Copa Stopover - Panama Canal & Caribbean Island Retreat

copa stopover panama caribbean portobelo

7 days / 6 nights

Enjoy the highlights of Panama City and the Panama Canal. Learn about the history of Panama City, visit the engineering marvel at the Panama Canal's visitor center at Miraflores Locks. Navigate through the Panama Canal waters on Gatun Lake on a small expedition boat to observe the wildlife and birds. Meet the local Embera indigenous people and their traditional way of living, dancing, crafting, healing. End your stay with a relaxing stay on the Caribbean side of Panama in Portobelo.

Best available rate based (minimum 2 persons):
Price per person in double occupancy basis: US$1,735.00 + 7% tax
Single occupancy supplement fee: US$1,020.00 + 7% tax

INCLUDED 6 nights hotel accommodation, roundtrip airport transfers (Tocumen), transportation and meals (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch) as indicated in itinerary, park & related entrance fees, Naturalist guide fees & expenses.

NOT INCLUDED International airfare, meals not specified in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, personal equipment, gratuities and tips, extras at hotel.

DISCLAIMER Price and itinerary are correct at the time of publishing, however they are subject to change due to climate or local conditions, availability or factors beyond our control.


DAY 1 - Arrival to Panama City

On arrival to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, you will be met by your Ancon Expeditions of Panama driver outside Customs and transferred for approximately 30 minutes to your hotel in the modern banking district of Panama City.


DAY 2 - Full Day Panama City & the Panama Canal

Full Day City Tour   Panama CanalThis morning you start your city tour at the Panama Canal where you will visit the Panama Canal Visitors’ Center at Miraflores Locks where ships can be seen transiting the waterway. The 3 floor exhibit halls will provide information about the history, engineering and current events related to the Panama Canal.

Then drive through the former Panama Canal Zone managed by the United States from 1903 to 1999. Old military bases have been turned into residential neighborhoods, universities and one of the most important commerce hubs in the region combining airports, container ports and cargo railways that provide support to the Panama Canal operation.

Your next stop is the Biodiversity Museum, designed by the world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. As a Smithsonian Affiliate museum, the Biodiversity Museum serves as a gateway to new information about the biodiversity and natural history of the Isthmus of Panama. Scientific experts from both the Smithsonian Institute and the University of Panama oversee the contents of the museum and aim at teaching visitors about eco-awareness, conservation and Panama’s extraordinary natural treasures in various unique exhibition galleries. Did you know that the Isthmus of Panama ha

Full Day City Tour    Biomuseo   Aaron Millar

s more bird, mammal, reptile and plant species than the US and Canada together in just 75,990 Km2 (approx. 29,000 square miles)? In fact, 3 million years ago, the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama changed both the climate and the biodiversity in the planet and played a key role in the creation of the world we know today.

Full Day City Tour   Casco AntiguoContinue to Casco Antiguo. In 1673, after the devastating pirate attack, Panama City was moved some 7.5 km west of its original location, to a small peninsula at the foot of Ancon hill, closer to the islands that were used as the port and near the mouth of a river that eventually became the entrance of the Panama Canal. The relocated town, known today as Casco Antiguo or the Historic District of Panama, not only had better access to fresh water but could be fortified. The military engineers, moreover, took advantage of the morphological conditions that complemented the wall surrounding the peninsula, all of which prevented direct naval approaches by an enemy. Several buildings within the District are identified as important for the country’s 17th-20th century heritage. Most outstanding are the churches, above all the metropolitan cathedral with its five aisles and timber roof; San Felipe Neri, San José, San Francisco and especially La Merced with its well-preserved colonial timber roof. The Presidential Palace originally built in the late 17th century and partially reconstructed in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, is a revealing example of the transformations that characterize the Historic District as a whole. The House of the Municipality, the National Theatre, the Ministry of Government and Justice and the Municipal Palace are outstanding buildings of a more recent period. Casco Antiguo is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch will take place at a local restaurant.

Drop off at your hotel by mid-afternoon.



DAY 3 - Jungle Boat tour on Gatun Lake
Jungle Boat KIKECALVOcomEarly in the morning you are picked up at the lobby of your hotel by an Ancon Expeditions of Panama Naturalist Guide for a

 45-minute drive to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. Here you board an expedition boat and depart on an adventure that will include a voyage across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway, making contrast with the natural surroundings. 

Jungle Boat  Howler Monkey KIKECALVOcomAlong the way, you will have the opportunity to spot Green Iguana and Three-toed Sloth resting on tree branches, Crocodile, Osprey in the hunt for Peacock Bass, Snail Kite and Keel-billed Toucan among other wildlife. Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal in 1914. With a surface of 423 square-kilometers, at the time of its creation was the largest man-made lake in the world. The flow of all the rivers within the Panama Canal Watershed is contained in Gatun Lake to provide water for the operation of the lock system. More than 52 million gallons of fresh water are used for every ship that transits through the Panama Canal from one ocean to another.

Your expedition boat will allow for close approximations to rainforest covered islands (former hill tops) in Gatun Lake to search for White-faced Capuchin, Mantled Howler Monkey, Central American spider monkey, and Geoffrey’s Tamarin.

After enjoying some snacks on the boat observing the large cargo ships in the background transiting the Panama Canal, return back to your hotel early afternoon.


