Carnival in Panama | EF Ultimate Break

Explore Panama & Carnival

10 Days  •  2 Cities //@ts-ignore//@ts-ignore 2

Why Go?

One word: Carnival! This four-day festival has an energy that can’t stop won’t stop and is more than your typical corndogs and Ferris wheels. As one of the biggest Carnival celebrations in the world (watch your back, Rio!), Panama’s your chance to grab a squirt gun, put on a pollera dress and join the festivities. And just when you thought life in Panama couldn’t get any better, you still have canals to see, the Emberá tribe to meet, and some rum to try.

What are the top highlights?

  • Party your mask off during Carnival
  • Walk through the charming Casco Viejo neighborhood
  • Visit the Emberá tribe, an indigenous group that has lived in Panama for centuries
  • Feel way underdressed at the Pollera parade
  • Ride the waves during a boat tour around Gatun Lake

Your trip includes

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers
  • Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
  • Private deluxe motorcoach
  • 9 nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
  • Daily breakfast & three dinners (including a three-course Farewell Dinner)

Accommodations

You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.


Click **here **for examples of where you'll stay.

Flights

Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:


  • Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
  • Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
  • Flights are booked with major airlines
  • 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
  • One checked bag included on most flights
  • Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure

Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.

Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Panama

Wheels down in Panama-ah-ah-ah. Typically, you’ll be arriving in the afternoon or evening.


Today's Highlights:


  • Meet an EF representative at the airport.
  • Transfer to your accommodation and check in.
  • Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
  • Meet the other travelers as they arrive.

Day 2: Explore Panama City

Welcome to Panama, the can’t-miss isthmus connecting Central and South America together. Panama is known for its little ol’ canal, but has more to experience than you can ever imagine.


Today's Highlights:


  • Get acquainted with Panama City during a Tour Director-led city walk.
  • Walk through the Casco Viejo barrio and keep your head up as you check out the colorful architecture.
  • Marvel at the Metropolitan Cathedral, one of the largest churches in Central America.

In the evening, it's time for our Welcome Mixer. Enjoy appetizers and drinks with your new friends and travelers. Afterwards, you’re free to take the party elsewhere!


Free Time Suggestions
Raise a glass: Geisha coffee is one of the most premium coffees in the world (re: expensive). At $170 per pound, it’ll make your $5.50 half-caf three shot caramel macchiato look like a steal. But it’s what Panama is known for. Try a cup while you’re here and taste the difference.
Cevich-eh?: Follow your nose to Cinta Costera, Panama City’s main drag, where the fish market is located. Enjoy freshly caught seafood, especially the locally prepared ceviche.

Day 3: Visit the Emberá Village

Long before Panama and Colombia were countries, the Emberá tribe was making these areas home. As the world, and countries, continues to change, they’ve managed to keep their culture, traditions, and lifestyle intact.


Today's Highlights:


  • Ride a canoe into the forest to visit the Emberá Village.
  • Sway those hips as you listen to traditional Emberá music.
  • Hike with one of the villagers to learn about the area's medicinal plants.
  • Learn about the Emberá culture and traditions and how the tribe lives.

Day 4: Travel to Chitré + Rum Tasting Tour

You’re off to Chitré, one of Panama’s oldest settlements and the capital of the Panamanian province of Herrera.


Today's Highlights:


  • Visit one of the oldest settlements in Panama.
  • Enjoy free time to hang out and do what you want.
  • Go shopping at one of the many stores that adorn the streets and are filled with local goodies.
  • Walk around the area and familiarize yourself with the neighborhood.

Free Time Suggestions
Head to Herrera: At the Museo de Herrera, an anthropology and natural history museum, discover well-preserved pieces of Panama from 5000 BC. It’s a small museum, with signs only in Spanish, but who goes to a museum to read? It’s all about the artifacts.
***Forgive In:***Simple. Wooden. Gold. Visit the impressive Catedral de San Juan Bautista in Chitré. Unlike most churches of its time, this 18th-century cathedral is striking and known for its simplicity, not its bling.

Rum Wit' It(extra cost)

Sugar is sweet and when it’s used to make rum—yum. Visit one of Panama’s best rum distilleries. Learn how rum goes from the sugar cane fields to the bodegas to your mouth. Then, it’s time for the samples. Yes, samples. Plural. Pace yourself, because your tour ends with 45 minutes of open bar time. Afterwards, enjoy the rest of your day exploring Chitre.


Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 5: Enjoy a Chitré Artisanal Tour

Panama is more than the canal and Panama City. Today you’ll meet some Chitré locals who’re making a number of traditional goods, including sugarcane, salt, clay, and bread. It’s a feast for your eyes and your stomach. Not to mention, the perfect place to get souvenirs for your friends and family who always claim you never bring them anything. After you’re done shopping, enjoy dinner and a show.


