8 day expedition cruise from Panama City to Colon, Panama. Rail journey from Colon to Panama City.
This holiday incorporates a cruise on board an intimate, comfortable motor cruiser, MV Discovery, accommodating 24 guests and 11 staff and crew.
The accommodation in Panama City, Hotel Bristol, is a first class contemporary property.
Breakfast daily, full board on the cruise ship.
We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return. Guides, lecturers and presenters on the cruise ship are all qualified in a field of expertise relevant to the cruise.
• Tour of old Panama and Biodiversity Museum.
• Passage through the Panama Canal.
• Land and sea-based excursions and activities on the expedition cruise.
• Guided tour of Portobello.
Summary of nights
9 nights: Panama City 1 night, 7 night cruise, Panama City 1 night.
Included in the journey price
• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives on the mainland..
• All land transport within Latin America
• Passage through the Panama Canal.
• All inclusive cruise as specified, including land and sea excursions, activities and lectures.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified.
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities.
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Excursions designated optional.
The unit of currency in Panama is the Balboa, equivalent in value to the US dollar. US dollars also circulate in Panama. ATMs are available in Panama City. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in larger towns and cities using a UK credit or debit card.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per day should cover the cost of good quality meals, drinks and the odd souvenir on those days in the holiday itinerary or extension outside the cruise. Eat at the very best restaurants and you will pay considerably more. On the cruise, excursions, some drinks and meals are included.
How to take it
Outside the cruise period, cash machines are available in major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can spend where the dollar is the local currency. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.
Acquiring some local currency for tips for services provided by local people on the mainland and purchases from markets is advisable.
The cruise staff and local guides onshore will welcome a gratuity: they often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. Most service industry workers will hope for a tip so it is useful to have spare change for waiters, hotel porters, taxi drivers etc. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors. If you have doubts about your fitness for the cruise, we will send you a medical questionnaire.
Children are accepted, but must be over 6 years old to participate in excursions. There is no special entertainment programme on board for children. Children and and teenagers who are interested in the wildlife and nature should enjoy the cruise and if there is a number of children/teenagers on board, the expedition team might dedicate a team member to lead the group and explain things to them.
Situated well within the tropics, Panama City has high temperatures (over 30°C) all year round. May-Nov is the rainy season. The city lies outside the main hurricane belt.
Temperatures in Darien are similar, but the climate is weather, with 3,000mm falling throughout the year.
Clothing and special equipment
Pack for hot weather with summer-weight loose, comfortable clothing including shorts and trousers (bear in mind that you have to get in and out of small boats). Brings sun-protective headgear, swimwear, smart casual for the evening, fleece, light sweater or jacket for cool evenings, wet weather gear: umbrella for tropical downpours, rain-cape or coat, comfortable non-slip footwear including stout walking boots or shoes and consider bringing aqua socks for snorkelling etc. Long sleeved shirts and long trousers are advisable for on shore excursions as you may encounter insects including mosquitoes.
Sun block and insect repellant are essential. Don’t forget your sun-glasses, binoculars, camera, charger and memory cards. Remember to pack any personal medication (carry it in cabin luggage on the flights). A small first aid kit with blister pads, aspirin etc may come in handy.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements such as malaria prophylactics.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html
This costs $14 per person, and must be applied for by you personally.
UK Passport holders must present an e-passport with a built in chip. Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.