Rainforest Explorers: The Best of Panama With Your Grandchild

Search for tropical wildlife alongside your grandchild in Panama while also meeting members of an indigenous tribe, venturing through the jungle and voyaging part of the canal together.
Program No. 23614RJ
10 days
Starts at
3,349 / ADULT
2,799 / CHILD
Flights start at

At a Glance

Did you know that Panama has over 975 different bird species, more than the U.S. and Canada combined? And that’s just one reason why this awesome country is perfect for every wildlife lover. On this exciting adventure with your grandchild, journey into the jungle and rainforest to search for awesome animals like sloths, monkeys and iguanas. Along the way, get a temporary tattoo from an indigenous tribe, learn cool pirate history and spot marine life through your snorkeling mask as you make lifelong memories in this tropical paradise.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three miles daily over uneven terrain; getting in and out of canoes/kayaks/motorboats; ascending/descending an 86-step canopy tower; snorkeling; some city walking and intermittent standing.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Experience a partial transit through the legendary Panama Canal and search for wildlife as you pass through its many lakes and locks.
  • Take your learning nice and slow at a sloth sanctuary where you’ll get up close and personal to these gentle creatures.
  • Enjoy a boat ride to an Emberá village – one of seven local indigenous tribes – to play fun games and learn about their traditions.

General Notes

Program is intended for grandparents and grandchildren ages 9-12 & 13-15. If you have grandchildren 16 and over, or a family with mixed ages, please see "Rainforest Explorers: The Best of Panama With Your Family (#23615)".
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Building of the Panama Canal in Historic Photographs
by Ulrich Keller
These archival photographs tell the story of the people who built the Panama Canal, the engineers who designed it and the changes wrought on the landscape through its construction.
A Brief History of Central America
by Hector Perez-Brignoll
A good overview of the region’s economic, political and social history through the 1980s by a professor at the University of Costa Rica. Well-written, informative and concise.
Portrait of the Panama Canal, from Construction to the Twenty-First Century
by William Friar
Featuring 60 color and 10 archival images, this photo-essay includes contemporary and archival photographs of the Panama Canal as well as a short history.
Lonely Planet Phrasebooks: Latin American Spanish
by Roberto Esposto
This portable phrasebook provides a useful mix of everyday phrases, words and expressions used in different Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Learn the nuances of the Spanish language as it is spoken in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.
How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal
by Ovidio Diaz Espino
An intriguing look into the treachery, behind-the-scenes financial wrangling and Roosevelt-era dollar diplomacy that resulted in both the Panama Canal and the establishment of Panama as an independent nation.
The Captain and the Enemy
by Graham Greene
Graham Greene returns to classic themes of mystery, deceit and espionage in this accomplished short novel, his 23rd and last book, set in Panama.
Emperors in the Jungle, The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama
by John Lindsay-Poland
A history and expose of U.S. military adventures and incursions in Panama, from the building of the Panama Canal, to a decades-long Army program of chemical weapons testing, and an analysis of the 1989 invasion.
Redeemers, Ideas and Power in Latin America
by Enrique Krauze
Jose Marti, Octavio Paz, Eva Peron, Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez all get a chapter in this illuminating history of political thought in modern Latin America. 12 thinkers in all.
Panama Wildlife Guide
by Rainforest Publications
This handy 14-panel fold-up card features expert color illustrations of dozens of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
Culture Smart! Panama
by Heloise Crowther
This practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture is concise and well-illustrated.
The Birds of Panama
by Robert Dean, George R. Angehr
Created for the field, with range maps, illustrations and descriptions on facing pages.
Panama Adventure Map
by National Geographic
With natural areas, attractions and two inset maps of Panama City. 1:475,000.
by Sam Trull
Readers of all ages are destined to fall in love with sloths after viewing the 96-pages of beautiful and “awww” inspiring images peppered with interesting anecdotes. Sam Trull is a zoologist and talented photographer with works featured on BBC Earth and BBC One, Huffington Post, Good Morning America, and the Washington Post—to name just a few! She is involved in wildlife conservation efforts and is a co-founder of the Sloth Institute Costa Rica.
Madrugador: Early Birder (Spanish & English Edition)
by Pat Alvarado, John A. Hernandez
For kids 8-12/Grades 3-6. Perfect for the budding naturalist or birder in your family... This book contains a guide for identifying 16 of Panama's most common birds. Background information on bird species and accompanying illustrations provide a nice introduction to birding.
The Path Between the Seas
by David McCullough
A great story, admirably told in vivid, page-turning detail, this is the one book to read on the creation of the Panama Canal.
A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama
by Nova (Director)
This Nova program, narrated by David McCullough (The Path Between the Seas, CAM32), covers the epic 30-year construction of the Panama Canal. With historic film footage, rare archival photographs and commentary.
Latin America in Colonial Times
by Matthew Restall
This scholarly primer considers the history of the continent from the arrival of the first Conquistadors in the 16th century to the dying embers of empire 300 years later, giving equal weight to the histories of the colonial rulers, the African slaves brought over to work in the New World and the indigenous groups whose lives and lands were forever changed by conquest.
What Is the Panama Canal?
by Janet B. Pascal, Time Folley
For kids 8-12/Grades 3-7. What is the Panama Canal, why was it built, and how? Long before the invention of modern modes of transportation, ships traveling from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean had to undergo a perilous journey past the tip of South America. Many ships lost their battle with Cape Horn's notoriously strong winds, violent storms and treacherous currents. By creating a navigable shortcut through Panama, travel was made safer and faster. A one way trip from New York City to San Francisco that once had been ~13,000 nautical miles was cut by more than half with the creation of the Panama Canal.
The Tailor of Panama
by John Le Carre
Set in Panama, this thriller by master storyteller John Le Carre includes spymasters, corrupt officials, arms manufacturers and other unsavory types.
An Adventure in Tropical & Temperate Rainforests
by Deanna Holm
For kids 7-11/Grades 2-6. Learn about some of the world's main rainforests and investigate the plants and wildlife that reside in each. Enjoy hundreds of full-color photographs of unique rainforest animals and plants while discovering important facts about this important type of forest.
The Monkey's Bridge, Mysteries of Evolution in Central America
by David Rains Wallace
Opening this absorbing account of the history and biogeography of the Central American isthmus with the tale of Columbus, Wallace often weaves his own travels in the region with a crisp overview of exploration, nature and evolution. Natural history buffs and ecologically minded travelers will appreciate this valuable resource.
National Geographic Panama
by Christopher Baker
Award-winning travel writer and photographer Christopher Baker introduces the history, nature and attractions of Panama, thoroughly illustrated in National Geographic’s style.

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