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Panama: Tour highlights the country beyond the canal

The Panama Canal will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its opening on Aug. 15, but there’s much more to see in this often overlooked country than the impressive waterway.

Travelers on Collette’s nine-day Discover Panama tour will begin their journey with three nights at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, where their stay will include nature walks and a trip by dugout canoe to an Emberá village to learn about their indigenous culture.

Next is a two-night stay at Los Mandarinos Hotel, in the mountainous region of the Anton Valley. While there, guests will visit handicrafts markets, an orchid nursery, with more than 100 varieties, and El Nispero Zoo, home to animals native to Panama.

Following a day of leisure on the beaches of Playa Blanca, guests will explore Panama City and the Casco Antiguo, the Old Quarter, and the ruins of the oldest Spanish settlement on the Pacific, among other sites.

Another highlight of the trip is a partial transit cruise through the canal aboard the Pacific Queen, beginning at the north end of Gaillard Cut, which was carved through the Continental Divide, and pass through the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks.

Dates: Departures September through March 2015. Availability may be limited.
Price: From $1,699 per person, double occupancy. Includes 15 meals; airfare not included. 
Info: Collette, (800) 340-5158

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