PANAMA´S FOLKLORE AND ITS PACIFIC OCEAN

pollera-panama-folklore-chitre-azuero-festival


















5 days / 4 nights

TOUR DESCRIPTION Enjoy a cultural journey to the Azuero Península, located the province of Los Santos and also known as the heart of where Panamanian folklore and the national Pollera dress have its origin. Learn about the cultural and natural wonders of the area before you continue further South to the Pacific shore of the Azuero Península. Besides numerous beaches, some of them world-known for top-class surfing, the area is ideal for fishing, snorkeling, whale watching, sea turtles, and horseback riding.

PRICE 
4+ persons: US$1,125 per person plus 7% tax (DBL occupancy)
2-3 persons:
US$1,490 per person plus 7% tax (DBL occupancy)
Additional price for single occupancy: US$310 + 7% tax
Children between 6-12 years (sharing a room with the parents): US$500 plus 7% tax

INCLUDED 4-night hotel accommodation, meals as specified in the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch), land and domestic air transportation, local bilingual guide services and expenses, park and related entrance fees

NOT INCLUDED International airfare, Panama City hotel, meals not specified in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, personal equipment, gratuities and extras in hotels, optional tours (see under DETAILS)

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. The itinerary is scheduled to start on a Saturday and end on a Wednesday due to the domestic flight from Pedasi to Panama City on the return day.

ITINERARY


Day 1 – SATURDAY: Badajoz´Route from Panama to Chitre, Herrera

8:30 a.m. – this morning you will be picked up by an English speaking guide in your hotel lobby. Today you will be going on a journey following the footsteps of the Spanish Conqueror Gonzalo de Badajoz. Badajoz was sent out by the Spanish Crown in 1515 to conquer Central Panama. On his way from Panama City towards Natá and the Azuero Peninsula, Badajoz faced heavy resistance by the Indian Chief Paris who defeated the Spanish, reclaiming the largest treasure obtained in America until that moment. You will discover the indigenous heritage and the Spanish influence by visiting the archaeological site of El Caño – named Panama’s El Dorado by the National Geographic Magazine - as well as two of the oldest churches on the American Continent: Natá and Parita. Lunch at a local restaurant en-route included.

Mid afternoon you will arrive to the Azuero Peninsula. The Azuero Peninsula is a large peninsula in southern Panama, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. The Peninsula – except for the quickly developing cities of Chitré and Las Tablas – feels isolated from modern Panama, frozen in an idyllic past, with lots of charm and natural beauty left. Its lands encompass small hills with semi-arid savanna vegetation, fertile river courses and coastal marshlands offering many opportunities for cultural, eco and adventure tourism.
Azuero’s numerous colonial villages are 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, originated and 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 produced in Azuero.

Your hotel, Cubitá Boutique Resort & Spa, is an exciting new project determined to rescue and preserve the roots, heritage and traditions of the Azuero Peninsula. The name Cubitá is borrowed from the indigenous people who once inhabited the banks of the La Villa River on the Azuero Peninsula. This unique boutique hotel offers you a first class experience with a lot of attention to details in a colonial environment. The hotel’s facilities include a spiral shaped swimming pool, a Panamanian Gourmet Restaurant, two bars, a museum, gift shop with local handcrafts, a state-of-the-art gym and Cubitá Spa, using local organic ingredients to ensure the guests’ wellbeing.
After checking in and freshening up, enjoy a short guided tour through the hotel’s own museum with permanent exhibitions of pre-Columbian and Colonial pieces from the Azuero Peninsula to get a better understanding of the area and its treasures.

Overnight at CUBITÁ BOUTIQUE HOTEL & RESORT
(L)


Day 2 – SUNDAY: The Herrera Highlands

An English speaking will pick you up at the hotel and take you to explore the Herrera Highlands, another area profusely inhabited by indigenous groups in the pre-Columbian era. This area also contains the most important wildlife refuge in the province. You will visit a local family to know the variety of orchids that are found in the fresh climate of Las Minas, home to Panama’s national flower, the Holy Ghost Orchid. We will then continue with a hike in the El Montuoso Forest Reserve, known as “The Lung of Azuero”, to discover mysterious petroglyphs as well as the origin of the La Villa River where we will take a refreshing swim in the midst of the woods. A traditional lunch is served in the small community of Chepo de Las Minas.

For the active and adventurous, an optional activity of horseback ride and wet rappel in the area of Guazán may be added to the tour: Your guide will provide you with all the necessary instructions for this adrenaline filled experience; then you will saddle your horses and on a half-hour’s horseback ride you will reach the Guazán Falls. At 800 meters above sea level, on the ride you will enjoy amazing views of the surrounding hills and even the ocean, overlooking the Montijo Gulf. Prepared for the adventure, you will then start your descent by rappel down the steep walls of the Guazán Falls. You will descend approximately 25 meters to reach the bottom of the waterfall where you can take a refreshing swim in the creek.

