Ultimate Colombia and Panama Vacation | Yampu Tours

Custom Travel Experiences Since 1998

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Ultimate Colombia and Panama Vacation

PRIVATE TOUR - 15 DAY SAMPLE ITINERARY

FROM £$ 6779

Private Tour Highlights

  • Looking out for the Slaty-tailed Trogon, Keel-billed Toucan, Thick-billed Mot-Mot, and many more birds on a hike through Soberania National Park.
  • Admiring the Panama Canal on a boat tour, navigating the Bay of Panama and Gatun Lake.
  • Relishing the natural jewels of El Valle de Anton, home to the magnificent Chorro Macho waterfall and the ancient Petroglyphs of La India Pintada.
  • Snorkeling and swimming in the pristine waters of the coral-encrusted San Blas Islands, hopping from one island to the next by boat.
  • Lapping up the extraordinary atmosphere of Cartagena, the picturesque walled city awash with cobbled streets and pretty plazas.
  • Delving into the jungle at Tayrona National Park to glimpse the pre-Columbian civilization of the Tayrona at the archaeological site of Pueblito, before finishing up at heavenly beaches.
  • Exploring Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, on a private city tour encompassing the beautiful colonial architecture in La Candelaria, the Emerald Museum and Gold Museum; to name a few.
  • Stepping foot in the beguiling Salt Cathedral just outside of Bogotá in Zipaquira, carved 120 meters underground from an old salt mine.
Interested in this tour?   Let us build you a customized quote based on your budget.

Tour Overview

Let Yampu guide you through the ultimate Colombia and Panama vacation! Enjoy Panama City, the rainforest and San Blas Islands, and then continue to Colombia to visit Bogotá and Cartagena, with plenty of Spanish, Indian and African inheritance. We will also visit Tayrona National Park with its pristine beaches on the Caribbean Sea. Located on Colombia’s northern Atlantic coast near Santa Marta in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Tayrona National Park is well-known for its high concentration of biodiversity and expansive grounds.

Starting in the Soberania National Park and Gamboa Rainforest Resort, we will take an aerial tram that traverses a mile-long tract of Humid Forest which features the sound of birds and howler monkeys. Yampu travelers then take a partial transit on the Panama Canal. We then return to Panama City to visit Anton Valley, one of the most colorful towns in Panama with their Sunday market. We then fly to the San Blas Islands, where we will spend a night and visit Kuna Indians in their natural habitat. We have a couple of days in Panama City and one in the historic town of Portobelo. All transfers and most services (except at Gamboa and the canal) are provided on a private basis.

In Colombia, we will spend 3 days in Bogota visiting the Gold Museum, Monserrate, Plaza Bolivar, La Candelaria and Zipaquira’s Underground Salt Cathedral. We will spend 3 days in Cartagena, tour the walled city of Old Cartagena, enjoy the beautiful beaches and crystal, clear water of the Rosario Islands and visit the Totumo Volcano.

A 5 hour transfer from Cartagena will lead us to Tayrona National Park, located on Colombia’s northern Atlantic coast near Santa Marta. It is an idyllic expanse of land and sea. The main entrance to the park is at El Zaino which takes you to beautiful bays, unspoiled beaches, coral reefs, lush vegetation, mangroves and mountains. Tayrona National Park is well-known for the wide variety of wildlife that can be seen throughout this stunning part of the country.

Inclusions
Prices include international airfare from Panama City to Cartagena, domestic air transportation from Santa Marta to Bogota, hotel accommodation with daily continental breakfast, guided tours in English, meals where specified, entrance fees, transportation between hotels, transfers between airport and hotel, naturalist guides and taxes. Local airport taxes that are payable in the country of destination are not included. Taxes and security fees that can be paid at time of ticketing are already included in the quote (if airfare has been included in the quote).

*There may be a surcharge for December- January and Easter.

Please consult with a Yampu Tour Consultant for upcoming Panama Canal transit dates.
Best Time to Travel
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

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Pricing Details
  3-Star 4-Star 5-Star Luxury
Double £$6007 £$6779 £$7016 £$8114
Single £$10719 £$12299 £$12782 £$14985

Prices shown above are per person. Hotel categories do not adhere strictly to international ratings; Yampu has evaluated the hotels according to destination and availability. Prices include local airfare (where applicable), hotel accommodation including daily breakfast; all transfers with baggage handling, all guided tours in English and all entrance fees.

Please note that prices are subject to change based on availability and seasonality, especially during the holiday season from December 20th through January 5th each year. Please contact a Yampu Travel Specialist for more information on best times to travel.

