Coming soon: Panama and Colombia

posted in: Panama and Colombia 2023, Plans | 0

My first adventure of 2023, a visit to Panama and Colombia, is just over a week away.

I had planned to visit Colombia as part of my trip to Machu Picchu and the Galápagos last year. Overseas Adventure Travel had an optional post-trip extension to Colombia for that tour, and I signed up for it. But they canceled the extension. So I started looking for an opportunity to visit Colombia on my own. And now it’s about to happen!


I decided I really didn’t want to do Colombia independently. I figured it would be easier and more efficient to travel on a small group tour. So I did some research, and settled on this tour with Explore!. I like the itinerary, and I also like the company’s philosophy and approach to travel:

On our trips you’ll see a mix of famous sights and hidden gems that others miss, or don’t even know about. As travellers, we want to experience a country, not merely observe it. We’ll take you closer to the country, its culture and people, often in unscripted, spontaneous, impossible-to-replicate ways. You’ll come home having seen and experienced the country in a way that other travellers might never have.

…our commitment to sustainable travel means that trips are Gold Standard carbon offset and we work hard to ensure we have a positive impact on the communities we visit.

In addition, their group size averages about 12 travelers. I don’t know yet how many people will be on my tour to Colombia, nor anything about them. But I think 12 is the perfect size for a tour group. It’s enough so that you don’t feel stuck with the same people all the time, but not so many that the tours feel like you’re in a herd of cattle. 


When I started looking for airfares, I discovered Copa Airlines. They are based in Panama, and they offer a free Panama stopover on all itineraries. And they fly out of Guadalajara. So I decided to add a few days in Panama at the beginning of my trip.

Unfortunately, Copa doesn’t seem like the best of airlines. They have some pretty poor reviews. Their website is difficult to navigate, and a lot of functionality doesn’t seem to work properly. There doesn’t seem to be any way to book anything but basic economy. I called to ask about upgrading, but the cost was excessive. I was able to submit bids for upgrades, so we’ll see how that turns out.

Panama Road Trip Adventures

I’m going to stay in Panama City for four nights, but I don’t want to spend all my days there. So I did some more searching to find some tours outside the city.

I settled on a three-day tour package from Panama Road Trip Adventures. Although they do small group tours, they don’t have anyone else booked for the days I am going, so I had to pay a little more to do their tours as a solo traveler. But they have superb reviews, so I am hoping it turns out to be worth it.


Day OneDepart GDL 12:58 am
Arrive PTY 6:12 am
Free day in Panama City
La Concordia Boutique Hotel Casco Viejo
Day TwoPanama City and canal tourLa Concordia Boutique Hotel
Day ThreeEmberá Community visit
Chagres National Park
La Concordia Boutique Hotel
Day FourRainforest boat tour and jungle walkLa Concordia Boutique Hotel
Day FiveDepart PTY 11:55 am
Arrive BOG 1:34 pm
Hotel Casa Deco
Day SixBogotá city tour
Plaza de Mercado Paloquemao
La Candelaria
Museo Botero
Gold Museum
Cerro de Monserrate
Hotel Casa Deco
Day SevenFly BOG to AXM
Free time
Hacienda Combia
Day EightCorcora Valley
Hacienda Combia
Day NineCooking class with a Colombian chef
Coffee plantation visit
Hacienda Combia
Day TenFly AXM to MDE
Medellín city tour on foot and cable car
Hotel Poblado Plaza
Day ElevenFree day in MedellínHotel Poblado Plaza
Day TwelveDrive to Guatapé
Hike up La Piedra del Peñón
Yate Majestic dinner cruise
Hotel Santorini
Day ThirteenFly MDE to SMR
Free time in Santa Marta
Hotel Hukuméizi Palomino
Day FourteenTayrona National ParkHotel Hukuméizi
Day FifteenDrive to Cartagena
Free afternoon/evening
Hotel 3 Banderas
Day SixteenWalking tour of CartagenaHotel 3 Banderas
Day SeventeenDepart CTG 4:15 pm
Arrive PTY 5:39 pm
Depart PTY 6:40 pm
Arrive GDL 10:15 pm
Panama Canal
Salento, Colombia
El Peñón
Majestic Yacht on the lake at Guatapé
Tayrona National Park

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.