Overnight at CUBITÁ BOUTIQUE HOTEL & RESORT
(B,L)


Day 3- MONDAY: Made in Herrera & Azuero’s Folklore Tour

In the morning you will check-out from your hotel. You will be picked up by an English speaking guide and taken on a journey to discover the manufacturing process of the traditional products of the Herrera Province: sugarcane, salt, clay and bread. Experience the many uses of sugarcane – from refreshing sugarcane juice called “Guarapo”, traditional cooking of sugarcane honey to the production of artisanal sugarcane liquor; 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. After a traditional lunch (included), learn why Azuero is considered by many “the cultural heart of Panama”. You will see in detail the handcrafting of the pollera, one of the most beautiful costumes in the world, by visiting a group of ladies that have dedicated their lives to the typical dress of the Panamanian women. You will also visit small studios of local artisans who produce the colorful devil’s masks, the drums used in local music and the gold ornaments that are part of the traditional Panamanian culture.

After the tour you will be taken to Playa Venao for the next two nights. Playa Venado - that is the official name, but all locals & foreigner just simply call it Playa Venao, is shaped by a crescent moon bay. The center of the beach offers year around surfing making it a very popular destination for local and international surfers. The eastern end of the four kilometer long of beach is nestled behind El Morro, a beautiful piece of jungle covered rock that is an island at high tide and is attached to the mainland by a long stretch of sand during low tide. El Morro breaks the Pacific swell to offer tranquil waters and quiet place for strolling or horseback riding. Playa Venao's beaches are surrounded by many streams, rolling hills and remnants of a dry tropical forest that extended across the entire peninsula in previous times. The nearby forest is home to many species of animals like howler and spider monkeys, the local deer, iguanas, and gato solos to name a few. With no nearby ATMs or cell phone coverage and only a few cabanas and people - most of them surfers – Playa Venao is a great spot to completely let loose, relax and just enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding rolling hills, the swells of the pacific ocean, long stretches of beaches and laidback beachside atmosphere. There is a small convenience store with basic supplies, beach bar & restaurant as well as a few surf hostels and surf shop within walking distance from your hotel resort.

Overnight at PLAYA VENAO HOTEL RESORT
(B,L)


Day 4- TUESDAY: Leisure day at Venao or optional activities

Enjoy a free day at Playa Venao or book one of the following optional activities:

1.    Agricultural Tour
Visit a local farm and learn about the agricultural aspect and importance of the Azuero region.
This tour includes transportation from / to your hotel, English speaking guide and lunch

2.    Horseback Riding in Oria Arriba
Enjoy the natural beauty of the Orio Valley, just a little outside Pedasí. On a horseback you will ride through the lush mountains and rolling hills along the Orio river where you can even take a swim.
This tour includes transportation from / to your hotel, horses, English speaking guide and lunch

3.    Sport Fishing:
The southern coast of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula is also known as the “Tuna Coast”. The deep sea offers a great variety of big fish such as red snapper, grouper, mahi-mahi, wahoo, tuna, marlin and sailfish. Enjoy half a day of a full day of sport fishing in Panama’s Pacific Ocean.
This tour includes transportation from / to your hotel, boat, captain, fishing gear, bait, picnic lunch

4.    Isla Cañas Wildlife Refuge (available from June to November)
Isla Cañas is a small peninsula and wildlife refuge West of Playa Venao. The area is known as one of the biggest nesting site of sea turtles in the months from June to November. From the village of Cañas you will be taken to the wildlife refuge by boat and then visit the narrow beach strip by horse and carriage. With a bit of luck you will be able to see the huge turtles putting their eggs in the sand. This tour includes transportation from / to your hotel, entrance fees, English speaking guide.

5.    Isla Iguana Snorkeling & Beach
Isla Iguana is a wildlife refuge approximately 5 miles from Pedasi featuring beautiful white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, fantastic coral reefs known to be the best preserved, the home of multiple species of birds which makes it great for bird watching, and the largest nesting grounds for frigates. It also harbors a variety of other animals and marine wildlife. To get there, an open fiberglass boat known as a “panga” leaves from Playa El Arenal and takes the tour group to the island. Once there, ocean lovers can enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving and enjoy seeing fantastic marine life. Hiking trails are also on the island, and you will be able to see iguanas running all over while you get to know more about the island at the Visitors Center. This tour includes transportation from / to your hotel, entrance fees, picnic lunch and English speaking guide.

6.    Surfing or Stand-up Paddle
Take advantage of your vacation and learn to surf or stand-up paddle. An instructor will give you the right tips so you become an expert really quickly. This activity includes equipment and instructor.