(B, snacks)

DAY 4 - Embera Indigenous People / Portobelo

Embera Quera arrival   Melanie EndresAfter a 90-min drive across the Isthmus you will reach the shores of Gatun River for a cultural visit of an Embera indigenous village. Board a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) and travel up through lush forest to the community. Along the river, you may be able to spot Little Blue and Green Heron, Great Egret, Anhingas, Neotropical Cormorant, Amazon, Ringed, and Green Kingfishers, along with Keel-billed Toucans and Ospreys flying above. At the Embera village you will be greeted with dancing and music. You will learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature.
Embera people
There will be handcrafts available for sale and you will have a chance to be painted with the traditional jagua, a natural dye the Embera use to adorn their bodies. Enjoy lunch a traditional lunch prepared by the indigenous women which usually consists of fried fish and plantains, accompanied by fresh fruits and snacks brought by your guide.

At last, for about 45 minutes you will be taken towards the North-Eastern Caribbean coast towards the small historic town of Portobelo. Famous for its trade fairs during the 17th century, Portobelo is a World Heritage Site. During colonial times, it was one of the most important strongholds of the Spanish Main in the Americas. You will visit Forts San Geronimo and Santiago de la Gloria as well as the Church of San Felipe. You then say goodbye to your private guide and will be transferred by boat for approximately 5 minutes across the bay to El Otro Lado, a small boutique hotel surrounded by the National Park of Portobelo.

El Otro Lado   infinity pool<< Your stay includes one daily boat excursion to the beach club, one 45 minute nature hike with a local, complimentary use of kayaks, standup paddles and snorkeling equipment. Additional beach outings or optional tours and experiences can be booked and paid directly at El Otro Lado. >>



DAY 5 - El Otro Lado

El Otro Lado   poolside cabinEl Otro Lado is mixing design, culture, nature and luxury in a unique manner in order to offer its guests authentic, exclusive and custom-made experiences. It is the perfect place to relax and disconnect while contemplating the exuberant vegetation. With views of the sea, its four exclusive houses of eclectic tropical design integrate simple details with traditional handicraft of the Atlantic Coast. A streak of truly unforgettable experiences, El Otro Lado will take you to a harmonious and dreamlike place which is equipped with all the comforts of modern life. The Gazebo is the heart of El Otro Lado, where anything can happen. Enjoy a “Maracuaya” passion fruit mojito while sharing histories from the El Otro Lado   Represa Portobelopast with your friends; stimulate your intellect with the wide selection of our library; try the taste of daily fresh fish or listen with nostalgia to a vibrant selection of music, specially elaborated for El Otro Lado by Radio Gladys Palmera. The retreat offers cultural, literary and cinematographic experiences, together with a variety of entertainment games for your disposition. You can also book Spa treatments or special dining experiences during your stay.



DAY 6 - El Otro Lado

El Otro Lado   congo danceEl Otro Lado offers a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, navigating by the mangroves, hiking, observing unique birds, enjoying a picnic on the beach, diving at coral reefs or submerging in the water together with professional scuba divers with the chance to see shipwreck treasures. Enjoy canoe races, Congo dance, and impressive sunsets. For the creative ones, there are also available wood and art workshops on-site or in Portobelo. With a variety of options, a young artist from Portobelo will help you in your creation of handicraft in our carpentry workshop. You get the chance to develop your skills in painting, carving or cabinet making. When finished, you get to bring home your own creation.



DAY 7 - Depart Panama

Enjoy a leisure day before being transferred to Tocumen Airport approximately 5 hours prior to your flight departure. Return back home with loads of memories about Panama!

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



Upon request available on any dates for 2+ persons (subject to availability)


  • Binoculars
  • Camera with extra batteries & film
  • Flashlight with extra bulb & batteries
  • Hat
  • Day pack / dry sack
  • Sandals
  • Sneakers
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
  • Windbreaker
  • Rain gear
  • Bathing suit
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Money in small denominations
  • Toiletries & personal medications


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: US$10.00-US$20.00 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


Bristol Hotel   King bedroomTHE BRISTOL PANAMA

>> Ranked as one of the Top 5 hotels in Central America by Condé Nast Traveler <<

Long considered the city’s finest, the Bristol Panama offers distinctive charm and warmth in the heart of the financial district, minutes from shopping, cultural attractions and nightlife. Unrivalled in its service and setting, this is a highly acclaimed hotel with timeless architecture including 125 luxurious guest rooms and 48 suites; are handsomely appointed and spacious. Enjoy the hotel’s fitness room, Spa facilities, pool, business centre, 8°58´Lounge and one of Panama’s finest culinary offered at the Salsipuedes Restaurant.

Address: Avenida Aguilino De La Guardia, Panama City, Panamá

Phone: +(507) 264-0000

Check in: 15:00 hrs

Check out: 12:00 hrs

El Otro Lado   poolside cabinEL OTRO LADO PRIVATE RETREAT

El Otro Lado is a private retreat situated in an exceptional enclave of Portobelo Bay just across the bay of the main fishermen´s village. As a member of the Design Hotels you will find its characteristics in mixing design, art, photography, culture, nature and luxury in a unique manner in order to offer its guests authentic, exclusive and custom-made experiences. With about 1.5 - 2 hours driving from Panama City, and surrounded by the National Park of Portobelo, El Otro Lado is the perfect place to relax and disconnect while contemplating the exuberant vegetation. With views of the sea, its four exclusive houses of eclectic tropical design integrate simple details with traditional handicraft of the Atlantic Coast. A streak of truly unforgettable experiences, El Otro Lado will take you to a harmonious and dreamlike place which is equipped with all the comforts of modern life. The luxurious rooms come with a fully equipped kitchen, room service and many intelligent gadgets. The retreat has a beautiful infinite pool and just a few minutes boat ride away from the main village of Portobelo and within 20 minutes by boat you reach beautiful private beaches, as well as many optional activities and unique local dance presentations that make your stay unforgettable.

Address: Across the main town of Portobelo, Caribbean side of Panama

Phone: +(507) 202-0111

Check in: 15:00 hrs

Check out: 12:00 hrs