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Panama Canal and tropical rainforest expedition cruise -13 Oct 2018

15 days from £4,341pp

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Panama Canal and tropical rainforest expedition cruise -13 Oct 2018

15 days from £4,341pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

Private Journey

 

Day 1

Arrive in Panama City, transfer to hotel.
 
Panama City

Arrive Panama City, transfer to  the beautifully refurbished art deco American Trade hotel. It is in UNESCO protected Casco Viejo, which has many examples of graceful Spanish colonial architecture.

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Panama City

Day 2

Excursion to the rainforested banks of the Panama Canal.
 
panama butterfly

Soberania National Park where you board an expedition boat for an adventure on Lake Gatún, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. A naturalist guide is on hand to help spot the wildlife - among which are three-toed sloths, crocodiles, and several species of monkey.

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panama butterfly

Day 3

Transfer to Colon, Panama. Embark expedition ship Silver Cloud; set sail.
 
Silver Cloud

Arrive in Colón, on the Atlantic Ocean entry point of the Panama Canal. The city was founded as a hub on the railway transporting gold to California during the 19th century gold rush.Many of the inhabitants are descendants of West Indian Canal workers. Once a vibrant port it declined, but in 2014 a project was started to refurbish the historic buildings and add new parks and avenues. 

Transfer to the port and embark your cruise vessel, the luxury expedition ship Silver Cloud. After she weighs anchor you will meet the Expedition Team, meet fellow travellers, and enjoy your first meal of contemporary, international cuisine and regional specialties unique to the voyage destination.

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Silver Cloud

Day 4

Pass through the entire length of the Panama Canal.
 
Panama Canal

In the 1880s a French company began the ambitious construction of a waterway to link the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans. The Panama Canal was eventually completed by the United States in 1914. Since the Canal was handed back to Panama in 1999 the bio-diverse jungle along its banks is being protected and developed for eco-tourism.

Today your ship will pass through it. This: It’s a complicated manoeuvre:  a trained canal pilot will guide the vessel through three massive sets of locks, These, raise ships to the level of the vast artificial Lake Gatún, 26m above sea level, and lower them again to sea level on the other side. 

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Panama Canal

Day 5

Visit Coiba Island, Panama.
 
Toucan, Osa Peninsular , Costa Rica

Coiba Island, off the country's Pacific coast, sits in the Gulf of Chiriquí. Once a penal colony, it's now part of Coiba National Park, which is known for its diverse marine life and jungle animals including white-faced monkeys. Making full use of small, easily maneuverable Zodiacs, you land here for a hike through the rainforest.  The onboard naturalists will point out the local flora and search for signs of wildlife. 

 

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Toucan, Osa Peninsular , Costa Rica

Day 6

Visit the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica
 
Osa Peninsula

Moving on to the next Central American country, Costa Rica, you have the opportunity to visit Santuario Silvestre de Osa - the only wildlife sanctuary and rescue centre in Golfo Dulce which devotes all of its efforts to the care and rehabilitation of rainforest animals. The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of orphaned and injured animals including: howler monkeys, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots and two-toed sloths.  Enjoy the sanctuary grounds in the company of the park wardens as they share their knowledge on local natural history and show you some of the animals. You'll also visit Casa Orquideas, a beautiful garden with many tropical plants and an area cultivating medicinal herbs.

If you prefer to observe dolphins and other marine life, you can opt for a cruise on a catamaran. Here, off the Osa Peninsula, is the country's best spot to view large groups of dolphins, sea turtles and manta rays. Marlins and sailfish can sometimes be seen chasing large schools of tuna, while six different species of turtles might glide by. If time permits there will be the opportunity to swim in the placid waters of Punta Encato.

For those wanting a little more activity, a nature walk in the National Wildlife Refuge of Golfito is on offer. Golfito is surrounded by a spectacular primary rainforest with more than 125 species of trees, 31 species of orchids, and 300 species of birds. Bird species that can be spotted during the hikes include toucans and tanagers, while all four Costa Rican monkey species also call Golfito National Wildlife Refuge their home.

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Osa Peninsula

Day 7

Explore Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
 
sloth

Go ashore by Zodiac to the small port town of Quepos, 7 km from Costa Rica's most popular national park at Manuel Antonio. Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most stunning and bio-diverse areas of the world, jam-packed with diverse wildlife which thrives in primary and secondary forest. Together with the informative Costa Rican naturalist guides you will hike through the exotic, bio-diverse tropical rainforest. There's a stunning shoreline ideal for bird watching. You may spot endemic species of plants and animals including iguanas, sloths, and squirrel monkeys.

Alternatively, enjoy a cruise through the mangroves, an important ecosystem packed with hundreds of species of marine and terrestrial animals. Your guides and captain navigate around shifting sandbanks to reveal the animals, insects and plants that lie hidden from the untrained eye. Pass through wide lagoons where many species of seabirds can be observed, hoping for a chance to encounter white-collared capuchin monkeys.

