Jungle Hiking and the Indian People of Panama
Make an unforgettable jungle hike in one of Central America’s most remote rainforests. Live among the Emberá Indians and get up close to the life, culture and flora and fauna of the rainforest in Darien National Park. Explore the paradise islands of San Blas on your own and enjoy Panama’s most beautiful beaches and bluest waters. You will also have the opportunity to meet the colorful Kuna Indians here in this natural paradise
After an exciting visit to Panama City, travel to the rainforest of eastern Panama. You travel from Panama’s ultra – modern capital into a remote rainforest where Indians live alone and isolated. Darien National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981 and is covered by approx. 5790 km² tropical rainforest. The river system in the jungle is the primary transport system as there are no roads. While in the rainforest, spend three days in a small village with Emberá Indians. You live very simply and get to experience the Indians’ everyday life with rainforest animals close by. You will learn about their culture and traditions, how to use herbs and plants as medicine. During the walks in the forest you see monkeys and birds and if you are really lucky you can also see an eagle in the treetops.
You continue your journey with flights from Panama City out to the Caribbean coast of Panama. Here you live on Yandup Island, located on the edge of the San Blas Islands – home to the Kuna Indians – and is one of the Caribbean’s most pristine places. . This beautiful archipelago consists of about 365 islands of which 49 are inhabited by the Kuna Indians. Have a great day at Yandup and stay in a simple and cozy bungalow before returning to Panama City to head home again ..
Day 1: Departure from Scandinavia and arrival in Panama City
You travel from Scandinavia and arrive in Panama City late at night local time. You will be picked up at the airport and driven to your hotel.
Day 2: City tour of Panama City and visit at Mirafloresslussen
Today awaits an eventful day! You first do a city tour and see Panama City – it is usually said that Panama City consists of 3 cities and you see all three; The historic city – remnants of 16th century Panama “La Vieja”, the old city, “Casco Antiguo” with the colonial buildings and then the modern city with skyscrapers and modern houses. After lunch you continue to Miraflores where there are balconies from which you have a very good view of the lock and canal and the huge container ships that begin their journey through the Panama Canal. Every year, more than 14,000 ships pass the Panama Canal and it has had an enormous impact on the country’s economy as well as the world economy. By passing through the Panama Canal instead of rounding Cape Horn, you save almost 12,500 kilometers each time. The canal officially opened in 1914 after many years of work. It was mainly the United States that saw the importance of creating a connection between the world’s two largest seas and entered into a cooperation agreement with Panama that gave them the rights until 1999 when they transferred to Panama. The canal is also one of today’s largest engineering companies. Enjoy the fantastic story that you get to experience a part of today! (F , L )
Day 3: Panama City – Darien National Park – Emberá Indians
After breakfast, your jungle adventure begins. First you travel from Panama City towards Darien National Park via the Pan-American Highway – a journey that takes 3-4 hours. You stop on the way at a small market that the Kuna Indians have and have lunch at a local restaurant. You continue until you reach Puerto Kimbo on the edge of the rainforest. From here you then take a boat through the jungle to one of the small villages of the Emberá Indians which will be your home for the next few days. Here, magnificent cultural and natural experiences await with flora, fauna, culture and a unique insight into the daily lives of the Emberá Indians. ( F , L , M )
Day 4: Emberá village and jungle trek
Today there is plenty of time to walk around the small village and get to know the inhabitants. You get the opportunity to follow and see daily life, visit the small plantations out in the rainforest and see life where beliefs, traditions, customs and practices play a big role. After lunch, a few hours of hiking in the rainforest awaits with your guide and one of the residents of the village. Here you learn about the rainforest’s complex ecosystem and the healing properties of plants and see how to live in harmony with nature. The country’s national bird also lives in the dense and often impassable rainforest – the Harpya eagle, which can weigh up to 10 kilos with a wingspan of over 2 meters. You then return to the village in the afternoon and dinner is also served here. ( F , L , M )
Day 5: Jungle hike to Old Growth Forest in Darien National Park
The whole day today is earmarked for exploring the Old Growth Forest – the area is privately owned by a local organization and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You explore the jungle and learn about both the Emberá and Wounaan Indians. The hike itself is adapted to the participants’ wishes and physical daily form. You return to the village in the afternoon and in the evening you get to participate in a traditional ceremony with the villagers. ( F , L , M )
Day 6: Darien National Park – Panama City
After breakfast it is time to say goodbye to the friends in the small village and you take the boat back to Puerto Kimbo. You then continue by car back to Panama City and check in at your hotel. The rest of the day is on its own. ( F , L )
Day 7: Panama City – Playón Chico – Yandup Island (San Blas)
You will be picked up at the hotel early in the morning and driven to the airport. A 30-minute flight takes you to Playón Chico on the Caribbean coast. Playón Chico is part of the Kuna Indians’ protected reserve, these colorful Indians are the indigenous people of this area and are responsible for the San Blas archipelago with the approximately 365 islands scattered along the coast. After arrival, continue with a 15-minute boat ride to the private island of Yandup where you will stay for the next three days. You live in a simple and cozy bungalow by the beach. Here you will find coral reefs and good snorkeling directly from the beach. NOTE – on the flight you can only carry 14 kilos and it is not possible to buy extra luggage weight. There are no great opportunities for shopping, so there is some special type of snack or candy you absolutely must have the opportunity to buy with you before departure. On site you can then buy for various excursions in the area if you still feel adventurous.
Day 8-9: Yandup Island on your own
You stay on Yandup Island in a privately owned small family lodge in a simple and cozy little beachfront bungalow including full board. Excursions in the rainforest, mangrove swamps, waterfalls and other islands in San Blas can be booked on site – but you can also just enjoy the chalk-white beaches and azure waters of Yandup. ( F , L , M )
Day 10: Yandup Island – Playón Chico – Panama City
You leave Yandub’s white beaches today and after breakfast you travel back to Panama City where you have the rest of the day on your own. ( F )
Day 11: Panama City – Scandinavia
Then it’s time to say goodbye to Panama (though you can always book extra days or maybe go on to Costa Rica or some other exciting and interesting place in Central or South America). You land in Scandinavia the next day.
Day 12. Homecoming
Arrival time in Scandinavia depends on which airline you have chosen to travel with.
Four nights in a standard hotel in Panama City
Three nights in a hut / tent in Darien National Park
Three nights in a bungalow on Yandup Island San Blas