Trip Type:

All our trips are operated on a private basis unless specified otherwise. This is only a sample itinerary; your Yampu Tour Consultant will personalize this trip for you according to your available dates, interests and type of hotels. This is your trip and we will work on making it perfect!

Tour Itinerary

Day
1

Thursday; Panama City

Upon arrival in Panama City, private transfer to the hotel.

Upon arrival in Panama City, private transfer to the hotel.

Day
2

Friday; Mini-Hiking and Aerial Tram Ride: Soberania National Park and Gamboa Resort

Depart from Panama City early in the morning for Soberania National Park and world-famous Pipeline Road, the right place for birdwatchers and ecologists. It was site of the 1985 world record Panama Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count (385 species of birds were identified in 24 hours). During World War II, a pipeline was built to transport fuel from one ocean to the other. Fortunately, it was never used. Today, the road built to maintain the pipeline provides excellent access to primary forest within Soberania National Park with the comfort and safety of vehicle support. After this short hike, head to Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Travelers will get on an aerial tram, which takes one from the shadowy rainforest floor through the understory and into the sun-drenched canopy. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of a thousand hues of green interspersed with the fluorescent exclamation points of flowering trees. The aerial tram is located in 100 hectares of rainforest licensed to Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Here, find exuberant flora and fauna typical of Panama’s neo-tropical forests. The resort has built five exhibits that showcase local flora and fauna, as well as a replica of an Embera Indian village. Afterwards, be transferred back to the hotel. The tour includes transportation and entrance fee to Soberania National Park. Overnight at Gamboa Resort. ...read less

Birdwatching-Soberania-Panama
Day
3

Saturday; Partial Canal Transit

Pick up from Gamboa for a Partial Canal Transit (operates only on Saturdays)
The trip departs from the Flamenco Marina, traveling from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City’s splendorous skyline then pass under the Bridge of the Americas. At Miraflores Locks, the vessel will ascend 54 feet in two distinct steps. Enter Miraflores Lake, which is a small artificial body of fresh water that separates Pedro Miguel from Miraflores Locks. Next, the Pacific Queen will enter Pedro Miguel Locks, which is one of the two sets of locks on the Pacific side, and here the vessel will be raised the last 27 feet to get into Gatun Lake. Once at Gatun Lake, sail through at the north end of the Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the Canal. The Gaillard Cut is also known as Culebra Cut because its curves resemble a snake. This is one of the main points of interest for visitors because it was carved through the Continental Divide. In addition, the vessel will travel the Cut’s 13.7 kilometers on the way to the Panama Canal Dredging Division in Gamboa. There, passengers disembark and transfer back to Flamenco Marina.
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Panama-Canal
Day
4

Sunday; Tour to Anton Valley

Tour to Anton Valley in the province of Cocle, 600 meters above sea level and believed to be the crater of an ancient volcano. Visit the residential area, the Macho Waterfall, the thermal poles and the Nispero Farm where one can watch the famous golden frogs. Afterward enjoy a typical lunch (included) at a local restaurant. El Valle de Anton is one of the most colorful areas of Panama.


The tour will take travelers to the Indian market where local artisans and Indians bring their handicrafts, plants and vegetable products to sell. There, one can find fine and wonderful hand-made woodcarvings, soapstone sculptures, seashells, souvenirs, leather goodies and much more.


Later, visit the Indian petroglyphs, where ancient inhabitants left their messages—still a mystery for our modern culture. Also, admire the India Dormida Mountan, so called because of its resemblance to a sleeping Indian woman. Finally, visit El Nispero, a zoo that cares for some of the endemic species after they were found injured in the forest. This zoo also has a unique collection of orchids. Here, admire the golden frogs and the squared trees, both endangered species. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Return to Panama late in the afternoon.


Optional: At El Valle one can take the Canopy Tour, which consists on a steel cable system that runs through the canopy of the forest, above Chorro del Macho (waterfall). There, using special harnesses, go through the forest, safely jumping from tree to tree. This activity costs an additional $40. This is an outdoor activity in the tropics, so light clothes, swimming suit, insect repellent, hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes are recommended.
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Day
5

Monday; Islands of San Blas

Early morning transfer to the airport to take a short flight to the tropical islands of San Blas, also known as Kuna Yala. San Blas is one of the most fascinating places in Panama. It is an archipelago of 356 islands in the Caribbean Sea, of which 51 are inhabited by an indigenous Kuna tribe. This territory includes a wide trip of virgin tropical forest, as well as beautiful coral reefs teeming with marine life. The most impressive part of the islands are the Kuna people, who only recently opened their home to tourism and live true to their colorful traditions. Spend a night on the islands in a Kuna operated lodge, with daily activities such as snorkeling, fishing, visiting the local communities, diving, canoe trips, hikes in the forest, and beach time! All activities and meals are included. ...read less

snorkeling-Mexico
Day
6

Tuesday; Panama City

Return to Panama City. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel.


