In the past, our study abroad to look at agricultural issues in another country has gone to Belize. This year, however, is the first year that we are heading to Panama! During the week of spring break, our students and faculty will fly to Panama to observe the agricultural operations there and get to experience, first-hand, some of the history of the country. During the trip, participants will visit the Panama Canal, eat at some of the local restaurants, and study the culture in an immersive experience. Below is a detailed itinerary.
Friday, March 2
Arrive in Panama City
From Panama City's Tocumen International Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel overlooking the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal for in-country orientation. The hotel's location allows you to see the ships passing through the waterways of the Canal and the Bridge of the Americas.
Saturday, March 3
Experience a partial Canal transit
You will start on the Pacific entrance of the Canal and travel through all three historic locks, Bridge of the Americas, Centennial Bridge, Gatun Lake, and the famous Galliard Cut that was excavated through the Continental Divide. Emphasis on the original Canal construction and future locks will be presented. This is a full day journey that provides an interesting perspective on history as you transit this Eighth Wonder of the World.
Sunday, March 4
City tour, Miraflores Locks, Canal Musuem and wildlife viewing
In the morning, you will be picked up for a day tour of the Panama Canal corridor. Together, we will drive to the Miraflores Locks to visit the Canal Museum and watch ships transit the locks. Afterwards, we will travel to Gamboa to board a boat. You may see crocodiles, lizards, monkeys, sloths, birds and other native species in the area. The remainder of the afternoon will be spent on a walking tour of the winding cobbleston streets and enjoying the colonial architecture of the old city, Casco Viejo.
Monday, March 5
Travel west for visits to a poultry farm and pineapple plantation
On this day, we will visit a 500+ acre pineapple plantation, seeing the entire process from planting, harvesting and packaging the fruit. Later, we will visit a small-scale organic poultry farm. We will taste Panama's national soup, Sancocho, made from scratch. Jesus, the owner of the farm, also grows organic yams, otoes, vegetables and microgreens. The evening will be spent at your hotel in Playa Blanca, enjoying the pool or beach, or choosing to relax in another form.
Tuesday, March 6
Farm visits (sugarcane, cashews and cigars)
We will depart Playa Blanca and head toward the popular mountain town of Boquete. We will visit a multitude of agricultural staples of the Cocle province of Panama.
Wednesday, March 7
Coffee and medicinal plant viewings
In the morning we will depart Boquete (rated one of the top 5 retiree destinations in the world!) and head to a small local farm. We will see medicinal gardens, a traditional baking house and a solar drying system for fruits and vegetables. We will visit a coffee plantation that will hopefully illustrate why the terraced fields of Panama are geographically favorable to produce some of the finest beans.
Thursday, March 8
Choose your own adventure on this day, at your own cost. You are free to remain at the resort and relax, or purchase a different excursion such as ziplining, birdwatching, hot springs, hiking, etc. These opportunities are subject to change based on availability.
Friday, March 9
Cerro Punta, "The Breadbasket of Panama"
Today we will leave Boquete and travel to the town of Cerro Punta, the breadbasket of Panama. We will see great views of the mountains and travel through the dairy industry of Bugaba. We will visit a renowned horse farm and see one of the world's largest orchid collections. This evening, we will enjoy a farewell dinner in one of the popular restaurants in town.
Saturday, March 10
After breakfast, we will travel to the David airport for our return flight to Panama City and onward flight back to the United States.
*This itinerary is subject to change without prior approval. Please note that if a last minute cancellation occurs, a replacement technical visit of equal value will be arranged.