9 days / 8 nights
TOUR DESCRIPTION A journey in the DISCOVERY is a feast of intense, sensory experiences: the aroma of remote places, the texture of unknown things, the multicolor tapestry of nature, the accent of unheard languages, the exquisite flavor of what has never before been tasted and the knowledge absorbed; that is the incomparable feeling of penetrating the secrets of other worlds. That proximity is life, it is beginning and end. The yearning for that closeness is the virtue and spirit of the true traveler and it is the reason for the Journey Between the Seas. That communion of body and spirit is only possible within the intimate realm of a compact craft, designed to cover the narrowest marine routes that take us to pristine lands.
US$4,495 per person + 7% tax in double occupancy (category 1) **check for discounts under the DETAILS tab!!**
Single supplement: US$2,340 plus 7% tax
**minimum age: 14 years**
INCLUDED Hotel accommodation in Panama City, meals as specified in the itinerary (B - breakfast, L - lunch, D - dinner) and beverages on board (alcoholic and non-alcholic), all land and water transportation within Panama, transportation, shore excursions and use of equipment (kayaks, zodiaks and snorkeling gear), all airport/hotel transfers on scheduled arrival and departure dates, services charges and crew gratuities, port charges, services of an in-bound land operator for airline re-confirmations and tour operations
NOT INCLUDED International airfare, gratuities for guides and staff on board, personal equipment
A crew of ten has been carefully selected and trained to ensure the perfect journey for up to 24 exclusive passengers of the Discovery. Inside the cozy, spacious cabins and lounges, the magic of night melts imperceptibly with the fabulous sunrises at amazing places that offer their purest charms at dawn ready for a day of exploration. From its decks, everything looks close, vivid, amazing, moving and…unforgettable.
THE ADVENTURE - NORTHBOUND JOURNEY
Day 1 – Arrival to Panama
Arrive to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City (PTY). Be met outside Customs and transferred to your hotel in Panama City
1 night at the BRISTOL PANAMA (Deluxe Room)
Day 2 - Panama City Tour - Flamenco Marina embarkation in the afternoon
09:00 - hrs Pick up at the Bristol Panama by your Ancon Expeditions guide. Today's city tour includes a historical walking tour in Casco Viejo, UNESCO World Heritage Site including the Interoceanic Museum, followed by Frank Gehry's Biodiversity Museum and lunch at Causeway Amador.
14:00 hrs. Embark the M/V Discovery at Flamenco Island. Sail the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean towards Contadora, where the M/V Discovery will stay the first night before navigating to the Darien Jungle. Take this opportunity to meet your expedition leaders, the crew and your fellow travelers while you savor our tempting native cuisine. (B,L,D)
Day 3- Darien Jungle
Step aboard a time machine and travel back more than 600 years to a place that not many have had the privilege of experiencing. More than an excursion, this is a journey into the lives of the Embera Indians. A proud people who have been able to maintain their traditions and lifestyle as they were before the Spaniards colonized the region. These natives are also master crafters of cocobolo wood carvings and basketry. After motoring up river you will see the village emerging from the jungle, as if by magic. Keep your eyes open along the way as the region offers abundant wildlife that is particularly active along the river’s edge. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Pearl Islands
Snorkel, kayak, paddle and swim in the waters of the Pearl Islands. The archipelago owes its name to the abundance of pearl oysters, which supported a substantial fishery in the early 1900’s. On the outer portion of the archipelago, the islands are home to some pristine beaches and fertile fishing grounds. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - Panama Canal Daylight Transit - Gatun Lake Safari
Wake up at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal and join the morning’s ship convoy for our northbound canal passage traversing Miraflores Locks and Pedro Miguel Locks. The Discovery will be raised 85 feet above sea level to Gatun Lake. You will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience up close the history and operation of this engineering marvel. Navigate the Gaillard Cut, the narrowest section of the Panama Canal, bisecting the Continental Divide.
Prior to the construction of the Panama Canal, the vast jungle area that is now the Gatun Lake was teeming with an overwhelming abundance of wildlife. As the region was flooded to create the lake, animals took refuge in the mountain peaks, which are now the many islands that dot the renowned lake. Explore Gatun Lake and kayak in Panama Canal waters. Your expedition leader will take you on board small crafts past lush rainforests to secluded areas of the lake to witness first-hand the splendor and excitement of the jungle. The American Crocodile, Geoffroy’s Tamarin Monkey, White-faced Capuchin Monkey, Limpkin, Ringed Kingfisher and Purple Gallinule are just a few of the animals that you could see in their native surroundings. The sights, sounds and scents that make up this beautiful, tropical jungle will engulf you.
