A stunning adventure journey across the jungles of Central America from Ocean to Ocean…

 

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. 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, we will emerge from this pristine jungle environment to the banks of a river. 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.

Bienvenidos a Panama.

 

DAYS: 10

(2 logistics days, 1 briefing/ admin/ kit check day, 6 days on the route, 1 chill-out and party day!)

DISTANCE: 200km

(180km on foot over 5 days and 20km in pack rafts over 1 day)

DATES: 21st March – 30th March 2020



TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • 200km one-way journey across the Americas from coast to coast
  • 180km on foot followed by 20km in pack-rafts, over 6 days
  • Terrain includes farm tracks, mountain tails, jungle trails, primary jungle with no recognized trails, river with light rapids (grade 1 and 2)
  • Traverses the entirety of central America from the Pacific to the Atlantic
  • Extraction from the Caribbean coast, back to civilisation by fast boat
  • Chill and party after the adventure on the Panamanian Caribbean party island of Bocas Del Toro

INCLUSIONS

  • Fully supported including 4×4 support, sweeper crews, professional medics
  • Fully waymarked route
  • Professional jungle guides and safety staff, professional jungle medics, professional river safety staff
  • Catered including many meals, pit stops plus beverage provision en route
  • 8 nights accommodation: 4 Star Hotel (2 nights), guest house or lodge (2 nights), jungle camp (3 nights), beach cabanas (1 night),
  • All in-country transfers from Tocumen International, including internal return flight to start location and from finish location of event
  • High value finisher’s mementos including T-shirt, medal and special-edition engraved Machete for all finishers
  • Ground-breaking satellite tracking for safety and supporter interaction
  • Rental of pack raft, buoyancy aid and paddle included
  • Overnight bag transfers from camp to camp (except jungle camps, which are self-supported)
  • After event party and beach accommodation on Bocas Del Toro

Saturday 21st March

Arrive Panama City, Tocumen International airport. Transfer from airport to our comfortable city accommodation. Sight-seeing tours of the Old Town, Canal and local area can be arranged for early arrivals.

Sunday 22nd March

Transfer back to Panama City airport for internal flight to David. Transfer to 4 star hotel. Kit check, briefings and sun-downers on the Pacific, before the start of your 6 day foot journey across Central America! All meals provided, including a hearty sun-down supper before the off.

Monday 23rd March

Panam Coast to Coast begins! Cover approximately 30km 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 comfortable guest house. All meals provided.

Tuesday 24th March

Day 2 sees another 40km 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 in comfortable guest houses. You may want a shower too, as where going next, there won’t be one of those for a while. All meals provided.

Wednesday 25th March

The jungle awaits. Depart the comfort of the lodge and enter rugged, upland primary jungle terrain. There are no prepared trails where we are going and you will travel along our way-marked ‘trail,’ machete in hand and with 3 days supplies on your back, including hammock and packraft, which you will need at the other end when we exit the jungle phase. 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: 30km

Thursday 26th March

Another long day on foot over 30km 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.

Friday 27th March

One more day of hard jungle trekking will bring us eventually to the banks of a river. We will overnight here before the final river stage to exit the jungle and paddle our way to the finish line at the Caribbean coast. A/C jungle camp

Saturday 28th March

Our final day of the journey is a real unique one. 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 20km to the coast. There are some light rapids here (grades 1 and 2) but nothing that resembles a raging torrent. This should be a really beautiful and very surreal conclusion to a fantastic journey. When you arrive at the coast, our fast boats will transport you to Bocas Del Toro island. Let the party begin! A/C beach cabanas or similar.

Sunday 29th March

Kick off those shoes and feel the sand between your manky feet! A day in Bocas Town will feel a world away from the toils of the jungle. Enjoy beers, kayaking, fishing or simply swinging in a hammock. We will overnight one more night here before departing for the mainland once more. A/C beach cabanas or similar.

Monday 30th March

Depart Bocas Town for David regional airport and return air travel back to Tocumen International Airport. Out itinerary ends here, but you are 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.

*NOTE THAT TIMINGS AND ITINERARIES ARE APPROX AND MAY CHANGE

Rat Race will provide:

  • 4×4 Vehicle support throughout appropriate stages (Days 1 and 2), including sweeper service, medical support and pit stop food and beverage provision. See Food/ Accommodation/ transport for more details on the pit stops and other trip catering provisions.
  • Satellite tracking and GPS routing device: Rat Race will provide ground-breaking satellite tracking, with units which allow us to see where you are at all times for your safety some service may be disrupted by jungle canopy). It also allows your loved ones and supporters to keep track of your progress, should you wish to share. The device will also be uploaded with a track of the route, for them to follow on the device across certain stages.
  • Packrafts, buoyancy aids and paddles are provided.
  • Bag transfer from camp to camp on day 1, 2 and to the finish line at Bocas Town. You take a day pack and we carry the rest for these stages. In the jungle, you are self-supported. More on that on the Kit page
  • Special-edition Race Bib to go over all items of clothing (lightweight fabric)

The participant will provide:

Their own footwear, running gear, pack large enough for the self-sufficient jungle stage (suggested 50l), plus a larger hold-all sized bag for overnight gear (strict size and weight limit applies). You will also need a hammock, mosquito net, machete, sunhat and long-sleeved clothing for the jungle.

For camp, you will bring your own hammock, mosquito net, cooking gear and food. We will advise on recommended supplies and will have items for sale to satisfy these kit list provisions. You will also need a head torch plus overnight essentials like toiletries, some loo roll and books/ entertainment devices. You do not need a tent or roll mat, as you will always be sleeping off the ground in a hammock. Please note that there will be no charging stations or power provision for devices at the jungle camps so bring your electronics fully charged. There will be charging opportunities at the Hotels and guest houses e use and at Bocas Town at the end of the event. Please see our guidance on electronic devices on the kit page.

A full kit list will be published soon, with detailed information on kit required, weights, dimensions and recommendations, plus all specialist items required. Most of what is required is ‘standard’ running and trekking gear for hot, humid weather climates, although there are 1 or 2 specialist (inexpensive) items we will recommend for the jungle environment. The good news is that it’s so hot, you don’t need many clothes!

Mandatory Equipment

A mandatory kit list will be published here very shortly.

 

We have rated this challenge as Technical rating 7/10 and Endurance rating 8/10.

What does this mean?

Technical rating 7/10
This is a committing proposition with a very good support system around you. It does not require super-human skills to access, however. The initial run/ trek stage and the jungle trek stage are both open and accessible to anyone who has a decent level of fitness and who is up for a challenge. The self-supported jungle phase is just that – it is you, your gear and a good few km of rugged jungle terrain. You should be comfortable with your gear and comfortable with the self-sufficient nature of this section, which is 3 days without contact with the outside World.

Pack Rafts
For the packrafts, we will offer some tips and you should be proficient enough to paddle a kayak on your own. We will have water safety staff on the river, however you are paddling your own raft, with your pack on board too, so you should be prepared for a solo mission on this section, but a guided trip per se. The rafts are not hard to paddle and are extremely stable however.

Running/ trekking
You can walk or run the foot stages. We have designed the initial stage (days 1 and 2) to be suitable for fast or slower paces. When you hit the jungle, you will struggle to ‘run,’ with your pack weighing you down, the nature of the humidity and the sheer ‘tangle’ of the jungle we are moving through. Byt its nature, this is a trekking stage as the pace of travel is physically hampered by the jungle around you. For more on the jungle environment, see the ‘LOCATION‘ tab.

 

Endurance rating 8/10
Participants should expect a long outing here over 6 long days, 5 of which are on foot and 3 of which are in a genuinely ‘off-grid’ primary jungle environment. This is a mighty Challenge and a worthy objective: A full foot crossing of the Americas. As with all Rat Race events however, the concept is designed to be tough, but achievable. This is not a ‘sufferfest.’ More-so it is a stunning journey through an unbelievably diverse landscape. The undertaking should not be under-estimated of course, particularly the self-supported jungle section. A good dose of general fitness is required and an appreciation of the challenges of the heat and humidity and will stand you in very good stead for completion of the job-in-hand.

Enjoy the journey and feel the burn in the legs after a job well done! Those beers in Bocas will never have tasted so good!

Provided within the trip costs are:

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.
  • Where we spend the night at a hotel of guest house, the food is all included. That is 3 squares/ day. We also include a special dinner on the last night, when you have completed the journey.
  • Catering begins with dinner on Saturday 21st March and ends with celebration dinner at Bocas Town on Sunday 29th March.
  • For the jungle camps, you will take and prepare your own food. More details on this in the section on jungle camps in the ‘What to expect from the jungle camps’ section.See below for information on gluten-free and vegan provision.

Pit Stops

  • Where offered (days 1 and 2), we will offer savoury and sweet snacks, sports drink (carb-based powder for you to add to your water at your own discretion) and water are 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.

Alcohol (!)

  • A complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink is offered with our compliments at the finish line with dinner in Bocas Town; available for all participants upon arrival in Bocas celebrate a job well done!
  • 2 Party drinks per person to get you into the swing at the party on Sunday night in Bocas, too

Participants will cover costs for:

  • – All meals pre and post Challenge (outwith the times and sates stated above)
  • Food to be taken into the jungle on the self-sufficient stage. We will have recommendations on these options; and food for sale too. You must plan to take, cook and prepare your own meals in the jungle.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in the hotels and guest houses and in Bocas Town and any items charged to your rooms (all participants to settle own room extras bills).
  • Alcoholic drinks other than those stated above.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the post-Challenge meal (except 2 complimentary drink from ourselves).

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.

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.

Hotels

Upon arrival in Panama City and the following night near the Start line, we will accommodate you in smart 4 Star hotels. These are good comfortable options with all the trappings of 4 star comfort and hearty food options included.