If cruising on a river is more to your liking, choose the Savegre, considered one of Central America's most beautiful rivers, for a leisurely 2-hour class I & II river floating activity. You will view rainforest scenery and may catch sight of cormorants, egrets, herons, and white ibises.

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sloth

Day 8

At sea in the north Pacific Ocean.
 
Cape Petrel
At sea. Attend informative lectures which will prepare you for the upcoming ports-of-call in Ecuador and Peru. Along with lectures there will also be a food workshop. Since bananas and plantains are very important in Ecuador's cuisine, the Chef might present the various uses for banana and plantain.
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Cape Petrel

Day 9

Visit wildlife habitat Isla de La Plata, Ecuador.
 
Frigate Bird

The ship anchors off the coast of the uninhabited Isla de la Plata (Island of Silver), 37km off the Ecuadorian mainland and part of the Machalilla National Park. This island's name derives from a legend which claims that in the 16th century hundreds of tons of plundered silver and gold were hidden here (by Drake) which have never been fully recovered.

Admired for its trusting fauna, which is similar in a variety of species and abundance to that of the Galápagos Islands, Isla de la Plata is a nesting place for colonies of seabirds and as such is an enticing place for birdwatching, photography and nature walks. You will go ashore and, together with a local natural history guide, follow trails watching out for herons, pelicans, gulls, frigate-birds, red-footed, masked and Nazca boobies, albatrosses and hawks.

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Frigate Bird

Day 10

Bird watching off Machala on Ecuador’s coast.
 
Mindo

Machala is nick-named the 'Capital of the Banana' but in fact there is more to the place than fruit. Opposite the town is Isla Jambeli with its sunny beaches and mangrove forests and Isla del Amor, where pelicans, frigate-birds, and egrets nest. Santa Clara, a refuge for marine birds including blue-footed boobies, is further out to sea. Whales and dolphins can still be seen in Santa Clara's vicinity in October prior to migration.

Several National Sanctuaries or Ecological Reserves can be found near Machala and you have three options: you can either visit the Buenaventura cloud forest reserve with its staggering number of hummingbirds or the Arenillas Reserve, a 'dry forest'. The Puyango Petrified Forest might appeal more: it is one of the largest petrified forests in the world - located within a lush tropical forest.

Since Machala is also well known for several regional dishes, mostly seafood - from raw marinated shrimp to shrimp soup and fried shrimp; and from fried bananas to fish soup, all excursions will offer the opportunity to taste local refreshments.

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Mindo

Day 11

At sea sailing towards Lima, Peru
 
pisco sour
While the ship sails south towards Peru, take the time to attend one of the lectures, seminars or workshops, or simply relax next to the pool -a pisco sour cocktail might be a tasty introduction to Peru and its unique flavours. In the evening the ship will arrive in Paita for a technical stop before entering Peruvian waters.
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pisco sour

Day 12

Isla Lobos de Tierra, Peru
 
Blue footed booby
The ship anchors off Isla Lobos de Tierra - steep and rocky islands which protrude 61m from the surface of the deep blue Pacific. An abundant array of marine mammals and seabirds surround these two islands and offer you a splendid opportunity to explore by Zodiac. Sea lions bask on the beach and hundreds of blue-footed boobies can be viewed ashore as well, while Peruvian pelicans pass overhead. If the weather permits, an attempt will be made to land on the island. 
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Blue footed booby

Day 13

Salaverry, Peru
 
chan chan

Salaverry is a port town located 14km southeast of the city of Trujillo, an elegant colonial city with many Spanish style mansions lining the grid of streets emanating from the main square. Nearby are many archaeological sites pertaining to the Chimú and Mochica culture.

This morning you explore the main religious centre of the pre-Inca Mochica culture, which flourished from 100-700AD. The culture was sophisticated: artifacts express the day to day lives of the people, with detailed scenes of hunting, fishing, fighting, sacrifice, sexual encounters and elaborate ceremonies. The archaeological complex includes the Temple of the Sun - one of the largest adobe structures in the world - and the Temple of the Moon, covered with beautiful Moche designs. You will next visit a private hacienda for sparkling wine and appetisers, watching a performance of graceful Peruvian Paso horses. This smooth trotting horse has five gears, and comes from this region of Peru.

During the afternoon our onboard Videographer will present the specially created voyage documentary.

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chan chan

Day 14

Arrive in Callao, the port serving Lima, capital of Peru.
 
lp

After breakfast, disembark in Callao, Peru's chief seaport a short distance from Lima, Peru's City of Kings.Transfer to your first class hotel In Miraflores, set in parkland overlooking the Pacific Ocean

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are programmed experiences but cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity.

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lp

Day 15

Transfer to Lima airport for your international flight.

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