Panamanian Night Tour
Enjoy an oasis of flavor and folklore characteristic of the countryside and taste delicious Panamanian-style dishes in comfortable and elegant surroundings at Las Tinajas Restaurant in the center of Panama City. Includes transfer to and from the hotel, typical Panamanian dinner, cover charge, service charge and dance show. Available only on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Return to Panama City. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel.


Panamanian Night Tour
Enjoy an oasis of flavor and folklore characteristic of the countryside and taste delicious Panamanian-style dishes in comfortable and elegant surroundings at Las Tinajas Restaurant in the center of Panama City. Includes transfer to and from the hotel, typical Panamanian dinner, cover charge, service charge and dance show. Available only on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Panama-city-night
Day
7

Wednesday; Trans Isthmian Route

This morning, be picked up at the hotel lobby. Be transferred across the Isthmus of Panama to the Caribbean province of Colon. Once in Colon, drive over the Panama Canal at Gatun Locks and reach the Castle of San Lorenzo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built at the mouth of the Chagres River, this Spanish bastion served to fortify and protect the river entrance to Las Cruces Trail that led to Panama City on the Pacific Ocean and was later also used as the port of entry for gold diggers on their way to California during the second half of the 19th century. Visitors will be traveling through lush rainforest within San Lorenzo National Park, where one might have the opportunity to see monkeys, Two and Three-toed sloths, Coatimundi, toucans and other wildlife. Continue for lunch at the Shelter Bay Marina before continuing to the current Panama Canal Expansion project on the Atlantic which can be admired from the observation deck of the Gatun Observation center. Have the opportunity of viewing the assembly of one the new sets of locks being built as part of the project. The route will allow larger ships to transit through the canal. The most important aspect of the project, however, is 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 percent within the next 15 years. An astonishing 4.2 billion cubic meters of structural concrete is currently being poured in the excavations where the new locks will be operating soon. Experience history in the making as the Panama Canal projections call for another 100 years of successful operation using the new technology that will be implemented. The return to Panama City will be aboard the Panama Canal Railroad train. The railway follows a similar route as the original train built to transport gold prospectors, the 49ers, in the mid to late 1800s coming from the east coast of the United States across the Isthmus of Panama to continue their journey by steamboat to California. The route was diverted when Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal. The train will take along the magnificent waterway, flanked by the exuberant rainforests of Soberania National Park. After a one-hour train ride, arrive at Corozal Station in Panama City and transfer to the hotel in the city. ...read less

Fort-San-Lorenzo-Panama
Day
8

Thursday; Cartagena

Transfer read more...

Transfer to the airport to take the flight to Cartagena. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Cartagena is the fifth largest city in Colombia and an important port city on the Caribbean coast. After numerous pirate attacks during the colonial era, a wall was built to surround the historic city center and protect its inhabitants. Cartagena is now a popular tourist destination that retains its colonial architecture and charm. This afternoon, enjoy a guided walk along the walled old town, watching the streets, churches, colonial houses with their balconies, the Museum that was the residence of the five times president of the Republic, Rafael Nunez; the Santa Catalina bastion, the craftsmanship place at Las Bovedas (The Dungeons) to find handmade souvenirs. ...read less

Cartagena-Colombia
Day
9

Friday; Cartagena at Leisure

Day at leisure in Cartagena. Yampu recommends a full day tour to Rosario Island (South of the Bay of Cartagena). These Islands are a National Natural Park with a group of coral islands surrounded by a crystal clear sea, a habitat with a great variety of marine fauna.

Day at leisure in Cartagena. Yampu recommends a full day tour to Rosario Island (South of the Bay of Cartagena). These Islands are a National Natural Park with a group of coral islands surrounded by a crystal clear sea, a habitat with a great variety of marine fauna.

Colombia_Cartagena_rooftops
Day
10

Saturday; Tayrona National Park

After breakfast, private transfer to Tayrona National Park in Santa Marta and check-in to the Ecohabs (5 hours). Afternoon at leisure to enjoy Tayrona National Park. Tayrona National Park is located on Colombia's northern Atlantic coast near Santa Marta. It is an idyllic expanse of land and sea that is well-known for the wide variety of wildlife that can be seen throughout this stunning part of the country.