Guest Houses

On nights 3 and 4 of the trip (nights 1 and 2 of your coast to coast journey) we will utilise local guest house accommodation. You will not all be housed in the same accommodation owing to the capacity of such facilities in the areas we are travelling. These will be good, clean places with warm hosts and good hearty food.

Jungle Camps

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. These could well be the most unusual and exhilarating nights you will ever spend in the great Outdoors…!

Beach Cabanas or similar

Upon arrival in Bocas Town, it’s all about the beach. Simple yet comfy beach-side accommodation is on the menu here, whilst you sip cocktails and enjoy that hard-earned Caribbean coastal vibe.

Jungle Camplife

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.

Enjoy it, breath it in and envelope yourself in the circle of life. This is the jungle up close and personal.

Jungle campsite 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 pracautions on wildlife. They will also be able to point out interesting flora, fauna and jungle critters.

Personal Hygiene

This one’s important. Which is why we insist on mandatory anti-bac wipes and anti-bac handwash. Bugs spread around people living in close quarters fast; going to the loo and not washing hands and handling food with dirty hands are the dangers. Keep washing those hands and you’ll not go far wrong. Any cuts and scratches should be attended to with antiseptic early too, to prevent infection taking hold in this remote and very wet environment. The jungle can be a harsh environment if infection and hygiene issues are not tackled fast; so a good dose of personal admin on this front is essential.

All those critters – is it safe?

See our section on Jungle critters in the FAQ. There are some creepy crawlies and other animals in the jungle that you will want to avoid. But they want to avoid you, too. People live in the jungle and some people are drawn to it year in year out as it is a fascinating technicolour slideshow of life in all its glory. It is to be appreciated with a healthy does of respect. But not to be feared. of See our section on this topic.

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Transfer from Panama City Airport to night 1 hotel in Panama City.
  • Transfer back to Panama City Airport to connect with internal flight to David.
  • Internal flights to David and onward transfer to night 2 hotel at Start area for the challenge.
  • During the event all of your overnight belongings will be transported and sweeper vehicles will transport YOU to the next location if you require withdrawal from the event on days 1 and 2.
  • Once in the jungle, your gear will be transported to the finish location in Bocas Del Toro. You will be self-sufficient until re-united with this kit, for 3 days and 3 nights.
  • Following arrival at the Caribbean coast via pack-raft at the end of the Day 8 we will a fast boat transfer is included to take you to the party island of Bocas Del Toro.
  • Boat transfer back from Bocas to the mainland and then road transport to David regional airport.
  • Internal flight back to Panama City International airport.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Travel to and from Panama.
  • Airport transfers from our start and finish areas if outwith our stated transfer days.
  • Onward itineraries in Panama after the conclusion of our itinerary back at Panama City International airport.

Getting to Panama

Panama City is well served internationally via Tocumen International Airport. There are multiple direct services from cities in  North America, plus direct flights from Europe via carriers such as Iberia (Spain) and KLM (The Netherlands). It is also served by many carriers across South and Central America.

  • Journey time to panama direct from Europe: 10 hours
  • Journey time from Miami and Southern US States: 3/4 hours

 

What is format of the event?

Panama Coast to Coast is a foot-based adventure event. 6 days are spent on the adventure itself, (5 on foot and 1 in pack-rafts on a river) with 1 prep day and 2 logistics days (owing to the remote nature – getting to and from the start/ finish) and 1 ‘R and R’ day at the end, kicking back at the beach. Where the journey is supported, we provide the lot – all meals, accommodation, event support functions whilst you are on the route, transfers to and from the airport, the lot. We also provide the pack-rafts for the river section. There is a significant ‘self-sufficient’ section of the event too, which is a 3 day trek through primary jungle, for which you will trek with all of your supplies on your back. Whilst this is ‘supported’ with our medics and jungle guides, you pack in your own sleeping gear, water and food. For more on what is included, see the ‘ENTRY FEE‘ tab.

Is it genuinely coast to coast?

Yep. It’s a full traverse of Panama and of central America from one side to the other. You will start by dipping your feet in the pacific and finish with a welcome cooling off in the Atlantic, on Panama’s Caribbean coast.

What’s so special about it?

Quite a bit! This route is one-of-a-kind and is the only foot-based traverse of central America in existence. The route is varied – 6 days with 3 very disctinct ‘phases,’ all connected with first-class event support. The pack-rafts are also special: No-one has attempted such a foot crossing of central America on this audacious scale and no-one has tagged a packraft section down a jungle river onto the end of it, to reach the coast! Even the departure from the finish and the ‘post-event event’ is special, as we whisk you away frm the Caribbean coast to Panama’s very own party island, to kick back with some well earned beers and enjoy the sound of the sea lapping away at your mangled, manky feet.

How far is the route?

The route is 200km all up. That’s 180km on foot and 20km in the packrafts. The exact final route distance is subject to change and might be a little above or below these figures. The route will be shared in full in advance of the Challenge commencing. For an overview map of the route with stages, see the ‘COURSE‘ tab.

Is this a multi-day event?

Yes. 6 days. 1 stage per day. It is a 10 day package, with 6 days ‘on the trail,’ so to speak.

How far is each stage and in which order do I do them? Do the stages get harder or easier the further we progress from coast to coast?

You will get to open up the legs for a run, or trek for the first 2 days. 30km on day 1 and 40km on day 2. The next 3 days are in the jungle proper, with around 30km covered each day through very challenging terrain. These are definitiely ‘trekking’ stages therefore. The 6th day we inflate the rafts and travel approximately 20km down river to reach the coast. Each stage distance is subject to change but in round numbers, it’s around 30km for the jungle days (per day). An overview route map can be viewed in the ‘COURSE‘ tab. The first 2 days are definitely a bit of an easier lead-in to the jungle stage. They are by no means easy, but the jungle stage is a real test. The packrafting day will feel like a well-earned holiday in comparison, but you’ll still need to engage arms and willpower to get yourself down-river! So in theory, it starts easier, gets harder, then finishes easier again!

Are there cut-offs? How long do I have to complete each stage?

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 ay 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, plus satellite tracking resources will aid in achieving this.

Do I need to run on the foot stages?

No. There’s enough time available to walk it all. Indeed in the jungle proper, it is very unlikely you will be able to ‘run,’ given the terrain, the packs you are carrying and the thick nature of the jungle you are travelling through.

How hard is it and how much training should I do?

It’s a big outing and you’ll need good conditioning and a solid dose of derring-do. The jungle stage particularly is very committing, as once you are in, you’re in. But this event has been designed for anyone to have a go at – not just seasoned adventure athletes. That is the Rat Race way. We have provided some commentary on the nature of the challenge and the ‘ratings’ we apply to it (Skill rating and Endurance rating) under the ‘SKILL LEVEL‘ tab. In terms of training, this is a personal thing, but a general training plan will be released shortly, which should act as an overall guide to help you prepare and get the most out of this epic adventure.

What type of terrain is it?

It’s varied. It’s very green! The first 2 days will use quiet roads, mud and gravel trails. It will gradually ascend, although it is very gradual. The jungle is a particular type of environment and can be unforgiving. It’s got a lot of up and down, thick jungle to penetrate and it’s hot and humid all the time. Expect to be drenched from head to tow all the time. And expect to be really blowing hard to get the job done. It is not to be under-estimated but equally, not to be feared.

For a description of the route and a general overview of the map, see the ‘COURSE‘ tab.

Do I need to navigate my way along the route?

No. 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. You will also have a satellite tracking unit that we will issue, so we know where you are at all times. It won’t work all the time owing the jungle canopy blocking satellite signal in some areas, but it is a very good back-up and safety aid for us, in the unlikely event that you do get lost.

What if I get lost?

Unlikely. But if you do get lost we have a suite of options in place to get you back on track. You will all have a satellite tracking device that we can use to see where you are and we have satcomms to speak to our guides from event control. Our guides can then attend to your position. There will be a protocol for such encoutners 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.

What if I get hurt?

Your satellite tracker has an Emergency SOS button that you can utilise if you really need it. That will send the cavalry to your position. We have highly trained expedition paramedics on the event with jungle skills and medicines. So if you need assistance we will be there. BUT you need to know that you are in genuinely isolated and inaccessible terrain once we hit the jungle. If you need casualty evacuation, we will need to call upon air rescue or other means to extract you, which is why we will insist everyone has evacuation insurance in place for such occurrences.

Where will we stay?

Quite simply, some outstanding places. See the ‘ACCOMMODATION‘ tab to learn more about the accommodation we will offer.

What is included?

Check out the ‘KIT/EQUIPMENT’ tab to see what we provide on kit/equipment. What is included as far as food/accommodation/transport is concerned in the adjacent tabs.

What happens when we get to the Caribbean coast?

It’s journey’s end but not the end of the adventure. We will be whisking you by fast boat to Bocas Del Toro, Panama’s Caribbean party town, for some seriously welcome R and R. We’ll spend a couple of nights there before returning to the mainland for onward transit back to Panama City by boat, land and air!

What about the wildlife?

There are a lot of animals, bugs and critters in the jungle. That’s a fact. You will see a great deal of wildlife and this is one of the joy’s of this environment. Some of these are poisonous and could be life-threatening if you do not use general precautions, such as checking your shoes in the mornings and checking carefully where you tread in some areas. Use boots and long socks in the jungle, cover your legs and arms with fabric and you won’t go far wrong. We will have jungle medics trained in the treatment of stings, bites and so on. It’s all out there, but of course for the most part, these critters are more afraid of you than you are of them. Enjoy the wildlife, don’t fear it.

Are there jaguars?

Yes there are jaguars in the jungle. You will be given advice on interactions with these types of jungle dwellers. If you see one, you will have been very lucky.

Are there crocodiles in the river?

No crocs here.

