Overview & Highlights
A relaxing holiday exploring by car the sunlit beaches of Panama’s undeveloped Pacific coast with inroads into the mountainous hinterland in search of wildlife and outdoor adventures.
With its laid-back, peaceful ambience, sunny weather and genial people, Panama is an increasingly popular destination for visitors who want to widen their horizons beyond the capital city and the Canal. It’s easy to see why - there’s a string of natural and cultural delights studding the mostly flawless Pacific coastline and its hinterland of cloud forest-clad mountains.
But what’s the best way to explore them? The charm of these highlights is enhanced by their feeling of remoteness, but they are in fact easily accessed by an expanding network of blissfully smooth highways and virtually vehicle-free paved rural roads. So we are excited by our new self-drive holiday, devised to guide you to discover our best-loved spots in Panama and rest up at a few of our favourite hotels and lodges.
Driving is utterly pleasurable and mostly easy-going as you cruise along an innovative route we’ve devised from first-hand experience. Armed with Wifi, your map and plenty of advice and tips exclusive to Journey Latin America, you will progress at a leisurely pace with plenty of opportunities to stop and discover hidden corners of this amiable country.
Transfer to your hotel in the historic centre of Panama City, Casco Viejo.
Guided tour of the Panama Canal and Casco Viejo
Collect your hire car and drive to El Valle de Anton.
Drive from El Valle to Chitre on the Azuero Peninsula.
Drive from Chitre to Playa Venao via Pese and Pedasi
At leisure in Playa Venao.
Drive from Playa Venao to Boca Chica via Sona and Puerto Vidal.
At leisure on Boca Brava Island.
Further opportunities to explore Boca Brava.
Drive from Boca Chica to Boquete via Cerro Punta.
At leisure in the Boquete area.
Drive from Boquete to David, drop off car. Fly back to Panama City.
Guided boat tour on Gatún lake; transfer to the airport for your international flight.
Things to do
We proudly offer the widest range of activities, excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences across all our destinations, tried and tested personally by our travel experts.
Browse our unrivalled portfolio of accommodation . Every option has been carefully chosen by our team of travel experts, so you can rest assured that you’ll relax in utter comfort.
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
The whole trip was memorable - it's impossible to pick just one part. The Cuban people I met were friendly and warm - it was good to practice my Spanish, and their love of music and dance, and care for each other is an example for us all.LA, London
"This is my fourth JLA trip and it was as fulfilling and enjoyable as the earlier ones. You run an excellent organisation-and I commend and thank you. I will be back!!"AM, London
Cuba is a fascinating country and JLA have pulled together a fantastic trip with excellent local guides. It exceeded my expectations and I do hope to return one day.AES, Eastbourne
The train journey from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu was amazing - the landscape was breathtaking, and the tour leader explained so much to us on the way.DC, Pinner
The whole trip was well-organised allowing our group to maximise the time we had in beautiful Peru. We covered a large distance, but the pace was just right, and the accommodation was excellent. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
As a long-term confirmed do-it-yourself traveller, the smoothness and ease of this tour converted me. I loved the parts of South America that I saw, and would like to see more. I will certainly travel with JLA again, though I will attempt to link up with tours led by my tour leader whose expertise I grew to trust completely, and who was great fun. I just haven't decided yet where I will go next.AC, Derry
Jam packed itinerary with so many great places and sights in such a short time! Iguacu Falls, Rio, La Paz, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu- it really had it all. We had a great tour guide; informative, knowledgeable and extremely personable, with a wealth of knowledge and a genuine passion for South America. Logistics were seamless- first time travelling to South America, first time travelling solo- highly recommend it!LM, London
This is the third year that we have travelled with JLA and each time it was very well organised from start to finish. We have had three brilliant trips.JH, Radstock
"It was a magical experience, a well organized trip that gave me piece of mind, which is what a holiday should be. Well done Journey Latin America."LM, Arbroath
Machu Picchu was the ultimate climax at the end of the tour & definitely best to see it lastly. However all the previous places, people & food all definitely contributed hugely to a truly memorable trip - a visit to Peru with the preceding visits made the whole adventure far more meaningful & pleasurable.EA, London
The Iguazu Falls were awesome. We enjoyed all the places we visited. I was recommended JLA from someone who had used them before. We were not disappointed. We have had a really good time, seen so much and had the best tour leader. I am certainly going to use them again, and really hope we have Max again. Thank you JLA.CG, Stevenage
Thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Colombia, which was very well organised by JLA.RW, London
JLA already has a good reputation and we were certainly impressed by the management of this tour.AF, Altrincham
The overall Pato Andino experience was truly fantastic, the sheer number of breath taking sights to marvel at was incredible. Too many [memorable moments] to list but if I had to name one then seeing Laguna Blanca as it was the first breath taking sight of the trip for me and it wasn't just the altitude.AB, Chesterfield
