A STUNNING ADVENTURE JOURNEY ACROSS THE JUNGLES OF CENTRAL AMERICA FROM OCEAN TO OCEAN…
Panama is literally the crossroads of the Americas – an exotic, steaming jungle isthmus that separates Pacific and Atlantic and course, home to the World-famous Panama Canal. Our coast to coast journey follows a stunningly bio-diverse route from one side of the continent to the other.
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*price per month, depending on departure day, when you sign up in March, click here for more info on pricing
16 - 27 MAR / 2024
14 - 25 MARCH / 2026
100 MILES (160 KM) ON FOOT + 25 MILES (40 KM) ON PACKRAFT
DIFFICULTY RATING: CAN I DO THIS?
This is the hardest adventure in our portfolio, you should have previous experience of multi-day endurance events in challenging environments. You must be able to trek for 12 hours a day carrying a 20-25kg pack and be confidently self-sufficient.
HOTEL, GUESTHOUSE, JUNGLE CAMP AND CABANAS
PANAMA, CENTRAL AMERICA
11 DAYS / 10 NIGHTS
10 nights accommodation (hotel, guest house, jungle camp, cabanas)
Most meals included.
Airport transfers and internal
Flexible transfer policy.
GUIDES AND SUPPORT
Professional 4x4 support vehicles, safety staff, jungle guides, medical and welfare
Professional local and UK safety staff, medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.
High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.
Pack raft and all associated equipment rental included.
RAISE £5000 AND GET UP TO £2500 REFUNDED
SET UP YOUR JUST GIVING PAGE HERE OR FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR CHARITY PARTNERSHIP HERE
If you’re looking for a lifechanging Bucket List adventure than this is the one. This journey through the Panamanian jungle will push you to your limits and demand everything you have mentally and physically to complete it. Our coast to coast journey follows a stunningly bio-diverse route from one side of the continent to the other.
Our route starts from the beaches of the Pacific coast and rises via land dotted with coffee and fruit plantations into mist-clad mountains at the continental divide of the Americas. We then descend towards the Caribbean via an enormous UNESCO-protected primary jungle wilderness. Travelling this section fully self-supported, hammock and supplies on your back and machete in hand is a true physical test that you should not underestimate. We will emerge from this pristine jungle environment to the banks of a river where you will inflate your pack rafts and travel the remaining distance to the coast, having completed a true coast to coast adventure. It’s then time to kick off those jungle boots, board our fast boat transport and get onto ‘Panama time’ on the famous Caribbean party island of Bocas Del Toro.
DAY ONE: SATURDAY
Depart Panama City, Albrook airport for David on internal flight. Flight will be arranged for late afternoon departure from Albrook, to allow for inbound travel for those arriving in the morning. Upon arrival in David, you will transfer by road to our Pacific coast hotel accommodation, right on the beach. Dinner provided.
DAY TWO: SUNDAY
After a hearty breakfast, we will carry out registration activities, safety briefings and some familiarisation with jungle campcraft and those pack-rafts that you will be using later on in the trip. All meals provided, including a hearty sun-down supper before the off.
DAY THREE: MONDAY
Panama Coast to Coast begins! Cover approximately 41km and get acclimatized to the heat and humidity as you climb from the Pacific steadily on quiet roads and tracks through coffee and fruit farming scenery towards the continental divide of the Americas. Accommodation in a simply stunning mountain lodge high in the mountains. All meals provided.
DAY FOUR: TUESDAY
Day 2 sees another 45km on foot, still ascending gradually towards Panama’s highest mountains. You will have been supported by our 4x4s and mobile pit stop crews up to here and whilst the going will be tough in the heat, these 2 days have been an easier introduction to what lies ahead – the jungle. A/C is again in our unbelievable mountain lodge. You may want a shower too, as where you are going next, there won’t be one of those for a while. All meals provided.
