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.
Every day was a highlight - loved the train from Puno to Cusco, and then there is Machu Picchu.RK, Dorchester
Would be wrong to say a most memorable. Everyday was amazing. Machu Picchu was my fave. That's because I've always wanted to go there. 100's of memories all good. From places to even just having dinner with the group. Had some one in a million moments.SW, Crewe
BM, Milton Keynes
Overall an excellent trip with many wonderful memories, lived up to all expectations.
I found the trip most enjoyable and very thoughtfully arranged to maximise our experience - I have no complaints at all about the trip and found it extremely enjoyable. Our Guide was excellent - very friendly and informative and looked after us all very well. Overall an extremely enjoyable holiday.CW, Newcastle
We have toured the USA, Europe and China before but the experience we had with JLA was the by far and away the best we've ever had!PD, Stockport
This great holiday was definitely made greater by the tour leader. Of course a small group travel made it possible to view more places.RR, Bolton
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
Thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Colombia, which was very well organised by JLA.RW, London
The whole trip was excellent and the tour leaders knowledge and personality enhanced it.VH, Torpoint
All of it! Aisen is visually stunning and unforgettable. The whole thing was a great adventure we will never forget and we loved the cities as well.TO, Loughton
If anything, Tropicbird was undersold: it is a vibrant, colourful & exhilarating tour. It would appeal to those who visited and loved countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos, as well as South America, for their people's capacity for optimism, looking forward, valuing their heritage and welcoming curious travellers, regardless of the ravages of recent wars or current poverty. Just go!!FP, Edinburgh
It was our first experience of small group travel, and although on balance we prefer independant travel, to cover as many countries as we did, we couldn t have done it on our own!CS, Seaford
“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
Amazing itinerary. Great group that bonded well and the best tour leader. All the places made it a memorable holiday. Machu Picchu, the train from Puno to Cusco and the flight of the condors added even more.DP, Hinckley
Amazing trip, fab group, experienced guide and definitely value for money. Would highly recommend.AB, London
Overall it was a wonderful trip with an exceptional tour leader assisted by excellent local guides and drivers. We left with memories that will last a lifetime.GC, Fortrose
The tour leader was excellent as was the whole experience, especially the exciting optional excursions, kayaking, horse riding, zip linings, snorkelling and many interesting walks.MG, Glasgow
A well planned trip covering all the highlights we wanted to see.
A great trip, thoroughly enjoyed by a good group (of 8) that gelled well. We saw so much, did so much and and our expectations were well exceeded.GP, Woking
The Alcion Tour is a an excellent trip to take if you want to travel to the less travelled countries in Central America. The tour covers all the essential sites but it is the colours and flavours of the cities and towns you visit and the warmth and kindness of the people, particularly in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras, that really make this a wonderful trip. There are some long journeys but it is a real opportunity to see life as it is lived by the locals. Visit beautiful islands, see amazing wildlife, try fabulous local food and enjoy these wonderful countries. It's an adventure and an experience.CP, London
Seeing South America (Chile and Argentina) with JLA was great....a fun group and it was a wonderful way to see the best sights in some astonishing places. The people we met were great, food was excellent and some of the views!PR, Cardiff
We enjoyed all our excursions. Rio was a great start. The views from the Sugar Loaf were quite spectacular. Likewise the trips at both sides of the Iguazu Falls provided stunning scenery and of course Machu Picchu which even surpassed our epectations. Our first optional excursion was fascinating - up Corcovado. We also thoroughly enjoyed our helicopter trip over the falls, and the day trip to Potosi - a different and very interesting trip with lots to see.We also enjoyed visiting Moon Valley with its varied and interesting formations and in contrast going in to Lima. Every trip was worthwhile and enjoyable.JR, Swansea
Really it was the whole experience. A well-organised trip with lots of interesting things to see and do with people we got on well with and a knowledgeable,friendly,helpful guide.
It is an itinerary which covers different environments and allows interaction with the wonderful Colombian people plus time to see what is in each place.BD, Hartlepool
It was a very memorable and exciting holiday. As well as the magnificent scenery, I was bowled over by the birds, animals and flowers. Compared to Europe, it felt very unspoilt and unpopulated.KM, Edinburgh
Overall the Tangara trip was well structured, if a little hectic moving on every two nights. It achieved its main objectives and we saw fascinating parts of South America that we had long wanted to see. Our guide, was most assiduous, knew the area very well and eased our path considerably. The highlights for us on Tangara were i) The trip to Chiloe, particularly with the services of an excellent nature guide, ii) the visit to Iguazu, iii) Buenos Aries, and iv) of course Rio de Janeiro.TE, Cirencester
The first view of Machu Picchu from the watchman's tower, the view from El Alto overlooking La Paz and surrounding mountains and the Iguazu Falls will remain with me always. Also very pleased with the standard of accommodation.
Overall this was the most interesting and varied holiday I have ever been on and was a superb introduction to what was, for me, a new area of the world.PM, Motherwell
There were many wonderful memories. Iguacu was amazing and Machu Picchu was intriguing. Landscapes were fascinating & the people were friendly. Lovely to see the colourful costumes & markets.JP, Nottingham
Great experience from JLA from start to end.JD, Bristol
I had a brilliant trip. The experiences were varied the people great company and the tour leader exceptional. What’s not to love!HL, Newcastle
For me, the Uros Reed Islands. I loved it. The Islands, the boat trip, the people. Incredible. Loved seeing the condors. Loved Cusco and Areequipa. Loved the cable cars. Loved Lake Titicaca. Loved the Sacred Valley. Loved Ollantaytambo.CS, Winscombe
The boat trip to the base of the Iguacu falls Argentinian side was exhilarating and awesome. The visit to Machu Pichu was even more impressive than we expected - our optional walk to the Inca bridge in the late afternoon was unforgettable.HJ, Potters Bar
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.
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.
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
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.
Evie Oswald - Travel Expert
It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
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.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.