How safe is the area and the country in general?

Panama is a wonderful country. The areas we are travelling in are some of the safest in central America, although general precautions should always be followed in respect of belongings and personal safety. There are areas of Panama City that are not advised to attend alone or at night; and the city of Colon in general is seen as fairly unsafe. Although we are not going to those locations on our itinerary. Enjoy the wildlife, the local hospitality, the laid back coastal vibes and the sounds of the jungle, all around you…

What’s the weather like? It is really hot?

Yep. Very hot. Very humid. All the time. Some of the route does climb up to pretty high elevations so it’s actually cooler in these parts than some of the more lower lying areas of the country. But it’s definitely hot, hot, hot!

What equipment do I need?

There is a list on the Kit/ Equipment page of what is provided for you by the event and what we require you to provide. A full kit list will be provided in due course.

How much special gear do I need to buy for this event?

Not much. In general, you need running/ trekking gear and clothing that is suitable for a hot, humid climate – good loose-fitting lightweight clothing and sturdy footwear for the jungle are the key items. You will need a hammock and mosquito net and a machete. We can advise on where to purchase and you can purchase some of these specialist items from us, nearer the time. Check out more on kit and equipment under the ‘KIT/EQUIPMENT‘ tab.

Do I need my own packraft?

No. We will provide packraft, buoyancy aid and paddle for al participants. You can use your own if you have one, however. We will ask to see it inflated before we set off, to ensure it’s not going to end up letting you down (no pun intended) at the worst possible time. You will be issued with the rafts prior to the jungle stage on day 3 (so will not carry them on days 1 or 2) and then carry the rafts in your gear through the jungle, before inflating and using them on day 6 to exit the jungle on the final day to the Caribbean coast.

Is paddling a packraft hard?

Nope. Pretty easy. They float, they travel with the current (and we are going downstream) and if you stick the paddle in the water, it will go where you send it. It is true they do not ‘track’ very well (as they sit on top of the water and don’t really cut through it, like a kayak) so they aren’t a fast way to travel. They are very stable however and laxing in your raft whilst floating downstream with your gear is a truly evocative way to finish this wonderful jungle adventure.

Do I have to carry all of my kit with me?

Yes and no. Or rather, sometimes yes and sometimes no. This is a supported format, which means that we transport gear for you on the stages where we can do so, which is days 1 and 2. You will need to carry a daypack for these stages, which will have food, water, emergency gear and spare clothing in it, so you will have to carry something. But not all of your kit. We will do the hard yards on your overnight supplies by carrying a bag for you from location to location. This is a large logistical operation and is part of the value offered in this very special trip. When you hit the jungle stage on days 3 onwards, there are no roads for us to support you from. We will take your ‘finish-line’ bag to the finish for you but everything you will need for the jungle trekking stages will be carried by you, on your back.

What food will be available? Do I have to pay for food or is it included?

Yes. Food is provided for some of the trip and there is also a self-sufficient component to the trip, too. There is lots of information on the food and bev provision under the ‘FOOD‘ tab.

Can I bring supporters?

On the course itself, no. We have a convoy of vehicles supporting this trip and there is no space to take passengers. In the jungle, there is no way we can take supporters either. We can however provide extra beds at supporter rates in the hotels at the start and in the accommodation at the finish, together with catering so you can eat and stay together pre and post-trip.

Can my supporters follow the action at home?

Absolutely. Our bespoke and unique satellite tracking system is one-part safety system and on-part giant online-viewing gallery. Your supporters can see you on the map at all times and follow your progress. You will need to ensure they understand that satellite signal will not always be received in the jungle, on account of the dense canopy in places. It can worry folks is a dot is not moving for a while, but this is part and parcel of this terrain. However, they will be able to follow your general progress through the trip via this system.

What medical support is provided?

The best. Rat Race are renowned for their commitment to the very highest standards of safety management and medical cover. We will have an Event Doctor on the trip, plus jungle medics trained for this environment and all of the gear and drugs required for such an undertaking in this part of the World.

How do I get to the start and away from the finish?

We offer airport transfers at either end. For the full low-down on this, together with a description of all of the options here, see the ‘TRANSPORT‘ and ‘BOLT ON OPTIONS‘ tabs .

What inoculations do I need?

You should check the guidance in your home country. This is not a high-risk malaria area, although we do advise the use of anti-malaria drugs. It is also not a yellow fever area.

Can I run for a charity?

Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer and raise £5000 we will refund you your entry fee and throw in a free Rat Race backpack. How’s that for a deal! You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart, however.

Can I volunteer?

Yes you can. We welcome support from across the Globe and if you do decide you want to come and work with us on this very special event, we will make sure we look after you. Plus you will be rewarded with an unbelievable experience in a phenomenal part of the World, of course. Click here to see the lowdown volunteering on Rat Race Bucket List events across the World.

 

About the area

Panama is a small but extremely diverse country right at the very crossroads of the Americas. We are going to the area north west of Panama City, close to the Costa Rican border in Chirriqui and Bocas Del Toro provinces. These areas encompass varied terrains and vistas, including coffee and fruit plantations, coastal scenery, rugged upland cloudforest and protected, primary jungle. It is teaming with life and colour and extremely verdant. As a whole, Panama is a very interesting country. Panama City has all the modern trappings such as highrise condo’s, office blocks and hotels of the impressive “Pana-Miami” skyline, nestled side-by-side with the crumbling antiquity of Casco Viejo (the colonial Old Town) and of course, the World-famous Panama Canal. As soon as you leave Panama City, the pace of life slows significantly and the jungle and greenery takes over. The abundance of flora, fauna and animals in the country makes it one of the most diverse places on Earth and attracts travellers, ecologists, adventurers and dreamers in equal measure. It has all this, but from an adventure point of view, it’s fair to say that Panama is somewhat overshadowed by its neighbour, Costa Rica, which has developed a far more in-depth tourism framework. As such, Panama (and particularly the locations we are going) feel a little more ‘undiscovered.’ It is the next big destination in adventure tourism? It should be. But for now, we’re glad it’s still a little under the radar. As it gives us a firm tapestry on which to weave one of the World’s classic adventures: Panama Coast to Coast.

What can I expect?

Beaches, farmland, mountains, cloudforest, primary jungle, off-grid ‘no-phone’ living, inaccessible terrain that no-one ever visits, encounters with jungle tribes, amazing jungle rivers, Caribbean cool and some seriously arduous miles underfoot.

Your journey will involve both foot travel and pack-rafting and your overnight locations will be a mixture of hotels, guest houses, beach cabanas and jungle camps. You can expect first-class safety, service and organisation. And as far as Panama as a whole is concerned, you can expect to want to come back.

Weather

It can be very hot and humid all day and night long. The jungle can feel a bit oppressive and overbearing in this way. Hydration is extremely important, as is taking on consistent calories. It will be hot, for sure. But at the higher elevations, it does get a bit cooler than the coastal regions.

Wildlife

There’s a lot. An awful lot. If you’re lucky, you may see many different species of colourful birds, insects, spiders, howler monkeys, snakes, creepy-crawlies of all shapes and sizes, dazzingly coloured frogs and even the elusive jungle cat, the Jaguar. It’s unlikely you’ll see all of this all of the time though. There are not hoards of nasties waiting to jump out and get you. Embrace the biodiversity and learn a little about the critters you encounter. There’s so much life out there, it is hard to miss it!

Other Highlights en route

The pacific coast is laid back and popular with surfers, kayakers and domestic Panamanian tourists. We’ll be starting our adventure there and heading out into the interior, where we will see coffee and fruit farms and of course, then the main highlight, the jungle.

A major highlight of the route is the river pack raft section, which is both unique and unprecedented in such an event.

When we get to the finish,  Bocas Del Toro is like a fresh Caribbean breeze – laid back, friendly and just the place to enjoy the spoils of your labours.

We’d also encourage you to spend some time post-trip (or before) soaking up the culture and sights of Panama City. The canal itself is very impressive and you can right up close and personal with it at one of the two visitor centres at Miraflores Locks and the brand new Agua Clara Locks of the ‘second’ canal. The bars and restaurants of Casco Viejo are magical and of course, don’t forget to pick up an authentic Panama Hat from Victor’s in Casco (although aficionados will know that real Panama’s, like those on sale at Victor’s, are actually made in Ecuador!).

Key Facts

Panama City is the only capital city in the world that has a rain forest within its city limits.

The total population of Panama is around 3.6 million with 1.5 million of those living in Panama city.

The oldest continually operating railroad is in Panama. It travels from Panama City to Colon and back.

Panama was the first Latin American country to adopt the U.S. currency as its own.

Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic.

A man, a plan, a canal; Panama.” is a palindrome.

More than 12,000 people died in the construction of the Panama Railroad.

Panama has more than 976 bird species, which is more than the United States and Canada combined.

 

The Challenge

What is the route?

It is a one-way solo crossing of central America, from the pacific coast to the Atlantic coast. The route covers 3 distinct ‘phases’ over 6 daily stages, incorporating a gradual ascent through farmland to the highlands of Chirriqui (phase 1), the ‘off-grid’ primary jungle section (phase 2) and the final river descent to the coast in pack-rafts (phase 3). It is 200km in length, with 180km completed on foot (approx. 30km/ day) and 20kmin the rafts.

Is it safe? 

Yes. But good sense and field-craft, plus personal admin are required. Some of this route is extremely remote and the climate is hot and humid  the whole time. There are also some poisonous beasties in the jungle of course. This is all true. But this event is well considered. We are not in the business of taking blind risks for our customers or our crew. We have excellent local facilitators and guides. There are risks, inherent by the remote nature of such a challenge, but these risks are managed via the design of this event and via the systems we have put in place to operate it. You need to have a keen appreciation for the nature of this challenge, but you should enter it knowing we have also considered the salient features of this challenge.