DAY FIVE: WEDNESDAY
The jungle awaits. Depart the comfort of the lodge and enter rugged, upland primary jungle terrain. Our route follows a mixture of cattle drovers’ trails, indigenous peoples’ pathways and areas where we go where no-one else does. You will forge out with 4 days supplies on your back, including your hammocks and jungle camping gear. The going is decidedly tough in here so you’ll be travelling slow and steady, getting used to the amazing explosion of colour and life teaming all around you. A/C jungle camp. Approximate distance across the 4 days: 70km. First day: Approx 20km.
DAY SIX: THURSDAY
Another long day on foot over around 20km worth of virgin jungle. You will ascend jungle-covered mountains, follow ridge lines and cross many rivers. This is what it’s all about – deep in the jungle of central America on a journey to join the dots between two Oceans. Exhilarating stuff. A/C jungle camp. Approx 20km.
DAY SEVEN: FRIDAY
Our penultimate day of hard jungle trekking will include an exciting zipwire crossing of a raging river and a serious uphill ascent too. We will overnight one more time under the green canopy prior to exiting tomorrow to attempt the pack-raft stage. A/C jungle camp. Approx 15km. These distances may not look heavy, but do not underestimate the relentless nature of this route; average speed will be slow and the going is tough, tough, tough.
DAY EIGHT: SATURDAY/SUNDAY
Our final jungle day leads us along a well-defined ridgeline and then starts to descend from the mountains to the banks of the Changuinola River. We will camp next to the river prior to our pack-raft stage. A/C River bank camp. Approx 15km.
DAY NINE: MONDAY
Today is the start of a new chapter for the journey and a really unique one at that. We have done the hard yards now on foot and you can rest those weary blistered feet as you turn your attention to our nifty packrafts and paddles. Don your buoyancy aid, jump aboard your raft and float/ paddle your way down the jungle river 30km. the first 10km will whizz by in a blink of an eye as the river is fast-flowing, with some exciting rapids (grades 1 and 2) but nothing that resembles a raging torrent. It then gets slower and you will be working those paddles to cover the kilometres. A/C River bank camp.
DAY TEN: TUESDAY
This should be a really beautiful and very surreal conclusion to a fantastic journey. Our final 10km brings us to the Caribbean coast and when you do arrive there, a quick wiggle back to a nearby port will bring you to our fast boats, which will transport you to Bocas Del Toro island. Let the party begin…Kick off those shoes and feel the sand between your manky feet! A leisurely afternoon in Bocas will feel a world away from the toils of the jungle. Enjoy beers, kayaking, fishing or simply swinging in a hammock. We will overnight here and enjoy a slap-up meal and drinks to celebrate a job well done. A/C beach cabanas or similar.
DAY ELEVEN: WEDNESDAY
Journey’s end. For those who wish to hang around and chill, you’re in the right place. You can choose to stay put and extend your stay at Bocas (at your own expense). Or come with us back to Panama City Depart with return air travel back to Panama City Albrook airport from Bocas Del Toro airport. Out itinerary ends here, but you are of course welcome to stay in Panama and find your own adventures or take one of our exciting bolt-on options, carefully curated by our local partners. We will have options for you in Bocas, Panama City and elsewhere in the country, (including the incredible San Blas Islands) should you wish.
*NOTE THAT TIMINGS AND ITINERARIES ARE APPROX AND MAY CHANGE
For nights 1 and 2 at the Pacific coast, we will accommodate you in a beach-front hotel. This is a good comfortable option with all the trappings of resort-grade comfort and hearty food options included.
On nights 3 and 4 of the trip (nights 1 and 2 of your coast to coast journey) we will utilise a simply sensational mountain lodge, with incredible views across the jungle, surrounded with birdlife. This is a simply stunning spot, with a perfect host and good hearty food. The accommodation will feature showers, electric sockets and other mod-cons. You will be accommodated in a mixture of rooms at the lodge in shared configuration.
This is the essence of the event experience. String your hammock between 2 trees, fetch (and treat) water from a nearby stream and kick back with the sounds of the jungle all around you.