After breakfast, private transfer to Tayrona National Park in Santa Marta and check-in to the Ecohabs (5 hours). Afternoon at leisure to enjoy Tayrona National Park. Tayrona National Park is located on Colombia's northern Atlantic coast near Santa Marta. It is an idyllic expanse of land and sea that is well-known for the wide variety of wildlife that can be seen throughout this stunning part of the country.

Tayrona-National-Park-Colombia
Day
11

Sunday; Day at Leisure

Day at leisure to relax on the beach or for optional excursions in the area such as a walk to Pueblito, snorkeling and horseback riding. An excellent representation of the Tayrona's ingenuity is in Pueblito which contains many bridges, canals, terraces and ceramics that were created by the Tayrona.

Day at leisure to relax on the beach or for optional excursions in the area such as a walk to Pueblito, snorkeling and horseback riding. An excellent representation of the Tayrona's ingenuity is in Pueblito which contains many bridges, canals, terraces and ceramics that were created by the Tayrona.

Colombia_tayrona_national_park_from_shore
Day
12

Monday; Bogota

Morning transfer to Santa Marta airport to take the flight back to Bogota. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Bogota has a combination of influences: Spanish, Indian and African, which create a diverse and rich culture heritage. With an intense and vibrant intellectual and social life, this modern city provides travelers with a unique look in the heart of Colombian culture.

Morning transfer to Santa Marta airport to take the flight back to Bogota. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Bogota has a combination of influences: Spanish, Indian and African, which create a diverse and rich culture heritage. With an intense and vibrant intellectual and social life, this modern city provides travelers with a unique look in the heart of Colombian culture.

Day
13

Tuesday; Bogota Museums

Visit to the famous Gold Museum, the Museo del Oro which houses 30,000 gold objects and 20,000 in stone, ceramic, textiles and precious stones of the Quimbaya, Calima, Tairona, Sinu, Muisca, Tolima, Tumaco and Magdalena cultures. The Museo del Oro has the most important collection of its kind worldwide. The tour continues to the historic center known as La Candelaria where the center square is Plaza Bolivar. The square named for the statue in the center of Simon Bolivar. La Candelaria, the oldest part of the city, boasts grand houses of profound Spanish influence with iron windows, thick wooden doors, balconies and internal patios that hide beautiful gardens. Continue on to Quinta de Bolivar, the country house of Simon Bolivar. Set at the foot of Cerro de Monserrate, with magnificent surrounding gardens, the museum is filled with documents, letters, maps, uniforms and personal possessions that help to piece together events in his life. Travel by cable car up to 10,500 feet, top of the Mountain that looks over Bogota. Note: Museums closed on Monday. ...read less

Candelaria-Bogota-Colombia
Day
14

Wednesday; Zipaquira

Today, take the Pan American highway north towards Zipaquira, traveling across the central region of the savanna, passing some typical villages to reach Zipaquira where the Salt Cathedral is located. The Salt Cathedral is an impressive work of engineering. The visit begins in a tunnel that exhibits the fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross and leads to the dome where one can observe the great cross sculpted in low relief. Finally, arrive at the three naves of the cathedral joined by openings that represent the birth and death of Christ. The central nave houses the main altar, a 16 meter cross, and the Creation of Man, a marble statue by the sculptor Carlos Enrique Rodríguez. ...read less

Salt-Cathedral-Zipaquira-Colombia
Day
15

Flight Home

After the breakfast, transfer to the airport to take the flight home.

After the breakfast, transfer to the airport to take the flight home.

Panama City, Panama

Cartagena - Bolivar, Colombia

Tayrona National Park, Magdalena, Colombia

Bogotá - Bogota, Colombia

Places You'll See

  • panama-city-center

    Panama City

    The largest and most modern city in central America, as well as the capital of Panama, is Panama City. Within the city is the Panama Canal which links the Pacific and Atlantic oceans through a fifty-mile channel. Enjoy views of the canal via airplane or stay close to the ground and delight in a terrific view of Panama from Amador Causeway, connecting three islands to the mainland.

  • Cartagena-Colombia

    Cartagena

    The walled city of Cartagena, with its cobblestone streets and gorgeous colonial architecture, is full of exciting and engaging sites and activities. Visit the Palacio de la Inquisicion, where the Spanish Inquisition condemned men accused of crimes against religion. Or spend the day at the Playa Blanca beach, enjoying the surf and the sand.

  • san-blas-islands-panama

    San Blas Islands

    Located just off of the Caribbean Coast are the tropical San Blas Islands. Take some time to enjoy the splendid ocean views while sunbathing on these tranquil beaches or observe the colorful corral and its abundant sea life while snorkeling through the warm waters. Be sure to take advantage of the many fun beach front and aquatic opportunities!

