We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Panama 9 day itinerary

San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
118 posts
8 reviews
Save Topic
Panama 9 day itinerary

We are a couple with a 4 year old, moderately active, like nature/wildlife and spending time in the city equally. We will be in Panama from 7 to 15 Sept this year and would appreciate any advise on the following itinerary, activities, hotels

Day 1: Arrive in Panama at 1:50 PM. Stay in Panama City (El Cangrejo area)

Day 2: Early morning taxi to Albrook and pickup rental car. Drive to El Valle. Visit Sunday market.

Day 3: Stay in El Valle. Zoo and ziplining

Day 4: Drive to Radisson Summit. Visit Miraflores locks

Day 5: Continue stay at Radisson Summit. Embera tour.

Day 6: Continue stay at Radisson Summit. Pipeline road and Summit Gardens and Zoo

Day 7: Return car to Albrook. Stay in Panama City. Visit Amador causeway

Day 8: Stay in Panama City, Visit Casco Viejo

Day 9: Fly out

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
Level Contributor
4,770 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
11. Re: Panama 9 day itinerary

Overall, I think your plan looks good, and you are definitely wise to pick up the car at Albrook. Just keep in mind when you return it that the agencies close at 4:30 pm.

On Day 3 - you might want to have a back-up plan for ziplining. I'm not sure your 4 year-old will be able to do that. Something you all might enjoy is the mudbath/hot spring. The pools are shallow and the water/mud is not very hot. You often see small kids there. They love playing in the mud and the water. And, for only $2!

I'd think twice about turning in the car when you go to the Radisson. Personally, I would hold onto it for going to places like the Pipeline Road, Gamboa and the Summit Zoo. Taxis are not easy to find in those places. Having the convenience to come and go -- especially with a 4 year-old -- may be worth the cost.

Also, you can drive to some other restaurants that don't involve going into the city.

There is a great pizza place next to the El Rey in Albrook. It's a straight shot down the road from the Radisson. In fact, you'll see it at the corner of Avenida Omar Torrijos when you get the car and leave Albrook Airport. Acroos the street past the traffic circle you'll come to McDonalds. You can also drive, without too much hassle, to the restaurants on Amador.

The point is, staying at the Radisson doesn't have to be an exercise in isolation if you have a car.

Day 4 - El Valle is just under two hours from Miraflores. It's best to get to Miraflores as early as possible if you want to see ships in the locks. If you don't feel like getting on the road at 7:00 am, you might want to move your Miraflores visit to Day 5 or Day 6.

Day 6 - Doing both the Pipeline and the Summit Zoo would be grueling for an adult. I don't think your 4 year-old will last through it. There is a lot of walking at the zoo. It's also hot. There are long a couple of stretches without shade and it's somewhat hilly (but nothing like San Francisco). Bring water and drink often. Bring grapes and cut-up bananas for the monkeys. (You can get them at the El Rey in Albrook, just 5 minutes or less from Miraflores.)

The Pipleline road can be rough and muddy. It's known for birding, but there is another trail I like better -- the Camino las Cruces. Having a car to get there and back will make this trail well worthwhile. It's a fairly level, easy hike from the trailhead to the mules' grooves in the rock, which is about a mile in. It's well shaded, but still bring water. I think you have better opportunities to see wildlife there than on the Pipeline Road. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you directions on how to get there. (Very easy and very close from the Radisson.)

Emberá or Lake Gatun? Which Emberá tour are you taking?

Days 7 and 8. You can do Amador in an evening and Casco Viejo in the morning or an afternoon. I think you'll be bored with the city and its noise after a day. So, I would combine both of these into one day. (Actually, I would go to Amador one evening for dinner while you're at the Radisson. It will save you $20+ in taxi fares and from the Radisson, it's not difficult to drive -- only one hairy traffic circle.) You might consider cutting one day out Panama City and adding another day to El Valle. I think you might enjoy it more.

And that leads to question C -- I much prefer El Valle ot Gamboa and Soberania. The weather is cooler and more refreshing in El Valle. Soberanía can sap your energy faster with the heat and humidity. The

hiking in El Valle -- particularly Sendero Gaital -- is more spectacular and offers great vistas. The advantage of Gamboa is the tours.

I hope this helps.

San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
118 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
12. Re: Panama 9 day itinerary

Thanks for the exhaustive response GB. I'm incorporating all of your suggestions into our itinerary except we may not be able to spend an extra night in El Valle having already booked the hotels. The Embera tour we are going on involves a 30-40 ride to Lake Alajuela where we will board a dugout canoe and visit the Embera Village, interact with the villagers and return in the afternoon.

13. Re: Panama 9 day itinerary

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 22 August 2014, 05:16