CHIRIQUI CLOUD FOREST EXPLORER

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4 days / 3 nights

TOUR DESCRIPTION The western highlands of Panama are some of the most picturesque in Central America. The cool, humid cloud forests of this region are home to a variety of birds, including Quetzals, Bellbirds, Solitaires and Redstarts and the countryside is dotted with flower, fruit and vegetable farms and coffee plantations. Explore the Janson's Finca Ceriana Nature Reserve, meet a local wood crafter and artist, taste Panama´s delicious coffee and honey, enjoy the charming town of Boquete and the cloud forest trails at Volcan Baru National Park.

PRICE
4+ persons: US$1,050 per person plus 7% tax (DBL cccupancy)
2-3 persons: US$1,320 per person plus 7% tax (DBL cccupancy)
Additional price for single occupancy: US$180 + 7% tax

INCLUDED Lodging, meals as specified (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch), all airport/hotel transfers on scheduled arrival and departure dates, transportation within Panama as indicated, local guides' services and expenses, park, museum and related entrance fees

NOT INCLUDED International airfare, meals not specified in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, Panama City hotel, personal equipment, gratuities and extras in hotels, optional tours on Day 4

DISCLAIMER Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to tidal/weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.

ITINERARY


DAY 1        Panama City – Chiriqui Highlands – Finca Ceriana & Sugar Cane Mill

Early morning transfer to Albrook domestic airport to catch a 35-minute flight to David. Continue to the Western side of Baru Volcano where you meet your local guide at Finca Ceriana. Strategically located between the highlands and lowlands of Chiriqui, Finca Ceriana forms part of a privately protected area for the conservation of flora and fauna in the region. One of its unique characteristics is the number of bird species and other animals from the upper and lower mountain areas. The property is part of the biological corridor that hosts the famous volcano lagoons and a large variety of animal and plant species. The total area counts 10 hectares of protected land and nearly 2 kilometers of nature trails, in addition to one of the most beautiful views to Costa Rica's Golfo Dulce, or sweet golf, and Osa pensinsula as well as to Punta Burica in Panama. Once at Finca Ceriana this morning, you will walk through 3 km of beautiful trails while your expert guide explains what you see, particularly, beautiful and rare birds of the 180+ species that live in this forest. Mid-way your tour, you will go up a nice Canopy Tower, where you will enjoy our great Janson Family coffee and savor our famous local butter cookies, while you admire the cloud forest and relax for as long as you wish. When you are ready, your tour continues through the trails up a hill where you will get to see a magnificent view of the low lands of Chiriquí, and weather permitting, The Pacific Ocean and Punta burica in Panama in addition to the Ossa peninsula and Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica. By noon you will start your descent to the lower part of the farm, where we will be expecting you for a gourmet picnic under beautiful Cedar trees. You will enjoy your home made lunch with a nice glass of wine and, again, relax and enjoy the view for as long as you desire. When you are ready, we walk some meters towards the sugar cane mill, where your guide will explain the sugar cane process and you will get to taste fresh sugar cane juice, and other sugar cane products. 

Drop off at your hotel late afternoon.

Night at CASA GRANDE BAMBITO, Garden Suite (L) 


DAY 2        Agricultural Farms -  Woodcrafter Arte Cruz - Honey & Bees & Butterflies Boquete

Midmorning scenic drive through the small highlands towns of Cerro Punta and Guadalupe to learn more about the agriculture and local farming of this area which is the main provider of vegetables in Panama. Continue to Volcan to visit a local woodcrafter at his workshop Arte Cruz and observe the artists handmade products and works. Then you continue to the Eastern side of Baru Volcano to the quaint town of Boquete with its countryside dotted with flower, fruit and produce farms, coffee plantations and lush tropical cloud forests. 

After lunch, you will have a very special experience that will give you a new and different perspective on nature, butterflies and the importance of bees in the lives of men. You will get receive an introduction to the honey and coffee production and then continue to the Ralph Dessau Butterfly House, which is a 200-square meter exhibit showcasing around 35 butterfly species from Chiriqui. 