How hard is it?

Well, 200km over 6 days will never be a walk in the park, but add to that some pretty fierce humidity and heat and a generally pretty hostile environment, (plus being soaked head to toe the entire time) and this is a biggie. But we have designed it to be achievable. We don’t want you to fail. You need the right mind-set. It is worth a shot; it has to be. When else do you get an opportunity like this, to cross Central America from one side to the other, on foot…?

Can I walk the foot sections?

Yes. In fact, even if you are a seasoned Ultra runner, you will absolutely be hard-pushed to run the whole thing due to the energy-sapping nature of the jungle. But we have designed it to be completed by a normal walker achieving an average pace of 4kmh (including pit-stops). The foot days will take you a while and you will be blowing hard in the jungle to get through the terrain ahd the tangle around you but hey, it’s a challenge, right?

Pack Rafting 

How many times do you get to make your way downstream on a jungle river in a one-person packraft, with you and your gear onboard?

This is an exciting section, some some light rapids (grades 1 and 2) but is not to be feared. Embrace the packraft!

Can I use my own raft?

If you have one, yes. We will provide everyone with one but if you prefer to use your own, that’s fine. You will need to carry it in the jungle phase (day 3 onwards) and we will need you to inflate it prior to the journey beginning so we can satisfy ourselves that’s not going to come a-cropper half way down-river! If you do use your own raft, we would expect you to supply your own paddle and Buoyancy aid, too. Each pack-raft set is issued as a ‘kit’ of these items.

How long have I got each day?

We will have cut-offs on says 1 and 2 but these will be extremely generous. If you can average a 4kmh pace on foot, you will be OK. It will take you a long time, but you will make it. If you do find yourself at the back and off the pace, we will scoop you up and shuttle you further up the field, although we will aim for this to be a last resort so you have your best shot at doing the whole thing by your own means of travel. For the jungle, there are no cut offs as you simply have to make it to camp. We will look for everyone to make it in daylight. If we have any concerns on your ability to do this, we will have identified that on days 1 or 2, so we can have a chat about it prior to the jungle phase. If we really don’t think you can cut it on that phase, we will bus you to Bocas at the finish and you will miss that stage. But if you have followed the advice, trained well, can maintain a solid 4kmh under normal foot travel conditions and approach the event responsibly, this won’t be an issue.

What if I get injured, or need to withdraw from a stage or from the whole thing?

Our medical team will be on hand to assist with injury and depending on the type and nature of the injury can treat or evacuate you accordingly. If we need to get to you to urgent medical attention in a hospital, we can, but if it’s from the jungle phase, we may need to use a helicopter. There are no roads in this area whatsoever. We will be insisting that everyone has global evacuation insurance in place, in case we need to request a helicopter evacuation. See here for what this is and what it covers.

If you need to withdraw from days 1 or 2 where these are vehicle supported, our vehicles will move you onwards to the overnight location for that night. If you wish and if you are up to it, you may re-start the following stage the next day.

If you need to withdraw from the event as a whole, (and if you have not been transported to hospital for urgent care) then we will move you to the finish line at Bocas and you will remain there until the rest of the event body has arrived there.

Pit Stops

These will be situated regularly along the route on says 1 and 2 and will be operated out of mobile vehicles, with hot and cold drink provision, plus some energy foods. We will have medical staff on hand immediately beyond the pit stops also. There are no pit stops for the remainder of the journey in the jungle phase or on the river.

Will I get too hot whilst on the course?

It’s possible but only if you don’t follow the guidance on clothing and water intake; and if you are slow in taking action to resolve if you do end up getting too hot. The absolute key is to ensure you ‘keep on top of it’ and to take on water, electrolytes and salts. We will have all of these things at the pit stops and our medics will have IV and other re-hydration supplies in the jungle phase, but we really o not want it to come to that, in that terrain. You will be required to carry a minimum quantity of water and minimum quantities of food at all times, to ensure you are always self-sufficient. The absolute key is good hydration and good shade (cover) for your head. See the mandatory kit list for more information on kit and hydration.

 

EARLY BIRD OFFER: SAVE $200 WHEN YOU REGISTER BEFORE 1ST JANUARY 2019

 

  • Prices are per person

  • Register before 31st Dec 2018

    Register before 31st Dec 2018

  • Register after 1st Jan 2019

    Register after 1st Jan 2019

  • Register after 30th Nov 2019

    Register after 30th Nov 2019

  • REGISTRATION FEE

    Initial payment

  • Register before 31st Dec 2018

    $500

  • Register after 1st Jan 2019

    $750

  • Register after 30th Nov 2019

    $2250

  • DEPOSIT

    Due within 60 days

  • Register before 31st Dec 2018

    $1500

  • Register after 1st Jan 2019

    $1500

  • Register after 30th Nov 2019

    N/A

  • FINAL BALANCE

    Due by 1st July 2019

  • Register before 31st Dec 2018

    $1750

  • Register after 1st Jan 2019

    $1750

  • Register after 30th Nov 2019

    $1750

  • TOTAL

    To be paid

  • Register before 31st Dec 2018

    $3750

  • Register after 1st Jan 2019

    $4000

  • Register after 30th Nov 2019

    $4000

 

All prices are in US Dollars. An admin fee of 1.99% will be added to all payments. Your deposit is due 60 days after you pay your Registration Fee. If you register after the 30th November 2019 your Registration Fee and Deposit is due in one payment.

All payments are non-refundable. If you wish to withdraw and lodge your request within 60 days of paying your registration fee you may transfer this fee to another Rat Race Bucket List event or exchange it in totality for entry into a UK Rat Race event of your choosing.

Entries are non transferable to another person. Once the 100 spaces are full we will operate a waiting list and we will work through it chronologically to offer any places that become available.

Please see here for full terms and conditions and our cancellation policy.

What’s Included

  • Fully supported including 4×4 support, sweeper crews, professional medics
  • Fully waymarked route
  • Professional jungle guides and safety staff, professional jungle medics, professional river safety staff
  • Catered including many meals, pit stops plus beverage provision en route
  • 8 nights accommodation: 4 Star Hotel (2 nights), guest house or lodge (2 nights), jungle camp (3 nights), beach cabanas (1 night)
  • All in-country transfers from Tocumen International, including internal return flight to start location and from finish location of event
  • High value finisher’s mementos including T-shirt, medal and special-edition engraved Machete for all finishers
  • Ground-breaking satellite tracking for safety and supporter interaction
  • Rental of pack raft, buoyancy aid and paddle included
  • Overnight bag transfers from camp to camp (except jungle camps, which are self-supported)
  • After event party and beach accommodation on Bocas Del Toro

 

 

Ever fancied working on an event at the Ends of the Earth? We have limited spaces for Volunteers to come and experience these sensational Bucket List events from the coalface with our volunteer programme.

We have spaces for volunteering within our event team at these events. These include assistance at our overnight camps, inside the race team and behind the scenes on logistics and customer services in-country at the events. For those intrepid enough to take up the challenge you will be rewarded with the same mementos as the participants, accommodation and food whilst on the trip. Just get yourself to the Start and away from the finish and we will look after you in between. It is important to note that for this adventure, the self-sufficient jungle phase will require any staff to be fully self-sufficient and to travel on foot along the same route as participants. You will be vetted for your suitability for roles in that environment and not all volunteer positions will include attendance in this ‘jungle phase.’

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US AND FIND OUT MORE

Let us know which of our Bucket List events you’re interested in.

 


 

Fancy helping us create the next generation of Bucket List challenges and go where no-one has gone before? We’ve been busy combing the planet for the next wave of seriously out-there Adventures and now we’re looking for a few hardy souls to come with us and be “test-pilots” on these amazing new trips.

 

You’ll need a sense of adventure (and a sense of humour!) and of course you’ll understand that these trips aren’t the “finished article” yet, so an open-minded trailblazing spirit will help too! We’ll publish a kit list and there will be a financial contribution; plus you’ll need the time off, of course. These trips will take between 7-14 days depending on where in the World we are headed. The outcome? Authentic World-first Adventures. With you as part of the crew.

Join us as test pilot and see “the other side…”

For a list of destinations and approximate dates please email events@ratrace.com for more details.

RAISE AT LEAST £5000 FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK AND GET YOUR ENTRY FREE REFUNDED!

SUPPORT CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK: JOIN THE CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK TEAM AND HELP SAVE MORE YOUNG LIVES

By joining the 2019 Children with Cancer UK Rat Race Panama Coast to Coast Team you will help the charity raise funds which will be invested into vital specialist research to improve survival rates in children and young people to create a world where no child dies of cancer.

Raise at least GBP£5,000 (excluding gift aid) for Children with Cancer UK between now and one week before the event and Rat Race will refund your total entry fee up to the value of GBP £2,500.

Please note; USD$500 of your Registration Fee paid to Rat Race is non-refundable. Your refund will be made in USD$, with the exchange rates dependent on the time of processing. Refunds will be made between 2 and 3 months after the event is completed.

Refunds are not mandatory; participants are welcome to opt-out of receiving their refund. Should participants opt-out, their refund will instead be used by Children with Cancer UK to help fund vital specialist research into childhood cancer.

TO CREATE YOUR VIRGIN MONEY GIVING PAGE AND START FUNDRAISING SIMPLY CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE.

If you choose to support Children with Cancer UK and raise £5000, you will also receive;

  • A Children with Cancer UK fundraising and training pack
  • Regular Children with Cancer UK updates
  • A dedicated point of contact at the charity
  • A technical Children with Cancer UK t-shirt to wear with pride
  • Free Rat Race back pack (ideal for use on Bucket List events!)

If you go the extra-mile with your fundraising and help save the lives of every child with cancer you can be eligible for fundraising incentives set out below.

