secrets of Panama and Costa Rica

16 Days 3 Countries 5 Cities

Explore the culture, contrasts & epic landscapes of Panama and Costa Rica on this Hidden Journeys trip.

"The trip was an exciting adventure"


About this trip

The culture, contrasts and epic landscapes of Panama and Costa Rica are revealed on this trip, which ventures from capital to coast via Gamboa, Borinquen and Carrillo Beach.

You'll enjoy Insider moments like... delving into local cultures whether it is riding a canoe to visit with the Embera Indians who live off the land in Panama or enjoying dance performed by local children in Costa Rica.

Trip type: Hidden Journey

Trip code: LPCR

15 Nights


28 Meals
  • 15 full breakfasts.

  • 8 dinners.

  • 5 lunches (including 2 Be My Guests).

On trip-transport

No further information available

Secrets of Panama and Costa Rica

Your Itinerary

1. Arrive Panama City (2 Nights)

Bienvenidos a Panama City. You are greeted at the airport by a local host and transferred to your hotel overlooking the Bay of Panama. In the evening, join your fellow travel companions and your Travel Director at the hotel for a Welcome Reception.

Welcome Reception
Le Meridien Panama

2. Panama Canal Cruise and Free Time

Board your vessel to cruise the Panama Canal. As you enter the most important waterway in the world, cruise down from the north end of the Galliard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the Canal. Cruise over the Continental Divide and under the Centennial Bridge and Bridge of the Americas. Snacks and lunch are included onboard. Once in the beautiful Bay of Panama, prepare for the best views of Panama City's modern, fast-changing skyline. Afterward, enjoy the evening in Panama City to sample local cuisine. Note: The start time of the canal cruise is dependent on ship traffic and in some instances the trip may operate in the afternoon.

Full Breakfast

3. Panama City Sightseeing – Gamboa Rainforest (2 Nights)

Visit Panama Viejo, site of the ruins of the original Panama City. Wander the quaint streets of Casco Antiguo-a UNESCO World Heritage Site-in Panama's Historic District. Afterward, stop at the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center and Canal Museum. Then head for the lush vegetation and tropical climate of the rainforest. Once at your resort, join a guide on an exciting nature walk and aerial tram ride. Visit the Observation Tower and admire the panoramic views of the Chagres River and Panama Canal. After dinner, join a discussion with a Smithsonian researcher, a Local Specialist, and learn more about the diversity of Panama.

Full Breakfast
Gamboa Rainforest Resort

4. Gamboa Rainforest Sightseeing and Free Time

Embark on a different kind of water adventure and meet your boteros (boatmen) at the edge of the Chagres National Park. Enjoy a ride up river through the jungle, possibly sighting toucans, sloths and monkeys. Arrive at the village of Emberá Drua where you are met with a traditional greeting and learn about the Emberá Indians' fascinating culture. Enjoy a Cultural Insight by tasting delicious patacones (fried plantains) with small samples of fried fish or chicken. Listen to local music and watch traditional shamanic dances. Back at the resort, the afternoon is free.

Full Breakfast

5. Gamboa Rainforest – David – Cerro Punta – Boquete (2 Nights)

Fly to David and travel up the mountain slopes of the Chiriqui Province. At Cerro Punta, take in the superb views of the prominent Volcán Barú volcano. An exclusive Be My Guest lunch awaits at a thoroughbred farm situated in Cerro Punta Valley. As guests of the owners, explore the farm and learn how they breed these magnificent horses. Later, arrive at your mountain resort in beautiful Valle Escondido.

Full Breakfast
Be My Guest Dining
Valle Escondido Resort, Golf and Spa

6. Boquete Sightseeing and Free Time

Visit a coffee plantation and learn how coffee in Panama is making a grand entrance on to the world stage of gourmet grounds. Learn about the coffee-making process with a Local Specialist and see the Ngobe-Bugle, an indigenous group who handpick the red coffee berries when they are perfectly ripe. The rest of the day is free before dinner this evening.

Full Breakfast

7. Boquete – Santiago – Nata – Playa Blanca

Descend from the Chiriqui Highlands to Santiago. Then it's on to Aguadulce and Natá in Cocle Province, the heart of Panama's sugar cane industry. In Natá, view the beautiful basilica, said to be the oldest church in Central America. Arrive at your resort, nestled alongside the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy dinner on your last evening in beautiful Panama.

Full Breakfast
JW Marriott Playa Blanca

8. Playa Blanca – Panama City – San José

This morning, transfer to Panama City International Airport for an evening arrival into San José.

