Trek the Camino Real - 8 Days
Centuries before construction began on the Panama Railroad and Canal, the 'path between the seas' was just that: a Spanish-built cobblestone thoroughfare winding 50 miles across the Central American isthmus. You can now follow in their footsteps, hiking the Camino Real through the rainforest of Chagres Park. This is true adventure! You'll tent camp for three nights, and spend one night in an Embera Indian village, culminating at the Caribbean sea.
Fewer than 100 people have made this crossing in modern days.
JB Journeys staff made this historic crossing in July of 2012. Ask us about it!
2014 - Jan 11-18 / Feb 22 - Mar 1 / Apr 19-26 / Jul 5-12 / Jul 26-Aug 2 (PRIVATE), Aug 2-9
2014 - Price per person in double occupancy: $1600.00
Single Supplement: $170
To above prices, add 7% tax
Minimum 4 persons
- 7 Nights Lodging
- All land and water transportation within Panama
- All airport/hotel transfers on scheduled arrival/departure dates
- 19 meals as specified in the itinerary (B - breakfast; L - lunch; D - dinner)
- Camping gear (tents and eating utensils)
- Entrance fees
- Porter fees
- Guide's services and expenses top
- International airfare
- Meals not specified in the itinerary
- Alcoholic beverages
- Personal equipment
- Extras in hotels (laundry, telephone calls, room service, etc.)
- Moderate - Difficult. Expect full day treks of 5 to 7 hours per day over muddy, steep, slippery slopes. There will be exposure to variable climatic conditions.
- Plan for rugged traveling conditions and overnights in tents.
- You are responsible for carrying your own pack during the trek and suggest a maximum weight of 15 lbs. Porters will carry the supplies and equipment for meals and camp, and will set up camp each day.
- Any excess luggage you may have which is not used for this part of your travels can be stored in Panama City until you are ready to pick it up.
A Cross Continental Hike on the Camino Real - Full Itinerary
Day 1 ARRIVE TO PANAMA
On arrival to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City you will be greeted by a representative of JB Journeys™ and transferred to your hotel. Tonight you will meet with the Expedition Leader and the rest of the trip participants. Night at LA ESTANCIA B & B (or similar)
Day 2 HISTORIC PANAMA CITY - EMBERA VILLAGE
Your morning begins with a thorough inspection of equipment for the hike on the Camino Real. Afterwards, visit the ruins of Old Panama City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which holds historical relevance to the area that you will explore in the upcoming days. Early afternoon drive to Madden Lake, where you board motorized dug-out canoes en route to an Embera village to spend the night. You are greeted by dances and sounds of the Embera people, who are proud to share their culture and heritage with visitors. This is a good opportunity to purchase fine handicrafts directly from the artists. Night at EMBERA VILLAGE in screened tents. (B, L, D)
Days 3 - 5 CHAGRES NATIONAL PARK - CAMINO REAL
You will continue the adventure on foot within Chagres National Park. The park was created in 1985 to protect 320,000 acres of rainforests as part of Panama's conservation strategy and to conserve the watershed which provides over 50% of the fresh water needed for the operation of the Panama Canal, as well as the drinking water for the two largest cities in the country.
You will see remnants of the Camino Real (King's Road) used by the Spanish in the 1500s-1700s and vestiges of late 1800s manganese mines, including railroad tracks and locomotives overtaken by tropical vegetation.
Chagres National Park is also home to endangered species such as jaguars, mantled howler monkeys and anteaters, as well as a bird sanctuary for more than 560 species, including the Harpy Eagle -- the largest eagle in the world and Panama's national bird. Most of this trek will take place through mature primary rainforest. You cross the watershed divide of the Boqueron River as you head north toward the Caribbean Sea.
3 nights in TENT CAMPS (B, L, D)
Day 6 PORTOBELO
After four days of trekking, you finally reach reach the road which where a vehicle will transfer you to Portobelo, the final destination of the Camino Real on the Caribbean Sea.
Set on a deepwater bay deemed easier to defend from the ravages of pirates, Portobelo was heavily fortified and for 150 years played host to the famous trade fairs, when the Spanish treasure fleet came to collect the riches that traveled across the isthmus on mule trains from Panama City and to leave merchandise brought from Seville for distribution throughout the Americas. Unsurprisingly, the wealth concentrated in the royal warehouses here was an irresistible target for the pirates who scoured the Spanish Main. Night in waterfront lodge in Portobelo (B, L,D) top
Day 7 BAY OF PORTOBELO - PANAMA CITY
This morning enjoy swimming in the Caribbean Sea. In the afternoon you will drive to Colon to catch the train back to Panama City. The Panama Railway was inaugurated in 1856 and was the first train to cross the continent from one ocean to the other. It is one of the great train rides of the world. The train follows a picturesque path across the Isthmus of Panama. The line flanks the Panama Canal passing through lush rainforests, cruising alongside the Canal’s locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut and gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake.
A farewell dinner by the Bay of Panama on the Pacific side is prepared for this evening. Night at the LA ESTANCIA B&B (or similar) (B, L, D)
Day 8 RETURN HOME
Today you are picked up at the lobby of the hotel 2.5 hours prior to your scheduled departure flight and transferred to Tocumen International Airport. (B)
Why not consider a Panama Canal Transit before or after the tour?
TRIP CLASSIFICATION: Moderate - High. Expect full day treks of 5 to 7 hours per day over muddy, steep, slippery slopes. There will be exposure to variable climatic conditions. Plan for rugged traveling conditions and overnights in tents.
You are responsible for carrying your own pack during the trek and suggest a maximum weight of 15 lbs. Porters will carry the supplies and equipment for meals and camp, and will set up camp each day. Any excess luggage you may have which is not used for this part of your travels can be stored in Panama City until you are ready to pick it up.
NOTE: Travel within Chagres National Park is accomplished with great preparation on the part of the staff in order to make guests as safe and comfortable as possible. Potential guests are expected to make themselves aware of the nature and demands of this trip and prudently judge whether or not they are suited for this type of experience. A desire to experience the outdoors, a spirit of adventure, and willingness to sacrifice creature comforts are essential qualifications. Participants should be physically fit and able to hike at a moderate pace for up to eight hours in a day. Medical limitations and concerns should be brought to the attention of Panama Boutique™ and its agents in Panama several weeks prior to the program's departure date.
EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST: Binoculars (preferably 7x35 or bigger), camera with extra batteries, flashlight with extra bulb & batteries, bathing suit, insect repellant, sunscreen, hat, day pack, water bottle, light-weight/quick dry cotton clothes, windbreaker, sandals, hiking boots (jungle boots preferred), sleeping mat, rain gear, money in small denominations, toiletries & personal medications.
People have asked about sleeping bags, which we do not recommend for the tropics. We do suggest you bring a sleeping mat and cover as well as a pillow. top