Rat Race events are perfect platforms for fundraising. A solid and tangible physical and mental objective for you, the participant. Plus a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the route; and perhaps raise some cash for a cause close to your heart.

There is no obligation to fund raise of course and people come from all walks of life and all over the World to take what they wish from these amazing experiences. If you do decide to raise cash, we welcome fundraising for any charity or non-profit.

If you are a UK resident, please read below for an exciting opportunity to raise money AND get your entry fee back, when you raise funds for Children with Cancer UK.

For more information on Children with Cancer UK please visit www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk. Alternatively please contact the Sports Team on 020 7404 0808 or email sports@childrenwithcancer.org.uk to find out more about this route to taking part in a Rat Race Bucket List event. Children with Cancer UK is a registered national charity (no. 298405)

READ ABOUT OUR £1MILLION CHARITY GOAL HERE

Please get in touch via the ‘Contact us‘ link below if you’re interested in any of our Bolt On Options.

Option A:  Panama City Casco Viejo Walking Tour

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option B: Casco Viejo Foodie Walking Tour

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option C:  Panama Canal Tour

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option D: Panama Canal Boat Transit

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option E: Panama Canal kayak Tour

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option F: Embrera Village Tour

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option G: San Blas kayak odyssey

More info to follow
Price: POA

(Itinerary TBC)

ITINERARY

KIT/EQUIPMENT

SKILL LEVEL

FOOD

ACCOMMODATION

TRANSPORT

FAQ

LOCATION

THE CHALLENGE

ENTRY FEE

VOLUNTEER

RUN FOR CHARITY

BOLT ON OPTIONS

CONTACT US

 


ITINERARY

Saturday 21st March

Arrive Panama City, Tocumen International airport. Transfer from airport to our comfortable city accommodation. Sight-seeing tours of the Old Town, Canal and local area can be arranged for early arrivals.

Sunday 22nd March

Transfer back to Panama City airport for internal flight to David. Transfer to 4 star hotel. Kit check, briefings and sun-downers on the Pacific, before the start of your 6 day foot journey across Central America! All meals provided, including a hearty sun-down supper before the off.

Monday 23rd March

Panam Coast to Coast begins! Cover approximately 30km 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 comfortable guest house. All meals provided.

Tuesday 24th March

Day 2 sees another 40km 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 in comfortable guest houses. You may want a shower too, as where going next, there won’t be one of those for a while. All meals provided.

Wednesday 25th March

The jungle awaits. Depart the comfort of the lodge and enter rugged, upland primary jungle terrain. There are no prepared trails where we are going and you will travel along our way-marked ‘trail,’ machete in hand and with 3 days supplies on your back, including hammock and packraft, which you will need at the other end when we exit the jungle phase. 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: 30km

Thursday 26th March

Another long day on foot over 30km 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.

Friday 27th March

One more day of hard jungle trekking will bring us eventually to the banks of a river. We will overnight here before the final river stage to exit the jungle and paddle our way to the finish line at the Caribbean coast. A/C jungle camp

Saturday 28th March

Our final day of the journey is a real unique one. 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 20km to the coast. There are some light rapids here (grades 1 and 2) but nothing that resembles a raging torrent. This should be a really beautiful and very surreal conclusion to a fantastic journey. When you arrive at the coast, our fast boats will transport you to Bocas Del Toro island. Let the party begin! A/C beach cabanas or similar.

Sunday 29th March

Kick off those shoes and feel the sand between your manky feet! A day in Bocas Town will feel a world away from the toils of the jungle. Enjoy beers, kayaking, fishing or simply swinging in a hammock. We will overnight one more night here before departing for the mainland once more. A/C beach cabanas or similar.

Monday 30th March

Depart Bocas Town for David regional airport and return air travel back to Tocumen International Airport. Out itinerary ends here, but you are 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.

*NOTE THAT TIMINGS AND ITINERARIES ARE APPROX AND MAY CHANGE


KIT/EQUIPMENT

Rat Race will provide:

  • 4×4 Vehicle support throughout appropriate stages (Days 1 and 2), including sweeper service, medical support and pit stop food and beverage provision. See Food/ Accommodation/ transport for more details on the pit stops and other trip catering provisions.
  • Satellite tracking and GPS routing device: Rat Race will provide ground-breaking satellite tracking, with units which allow us to see where you are at all times for your safety some service may be disrupted by jungle canopy). It also allows your loved ones and supporters to keep track of your progress, should you wish to share. The device will also be uploaded with a track of the route, for them to follow on the device across certain stages.
  • Packrafts, buoyancy aids and paddles are provided.
  • Bag transfer from camp to camp on day 1, 2 and to the finish line at Bocas Town. You take a day pack and we carry the rest for these stages. In the jungle, you are self-supported. More on that on the Kit page
  • Special-edition Race Bib to go over all items of clothing (lightweight fabric)

The participant will provide:

Their own footwear, running gear, pack large enough for the self-sufficient jungle stage (suggested 50l), plus a larger hold-all sized bag for overnight gear (strict size and weight limit applies). You will also need a hammock, mosquito net, machete, sunhat and long-sleeved clothing for the jungle.

For camp, you will bring your own hammock, mosquito net, cooking gear and food. We will advise on recommended supplies and will have items for sale to satisfy these kit list provisions. You will also need a head torch plus overnight essentials like toiletries, some loo roll and books/ entertainment devices. You do not need a tent or roll mat, as you will always be sleeping off the ground in a hammock. Please note that there will be no charging stations or power provision for devices at the jungle camps so bring your electronics fully charged. There will be charging opportunities at the Hotels and guest houses e use and at Bocas Town at the end of the event. Please see our guidance on electronic devices on the kit page.

A full kit list will be published soon, with detailed information on kit required, weights, dimensions and recommendations, plus all specialist items required. Most of what is required is ‘standard’ running and trekking gear for hot, humid weather climates, although there are 1 or 2 specialist (inexpensive) items we will recommend for the jungle environment. The good news is that it’s so hot, you don’t need many clothes!

Mandatory Equipment

A mandatory kit list will be published here very shortly.

 


SKILL LEVEL

We have rated this challenge as Technical rating 7/10 and Endurance rating 8/10.

What does this mean?

Technical rating 7/10
This is a committing proposition with a very good support system around you. It does not require super-human skills to access, however. The initial run/ trek stage and the jungle trek stage are both open and accessible to anyone who has a decent level of fitness and who is up for a challenge. The self-supported jungle phase is just that – it is you, your gear and a good few km of rugged jungle terrain. You should be comfortable with your gear and comfortable with the self-sufficient nature of this section, which is 3 days without contact with the outside World.

Pack Rafts
For the packrafts, we will offer some tips and you should be proficient enough to paddle a kayak on your own. We will have water safety staff on the river, however you are paddling your own raft, with your pack on board too, so you should be prepared for a solo mission on this section, but a guided trip per se. The rafts are not hard to paddle and are extremely stable however.

Running/ trekking
You can walk or run the foot stages. We have designed the initial stage (days 1 and 2) to be suitable for fast or slower paces. When you hit the jungle, you will struggle to ‘run,’ with your pack weighing you down, the nature of the humidity and the sheer ‘tangle’ of the jungle we are moving through. Byt its nature, this is a trekking stage as the pace of travel is physically hampered by the jungle around you. For more on the jungle environment, click here.

 

Endurance rating 8/10
Participants should expect a long outing here over 6 long days, 5 of which are on foot and 3 of which are in a genuinely ‘off-grid’ primary jungle environment. This is a mighty Challenge and a worthy objective: A full foot crossing of the Americas. As with all Rat Race events however, the concept is designed to be tough, but achievable. This is not a ‘sufferfest.’ More-so it is a stunning journey through an unbelievably diverse landscape. The undertaking should not be under-estimated of course, particularly the self-supported jungle section. A good dose of general fitness is required and an appreciation of the challenges of the heat and humidity and will stand you in very good stead for completion of the job-in-hand.

Enjoy the journey and feel the burn in the legs after a job well done! Those beers in Bocas will never have tasted so good!

 


FOOD

Provided within the trip costs are:

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.
  • Where we spend the night at a hotel of guest house, the food is all included. That is 3 squares/ day. We also include a special dinner on the last night, when you have completed the journey.
  • Catering begins with dinner on Saturday 21st March and ends with celebration dinner at Bocas Town on Sunday 29th March.
  • For the jungle camps, you will take and prepare your own food. More details on this in the section on jungle camps in the ‘What to expect from the jungle camps’ section.See below for information on gluten-free and vegan provision.

Pit Stops

  • Where offered (days 1 and 2), we will offer savoury and sweet snacks, sports drink (carb-based powder for you to add to your water at your own discretion) and water are 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.

Alcohol (!)

  • A complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink is offered with our compliments at the finish line with dinner in Bocas Town; available for all participants upon arrival in Bocas celebrate a job well done!
  • 2 Party drinks per person to get you into the swing at the party on Sunday night in Bocas, too

Participants will cover costs for:

  • – All meals pre and post Challenge (outwith the times and sates stated above)
  • Food to be taken into the jungle on the self-sufficient stage. We will have recommendations on these options; and food for sale too. You must plan to take, cook and prepare your own meals in the jungle.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in the hotels and guest houses and in Bocas Town and any items charged to your rooms (all participants to settle own room extras bills).
  • Alcoholic drinks other than those stated above.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the post-Challenge meal (except 2 complimentary drink from ourselves).

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.

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.

 


ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

Upon arrival in Panama City and the following night near the Start line, we will accommodate you in smart 4 Star hotels. These are good comfortable options with all the trappings of 4 star comfort and hearty food options included.

Guest Houses

On nights 3 and 4 of the trip (nights 1 and 2 of your coast to coast journey) we will utilise local guest house accommodation. You will not all be housed in the same accommodation owing to the capacity of such facilities in the areas we are travelling. These will be good, clean places with warm hosts and good hearty food.

