PANAMA CITY -- Panama is celebrating its 100th anniversary as an
independent nation, but the history and traditions of its
indigenous people predate the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in
the 16th century.
Preserving the traditions of today's indigenous communities --
at about 200,000 people, a significant number -- is important to
Panama's program of sustainable tourism. In keeping with this
effort, Ancon Expeditions introduced a nine-night escorted cultural
tour, the Panama Native Trail Program.
Guests visit communities in all corners of the country, from the
Highlands to Darien Peninsula, the Caribbean coast and off shore to
the San Blas Islands. Departures are scheduled for Aug. 15 and Dec.
Following an overnight in Panama City at the Hotel Executive, a
visit to the National Museum previews the cultures visitors will
encounter. Here are some highlights of the itinerary:
• In Chiriqui, meet with the chiefs of the Guaymi/Ngobe village
of Hato Chami, with an overnight stay in David.
• Fly to Changuinola in the province of Bocas del Toro; drive to
El Silencio; motor by dugout up the Teribe River to meet with the
king and elders of the Teribe/Naso community of Sieyic; and hike
forest trails with a Guaymi shaman. There is a two-night stay at
Ancon's Bocas Inn on Isla Colon.
• By charter plane, fly to the eastern province of Darien and
travel on the Mogue River to the Choco/Embera village; this culture
is noted for its traditional dances and handicrafts. The overnight
is at Ancon's lodge at Punta Patino.
• By charter plane, head for the San Blas Islands, home to the
most prosperous of the indigenous people, the Kuna Indians; visit
both the Achutupu and Ailigandi communities, traveling between the
two by dugout. Two nights are spent at the Dolphin Island
Priced at $1,995 per person, double, the program includes all
accommodations and most meals; all land, air and water
transportation within Panama; and the services of guides.
Rates are based on a minimum of two people (maximum of 12), so
this program can work for FIT clients on customized departure
dates. Native Trail programs and other tours are commissionable at
For information and reservations, contact Ancon Expeditions at
(011) 507 269-9415, e-mail [email protected] or visit the Web site at www.anconexpeditions.com.