Panama offers a fertile scenario for educational groups of varied subjects. Anthropologically speaking, the country is home to seven indigenous groups, most of whom have preserved their traditions, folklore and way of life as it was when the first conquistadores arrived in Panama. Ethnic groups such as the Guna in San Blas, the Embera in the Panama Canal Basin, and the Ngobe-Bugle in the province of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro, are accessible for daily encounters and even for overnight or longer stays. Their relationship with the white man is also closely related to Panama’s fascinating history of swashbuckling buccaneers, conquistadores, and slaves. History students will find in Panama not only remains of the conquest such as the ruins of Panama La Vieja or the forts of Portobelo and San Fernando but also fascinating stories such as the freed slaves, the cimarrones, and their role in the settling of Panama’s Caribbean cost. Not to mention, the fascinating story of the construction of the Panama Canal that we review in detail in our “The Canal Inside Out” tour. Finally, biology students will find in the Darien one of the America’s least explored and most fascinating jungles.
The Republic of Panama is a great place not only for an introduction to the birds of the American tropics, but also one of the best birding places in the world. The avid birder will find the total number of bird species found in Panama, about 992, delightfully large, especially when considering the relatively small surface of the country. Some 150 of these are neotropical migrants that only occur in the country from September to April. It is not rare to see more than 20 different migrant warblers and vireos on a good morning on spring or fall migration, and that added to 50 or 60 resident species.
This variety in bird species is partly explained by the fact that Panama is a land bridge between North and South America. In Panama, it is possible to find species typical of Central America. As it would be expected, the South American birds are easier to find on the eastern portion of the country, while the Central American species are found west of the Canal Area. The birds of the central part of the country, the area surrounding Panama City, include species from both ends. This area has the most easily accessed forests of Central America, and birding is easy and productive.
We can help you organize your birding trip in the dry forests of the Metropolitan Nature Park, right next to Panama City, on Pipeline Road, next to the Panama Canal, in the western highlands of Chiriqui, in the still greatly unexplored Darien National Park, or in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Our services include land and air transportation within the country, accommodations, specialized guides, meals and any special request the group may have.
Bocas del Toro is an ideal place to live an unforgettable scuba diving experience. Bocas offers countless unspoiled beaches and clear waters great for diving along fabulous live coral reefs. Remarkable is the extraordinary submarine beauty of the North and South Zapatilla Keys within the Maritime Bastimentos National Park, as well as around the waters of Punta Vieja (Old Point), Punta Hospital (Hospital Point), Donato, Crawl Cay, Stern Island, Tiger Cay, Wild Cane Cay, and Agua Oeste Cay. The scuba diving in and around Bocas can be enjoyed throughout the year, with most dive spots no more than one-hour boat ride from Bocas Town. Water temperature is very tropical and constant, so full or even short wetsuits are not required. Water visibility varies from one dive spot to another and is always dependent on weather conditions. The months of September and October are traditionally the better months due primarily to more suitable climatic conditions.
Panama offers excellent conditions for trekking enthusiasts in a variety of landscapes and climate conditions. A trekking expedition in Chiriqui is extremely rewarding as the cool temperatures invite to explore the pristine national parks that make up most of the region. Beautiful, less demanding hikes like the popular Los Quetzales Trail can be combined with demanding treks to the summit of Baru Volcano. True explorers cannot miss the challenging 4-day jungle trek traversing the unexplored Amistad National Park through the Continental Divide.
Another fascinating trek for true adventurers is the historic Las Cruces Trail which was used by the conquistadores to cross the isthmus during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Las Cruces Trail was used in colonial times to transport the gold of the Incas from Peru, along its route to Spain. The gold and treasure was transported across the Panamanian Isthmus to Panama City and finally to Portobelo where it was loaded onto ships and sent on to Spain. You may experience the trail much as the conquistadors did over 500 years ago.