BEACH CABANAS OR SIMILAR
Upon arrival in Bocas Del Toro at journey’s end, it’s all about the beach. Simple yet comfy water-side accommodation is on the menu here, whilst you sip cocktails and enjoy that hard-earned Caribbean coastal vibe.
MEALS AT OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION
Including hot and cold options for breakfast, hot dinner and packed lunches when out on the course. Alcoholic drinks are not provided. A vegetarian option will always be provided.
Participants will need to bring: Food to be taken into the jungle on the self-sufficient stage. We will have recommendations on these options. You must plan to take, cook and prepare your own meals in the jungle.
What will I be eating and drinking? Where we provide catering via the hotels and guest house, it will be good, hearty Panamanian fare. Rice and beans feature heavily, together with chicken and other meat dishes. We will always endeavour to ensure there are some hearty veggie options however.
Where offered (days 1 and 2), we will offer savoury and sweet snacks and water will be provided at the designated pit stops.
Please note that the provision whilst on the route does not consist of ‘full meals’ and will be more snack-based grab n’ go options, to reflect the journey being undertaken. You are welcome to bring your own foodstuffs and we will transport it with us on the route. We would also advise that if you have sports nutrition products that you know work for you, please bring them with you. See below for information on gluten-free and vegan provision.
Gluten-free, Vegan or other dietary requirements: Some Gluten-free and Vegan provision will be made at the pit stops on days 1 and 2; although if you have food intolerances please do ensure you check with us on our provision as you may need to augment with your own supplies in the desert camps. Please contact us in advance with any specific dietary requirement questions well in advance.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
Quite simply, you can expect a campsite experience that will blow your mind. Our jungle camps are nestled in the beating heart of a vast UNESCO World-heritage protected primary tract of Jungle. Animals and plants abound; water is everywhere. Life is all around you and you will experience a literal feast of the senses. Calling these campsite moments life-affirming or life-changing experiences, alongside the clear epic nature of the challenge itself, is no cliché.
These camps are basic. You will supply your own hammock and mossie net, your own food and collect your own water. There’s no WiFi and no phone signal. That’s it. You, the jungle and your gear. And a whole cohort of like-minded adventurers all around you. For many, your first night in this environment may be intimidating; frightening even. That’ll ease for nights 2 and 3. There’s nothing to be scared of, although some common-sense precautions to prevent creepy-crawlies using your shoes and socks as their own jungle camps is to be expected.
WHAT ARE THE FACILITIES?
As mentioned above, there’s no facilities laid on. Our guides and jungle staff will be on hand to assist in the erection of your hammocks and nets and to give good clear advice on water treatment, cooking, jungle admin and precautions on wildlife. They will also be able to point out interesting flora, fauna and jungle critters.
The date-range is set and the route is tried and tested. However, our challenges unfold in some of the most spectacular places on Earth. Sometimes we do have to change plans on account of weather or other unforeseen factors. If we do have to do so, you will be informed and usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end! That having been said, our route is likely to remain largely intact, regardless of any on-the-ground changes.
Click ‘Buy Event Voucher’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.
Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration for this adventure. If you wish to participate as a family group or with a responsible adult and you are 16+, we will consider applications on an individual basis. Please contact us if this is the case.
Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.
The latest kit list will be sent to you before the event within the Essential Event Information Document.
Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer UK and raise the target amount for this event per person, we will refund your entry fee up to the amount of £2500. You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart.
Yes, you can. We welcome support on almost all of our events and if you do decide you want to come and work with us, we will make sure we look after you. Click here to find out more about volunteering for Rat Race.
We’ve put together a fantastic new instalment plan that allows you to choose how many months you want to spread the cost of this brilliant adventure over. You can pay it off all in one go or spread it over as many months as you like, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.
Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.
To check the full list of qualifying unforeseen circumstances that are protected please click here to view Refund Protect terms and conditions.
