If you’re reading this I bet you’re expecting me to just write a plug on our own offerings, but instead I’m going to give you my honest opinion about the two best 4x4 experiences I have had in Panama: Flying Pirates and Bluehill Cabins (sold directly by YC). These both offer unique, distinct experiences that are by far the best out there.
I'm going to give a brief overview of what you can expect and include duration, pricing, and what's included. I've personally gone on both and I'll definitely be going back to both.
Located on the main island, Isla Colon, of Bocas del Toro this family business offers a self guided ATV tours. The classic one seater and two seater four wheel ATVs are offered. You’re given the vehicle, map printed on the back of the vehicle and you’re off. Flying Pirates has a massive property designated entirely for their ATV trails that take you across beach, tall grasses, jungle, and to natural pools surrounded by reef. Part of what makes this experience so lit is that you can make it as easy or difficult of a ride as you want. When it rains, you’ll be mudding it for sure and there are definitely some tricky spots. You can go as slow or as fast as you want. Be sure to take snacks, swimming suit, towel, change of clothes, and don’t worry too much about weather.
Ok, so pricing is very fair and if you break it you bought it. They have a list of repair costs depending on what you break. You can do half day ($110) or full day ($150) which gives you the vehicle and access to the trails.
So Bocas del Toro is an hour flight from Panama City so technically you could fly into Bocas in the morning, ride a half day, have some time to spare around the island and be back in Panama City for dinner. Otherwise, plan your multi-day trip to Bocas del Toro for this 4x4 experience.
Cerro Azul Cloud Forest ATVs
If you want to get muddy, dirty, and wet then look no further. We can ensure you'll be drenched and filthy with smiles from ear to ear. Located approximately (gotta say approximately because of traffic) 1 hr 20min from downtown Panama City, you'll head up into the cloud forest of Cerro Azul above the city. Here you'll be literally in the clouds, in a pine forest, and traverse the trails of Chagres national park.
This is a cloud forest and it is pretty consistently wet and muddy so we will put your skills to the test, but no worries, even if you've never ridden before you'll be fine. Jose will lead the group and you'll romping around for about 2 hours before finishing back at base camp. Hope you brought a change of clothes because you'll need them!
With varying degrees of ATV fun, there are 3 choices to choose from either for novices up to experienced riders and all day extreme adventure.
2pax or less - $500 total
3pax-5pax - $850
6pax - 10pax - $175 per person
Each additional person above 10pax (up to 20pax): $25 more
And then the custom pro experience goes from $265 up for all day adventures.
Take a look at the respective sites of both of these 4x4 providers. If you have any comments to add about either of these or think another provider should be listed let us know.