Jungle Camps

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. These could well be the most unusual and exhilarating nights you will ever spend in the great Outdoors…!

Beach Cabanas or similar

Upon arrival in Bocas Town, it’s all about the beach. Simple yet comfy beach-side accommodation is on the menu here, whilst you sip cocktails and enjoy that hard-earned Caribbean coastal vibe.

Jungle Camplife

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.

Enjoy it, breath it in and envelope yourself in the circle of life. This is the jungle up close and personal.

Jungle campsite 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 pracautions on wildlife. They will also be able to point out interesting flora, fauna and jungle critters.

Personal Hygiene

This one’s important. Which is why we insist on mandatory anti-bac wipes and anti-bac handwash. Bugs spread around people living in close quarters fast; going to the loo and not washing hands and handling food with dirty hands are the dangers. Keep washing those hands and you’ll not go far wrong. Any cuts and scratches should be attended to with antiseptic early too, to prevent infection taking hold in this remote and very wet environment. The jungle can be a harsh environment if infection and hygiene issues are not tackled fast; so a good dose of personal admin on this front is essential.

All those critters – is it safe?

See our section on Jungle critters in the FAQ. There are some creepy crawlies and other animals in the jungle that you will want to avoid. But they want to avoid you, too. People live in the jungle and some people are drawn to it year in year out as it is a fascinating technicolour slideshow of life in all its glory. It is to be appreciated with a healthy does of respect. But not to be feared. of See our section on this topic.

 


TRANSPORT

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Transfer from Panama City Airport to night 1 hotel in Panama City.
  • Transfer back to Panama City Airport to connect with internal flight to David.
  • Internal flights to David and onward transfer to night 2 hotel at Start area for the challenge.
  • During the event all of your overnight belongings will be transported and sweeper vehicles will transport YOU to the next location if you require withdrawal from the event on days 1 and 2.
  • Once in the jungle, your gear will be transported to the finish location in Bocas Del Toro. You will be self-sufficient until re-united with this kit, for 3 days and 3 nights.
  • Following arrival at the Caribbean coast via pack-raft at the end of the Day 8 we will a fast boat transfer is included to take you to the party island of Bocas Del Toro.
  • Boat transfer back from Bocas to the mainland and then road transport to David regional airport.
  • Internal flight back to Panama City International airport.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Travel to and from Panama.
  • Airport transfers from our start and finish areas if outwith our stated transfer days.
  • Onward itineraries in Panama after the conclusion of our itinerary back at Panama City International airport.

Getting to Panama

Panama City is well served internationally via Tocumen International Airport. There are multiple direct services from cities in  North America, plus direct flights from Europe via carriers such as Iberia (Spain) and KLM (The Netherlands). It is also served by many carriers across South and Central America.

  • Journey time to panama direct from Europe: 10 hours
  • Journey time from Miami and Southern US States: 3/4 hours

 


FAQ

What is format of the event?

Panama Coast to Coast is a foot-based adventure event. 6 days are spent on the adventure itself, (5 on foot and 1 in pack-rafts on a river) with 1 prep day and 2 logistics days (owing to the remote nature – getting to and from the start/ finish) and 1 ‘R and R’ day at the end, kicking back at the beach. Where the journey is supported, we provide the lot – all meals, accommodation, event support functions whilst you are on the route, transfers to and from the airport, the lot. We also provide the pack-rafts for the river section. There is a significant ‘self-sufficient’ section of the event too, which is a 3 day trek through primary jungle, for which you will trek with all of your supplies on your back. Whilst this is ‘supported’ with our medics and jungle guides, you pack in your own sleeping gear, water and food. For more on what is included, click here.

Is it genuinely coast to coast?

Yep. It’s a full traverse of Panama and of central America from one side to the other. You will start by dipping your feet in the pacific and finish with a welcome cooling off in the Atlantic, on Panama’s Caribbean coast.

What’s so special about it?

Quite a bit! This route is one-of-a-kind and is the only foot-based traverse of central America in existence. The route is varied – 6 days with 3 very disctinct ‘phases,’ all connected with first-class event support. The pack-rafts are also special: No-one has attempted such a foot crossing of central America on this audacious scale and no-one has tagged a packraft section down a jungle river onto the end of it, to reach the coast! Even the departure from the finish and the ‘post-event event’ is special, as we whisk you away frm the Caribbean coast to Panama’s very own party island, to kick back with some well earned beers and enjoy the sound of the sea lapping away at your mangled, manky feet.

How far is the route?

The route is 200km all up. That’s 180km on foot and 20km in the packrafts. The exact final route distance is subject to change and might be a little above or below these figures. The route will be shared in full in advance of the Challenge commencing. For an overview map of the route with stages, click here.

Is this a multi-day event?

Yes. 6 days. 1 stage per day. It is a 10 day package, with 6 days ‘on the trail,’ so to speak.

How far is each stage and in which order do I do them? Do the stages get harder or easier the further we progress from coast to coast?

You will get to open up the legs for a run, or trek for the first 2 days. 30km on day 1 and 40km on day 2. The next 3 days are in the jungle proper, with around 30km covered each day through very challenging terrain. These are definitiely ‘trekking’ stages therefore. The 6th day we inflate the rafts and travel approximately 20km down river to reach the coast. Each stage distance is subject to change but in round numbers, it’s around 30km for the jungle days (per day). An overview route map can be viewed here. The first 2 days are definitely a bit of an easier lead-in to the jungle stage. They are by no means easy, but the jungle stage is a real test. The packrafting day will feel like a well-earned holiday in comparison, but you’ll still need to engage arms and willpower to get yourself down-river! So in theory, it starts easier, gets harder, then finishes easier again!

Are there cut-offs? How long do I have to complete each stage?

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 ay 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, plus satellite tracking resources will aid in achieving this.

Do I need to run on the foot stages?

No. There’s enough time available to walk it all. Indeed in the jungle proper, it is very unlikely you will be able to ‘run,’ given the terrain, the packs you are carrying and the thick nature of the jungle you are travelling through.

How hard is it and how much training should I do?

It’s a big outing and you’ll need good conditioning and a solid dose of derring-do. The jungle stage particularly is very committing, as once you are in, you’re in. But this event has been designed for anyone to have a go at – not just seasoned adventure athletes. That is the Rat Race way. We have provided some commentary on the nature of the challenge and the ‘ratings’ we apply to it (Skill rating and Endurance rating) here. In terms of training, this is a personal thing, but a general training plan will be released shortly, which should act as an overall guide to help you prepare and get the most out of this epic adventure.

What type of terrain is it?

It’s varied. It’s very green! The first 2 days will use quiet roads, mud and gravel trails. It will gradually ascend, although it is very gradual. The jungle is a particular type of environment and can be unforgiving. It’s got a lot of up and down, thick jungle to penetrate and it’s hot and humid all the time. Expect to be drenched from head to tow all the time. And expect to be really blowing hard to get the job done. It is not to be under-estimated but equally, not to be feared.

For a description of the route and a general overview of the map, click here.

Do I need to navigate my way along the route?

No. 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. You will also have a satellite tracking unit that we will issue, so we know where you are at all times. It won’t work all the time owing the jungle canopy blocking satellite signal in some areas, but it is a very good back-up and safety aid for us, in the unlikely event that you do get lost.

What if I get lost?

Unlikely. But if you do get lost we have a suite of options in place to get you back on track. You will all have a satellite tracking device that we can use to see where you are and we have satcomms to speak to our guides from event control. Our guides can then attend to your position. There will be a protocol for such encoutners 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.

What if I get hurt?

Your satellite tracker has an Emergency SOS button that you can utilise if you really need it. That will send the cavalry to your position. We have highly trained expedition paramedics on the event with jungle skills and medicines. So if you need assistance we will be there. BUT you need to know that you are in genuinely isolated and inaccessible terrain once we hit the jungle. If you need casualty evacuation, we will need to call upon air rescue or other means to extract you, which is why we will insist everyone has evacuation insurance in place for such occurrences.

Where will we stay?

Quite simply, some outstanding places. Click here to learn more about the accommodation we will offer.

What is included?

Click here to see what we provide on kit/equipment. What is included as far as food/accommodation/transport is concerned in the adjacent tabs.

What happens when we get to the Caribbean coast?

It’s journey’s end but not the end of the adventure. We will be whisking you by fast boat to Bocas Del Toro, Panama’s Caribbean party town, for some seriously welcome R and R. We’ll spend a couple of nights there before returning to the mainland for onward transit back to Panama City by boat, land and air!

What about the wildlife?

There are a lot of animals, bugs and critters in the jungle. That’s a fact. You will see a great deal of wildlife and this is one of the joy’s of this environment. Some of these are poisonous and could be life-threatening if you do not use general precautions, such as checking your shoes in the mornings and checking carefully where you tread in some areas. Use boots and long socks in the jungle, cover your legs and arms with fabric and you won’t go far wrong. We will have jungle medics trained in the treatment of stings, bites and so on. It’s all out there, but of course for the most part, these critters are more afraid of you than you are of them. Enjoy the wildlife, don’t fear it.

Are there jaguars?

Yes there are jaguars in the jungle. You will be given advice on interactions with these types of jungle dwellers. If you see one, you will have been very lucky.

Are there crocodiles in the river?

No crocs here.

How safe is the area and the country in general?

Panama is a wonderful country. The areas we are travelling in are some of the safest in central America, although general precautions should always be followed in respect of belongings and personal safety. There are areas of Panama City that are not advised to attend alone or at night; and the city of Colon in general is seen as fairly unsafe. Although we are not going to those locations on our itinerary. Enjoy the wildlife, the local hospitality, the laid back coastal vibes and the sounds of the jungle, all around you…

What’s the weather like? It is really hot?

