Costa Rica & Panama Adventure | EF Ultimate Break

Costa Rica & Panama Adventure

14 Days  •  5 Cities //@ts-ignore//@ts-ignore 13

Why Go?

Two distinct countries. One amazing adventure. The good kind of adventure. Not the kind your friend claims you’re going to have but then you end up getting tacos. In Costa Rica, ride the rapids of the Sarapiqui River, get up close and personal with crocodiles, and kick back on the beach. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, you realize—there’s still Panama! You have a canal to see. The Emberá tribe to meet. And the Caribbean Sea to snorkel like a boss.

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What are the top highlights?

  • Ride the waves during a whitewater rafting adventure
  • Lounge on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches at Manuel Antonio State Park
  • Explore the biodiversity and wildlife of Costa Rica
  • Walk through the historic neighborhood of Casco Viejo
  • Visit the Emberá tribe, an indigenous group that has lived in Panama for centuries

Your trip includes

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers
  • Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
  • Private deluxe motorcoach
  • 13 nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
  • Daily breakfast, one lunch, and two dinners (including a three-course Farewell Dinner)
  • Guided sightseeing
  • Entrance to select attractions


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.


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.


Day 1: Arrive in Costa Rica

Wheels down in San Jose, the cultural and political capital of this vibrant, thriving nation. 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: Whitewater Raft the Sarapiqui River

Lazy rivers are soooo 2007. Start your adventure in Costa Rica with a whitewater rafting tour. As you travel on the Sarapiqui River and through the rainforest of the Arenal Region, get ready for views of exotic landscape and rare wildlife. The ride is as thrilling as it is wet.

Today's Highlights:

  • Learn the basics of whitewater rafting from local river guides.
  • Take on several different classes of rapids (1-3) over two hours of rafting.
  • Swim in the cool river water (by choice) during lulls in the action.
  • Have a riverside picnic comprised of fresh fruits, like pineapple and watermelon.

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!

Day 3: Travel to the Puntarenas Region

On to the Puntarenas region! En route, you’ll board a private boat for a cruise on the Tarcoles River. Keep an eye out for crocs (in your Crocs?). Afterward, the night is yours to unwind. Stop at a local bar for dinner and drinks, or turn in early.

Today's Highlights:

  • Enjoy the views as you cruise along the river with a local guide.
  • See wild crocodiles up close and personal.
  • Continue via bus to your accommodation in the Puntarenas region.
  • Hit up a local bar or restaurant and take in the live music.

Zipline Zoom(extra cost)

Get your adrenaline pumping; it’s zip line time! Follow the rainforest trail to reach 14 different platforms, then fly high above the ground at speeds over 60 mph. Pros and first-timers alike will appreciate the epic, action-packed run. Save the best run for last, as you fly the final kilometer on one massive line!

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

Day 4: Explore Manuel Antonio Park

Manuel Antonio Park is one of Costa Rica’s coastal treasures, and your next stop on this trip. Instead of park benches, there are beaches. Instead of jungle gyms, there are just jungles.

Today's Highlights:

  • Take a tour of Manuel Antonio's vast trail system with your Tour Director.
  • Soak up the sun at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
  • Spot two-toed sloths, monkeys, and birds.

Day 5: Travel to Boquete

Say adios to Costa Rica and hola to Panama as you make your way to Boquete. Until recently, Boquete was a sleepy, almost unknown village. Today, the area is the best known North American expat destination of the world thanks to its “eternal springtime.”

Today's Highlights:

  • Cross the border into Panama and enjoy the lush, tropical view as you head to Boquete.
  • Sit back and imagine retiring here (in about four...decades) and joining the current expats.
  • Bliss out as you look at the flowers blanketing the hills.

Day 6: Nature Walk Excursion & Dinner in Boquete

Nothing gets the blood pumping better than a morning hike. (No, that was not sarcasm.) It’ll be well worth that second cup of coffee when you get to see local wildlife, rivers, jungle, and other flora and fauna. At night, enjoy an included dinner at the Boquete Brewing Company. You’ve earned it.

Today's Highlights:

  • Keep an eye out for local wildlife during your hike.
  • Enjoy a pint or two at the Boquete Brewing Company.

Day 7: Travel to Chitré via Coffee Plantation

You’re bound for Chitré but not before visiting a coffee plantation and sampling some of Panama’s finest. Their geisha coffee is famous for its exceptional flavor and lack of bitterness, and its price tag proves it. It costs more than $170/pound! That cup o’ joe is more like a cup o’ Joseph Percival Reginald III. After figuring out if you’re shaking from the coffee or the dollar amount, keep your caffeinated-self going with a dinner and show.

Today's Highlights:

  • Tour a coffee plantation and see the process from bean to brew.
  • Perk up with samples of Panama's best kept secret.
  • Get the answer to the age old question: Is there more caffeine in dark or light roast?
  • Fill up with a traditional dinner and local folklore show.

Day 8: Chitré Artisanal Tour + Rum Tasting

Panama is more than the canal and Panama City. Today 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.

Today's Highlights:

  • Sample fresh loaves of La Arena's famous bread.
  • Ghost, Demi Moore-style as you learn how clay pottery is crafted.
  • See how salt is harvested from the ocean. For real.
  • Meet the people behind some of Panama's best creations.

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 9: Travel to Panama City via Anton Valley

Make your way to Panama City—the scenic way. Stop at Anton Valley, a town located in the large volcanic crater. Ahh, that fresh air smell. As you make your way to Panama City, enjoy a walking tour of Casco Viejo, the historic district of Panama City.

Today's Highlights:

  • Work those glutes during a brief hike in the Anton Valley.
  • Marvel at Mother Nature's personal shower (aka a waterfall).
  • Get to know Panama City with a quick walk around the area.
  • Fall in love with Casco Viejo, Panama's most charismatic neighborhood.

Day 10: Cruise Around the Canal and Tour Panama Viejo

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, visit Panama Viejo for a Tour Director-led guided tour. This historic barrio is the original site of Panama City before it was attacked by pirates in 1671. (Maybe you’ve heard of one of them? Captain Morgan?) At night, check out the Canal’s Miraflores locks.

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-day society.
  • Wander the ruins of Panama Viejo.
  • Watch ships get lowered and lifted to pass through the Miraflores Locks.

Day 11: 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.

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 12: Free Day + Snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea

Lucky you, a free day in Panama City. Take this time to explore more of the area. 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 exploring Panama.
  • Snorkel in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Visit 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 13: Explore Panama City on Your Own

Today is your day to do what you want. Seize it. Or not. It’s really up to you.

Today's Highlights:

  • Enjoy a day on your own to explore Panama City.
  • Walk along Cinta Costera, Panama's main drag.
  • Find a rooftop bar, grab a drink, and enjoy the view.

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

Free Time Suggestions
Wander more of Casco Viejo: Shop 'til you drop (or your credit card is declined) at the numerous stores. Be sure to stop in at the plethora of bars and cafes for more coffee and local drinks. Bonus points if you find the staff favorites (hint: one has swings for bar seats).
BioMuseo & Calzada de Amador: Check out the Biodiversity Museum in Panama City designed by world renowned Frank Gehry. Learn about biodiversity in Panama (warning: you’ll come away from the experience a tree-hugger). Then take in the views and stop for food as you walk down the Amador Causeway to the Causeway Islands.

Day 14: 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?



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.

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