We (a family of four, with 2 young children age 1 and 3) are going to Panama in May 2017. We are looking for a relatively relax itinerary due to the young children. I have some questions and would like to get some feedbacks and ideas on our tentative itinerary.
1. Fly to Panama city from Europe and stay there about a week to acclimate and to allow the kids to adjust to the time difference. Visit the city, Miraflores Locks, Panama canal, local beach, perhaps excursion to Isla Taboga. Any other kid-friendly activities there? Where is the best base to visit the Embera Village?
2. Rent a car and head to El Valle, stay there a few days. Do some hiking, visit the zoo, thermal bath. Further ideas?
3. Head to Pedasi and spend a week there. How far / long is the journey from El Valle to Pedasi? Since we likely won’t be snorkelling (due to the small children), what else to do here other than doing nothing at the beach?
4. Head to David to drop off the rental car to fly to Bocas del Toro. Can anyone tell me how long do I expect to be on the road from Pedasi to David? If it is too long (for the kids), can anyone recommend a nice in-between destination? Is this a better option than driving to Almirante and leaving the car there for a week?
5. Would it make sense for us to go to Boquete, since we cannot do most of the things there (serious hiking, water rafting, etc).
6. Spend the remaining days at Bocas del Toro, fly to San Jose from there. Other than the usual beach time, can someone recommend a tour to visit indigenous groups there?
My question regarding flying is the following, we will try to keep our luggage minimal, but we’ll have two car seats and a stroller. Most airlines in EU accept free check-in for car seats (as luggage for the kids), and the buggy can be checked-in just at the gate (also free). I’m not familiar with the local airlines there in Panama, does anyone have any experience regarding this? Is this a good idea to bring our car seats along? Is a car drop-off at different location than pick-up relatively hassle-free in Panama?
It is a lot of questions. I’d appreciate any feedback or advise to any of my questions. Thank you!