To add Refund Protect (administered by a 3rd party) to your Rat Race booking simply select this option when presented during the entry process. Refund Protect cannot be added retrospectively. Rat Race will then send you name and booking details to Refund Protect in order to protect your transaction with them. If you opt to pay in instalments and transfer your entry before the entry cost is full paid you will be liable to ensure the cost of Refund Protect has been fully covered. This total amount will be deducted from any Rat Race credit due through the transfer process or you will be invoiced by Rat Race for the outstanding amount as Rat Race have paid this on your behalf to Refund Protect at point of entry.
Yes. You need a decent travel policy covering you for general travel and which covers participation in outdoor sports. You will also need what is called an Evacuation Insurance Policy, which is for if we need to send you back to the closest city for urgent medical attention via a helicopter or similar. We also recommend you have this in place as soon as you enter this event and that if you book flights, we highly recommend booking a flexible option for any last-minute changes you might need to make or to ensure you have maximum flexibility if you cannot attend for any reason.
Travel insurance is compulsory for our events, so please make sure your insurance policy covers the activities you will be participating in. There are a number of specialist providers available including Mann Broadbent.
Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead.
If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also get in touch with you if any of your payments have been missed.
Rat Race have been audited and accredited to the prestigious BS8848 expedition safety standard. We have firm emergency protocols and response systems in place whilst out on our adventures. Our main priority above all else is to keep you and our staff safe. Before we leave for each trip a comprehensive in-country risk and threat assessment has been conducted by the Head of Expeditions. All protocols are put in place relating to those assessments. We make sure that the staff involved have the highest level of first aid training; a higher level of medical cover is also put in place if needed; all instructors have qualifications and/ or competencies to match the adventure we will undertake. In the event of an emergency, Rat Race staff and appointed contractors have comprehensive knowledge of procedures which will rapidly be put in place. If needed, our staff will provide first aid and then further medical assistance and evacuation if needed in line with a published Medical Procedures Plan. We have medical back-up and Clinical Directorship provided by a specialist events medical company and we have further emergency response support services provided by competent contracted partner. All our cover is available 24/7 while operations are underway. We use our knowledge and emergency procedures to provide the best possible care in our often remote and austere environments. Before leaving on a trip, we will advise on the insurance cover you are required to have in place for the trip; we will ask for a copy of these insurance details before the departure date.
Race entry includes a glorious finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tee. We will request your tshirt size and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.
The short answer is no. The price for this event is for everything outlined on the website and it is very difficult for us to split this out. Our accommodation is based on group rates and is on a shared basis. All of our event logistics, support and organisation has been designed to have all the participants in the same locations to allow transfers, briefings etc to run smoothly and to let you bond with your fellow #ratracers!
There are cut-offs on days 1 and 2, although they are very generous and are not there to make you fail. We want everyone to finish and the cut-offs are generous. If you do end up lagging behind and you really cannot make it in time, we will pick you up in an event 4×4 sweeper vehicle and transport you to the overnight locations. You can re-start the next day if you wish. There is none of this ‘if you miss a cut-off you’re out’ stuff on this event. Each of those initial stages will have a published time limit and a designated starting window in the morning, so if you want to use every available hour on the course, just start as early as you can!
For the jungle, there are cut offs. You need to make it to camp and it’ll take as long as it takes. We want everyone to get there in the hours of daylight however and our way-marking, jungle guides and safety staff.
On day 1, the route will be obvious and waymarked. There will be extra signage at junctions to prevent any danger of taking a wrong turn. For the jungle section, this is also waymarked and our team will have cut and marked a ‘track’ for you to follow. However this is the jungle and you must take care that you are always on this ‘trail.’ You will have a machete to help you penetrate your way through this section and there will be markings to follow.
It’s very unlikely but if you do get lost, we have a suite of options in place to get you back on track. Our guides can then attend to your position. There will be a protocol for such encounters and we will work hard to ensure that 1.) it doesn’t happen and 2.) if it does, we have your back. You should not worry about getting lost. At all times our support team will not be far away.