  • Tayrona-National-Park-Colombia

    Tayrona National Park

    Tayrona National Park is a protected area in northern Colombia, encompassing over 50 square miles of land and some of the loveliest coastlines of Columbia. With its two ecosystems between the sea and the mountains one may see some of the local wildlife including the elusive Titi Monkeys.

  • Plaza-de-Bolivar-Bogota-Colombia

    Bogota

    Located in the center of Colombia, the city of Bogota appeals to all types. The La Candelaria area draws in the lovers of art and culture with its many museums including the Botero Museum and the Gold Museum. Other notable attractions include botanical garden Jose Celestino Mutis, the National Observatory, and over 100 shopping malls.

Hotel Options

3 Star Properties

Panama City : TRYP by Wyndham Panama Centro

Panama City : Hotel Deville (Jr. Suite)

Panama City : Toscana Hotel

Gatun Lake : Canopy Bed & Breakfast

Cartagena : Alfiz

Cartagena : Hotel Bantu

Isla del Rosario : Isla del Pirata

4 Star Properties

Panama City : Grace Panama

Gatun Lake : Radisson Summit Hotel & Golf Panama

Panama City : The Bristol

Cartagena : Hotel Casa Pestagua

Bogota : Sonesta

Tayrona National Park : Cabanas Arecife

5 Star Properties

Panama City : Las Clementinas

Panama City : Waldorf Astoria (Junior Suites)

Cusco : Casa Cartagena

Cartagena : Ananda Hotel Boutique

Cartagena : Casa del Arzobispado

Bogota : Sofitel Bogota Victoria Regia – Superior Room

Bogota : The Orchids Real – Suite

Tayrona National Park : Ecohabs Tayrona

Luxury Properties

Panama City : American Trade Hotel (Super Cuarto Room)

Cartagena : Charleston Santa Teresa

Cartagena : Hotel Casa San Agustin

Bogota : Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota

Bogota : Sofitel Bogota Victoria Regia – Suite

Bogota : JW Marriott, Bogota

Testimonials

Andy

Traveled February, 2012

I have had another fantastic trip

I have had another fantastic trip and am glad I chose to spend the whole 2 weeks in Panama rather than combine with another country as there is so much to see and do there. It is difficult to pick out the high points: the canal crossing was an ambition fulfilled; I had been a little apprehensive about San Blas but for no reason the cabins over the sea were amazing, Boquete was cool and the bird life wonderful. Tranquilo Bay in Bocas was exactly the right choice for me. The whole team was incredibly welcoming and knowledgeable; they made my stay a real treat. I have so many photos I shall spend the next weeks sorting them! I didn’t get to see much of the Carnival but was treated to two firework displays from the view from my hotel window each night I am a big fireworks fan. I think this is the 6th trip I have taken with Yampu/Kontiki and so far they have all been wonderful. Thanks for organizing this one for me.

Traveled To

Cheryl

Traveled January 2016

Panama- It was seriously a great trip and I saw everything I wanted.

Our trip to Panama was seriously a great trip and I saw everything I wanted. We saw a bunch of kinkajous and cacomistles that came to our cabin at los quetzales. That place is magical, the bird life alone (we saw 6 quetzels, one even right outside our cabin) makes it worth a trip. Families would love these cabins and hands down the place had the best food in Panama.

Everything was made fresh and they had a huge organic garden with all kinds of vegetables, great for someone like me that does not eat meat.

Traveled To

Gil and Ray

Traveled November, 2011

We will certainly recommend Yampu to anyone and everyone contemplating a south-american tour

Not sure how much of the trip we can cover with you (3,000 pictures) but I can tell you that you and your group did an absolutely fantastic job of organizing it for us and custom-made to suit us. We kept expecting something to go wrong somewhere but it never did! We were always picked up and dropped off as per the agenda, regardless of which country, city, airport or bus station it was supposed to be at. The hotels we stayed at were also well chosen and the included meals were so much more than expected. We will certainly recommend Yampu to anyone and everyone contemplating a south-american tour. We just cannot say enough about the company or the services provided! We also take this opportunity to thank you and all the Yampu staff involved in our travel arrangements and also to wish all at Yampu, a very Merry Christmas and the best of everything in the New Year!

Let Us Customize This Trip For You

Our World Experts offer full support and dedication to customizing this tour to fit your wishlist - We can mix and match experiences, hotels and highlights to fit your budget and taste.

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