Afterwards you will be guided on a nature walk through the beautiful garden and organic farm with a large variety of plants, fruits and vegetables. Boquete Bees’ honey is unique considering its production of 40 different flavor profiles of natural honeys. This is possible because of the huge biodiversity around Volcan Baru. This afternoon experience ends with a honey tasting of the farm’s home-made production.

Night at LA CASA DE LA ABUELA, Standard Room (BL)


DAY 3        Cloud Forest Waterfall Nature Walk  - Coffee Tour at Finca La Milagrosa in Boquete 

La Amistad is a bi-national park that stretches from Costa Rica into Panama, a small portion of which extends into the Chiriqui province encompassing mostly cloud forests. Here, the land rises in excess of 1,500m and warm air ascends the mountains where it meets with cooler air and condenses into a persistent cloud cover. Cloud forests exhibit a unique ecosystem with an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna. Towering trees reach towards the sun to form a canopy that creates a cool, shadowed, misty underworld on the forest floor.  It is noisy with the sounds of numerous insects, birds, and frogs but it is difficult to see them because of the ferns, tree ferns and epiphytes that crowd the lower and middle strata of the forest. During the 4-5-kilometer nature walk you will reach up to 1,700m (approx. 200m elevation gain) where you can take a refreshing swim in the waterfall.  

After lunch, visit Sr. Tito´s Finca La Milagrosa in the Jaramillo region, one of the most respected and 100% organic coffee producers in the country. This small farm is not meant for large productions, and Mr. Tito's specialty coffee is only destined for exportation to Europe and the United States. When Mr. Tito took over this farm from his father 30 years ago, he started without any machines or even coffee plants, and produced his first roasting machines with used pieces of his old Mitsubishi car, and even some computer pieces! His rather small 5-hectare coffee farm La Milagrosa (which means the miracle, in English), situated at 1500 meters above sea level, has been given its name because many people in this region did not believe that Sr. Tito could transform this land into a lucrative coffee plantation when he started 30 years ago, and today he produces one of the best coffees of Panama and has won many prizes. The world-famous Geisha coffee is one of the eight different types of coffee that Tito produces, which is one of the most expensive delicacy coffees in the world (sold for over $100 per pound in Japan for example). You will get to roast some beans on your own, and will taste a few cups of excellent coffee during your visit! Moreover, Sr Tito is a great economic help to the indigenous community, as he employs 22 Ngöbe Buglé Indians on his farm to help him collect and process the coffee beans. As you may know, the Ngobe Buglé Indians are responsible for handpicking the coffee grown in the coffee farms of Chiriqui. If you visit Boquete between December and April you will be able to see them in their colorful dresses harvesting coffee in Ruiz's plantations and if you visit Boquete between October and March you will be able to see the coffee being processed.

Night at LA CASA DE LA ABUELA, Standard Room (BL)


DAY 4        Boquete – Panama City 

You have most of the day to yourselves to visit Boquete or join optional tours (see below). Late afternoon you will be taken to David Airport for your flight back to Panama City. Drop off at your hotel. (B)


B (Breakfast), L (Lunch) – meals included

DETAILS


TRIP CLASSIFICATION

  • Moderate hiking 2-6 hours per day with rolling, slippery hills.
  • Lodge accommodations are comfortable.

DEPARTURE DATES

Daily available (subject to hotel and flight availability)

OPTIONAL TOURS ON DAY 4 (including round trip transfer to/from your hotel)

• Cloud Forest Canopy Zipline Tour, 4 hours, US$120 per person plus 7% tax

• Hanging Bridges Tour, 4 hours, US$65 per person plus 7% tax 

• Hot Springs, 3 hours, US$95 per person plus 7% tax 

• Horseback Riding, 3 hours, US$95 per person plus 7% tax 

• Chiriqui River Rafting (Mon-Fri, not on holidays), 5-6 hours, US$150 per person plus 7% tax

TRIP NOTES

Weight restrictions apply to luggage in commercial and chartered flights within Panama:

  • For domestic flights within Panama each passenger is allowed 1 bag of up to 30.8 lbs (14kg)
  • Carry-on luggage is limited to 8.8 lbs passenger (4 kg).
  • Passengers are responsible for excess baggage fees and are subject to US$1.00 per extra pound and only allowed depending on flight occupancy.
  • Name or date changes on flight tickets are subject to a penalty of US$25 plus 7% tax (per change, per route)
  • Ticket cancellations with more than 30 days before your trip are subject to a service fee of US$25 per ticket (taxes included). Within 30 days from your arrival our regular cancellation policies apply.
  • Penalty for no show is 100% of all applicable fares, taxes and surcharges.
  • Surcharge for transportation of a pet or a surf board is US$30 per item per route.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Binoculars (preferably 7x35 or bigger, also available for rent at Ancon Expeditions of Panama)
  • Camera with extra batteries & film
  • Flashlight with extra bulb & batteries
  • Insect repellant, Sunscreen
  • Hat, Day pack / dry sack
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
  • Sandals, sneakers, good walking shoes / hiking boots for the Los Quetzales Trail
  • Rain gear, Windbreaker
  • Warmer clothes for night time (cooler temperatures); especially if Hike to Volcán Baru is chosen on last day (gloves, hat)
  • Money in small denominations
  • Toiletries & personal medications

TIPPING

Ancon Expeditions is Panama’s top eco-tourism operator. Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the country's finest. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:

  • Naturalist guide/Tour leader: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
  • Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
  • Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
  • Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase
  • International airport bellmen (red caps): US$1.00 per piece of suitcase

LODGING


CASA GRANDE BAMBITO







This small mountain boutique hotel is located approximately 90 minutes driving from David Airport, and about 15 minutes after the small town of Volcán enroute to Cerro Punta, at an elevation of 1,900 meters. The fresh mountain air and temperatures are a nice change from the hot and humid Panama City and low lands. Nestled in the Chiriqui highland´s cloud forest along the small river and near mountain road, Casa Grande Bambito a great place to relax, explore the outdoors and enjoy the bird watching around the area. The nicely appointed hotel suites offer a comfortable overnight stay with local ambience and wood works. The property also features a small outdoor swimming pool, a Spa with hot springs and different relaxation and beauty treatments, the “Blue Garden” restaurant, and a lush green outdoor garden area.


Address: Volcán, vía Cerro Punta, Chiriqui, Panama
Website: www.casagrandebambito.com
Phone: +(507) 771-5126
Check in: 2:00 p.m.
Check out: 1:00 p.m.


LA CASA DE LA ABUELA


La Casa de la Abuela is a small charming hotel about 10-15 minutes walking from Boquete center along the hillside road and nestled in a nice green garden at over 1,500 feet above sea-level. Through the hotel windows you can admire splendid views of the hills and the mountains of Boquete, spot a rainbow (or two!), the Caldera river and its multiple streams are  the most famous attractions, a romantic stream of crystal and pristine fresh water that runs along the valley. The hotel can accommodate a maximum of 40 guests at a time.

Address:Via Boquete, El Huacal Boquete, Chiriquí, Panama
Website: http://www.lacasadeabuela.com/
Phone: +(507) 730-9484
Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 12:00 p.m.

REVIEWS


"Traveling into Chiriqui province was definitely a great scenic experience treking and exploring a lovely region and seeing another side of Panama outside the city. Being able to travel this region with both friendly drivers and guides who were caring, fun and knowledgeable ensuring my time was memorable was the best."

David Lebowitz, USA

“We love our Deibys and had a great time with him and the other members of our group.”

Hannah Boulton and Arthur Wills, USA

“We enjoyed the local restaurant meals we had with the guides and drivers, too. The food was very good. The cars, drivers and guides were great. We were surprised and delighted that we weren't on a tour bus! The tour guides were great and the drivers were, too.
The Ruiz coffee tour was simply the best. We had a great time on the
Chiriqui Cloud Forest Explorer and we look forward to taking some more of
Ancon Expeditions of Panama's tours that we missed!”

Nancy Wagner, USA


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