Today's Highlights:


  • Sample fresh loaves of La Arena's famous bread.
  • Ghost, Demi Moore-style, as you learn how clay potter is crafted.
  • Discover how salt is harvested from the ocean. For real.
  • Meet the people behind some of Panama's best creations.
  • Fill up with a traditional dinner and local folklore show.

Day 6: Travel to Panama City via Anton Valley...and Carnival!

You have Carnival to get to. And we’ll get you there—the scenic way. As you head back to Panama City for the start of the celebrations, stop at Anton Valley for a quick hike. Now that you’ve got your exercise in, it’s time for Carnival. Upon arriving in Panama City, your Tour Director will take you on a tour around the grounds and will tell you everything you need to know about the festival.


Today's Highlights:


  • Hike Anton Valley and visit a waterfall.
  • Eat lunch on your own at one of the town's best restaurants.
  • Take in the many Carnival musical performances, from reggae to salsa to Panama folkloric.
  • Wear your perfect Carnival mask.
  • Cool off—by fire hose, water balloon, or squirt gun. That's "mojadera."

Day 7: Parade On + Optional Seafood Sampler Excursion

The morning is yours to rest up from the previous night. In the afternoon, your Tour Director will take you to the Pollera dress parade, celebrating the traditional dress of the Panamanian woman. Dozens of colorful designs for this costume are on display.


Today's Highlights:


  • See thousands of women dressed in Panama’s national costume walking along the Cinta Costera.
  • Try on a pollera yourself and join the festivities.
  • Check out the performances you missed from the day before.
  • Chow down on seafood and beer during the optional excursion.

Surf and Suds(extra cost)

You name the seafood, Panama City’s Mercado de Mariscos has it. And you’ll be able to smell it. Which makes sense, since Mercado de Mariscos is Spanish for Seafood Market. On this tour, you’ll sample some of the freshest ceviche in the least fancy, but most authentic, way—out of a Styrofoam cup. Enjoy your samples with a local Panama beer or three, but don’t fill up just yet. After learning about Panama’s coastline creatures from a local expert, you’re heading to the Casco Viejo area for a three-course dinner and samples of locally-brewed beer. Cap the night off with rooftop drinks, and toast to a delicious day.


Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 8: Free Day + Snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea

Out of the four days of Carnival, today’s the most chill. Which simply means there’s no massive parade. There’s still partygoers enjoying the energy and atmosphere of Carnival. And you can be one of them. Or, head to the beach and snorkel in the Caribbean Sea and tour the Portobelo Ruins. (No, they’re not ancient mushrooms.)


Today's Highlights:


  • Enjoy a free day to continue parading on your own.
  • Snorkel in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Experience the Caribbean side of Panama.
  • Visit the Portobelo Ruins, an old port that supported and supplied the Spanish silver and gold trade from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Snorkelers of the Caribbean(extra cost)

Sun. Sand. Reefs. Ruins. Head toward the Caribbean side of Panama for a day of snorkeling. With an AfroCarribean feel, this area’s distinctive feel is one you won’t experience in Panama City. Start the day on the beach—feeling the sand between your toes, enjoying the sun, and splashing around in the water. Then, go on a boat where you’ll snorkel along the coral reefs, checking out the marine life living below. After splashing around, visit the Portobello ruins and visit the church with black Jesus. It’s a hard day’s worth of activity. But someone has to do it. Why not you?


Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 9: Celebrate the End of Carnival

Today, you’ll take a boat tour around Gatun Lake. If you’re not too busy spotting monkeys and cargo ships, you’ll realize you’re in the Panama Canal system. Afterwards, your Tour Director will take you to the Carnival’s closing parade. Wipe those tears away. This is a celebration! With the biggest, craziest, wildest festivities of all four days to be precise.


Today's Highlights:


  • Take a cruise around Gatun Lake, the largest human-made lake at the time it was formed.
  • Learn about the Panama Canal and its significance in modern society.
  • Celebrate Shrove Tuesday aka Fat Tuesday aka the end of Carnival.
  • Socialize with visitors and Panamanians alike as you take in the final performances.

At the included farewell dinner share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears).

Day 10: Fly Home

¡Adiós, amigos!
Translation: Goodbye, friends. Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?


–OR–


EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS


1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.


2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.


Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.

No reviews (yet) for this awesome trip

Select a date to see prices

Flights from

Stress-free Booking You have 48 hours to cancel and receive a full refund. You can also switch trips up to 99 days before you leave.

In a sorority or fraternity?

Wanna travel for free?

back to top