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 El Valle Motorsports. 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.
El Valle Motorsports
The closer option to Panama City, El Valle Motorsports is located in El Valle de Anton, approximately 2 hour drive from the city. This experience is less about the ride and more about the destination, mountain scape, and freedom to drink (if you’re not driving). Not a single seater ATV experience, El Valle Motorsports offers 4 -6 seater Polaris rangers and razrs. These offroading UTVs can go anymore and are more secure for romping through the back country of Panama through massive rain guts and difficult terrain. This is a guided tour because there is no designated property here, but taking public trails, roads, and the destination requires direction. You’ll ride for about 1 hour – 1.5 hours before you reach the final destination, which is a gorgeous piece of pristine jungle along a series of natural pools and waterfalls. You’re provided drinks, snacks, and cooler so when you reach the jungle pools you’re ready to hang out, swim, and jump off the rocks.
Because of the destination you can extend the 4x4 experience here to hang out for as little or much time as you want here. This could make your tour last 3 hours or 5 hours. Pricing includes the vehicles, drinks, food, and guide. It is $250 for the first two people then $110 per additional person in the same vehicle.
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.