Yep. Very hot. Very humid. All the time. Some of the route does climb up to pretty high elevations so it’s actually cooler in these parts than some of the more lower lying areas of the country. But it’s definitely hot, hot, hot!

What equipment do I need?

There is a list on the Kit/ Equipment page of what is provided for you by the event and what we require you to provide. A full kit list will be provided in due course.

How much special gear do I need to buy for this event?

Not much. In general, you need running/ trekking gear and clothing that is suitable for a hot, humid climate – good loose-fitting lightweight clothing and sturdy footwear for the jungle are the key items. You will need a hammock and mosquito net and a machete. We can advise on where to purchase and you can purchase some of these specialist items from us, nearer the time. Check out more on kit and equipment here.

Do I need my own packraft?

No. We will provide packraft, buoyancy aid and paddle for al participants. You can use your own if you have one, however. We will ask to see it inflated before we set off, to ensure it’s not going to end up letting you down (no pun intended) at the worst possible time. You will be issued with the rafts prior to the jungle stage on day 3 (so will not carry them on days 1 or 2) and then carry the rafts in your gear through the jungle, before inflating and using them on day 6 to exit the jungle on the final day to the Caribbean coast.

Is paddling a packraft hard?

Nope. Pretty easy. They float, they travel with the current (and we are going downstream) and if you stick the paddle in the water, it will go where you send it. It is true they do not ‘track’ very well (as they sit on top of the water and don’t really cut through it, like a kayak) so they aren’t a fast way to travel. They are very stable however and laxing in your raft whilst floating downstream with your gear is a truly evocative way to finish this wonderful jungle adventure.

Do I have to carry all of my kit with me?

Yes and no. Or rather, sometimes yes and sometimes no. This is a supported format, which means that we transport gear for you on the stages where we can do so, which is days 1 and 2. You will need to carry a daypack for these stages, which will have food, water, emergency gear and spare clothing in it, so you will have to carry something. But not all of your kit. We will do the hard yards on your overnight supplies by carrying a bag for you from location to location. This is a large logistical operation and is part of the value offered in this very special trip. When you hit the jungle stage on days 3 onwards, there are no roads for us to support you from. We will take your ‘finish-line’ bag to the finish for you but everything you will need for the jungle trekking stages will be carried by you, on your back.

What food will be available? Do I have to pay for food or is it included?

Yes. Food is provided for some of the trip and there is also a self-sufficient component to the trip, too. There is lots of information on the food and bev provision here.

Can I bring supporters?

On the course itself, no. We have a convoy of vehicles supporting this trip and there is no space to take passengers. In the jungle, there is no way we can take supporters either. We can however provide extra beds at supporter rates in the hotels at the start and in the accommodation at the finish, together with catering so you can eat and stay together pre and post-trip.

Can my supporters follow the action at home?

Absolutely. Our bespoke and unique satellite tracking system is one-part safety system and on-part giant online-viewing gallery. Your supporters can see you on the map at all times and follow your progress. You will need to ensure they understand that satellite signal will not always be received in the jungle, on account of the dense canopy in places. It can worry folks is a dot is not moving for a while, but this is part and parcel of this terrain. However, they will be able to follow your general progress through the trip via this system.

What medical support is provided?

The best. Rat Race are renowned for their commitment to the very highest standards of safety management and medical cover. We will have an Event Doctor on the trip, plus jungle medics trained for this environment and all of the gear and drugs required for such an undertaking in this part of the World.

How do I get to the start and away from the finish?

We offer airport transfers at either end. For the full low-down on this, together with a description of all of the options here, see the ‘TRANSPORT‘ and ‘BOLT ON OPTIONS‘ tabs.

What inoculations do I need?

You should check the guidance in your home country. This is not a high-risk malaria area, although we do advise the use of anti-malaria drugs. It is also not a yellow fever area.

Can I run for a charity?

Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer and raise £5000 we will refund you your entry fee and throw in a free Rat Race backpack. How’s that for a deal! You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart, however.

Can I volunteer?

Yes you can. We welcome support from across the Globe and if you do decide you want to come and work with us on this very special event, we will make sure we look after you. Plus you will be rewarded with an unbelievable experience in a phenomenal part of the World, of course. Click here to see the lowdown volunteering on Rat Race Bucket List events across the World.

 


LOCATION

About the area

Panama is a small but extremely diverse country right at the very crossroads of the Americas. We are going to the area north west of Panama City, close to the Costa Rican border in Chirriqui and Bocas Del Toro provinces. These areas encompass varied terrains and vistas, including coffee and fruit plantations, coastal scenery, rugged upland cloudforest and protected, primary jungle. It is teaming with life and colour and extremely verdant. As a whole, Panama is a very interesting country. Panama City has all the modern trappings such as highrise condo’s, office blocks and hotels of the impressive “Pana-Miami” skyline, nestled side-by-side with the crumbling antiquity of Casco Viejo (the colonial Old Town) and of course, the World-famous Panama Canal. As soon as you leave Panama City, the pace of life slows significantly and the jungle and greenery takes over. The abundance of flora, fauna and animals in the country makes it one of the most diverse places on Earth and attracts travellers, ecologists, adventurers and dreamers in equal measure. It has all this, but from an adventure point of view, it’s fair to say that Panama is somewhat overshadowed by its neighbour, Costa Rica, which has developed a far more in-depth tourism framework. As such, Panama (and particularly the locations we are going) feel a little more ‘undiscovered.’ It is the next big destination in adventure tourism? It should be. But for now, we’re glad it’s still a little under the radar. As it gives us a firm tapestry on which to weave one of the World’s classic adventures: Panama Coast to Coast.

What can I expect?

Beaches, farmland, mountains, cloudforest, primary jungle, off-grid ‘no-phone’ living, inaccessible terrain that no-one ever visits, encounters with jungle tribes, amazing jungle rivers, Caribbean cool and some seriously arduous miles underfoot.

Your journey will involve both foot travel and pack-rafting and your overnight locations will be a mixture of hotels, guest houses, beach cabanas and jungle camps. You can expect first-class safety, service and organisation. And as far as Panama as a whole is concerned, you can expect to want to come back.

Weather

It can be very hot and humid all day and night long. The jungle can feel a bit oppressive and overbearing in this way. Hydration is extremely important, as is taking on consistent calories. It will be hot, for sure. But at the higher elevations, it does get a bit cooler than the coastal regions.

Wildlife

There’s a lot. An awful lot. If you’re lucky, you may see many different species of colourful birds, insects, spiders, howler monkeys, snakes, creepy-crawlies of all shapes and sizes, dazzingly coloured frogs and even the elusive jungle cat, the Jaguar. It’s unlikely you’ll see all of this all of the time though. There are not hoards of nasties waiting to jump out and get you. Embrace the biodiversity and learn a little about the critters you encounter. There’s so much life out there, it is hard to miss it!

Other Highlights en route

The pacific coast is laid back and popular with surfers, kayakers and domestic Panamanian tourists. We’ll be starting our adventure there and heading out into the interior, where we will see coffee and fruit farms and of course, then the main highlight, the jungle.

A major highlight of the route is the river pack raft section, which is both unique and unprecedented in such an event.

When we get to the finish,  Bocas Del Toro is like a fresh Caribbean breeze – laid back, friendly and just the place to enjoy the spoils of your labours.

We’d also encourage you to spend some time post-trip (or before) soaking up the culture and sights of Panama City. The canal itself is very impressive and you can right up close and personal with it at one of the two visitor centres at Miraflores Locks and the brand new Agua Clara Locks of the ‘second’ canal. The bars and restaurants of Casco Viejo are magical and of course, don’t forget to pick up an authentic Panama Hat from Victor’s in Casco (although aficionados will know that real Panama’s, like those on sale at Victor’s, are actually made in Ecuador!).

Key Facts

Panama City is the only capital city in the world that has a rain forest within its city limits.

The total population of Panama is around 3.6 million with 1.5 million of those living in Panama city.

The oldest continually operating railroad is in Panama. It travels from Panama City to Colon and back.

Panama was the first Latin American country to adopt the U.S. currency as its own.

Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic.

“A man, a plan, a canal; Panama.” is a palindrome.

More than 12,000 people died in the construction of the Panama Railroad.

Panama has more than 976 bird species, which is more than the United States and Canada combined.

 


THE CHALLENGE

What is the route?

It is a one-way solo crossing of central America, from the pacific coast to the Atlantic coast. The route covers 3 distinct ‘phases’ over 6 daily stages, incorporating a gradual ascent through farmland to the highlands of Chirriqui (phase 1), the ‘off-grid’ primary jungle section (phase 2) and the final river descent to the coast in pack-rafts (phase 3). It is 200km in length, with 180km completed on foot (approx. 30km/ day) and 20kmin the rafts.

Is it safe? 

Yes. But good sense and field-craft, plus personal admin are required. Some of this route is extremely remote and the climate is hot and humid  the whole timeThere are also some poisonous beasties in the jungle of course. This is all true. But this event is well considered. We are not in the business of taking blind risks for our customers or our crew. Wehave excellent local facilitators and guides. There are risks, inherent by the remote nature of such a challenge, but these risks are managed via the design of this event and via the systems we have put in place to operate it. You need to have a keen appreciation for the nature of this challenge, but you should enter it knowing we have also considered the salient features of this challenge.

How hard is it?

Well, 200km over 6 days will never be a walk in the park, but add to that some pretty fierce humidity and heat and a generally pretty hostile environment, (plus being soaked head to toe the entire time) and this is a biggie. But we have designed it to be achievable. We don’t want you to fail. You need the right mind-set. It is worth a shot; it has to be. When else do you get an opportunity like this, to cross Central America from one side to the other, on foot…?

Can I walk the foot sections?