Full Breakfast

9. San José – Sarapiquí – Arenal (2 Nights)

Head toward the Poas Volcano area, where you visit a local coffee plantation. Learn about coffee production in Costa Rica from the owner and sample a cup of gourmet coffee. Continue to Sarapiquí, an off the beaten path area surrounded by dense rainforests and wildlife. Here you are welcomed by Don Alberto and Doña Ana Quintana for a Be My Guest experience at their home, Hacienda Pozo Azul. Enjoy a tour of the plantation before sitting down for a luncheon with your hosts. Afterward, continue to La Fortuna de San Carlos, home of the giant Arenal Volcano. The afternoon is free for you to relax before dinner.

Full Breakfast
Be My Guest Dining
Arenal Kioro Hotel Suites and Spa

10. Arenal Sightseeing and Free Time

Start the day with an informative visit at the Asis Project, a wildlife refuge where you will learn how the centre helps preserve the life of endangered animals and get up close and personal with a wide variety of animals. Savour a typical Costa Rican lunch before an entertaining Cultural Insight, brightened by the dances of children at a local education center. Afterward, enjoy a guided visit to the Arenal Hanging Bridges to walk eye-level within the lush canopy. Back at the hotel, there is time to relax.

Full Breakfast

11. Arenal – Borinquen (2 Nights)

Today, head toward the Guanacaste province. Famous for its cowboys and cattle ranches, you'll be surrounded by breathtaking views of open fields. View Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, a smooth cinder cone volcano made up of 9 contiguous craters before arriving at your hotel in Borinquen. The beautiful resort offers an abundance of relaxing activities.

Full Breakfast
Borinquen Mountain Resort and Spa

12. Borinquen Free Time

The day is free for you to pursue your own interests. Thrill seekers can bike the miles of trails, zip line, take a hike, or set off on a horseback ride. The property's thermal hot springs and natural steam room are available if pure relaxation is what you're after.

Full Breakfast

13. Borinquen – Palo Verde – Carrillo Beach (2 Nights)

Today, descend to Carrillo Beach. This white sand beach is a secret paradise framed by mountains. En route, enjoy a boat ride on the Tempisque River through the famous Palo Verde National Park. Cruise through 12 different types of habitats including 55 aquatic plants and 150 species of trees. After lunch is served in the park, continue your journey to the hotel where the rest of the day is free.

Full Breakfast
Nammbú - Beachfront Bungalows

14. Carrillo Beach Free Time

A white sand beach right off your bungalow, pristine and warm water and a beautiful blue sky-the perfect way to enjoy the "pura vida" way of living like the locals. The options are endless, and the choice is all yours. Your Travel Director is on hand to help you plan the perfect day.

Full Breakfast

15. Carrillo Beach – Los Angeles Cloud Forest

After a leisurely breakfast, travel to the Los Angeles Cloud Forest. Later, join your Travel Director for a different type of experience as you are taken on a nocturnal visit through the Cloud Forest-when the sun goes down, the forest transforms itself like no other habitat in the world. You'll see countless species of animals, birds, insects and plants. Tonight, share experiences with your fellow travellers at a Farewell Dinner.

Full Breakfast
Farewell Dinner
Villa Blanca Los Angeles Cloud Forest Hotel

16. Cloud Forest – Depart San José

Travel back to San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport for your flight or extend your stay at the Studio Hotel.

Full Breakfast

Guest Reviews and Ratings

  • Guest Service Rating from 2 Reviews

  • Trip:


    Service rating : The tour director was conspicuous for his absence after my fall in which I injured myself.Product : Too much free time with nothing to do. Resorts where we stayed were in the middle of nowhere and we had no other place to eat or other things to do

  • Trip:


    Service rating : On the Panama portion of the tour, the luggage was not picked up at our door. We were required to take it to the lobby ourselves. Our tour director did not have the details of our flight to Costa Rica readily available to us leading to much confusion on our part. Our bus drivers

The Trafalgar Difference

  • Be My Guest
    Dine on a traditional lunch at a family's equestrian estate and enjoy a special lunch at Hacienda Pozo Azul.

  • Cultural Insights
    Try patacones and watch a performance by local children.

  • Hidden Treasures
    Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure.

  • Local Specialists
    Learn from a Smithsonian researcher in Gamboa and discover Panamanian coffee with the Ngobe-Bugle.

  • TrafalgarCares
    Arenal Vida Campesina Organic Farm You'll learn about the food, spices, fruits and medicinal plants they cultivate for educational purposes, in harmony with nature.Embere Indians Visiting the Embere Indians at their village of Embere, you'll learn about their culture, lifestyle and crafts.

Find out what makes Trafalgar different.