Overnight at PLAYA VENAO HOTEL RESORT
(B)


Day 5- WEDNESDAY: Return via domestic flight from Chitre to Panama City

Today you have to yourself or you can arrange optional excursions in advance. Early afternoon our representative will pick you up at Playa Venao Beach Resort for a 30 minute drive to Pedasi where you have the option to briefly stop at the local Bakery or nearby café to enjoy some local pastries and delicatessen. Continue to the town of Chitre for your domestic flight back to Panama City. Upon arrival at Albrook Airport in Panama City you will be met by your local driver and transferred back to your hotel.
(B)



DETAILS


TRIP CLASSIFICATION

  • Easy walking and hiking for all ages, flat trails with some slippery terrain
  • Hotel or lodge accommodation comfortable
  • None or limited cell phone reception in the Venao area

DEPARTURE DATES

Upon request - the itinerary departs on a Saturday via land to Chitre and returns on a Wednesday by air, due to the domestic flights scheduled only on certain days of the week.


OPTIONAL TOURS FOR DAY 2

Minimum 2 persons (in advance reservations necessary)

•    Horseback Ride & Wet Rappel on Day 2: US$130 per person plus 7% tax


OPTIONAL TOURS FOR DAY 4 + 5

Minimum 2 persons (in advance reservations necessary)

•    Agricultural Tour with Panamanian lunch (3 hrs): US$150 per person plus 7% tax
•    Horseback Ride at Oria Arriba with picnic lunch (2 hrs): US$95 per person plus 7% tax
•    Sport Fishing with picnic lunch (half day): US$190 per person plus 7% tax
•    Sport Fishing with picnic lunch (full day): US$250 per person plus 7% tax
•    Isla Cañas Wildlife Refuge (4-5 hours June - November): US$140 per person plus 7% tax
•    Isla Iguana Snorkeling & Beach (4-5 hours): US$130 per person plus 7% tax
•    Whale watching  (4-5 hrs, June – November): US$130 per person plus 7% tax
•    Surfing lesson at Playa Venao (1 hr): US$60 per person plus 7% tax
•    Stand-up paddle at Playa Venao (1 hr): US$70 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).
  • Domestic flights to/from Pedasí are currently operating on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
  • Passengers are responsible for excess baggage fees and are subject to US$1.00 per extra pound and only allowed depending on flight occupancy.
  • Arrangements can be made with your hotel or Ancon Expeditions to store luggage that will not be needed while away from the city.
  • Name or date changes on flight tickets are subject to a service fee of US$25 per change (taxes included).
  • 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
  • Bathing suit, Insect repellant, Sunscreen
  • Hat, Day pack / dry sack
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
  • Windbreaker
  • Rain gear
  • Comfortable walking shoes, sneakers
  • Sandals, Aqua shoes
  • 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:

  • 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


CUBITÁ BOUTIQUE RESORT & SPA














“Cubitá, territory of indigenous people who inhabited the region surrounding the La Villa River, located in the Azuero peninsula, which preserves thousands of years of the history of our pre-Columbian ancestors who fought bravely during the Spanish conquest.” The region of Azuero is considered today the “cultural heart” of Panama, cradle of traditions, which offers an opportunity of getting to know the purely Panamanian lifestyle. At Cubitá Boutique Resort & Spa you are being offered quality accommodations and a warm and friendly service. At approximately 250 km from Panama City, Chitre offers with this new hotel a modern accommodation with 90 elegant fully equipped rooms, 2 Junior Suites and 4 Master Suites including cable TV, safety box, telephone, hairdryer, wireless Internet, mini bar, AC and ceiling fan, coffee facilities, complimentary breakfast, and 24 hours room service. At Los Maizales restaurant you can enjoy the local cuisine and at La Jaba bar the local national drinks to end the day in a relaxing ambience. The hotel facilities include an outdoor pool, El Guarapo pool snack bar, a small gym and Spa, museum, chapel, and commercial plaza.

Address: Ave. Roberto Ramírez de Diego (Circunvalación), Chitré, Panamá
Website: http://cubitaresort.com/
Phone: (+507) 978 0200
Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 12:00 p.m.


PLAYA VENAO HOTEL RESORT











Playa Venao Hotel Resort is uniquely located on one of the most beautiful beach fronts in Panama in a still undeveloped and untouched area about 5-6 hours driving from Panama City (or only 50 minutes via domestic flight) and 30 minutes from Pedasi, a close small and charming fishermen´s town. Playa Venao Bay stretches over two and a half miles of beautifully exquisite shoreline, which is surrounded by rich and natural wildlife, and rolling hillsides. The hotel facilities include an infinity pool, gym, spa, and restaurant. The resort counts with nearly 50 guest rooms and 13 suites including custom made mattresses, complimentary WiFi, and cable television. Some of the rooms and suite overlook views of the deep blue Pacific shoreline and the endless Infinity Pool while some of our more selective rooms offer more privacy and solitude as they are surrounded by our meandering river-stream and the lush forest. Due to the remote area, there is almost none or limited cell phone service in this area, a true getaway to relax and take a break from the busy daily routine!

Address: Playa Venao beachfront, Azuero Pensínsula, Panamá
Website: http://www.playavenaohotelresort.com/
Phone: (+507) 832-0161 or 838-5985
Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 12:00 p.m.


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