Spend the night in Gatun Lake on Panama Canal waters. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - Soberania National Park & Pipeline Road
Travel into Soberania national park on a gravel dirt road built by the US military during WWII to lay an oil Pipeline in this part of Panama to alleviate ship traffic jams thru the Canal due to the world conflict. This area was named Pipeline Road and is one of the best eco-trails in Panama. You will arrive to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, which is an ecotourism and environmental education center. Enjoy the view from its 100ft high observation tower while spotting Purple throated Fruit crow, Swainson Toucan, Scarlet-rumped Cacique among other birds. Then enjoy a walk through the trail around the forest.
The Discovery will exit the Panama Canal in the afternoon on its way to the mouth of the Chagres River. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - San Lorenzo National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Explore Fort San Lorenzo, which is located on a cliff at the mouth of the Chagres River on the Atlantic side, where your leader will offer details of the immense amount of history found on this area. This fort was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend their well-known gold trail. Not only is it rich in history but also in wildlife. As you walk around, be on the lookout for howler monkeys, Northern Tamandua Anteater and Blue-crowned Motmot.
In the afternoon, walk through the Pavon trail until you arrive to the lookout tower. Our crew will meet you for a “Sunset Wine & Cheese” picnic located on a cliff overlooking the Chagres River and enjoying the music of nature. (B,L,D).
Day 8 - Chagres River & Panama Canal Railway
Experience the magnificent Chagres River, which was used by the conquistadors to move their gold across the Isthmus of Panama en-route from Peru to Spain and by the gold prospectors who attempted a "short cut" from the US East coast to the gold fields of California. The river was the centerpiece of the colonial inter-oceanic route and is now the lifeline of the Panama Canal full of wildlife and tropical jungle.
Later in the afternoon, you will board the Panama Canal Railway train back to Panama City. This one-hour railroad trip will allow you to traverse the picturesque trans-isthmian route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The line flanks the Panama Canal passing through lush rainforests, cruising alongside the Canal’s locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut and gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake.
1 night at the BRISTOL PANAMA (Deluxe Room)
Day 9 – Depart Panama
Be picked up at your hotel and transferred to Tocumen International Airport. Depart Panama.
THE SOUTHBOUND JOURNEY FOLLOWS THE SAME EXPLORATION ROUTE IN REVERSE
March 9-April 16, 2020 - Southbound
March 30-April 7, 2020 - Northbound
April 13-20, 2020 - Southbound
April 28-May 6, 2020 - Southbound SOLD OUT
May 18-26, 2020 - Northbound *US$250 per person green season discount!
May 25-June 2, 2020 - Southbound *US$250 per person green season discount!
October 22-30, 2020 - Southbound
November 24-Dec 2, 2020 - Northbound
December 28, 2020 - Jan 4, 2021 - Southbound
DISCLAIMER & NOTE
- CRUISE OPERATIONS Cruise itineraries are subject to wind, tide and weather conditions and are operated at the sole discretion of the Discovery in the interests of the safety and welfare of the passengers, vessel and crew. The Discovery reserves the absolute right to decline to accept or retain any person(s) on any cruise, shore excursion or other cruise activity, to cancel, amend or alter any cruise schedule or cruise itinerary, shore excursion or any other service for any reason which the Discovery in its absolute and sole discretion considers desirable or necessary in the interests of the vessels and or passengers safety and/or well being. Arrival and departure times various places of call are provided as a guide only and in this regard no warranty, condition or guarantee, express or implied, is given or intended. The minimum number of passengers to operate the cruise is 8 people. The Discovery reserves the right to cancel any cruise before the departure date in which case the full payment will be reimbursed.
- PASSENGER BAGGAGE AND VALUABLES A baggage allowance of two (2) items per passenger is permitted. It is recommended that baggage be kept to a minimum. All baggage must be clearly and durably marked and identified with passenger(s) name and address. Passengers should ensure that all baggage, valuables and other personal items are comprehensively insured. No intoxicating liquors, firearms, weapons, nor toxic, flammable, illegal or dangerous goods or substances shall be carried aboard the Discovery. The Discovery shall not be liable for any loss or damage, of whatsoever nature arising of passenger(s) baggage, valuables and/or person articles and valuables, the liability for which shall at all times remain solely with the passenger(s) and in this regard the passenger(s) shall release and indemnify the Discovery from any claim or liability.
- PHOTOGRAPH AND VIDEO The Discovery may photograph or film passengers and their activities during the course of an expedition cruise. These materials can be used by the Discovery for marketing purposes or training activities without any obligation to compensate the passenger. Copies of these materials could also be purchased for a modest charge.