What's Included

Sightseeing Highlights

    • City tour of Panama City

    • Cruise a portion of the Panama Canal

    • View the Natá basilica and Volcán Barú and Arenal Volcanoes

    • Visit Panama Viejo, the historic district of Casco Antiguo, Gamboa Rainforest and Los Angeles Cloud Forest, Chagres and Arenal National Park, coffee plantations in the Chiriqui Highlands and in San José, Sarapiquí, Palo Verde National Park, Borinquen and Carrillo Beach.

What's Included


    • 15 full breakfasts.

    • 8 dinners.

    • 5 lunches
      (including 2 Be My Guests).

What's Included

Travel Highlights

    • Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing

    • Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals

    • Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)

    • Rain ponchos and umbrellas provided for your use

    • A Trafalgar bonus - Intra-Air Flights: Panama City to David and Panama City to San Jose including porter service at airport

    • Cherry-picked hotels all tried and trusted

    • Hand-picked Insider Experiences

    • Optional Experiences and free time

    • Porterage and local charges included

    • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras

    • An expert Travel Director and separate Driver

    • All hotel tips, charges and local taxes

    • Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday

    • VIP entry to many sights

    Airport Transfers

  • Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page

Why Trafalgar?

The Trafalgar Experience

enjoy infinity pool


Enjoy the wonder of travel, crisscrossing the globe through the seasons. On effortless adventures in breathtaking new horizons, forge lifelong friendships and memories. Our lovingly crafted itineraries are a fascinating mosaic of cultures, flavours, festivals and local stories. We’re with you all the way, guiding you and ensuring you experience the real thing: the sheer love of travel, entirely hassle-free.

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Love... Travel

"Is simply the best way to position what our guests love to experience and what we love to deliver" - Gavin Tollman CEO


Meet warm-hearted locals and like-minded travellers. Along your journey of discovery, stop to share stories and flavours with local farmers, chefs and winemakers. Pause to admire the handicrafts and rich traditions of amazing artisans. Explore the essence of Europe through captivating accounts shared by expert historians and savvy local guides.


Travelling with your tastebuds, treating them to new flavours, spices and textures along the way. From the very first breakfast to the last nightcap, travelling through Europe indulges your palate, with every meal an opportunity to discover regional fare. Savour each new flavour, try the local tipple and take home fresh culinary inspiration. Let us share our love for food and hospitality with you.


Once you've packed your suitcase, we take care of the rest, removing all your concerns so that you can be secure in the knowledge that an award-winning global company with an impeccable reputation has taken care of every little detail. We arrange everything you'll need along your journey - meals, accommodation and travel logistics, because we are with you all the way. Travel the world with peace of mind, knowing you’re in the hands of Trafalgar.

Secrets of Panama and Costa Rica

What our customers say on social | #simplytrafalgar

16 days, 5 cities

Secrets of Panama and Costa Rica

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Panama City, Panama


San Jose (Costa Rica), Costa Rica

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  • Land only price
  • Flights available

This trip is not currently available to purchase through this website.

Did you know that you can secure this trip today for a deposit?

Please ensure that you have read all our Notes before you buy this trip.

    • Crossovers: All 2016 departures will operate per the 2016 brochure. Hotels and inclusions may vary. Please inquire at the time of booking.
    • Land and Intra-Air: prices include economy air and air-related charges for flight between Panama City - David and Panama City - San Jose and are accurate as of 1 May 2016.
    • Luggage: There is a 25 lb/11 kg baggage weight limit per person on the internal flight to David therefore a small carry-on is recommended. Additional luggage will be transferred by coach the evening of Day 4 and will be waiting for you on arrival in Boquete on Day 5.
    • Hidden Journey itineraries have a maximum of 26 guests.
    • Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.
    • Festive Departures: We've arranged a Christmas celebration for the 15 Dec departure.
    • Please note: For the more remote areas of Costa Rica, we use the best available hotel facilities with comfortable but simple guestrooms and eco-friendly amenities perfectly suited to the natural surroundings. This journey requires walking on uneven surfaces and steps and sometimes through heavy showers (rain ponchos and umbrellas provided). This journey is best enjoyed by the experienced traveller in good health and who can take such conditions in stride.
  • Trip prices are per person, land only, based on double occupancy and reflect applicable discount. Discounts are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice.
  • Trip prices are correct at the time of the products going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however are subject to change - please confirm all details at time of booking.
  • For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Website Terms of Use page.
  • Twin-share option not available for trips to South America, Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey. It's also not available on Small Group trips.  Guided Vacations included in this restriction are Newfoundland and Labrador (DNLA) as well as Panama, the Canal & Beyond (LPAN).  
  • For trips that are part of our Guaranteed Room Share, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless travelling as part of a family group. 

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