Yes. In fact, even if you are a seasoned Ultra runner, you will absolutely be hard-pushed to run the whole thing due to the energy-sapping nature of the jungle. But we have designed it to be completed by a normal walker achieving an average pace of 4kmh (including pit-stops). The foot days will take you a while and you will be blowing hard in the jungle to get through the terrain ahd the tangle around you but hey, it’s a challenge, right?

Pack Rafting 

How many times do you get to make your way downstream on a jungle river in a one-person packraft, with you and your gear onboard?

This is an exciting section, some some light rapids (grades 1 and 2) but is not to be feared. Embrace the packraft!

Can I use my own raft?

If you have one, yes. We will provide everyone with one but if you prefer to use your own, that’s fine. You will need to carry it in the jungle phase (day 3 onwards) and we will need you to inflate it prior to the journey beginning so we can satisfy ourselves that’s not going to come a-cropper half way down-river! If you do use your own raft, we would expect you to supply your own paddle and Buoyancy aid, too. Each pack-raft set is issued as a ‘kit’ of these items.

How long have I got each day?

We will have cut-offs on says 1 and 2 but these will be extremely generous. If you can average a 4kmh pace on foot, you will be OK. It will take you a long time, but you will make it. If you do find yourself at the back and off the pace, we will scoop you up and shuttle you further up the field, although we will aim for this to be a last resort so you have your best shot at doing the whole thing by your own means of travel. For the jungle, there are no cut offs as you simply have to make it to camp. We will look for everyone to make it in daylight. If we have any concerns on your ability to do this, we will have identified that on days 1 or 2, so we can have a chat about it prior to the jungle phase. If we really don’t think you can cut it on that phase, we will bus you to Bocas at the finish and you will miss that stage. But if you have followed the advice, trained well, can maintain a solid 4kmh under normal foot travel conditions and approach the event responsibly, this won’t be an issue.

What if I get injured, or need to withdraw from a stage or from the whole thing?

Our medical team will be on hand to assist with injury and depending on the type and nature of the injury can treat or evacuate you accordingly. If we need to get to you to urgent medical attention in a hospital, we can, but if it’s from the jungle phase, we may need to use a helicopter. There are no roads in this area whatsoever. We will be insisting that everyone has global evacuation insurance in place, in case we need to request a helicopter evacuation. See here for what this is and what it covers.

If you need to withdraw from days 1 or 2 where these are vehicle supported, our vehicles will move you onwards to the overnight location for that night. If you wish and if you are up to it, you may re-start the following stage the next day.

If you need to withdraw from the event as a whole, (and if you have not been transported to hospital for urgent care) then we will move you to the finish line at Bocas and you will remain there until the rest of the event body has arrived there.

Pit Stops

These will be situated regularly along the route on says 1 and 2 and will be operated out of mobile vehicles, with hot and cold drink provision, plus some energy foods. We will have medical staff on hand immediately beyond the pit stops also. There are no pit stops for the remainder of the journey in the jungle phase or on the river.

Will I get too hot whilst on the course?

It’s possible but only if you don’t follow the guidance on clothing and water intake; and if you are slow in taking action to resolve if you do end up getting too hot. The absolute key is to ensure you ‘keep on top of it’ and to take on water, electrolytes and salts. We will have all of these things at the pit stops and our medics will have IV and other re-hydration supplies in the jungle phase, but we really o not want it to come to that, in that terrain. You will be required to carry a minimum quantity of water and minimum quantities of food at all times, to ensure you are always self-sufficient. The absolute key is good hydration and good shade (cover) for your head. See the mandatory kit list for more information on kit and hydration.

 


EARLY BIRD OFFER: SAVE $200 WHEN YOU REGISTER BEFORE 1ST JANUARY 2019

 

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  • Register after 30th Nov 2019

    $4000

 

All prices are in US Dollars. An admin fee of 1.99% will be added to all payments. Your deposit is due 60 days after you pay your Registration Fee. If you register after the 30th November 2019 your Registration Fee and Deposit is due in one payment.

All payments are non-refundable. If you wish to withdraw and lodge your request within 60 days of paying your registration fee you may transfer this fee to another Rat Race Bucket List event or exchange it in totality for entry into a UK Rat Race event of your choosing.

Entries are non transferable to another person. Once the 100 spaces are full we will operate a waiting list and we will work through it chronologically to offer any places that become available.

Please see here for full terms and conditions and our cancellation policy.

What’s Included

  • Fully supported including 4×4 support, sweeper crews, professional medics
  • Fully waymarked route
  • Professional jungle guides and safety staff, professional jungle medics, professional river safety staff
  • Catered including many meals, pit stops plus beverage provision en route
  • 8 nights accommodation: 4 Star Hotel (2 nights), guest house or lodge (2 nights), jungle camp (3 nights), beach cabanas (1 night)
  • All in-country transfers from Tocumen International, including internal return flight to start location and from finish location of event
  • High value finisher’s mementos including T-shirt, medal and special-edition engraved Machete for all finishers
  • Ground-breaking satellite tracking for safety and supporter interaction
  • Rental of pack raft, buoyancy aid and paddle included
  • Overnight bag transfers from camp to camp (except jungle camps, which are self-supported)
  • After event party and beach accommodation on Bocas Del Toro

 


Ever fancied working on an event at the Ends of the Earth? We have limited spaces for Volunteers to come and experience these sensational Bucket List events from the coalface with our volunteer programme.

We have spaces for volunteering within our event team at these events. These include assistance at our overnight camps, inside the race team and behind the scenes on logistics and customer services in-country at the events. For those intrepid enough to take up the challenge you will be rewarded with the same mementos as the participants, accommodation and food whilst on the trip. Just get yourself to the Start and away from the finish and we will look after you in between. It is important to note that for this adventure, the self-sufficient jungle phase will require any staff to be fully self-sufficient and to travel on foot along the same route as participants. You will be vetted for your suitability for roles in that environment and not all volunteer positions will include attendance in this ‘jungle phase.’

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US AND FIND OUT MORE

Let us know which of our Bucket List events you’re interested in.

 


 

Fancy helping us create the next generation of Bucket List challenges and go where no-one has gone before? We’ve been busy combing the planet for the next wave of seriously out-there Adventures and now we’re looking for a few hardy souls to come with us and be “test-pilots” on these amazing new trips.

You’ll need a sense of adventure (and a sense of humour!) and of course you’ll understand that these trips aren’t the “finished article” yet, so an open-minded trailblazing spirit will help too! We’ll publish a kit list and there will be a financial contribution; plus you’ll need the time off, of course. These trips will take between 7-14 days depending on where in the World we are headed. The outcome? Authentic World-first Adventures. With you as part of the crew.

Join us as test pilot and see “the other side…”

For a list of destinations and approximate dates please email events@ratrace.com for more details.

 


RAISE AT LEAST £5000 FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK AND GET YOUR ENTRY FREE REFUNDED!

SUPPORT CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK: JOIN THE CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK TEAM AND HELP SAVE MORE YOUNG LIVES

By joining the 2019 Children with Cancer UK Rat Race Panama Coast to Coast Team you will help the charity raise funds which will be invested into vital specialist research to improve survival rates in children and young people to create a world where no child dies of cancer.

Raise at least GBP£5,000 (excluding gift aid) for Children with Cancer UK between now and one week before the event and Rat Race will refund your total entry fee up to the value of GBP £2,500.

Please note; USD$500 of your Registration Fee paid to Rat Race is non-refundable. Your refund will be made in USD$, with the exchange rates dependent on the time of processing. Refunds will be made between 2 and 3 months after the event is completed.

Refunds are not mandatory; participants are welcome to opt-out of receiving their refund. Should participants opt-out, their refund will instead be used by Children with Cancer UK to help fund vital specialist research into childhood cancer.

TO CREATE YOUR VIRGIN MONEY GIVING PAGE AND START FUNDRAISING SIMPLY CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE.

If you choose to support Children with Cancer UK and raise £5000, you will also receive;

  • A Children with Cancer UK fundraising and training pack
  • Regular Children with Cancer UK updates
  • A dedicated point of contact at the charity
  • A technical Children with Cancer UK t-shirt to wear with pride
  • Free Rat Race back pack (ideal for use on Bucket List events!)

If you go the extra-mile with your fundraising and help save the lives of every child with cancer you can be eligible for fundraising incentives set out below.

Rat Race events are perfect platforms for fundraising. A solid and tangible physical and mental objective for you, the participant. Plus a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the route; and perhaps raise some cash for a cause close to your heart.

There is no obligation to fund raise of course and people come from all walks of life and all over the World to take what they wish from these amazing experiences. If you do decide to raise cash, we welcome fundraising for any charity or non-profit.

If you are a UK resident, please read below for an exciting opportunity to raise money AND get your entry fee back, when you raise funds for Children with Cancer UK.

For more information on Children with Cancer UK please visit www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk. Alternatively please contact the Sports Team on 020 7404 0808 or email sports@childrenwithcancer.org.uk to find out more about this route to taking part in a Rat Race Bucket List event. Children with Cancer UK is a registered national charity (no. 298405)

READ ABOUT OUR £1MILLION CHARITY GOAL HERE

BOLT ON OPTIONS

Please get in touch via the ‘Contact us‘ link below if you’re interested in any of our Bolt On Options.

Option A:  Panama City Casco Viejo Walking Tour

More info to follow 
Price: POA

Option B: Casco Viejo Foodie Walking Tour

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option C:  Panama Canal Tour

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option D: Panama Canal Boat Transit

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option E: Panama Canal kayak Tour

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option F: Embrera Village Tour

More info to follow
Price: POA

Option G: San Blas kayak odyssey

More info to follow
Price: POA

(Itinerary TBC)


Still got questions?

Feel free to get in touch and we will get back to you as soon as possible.