- RELEASE The passenger(s) shall release and indemnify the Discovery, its owners and tour operator from and against any cause of action, claim, liability, suit or demand of whatsoever nature howsoever arising whether directly or indirectly whether contractual or tortious either at law or in equity for any loss, damage, injury, illness, delay, inconvenience, or expense suffered, sustained, or incurred by the passenger(s) as a result of or by any reason of either directly or indirectly any act or omission of whatsoever nature by the Discovery, its employees, agents, suppliers, invitees, crew, other passengers, or other persons whomsoever, whether on board the Discovery or not, or from any perils of the sea or on land or whatsoever other cause. All company defenses, and passenger releases and indemnities shall extend in total for and to the benefit of all Discovery employees, servants, agents, suppliers, invitees, shareholders, heirs, successors, and assigns.
- REFUNDS No refunds shall be payable to any passenger(s) for any unavailed service(s) once the cruise has commenced, other than for a decision by the Discovery to interrupt any cruise for any reason including but not limited to wind, tide, weather, passenger(s) safety, industrial action, loss or failure of machinery or equipment, vessel damage, vessel safety or force majeure.
WHAT TO PACK
• Lightweight, rubber sandals.
• Comfortable, “closed” walking shoes with rubber soles and good support (for on board the ship and shore excursions). You can also wear tennis shoes or sneakers. You may want to bring two pairs so that you will have a dry pair if one should get wet or muddy. Some of the hikes on shore may involve walking through muddy terrain, especially if it has rained recently.
• Sun protection: hat, sunglasses, and waterproof sun block: 30 SPF minimum.
• Wide-brimmed hat for rain or sun.
• If you wear contact lenses, bring a pair of prescription glasses for occasions when lenses may be bothersome.
• Camera, lenses, plenty of film, and extra camera batteries.
• A good pair of binoculars.
• 1 or 2 bathing suits and cover-up.
• Cotton or other lightweight long pants.
• Lightweight rain poncho.
• Long-sleeved shirts for protection from the sun.
• Mid-calf length socks.
• A small backpack or rucksack; a waterproof bag to hold camera and/or binoculars.
• T-shirts, polo shirts, and/or other comfortable, lightweight short-sleeved shirts. If you plan to use a T-shirt while snorkeling, please pack extra.
• Waterproof insect repellent.
• Travel alarm clock.
• Make sure to bring enough CASH to purchase crafts in Darien and Portobelo and also for tips at the end of the cruise, since the boat does not take credit cards.
The cruise was fantastic and the crew are brilliant, the guide Jose was very good and even though the boat lost a propeller the night before our trip in the canal, then company and Jose organised two days of activities while the propeller was replaced at the end of the day the itinerary was completed in full and it was all great we both cried when we had to leave the fantastic crew who spoils us rotten, it also helped we were only 12 guests and 11 crew how good is that and the weather behaved perfectly.
Thanks again and I will definitely recommend your company and you.
Regards, Rhonda Walter
Passenger numbers on the Discovery are limited to just 24, ensuring everyone can enjoy serenity and privacy together with the excitement and closeness of a true exploration cruise.
Discovery is a 33 meter-long, purpose built catamaran providing 6 queen and 6 twin cabins. All cabins have individual climate control, bathrooms and huge windows which extend along the length of the cabin allowing you to enjoy the scenery in complete privacy.
The dining area, bar and lounge are located on the upper deck which is fitted with floor to ceiling “glass walls” providing a spectacular dinning experience and plenty of space to unwind. Enjoy Panamanian gastronomy as we delight you with exquisite indigenous dishes prepared by our talented Chef. A BBQ and sun deck are located on the topmost observation deck.
The Discovery is equipped with a unique platform that lowers kayakers and zodiacs gently into the water and also retrieves them in perfect safety and comfort.
The Tour Leaders
Onboard the Discovery you will find enthusiastic expedition leaders that will provide insight and profound understanding of the adventure you will undertake. They are experienced and well trained naturalists ready to share their vast knowledge and understanding.
Your expedition leaders share a love for history and a passion for nature. They will introduce you to native human groups that still preserve their customs and traditions, and to a world of stunning natural beauty and rich history unknown by most. They are experts on their fields and they will make your journey onboard the Discovery an unforgettable experience.
- Type of Vessel: Catamaran Live-Aboard
- Built: Rrichardson Devine Marine Constructions, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
- Launched: December 2004
- Hull: Marine Grade Aluminium
- Loa: 33 meters
- Beam: 9.75 meters
- Maximum Ladden Draft: 1.85 meters
- Main Engine: 2 X Detroit Diesel MTU Series 60, 740 HP
- Gensets: 2 X Isuzu 105 KVA
- Capacity: 24 persons
- Maximum Speed: 18 knots
- Cruising Speed: 15 knots
- Crew Capacity: 11
- Fresh Water Storage Capacity: 6000 liters
- Fresh Water Production Capacity: 500 liters per hour
- Range: 850 NM