Panama is the southernmost country of Central America and a microcosm of the region’s rugged beauty, rich history and year-round warm weather, filled with natural and cultural treasures. Whether you are interested in exploring the Panama Canal, by boat or train, seeing the historic buildings and sites, enjoying a natural history tour or bird watching, arranging a family adventure or a jungle expedition, Panama is a surprising destination just waiting for your discovery.
Home of the Kuna Indians who were granted regional autonomy to protect their unique culture, forming the ‘Comarca’ (autonomous territory) of Kuna Yala where to this day an indigenous congress rules.
The San Blas islands are a group of islands in the archipelago de San Blas, located in the Northwest of Panama facing the Caribbean Sea. There are 378 islands within the archipelago and they are scattered around in an area of about 100 square miles. The majority of the 378 islands have no inhabitants, but on the larger ones you will find the gentle native people known as the Kuna’s.
The San Blas Islands are the number #1 holiday destination in Panama. This is because the Islands have not yet discovered mass tourism; they are controlled by the Kuna people. The Kuna people are very proud and protective their lands. You will sleep in eco-friendly accommodations Yandup Island Lodge being one of the best.
One of the world’s greatest engineering and scenic marvels – a major shipping canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, obviating the need for the long and treacherous voyage via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America.
The Panama Canal Railway, built between 1850-1855, was the world’s first transcontinental railroad. It stretches across the isthmus of Panama from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The train ride will take you alongside the magnificent waterway to the west, flanked by the exuberant rainforests of Soberania National Park to the east.
There are sixteen species of birds in Panama, classified as Globally Threatened; some of the most splendid are Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled Bellbird and Yellow-billed Cotinga.
Panama is an excellent place for bird watching and has just over 1,000 species recorded, 11 of them are endemic, and around 107 species are regionally endemic.
America Trade Hotel
Casco Viejo, Panama
Top class design and the finest facilities. Usually located in a spectacular setting it may be an exclusive hotel in a meticulously restored historic building, or recognised as the leading property of an international chain.
Villa Palma Boutique Hotel
Panama City, Panama
Opened in 2014, the Villa Palma Boutique Hotel is a fabulous boutique hotel located in the old town of Panama City. It has 14 spacious ‘European styled’ rooms with an combination of distinguished design, elegance and high-class. equipped with everything you need for a very comfortable stay.
Panama City, Panama
High quality with an excellent room standard, a full range of facilities and first-rate service; may be a new property or regularly refurbished with attention to ongoing maintenance.
South America Travel Centre can look after all aspects of your holiday, including flights and travel insurance.
We start by asking you what your interests are and where you are interested in, when, for how long, what standard and style of accommodation. Once we have a good understanding of just what you’re looking for, we can begin to create a holiday to meet your time and budget requirements and, most importantly, that will deliver interest and enjoyment in an experience to exceed your expectations.
Please book early. Many of the hotels, lodges and cruise vessels we recommend are relatively small. This exclusivity combined with high demand means they can be booked out up to 6-8 months in advance.
If you’re thinking of travelling during any major holidays like Christmas, New Year and Easter, or during any festivals, our advice is simply to book as early as you can, even 12 months or more, and we can add flights as soon as they become available.
Australian citizens do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica. You will need to hold a valid passport and have a return ticket when you arrival.
Vaccinations are advised for common diseases like Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid as well as Influenza. There are no compulsory vaccinations.
We advise you to consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess any health risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.
We have access to a wide range of airfares and have excellent relationships with our key airline partners. Our two main airline partners in Latin America are LATAM Airlines, QANTAS Airlines and Air New Zealand. We can also arrange internal flights for you within Latin America.
Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll request the details of all of your fights to ensure if there are any changes your transfers and other arrangements are adjusted accordingly.
Best time to go is during the dry season from late December to early May.
We found our itinerary absolutely perfect. By that I mean not only were our superb boutique hotels great, the guides in each city friendly, courteous, well-spoken and knowledgeable but the time in each city or location and the balance between site seeing “work" and leisure time “play” was also perfect. The most difficult question by friends on our return has been “what was the highlight”. An impossible question when considering the merits of, inter alia, Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, Christ the Redeemer, Inti Raymi Festival, Lake Titicaca. The purpose of our trip to South America, in truth, was to see as much as we could of the continent with a view to probably not returning as we explored other opportunities. I have to now say that the chance of us revisiting South America is extremely high.
I write to thank you for organising our recent trip to South America. Everything went like clockwork, and the arrangements were very satisfactory. The guides always turned up at the right time, and the people meeting us at the airports were always there. We had a wonderful trip, and we will have to plan another one now, so that we can see Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay and maybe more. But first it’s back to work to earn some more money! For me the greatest highlight was Machu Picchu; it far exceeded my expectations. Once again, thanks so much, Alistair Macindoe.
We had a fabulous time!! The countries we visited have such a rich and fascinating cultural & geographical diversity. We loved learning about the Incans and visiting the ruins in Peru, we loved seeing all the creatures of the Galapagos Islands and the volcanoes of Ecuador. We loved the magnificent scenery of the Atacama. What a fantastic palette at sunset! The adobe hotel, Altiplanico, was wonderful & San Pedro de Atacama was a funky place. We appreciated the structure of our holiday too, there was a nice blend of guided time and free time. It was nice to be in one place on the boat in Galapagos after moving to a different place each day through Ecuador. Some of the haciendas we visited would be lovely to stay for a longer time. Everything went very smoothly in terms of timely airport transfers & pickups, informative and friendly guides/drivers at all times. The local people were very friendly & were helpful with our attempts at speaking Spanish. We enjoyed the cuisine very much & look forward to trying some home-made Locro de papa soup & Pisco sour. Thanks for helping us with a great holiday. Kind regards Della & John