“Everything, from the planning, through to the actual journey, was excellently arranged. All connections were smooth and punctual and there was detailed information disseminated at every stage.”DH, Tufnell Park
An extremely memorable trip, well organised, with knowledgeable and passionate guides. I'm so lucky to have had this great experience and not to have had the worry of organising it!JB, Bristol
Most memorable moment was sailing down the Baker River and then ziplining over it! Gonzalo our driver was one of the best, acting not only as a driver but also as a friend. The tour leader, is one of the best tour leaders I have encountered through my travels with various companies.AF, Enniskillen
"This holiday far exceeded our expectations and was truly a once in a lifetime experience!"CD, Plymouth
The day we visiting the Frida Kahlo and Trotsky museums and also the canal. As well as all the wonderful pyramids and the Copper Canyon extension were among my highlights. We were very impressed with our first experience of travelling with JLA. We have been to several Central and South American countries before and had underestimated the impact that Mexico would have on us. It had such a variety of experiences to offer, the colour, the music, the many different and dramatic archeological sites and political history. The ethnic mix added to the diversity and the people were all a delight to meet. JLA allowed us to experience this in its selection of places, accommodation, excursions and especially the tour leader.JD, Buxton
The whole holiday was full of memorable moments. I loved walking around quirky Valparaiso with it's colourful houses and graffiti, the scenery in the Atacama, seeing the Milky Way there at night, the Tatio Geysers at sunrise, seeing Orsono emerge from the clouds in Puerto Varas, Torres del Paine Massif and the changing sky and clouds there. Watching Chilean Gauchos seen close up herding sheep on the road back to Punta Arenas. Realising you are looking at the Magellan Straits with views of Tierra del Fuego in the background when you'd learnt about it in 'O' level geography 50 years ago and were finally there! The wonderful Andean Lakes Crossing from Puerto Varas to Bariloche and the gift of perfect weather during the crossing with cloudless skies and sunshine all the way. The views at Bariloche and walking around Buenos Aires, the Casa Rosada and Eva Peron's burial place and just the street life in general. And also the lovely, hospitable, polite, friendly Chilean locals, always ready to help. Just a brilliant holiday.SLH, Poulton-le-Fylde
So many memorable moments on this tour but watching the sunset and enjoying the independence day parades in Cartegena were particularly special and playing the traditional Colombian game of tejo was great fun.HP, Richmond
So many highlights it's difficult to say! The routing was excellent both in terms of acclimatising to the altitude and building to the grand finale at Machu Picchu.CA, Brighton
Our most memorable moments were the views in Rio, the Iguassu Falls, the initial impressions of La Paz, Copacabana and Puno (especially the hotel in Puno with its views of the Lake), the Andean Explorer and Sacred Valley train journeys and the magnificence of the Andes and Macchu Picchu.MH, Sherborne
Excellent professional service both before and during the holiday. Would certainly recommend Journey Latin America as a company to discover South America with.EW, Weston-Super-Mare
The Central American trip was excellent - really interesting to see the contrast in the countries. Could have spent longer in each country, but then that would have made the trip much longer!PG, Winchester
Most memorable experience? - Boat trip at Tortuguero. Watching a falcon catch and eat a snake! Seeing Honduran White tent-building bats roosting under a Heliconium leaf.ST, York
A superb holiday for those with an interest in wildlife and environment. It is intense, but this results in a highly rewarding experience. The whole holiday was greatly enhanced by having a single guide throughout, who had extensive local knowledge and experience.
Though I've travelled a fair bit in Central and South America, this was a very different experience and so was memorable throughout for that difference. Other trips have focused on Mayan and Incan civilisations, on Spanish Colonial cities and towns and this trip was much more about the scenery and wildlife. The cities were vibrant and very European in feel without much evidence of colonialism. The skies were huge, the scenery spectacular, and the wildlife a joy.CG, Hexham
Cuba is a very diverse country and fulfilled our expectations. Parakeet is an adventure rather than a holiday so go with an open mind and immerse your self in the Cuban way. Colour, music and smiles more than make up for what some people may find frustrating if comparing Cuba to life in the UK.GW, BIrmingham
We were extremely satisfied with our Sandpiper Journey which provided us with a broad view of the Countries visited and the cultures, history, wild life etc. All in all, a great experience and a wonderful holiday.PH, Farnham
This tour is an excellent introduction to Brazil and will appeal to anyone with an interest in wildlife and landscapes. In the Pantanal, there are excellent chances to get quite close to many birds, mammals and reptiles. But having an armadillo sit on my foot at dinner was quite a surprise.KM, Basingstoke
Iguazu Falls - awe inspiring Paraty - beautiful restful place Bariloche - incredible scenery with an excellent local guide, perhaps the best we had, so enthusiastic and interested in us. Rio - The guide who had designed The Favela Trip was very, very interesting and appeared so genuine.JK, Liversedge
Tailor made holiday
Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for 40 years. We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Inspired by this trip
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.