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Help with itinerary

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New York
posts: 717
reviews: 122
Help with itinerary

Trip coming up Nov 1 through 7. 5 full days. The posts here have been REALLY helpful so I am just following up with a tentative schedule for the trip:

1) Panama Canal/Miraflores Locks

2) Casco Antiguo self-guided

Can these two be done in the same day?

3) Portobello/Canal Expansion OR Anton Valley OR Jungle Tour/Embrera/Chagres OR Zona Libre for shopping

We only want to do one or two day trips....AND

4) Metropolitan Natural Park

Also we have a room booked for this hotel which seems to have good reviews: hotels.com/ho396316/…

If anyone has any suggestions for a different hotel that would accommodate 3 adults with breakfast please advise!

Madrid, Spain
posts: 6,052
reviews: 12
1. Re: Help with itinerary

With 2), a lot depends on whether you want to zoom around the place to get a quick overview or whether you want to spend time looking at things, go into places etc.

New York
posts: 717
reviews: 122
2. Re: Help with itinerary

Thanks. Even if I spread the first two over two days, that leaves three for other activities. Are any of those mentioned on the above list preferable to the others?

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
posts: 2,664
reviews: 11
3. Re: Help with itinerary

You can easily visit Mirflores and Casco Viejo on the same day. Even if you take your time watching the ships in the locks and going through the museum, it shouldn't take you more than 2 or 3 hours. Casco Viejo is the same. I'd recommend doing the locks in the morning, when there is traffic going through the locks. Then, go to Casco Viejo for lunch and touring. StxSteve lives in Casco Viejo and can give you some excellent leads on places for lunch.

Unless you are looking to buy a shipping container full of jeans, shopping in the Zona Libre is not a good choice for your itinerary. Portobelo makes a nice day trip in a rental car. You could also include a visit to Gatun Locks and a short hike on the Las Cruces Trail. (Be sure to pick up and return your rental car to Gelebert (Albrook) Airport to avoid driving in Panama City.

El Valle de Anton (AKA El Valle) is another full day or (better yet) an overnight trip, and I highly recommend it. El Valle is cooler (temperature) than the city or the Caribbean side. There are some nice hiking trails with beautiful vistas, therapeutic hot spring/mud baths, a botanical garden, a small zoo, an open market and other tourist attractions.

New York
posts: 717
reviews: 122
4. Re: Help with itinerary

If we go to the Metropolitan Park, will we get our foliage/wildlife fix? Or is a Jungle tour recommended for this kind of thing?

Everything sounds so fabulous. It will be a challenge to pick and choose! Thanks for all the tips.

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
posts: 2,664
reviews: 11
5. Re: Help with itinerary

You could probably get your foliage fix in the park. Although, you'll see more flowering plants and trees in the trails around El Valle.

Seeing wildlife is different. It's just like the U.S. -- the more visitors, the less likely you are to see wildlife. It takes a combination of location, timing, luck and a lot of patience. In any part of Panama, you'll see the most in the early, early morning ... like sunrise ... 6:00 AM. This is especially true for monkeys and toucans. Coatimundis are like racoons and are mostly nocturnal. The places where I have seen the most wildlife have been around El Valle, Campana National Park and on the Las Cruces Trail. If you like birds, you should consider hiring a guide who can take you on the Pipeline Trail.

New York
posts: 717
reviews: 122
6. Re: Help with itinerary

How about Monkey Island? Yay or nay?

Washington, DC
posts: 8
reviews: 8
7. Re: Help with itinerary

I just want to make one comment on Metropolitano Park. I just returned from Panama last week and me and my family did a guided 3 hr hike in the park and it only cost us $25. I think the park is amazing personally. On the day of our visit we not only saw monkeys but also colorful woodpeckers, a toucan, hawks, plue morpho butterflies and plenty of other birds. If you make it to Mirador point there is an incredible overlook of Panama City. I personally would recommend it but I agree with an earlier comment that there are lots of flowering trees and the like to be seen. From our hotel on Balboa Avenue it only cost $5 to taxi to the park so really you can't beat it.

Panama City, Panama
posts: 5,790
reviews: 78
8. Re: Help with itinerary

I loved Monkey Island Tour...........up close and personal with monkeys, but again, it costs alot more than what was paid in above forum post.

9. Re: Help with itinerary

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