Panama and the Panama Canal
Itinerary: There are seven-night exploration cruises along Panama’s inter-oceanic route navigating from one ocean to the other, including a visit to the isolated jungle in Darien and the native Embera Indians, joining locals in the search for pearls in the Pearl Islands, transiting the Panama Canal with an overnight in Gatun Lake, and including the Chagres River, the Spanish fortresses at San Lorenzo and Portobelo. The cruise begins in Panama City.
Cabins: 12: 8 queens and 4 twins. All cabins are outside with large windows and have private bathroom and individual air conditioning.
Dress: Casual at all times.
Dining: The dining area, bar and lounge are located on the upper deck which is fitted with floor to ceiling glass. Panamanian food and indigenous dishes are offered. A barbecue is held on the top deck.
Facilities and Activities: Guests can spend every day exploring and experiencing nature and history … walking rainforest trails, snorkeling and kayaking. The vessel has the capability to reach remote areas for an up-close relation with nature, history and wild life. The Darien jungle village is a journey into the lives of the Embera Indians who have maintained their traditions and lifestyle as they were hundreds of years ago. They are master crafters of cocobolo wood carvings and basketry. In the Pearl Islands you snorkel and kayak at the islands of San Telmo and Galera and join divers from Esmeralda in their search for pearls. In Gatun Lake in Panama Canal waters you explore Colorado Island where the incredible Smithsonian´s Tropical Research Center is located and into rain forested secluded areas to see birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and crocodiles. The Discovery then completes its full Panama Canal transit to the Caribbean Sea and the Chagres River, which was used by the conquistadors to move their gold across the Isthmus of Panama en-route from Peru to Spain, and a visit to Fort San Lorenzo built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend their gold trail. On the Caribbean side is a visit to the town of Portobelo, founded by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage in 1597, the site of many battles between the Spanish colonials and the pirates and an important refuge for Spanish galleons in the Caribbean. The rainy season (April to November) offers more foliage and flowering flora, but nature trails may be muddy. Expedition leaders and naturalists are fully bilingual in English and Spanish.
Fares: US$3,450 per person. There will be a US$250 per person early booking discount if full payment is received 180 days before departure. Price includes transfers to and from the ship, shore excursions, equipment, all alcoholic and non-alcholic beverages, and port charges.
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