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Three million years ago a thin strip of land emerged
from the sea, uniting the Americas. The recently formed bridge turned into the path of an ongoing natural pilgrimage.
Time immemorial testifies the passage of the strangest animals and the recently appeared humans through this narrow bridge of land. At that moment, Panama defined its vocation to be a place of transit and travel. Thousands of years later, other men arrived by sea and crossed the narrow strip from one ocean to the other. Centuries later, the same path was covered by the natives, the Conquistadors, the Inca gold followers, pirates, slaves, the railway builders, the California gold diggers and the incoming ships from coasts and seas all over the world. Today, the Panama Canal stands as a living monument to this land of transit, this crossroads, stretching over a historic path trodden by those who opened the way and by the footsteps of those who remained. After that first meeting the people came, creating a culture and this culture became a country, in the most spectacular way.
THE EXPERIENCE, the encounter.
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, and the exquisite flavor of what has never before been tasted; that is the incomparable feeling of penetrating the secrets of other worlds, other lives. 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. A crew of ten has been carefully selected and trained to ensure a perfect journey for the 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 excursion. From its decks, everything looks close, vivid, amazing, moving and…simply unforgettable!
THE ITINERARY, the adventure. NORTHBOUND JOURNEY
Panama City - Flamenco Marina
Sail the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean towards Contadora, where the 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. (D)
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)
Pearl Islands – San Telmo & Mogo Mogo
Snorkel 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 of San Telmo and Mogo Mogo are home to some pristine beaches and fertile fishing grounds. View the remains of the submarine Explorer built in 1865 during the Civil War and which sunk off the coast of San Telmo during the oyster fishery of the late 1800´s. (B,L,D)
Panama Canal Transit – Gatun Lake
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. This section of the canal is full of history and geological value and you will be able to appreciate the continuous maintenance that this area requires, because it is very susceptible to landslides. Spend the night in Gatun Lake on Panama Canal waters. (B,L,D)
Panama Canal – Barro Colorado
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 Barro Colorado Island where the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Center is located. 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. Exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and crocodiles 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. Cameras are a must as this is considered the world’s premier location for viewing monkeys and other animals in the wild. The Discovery will exit the Panama Canal in the afternoon on its way to the mouth of the Chagres River. (B,L,D)
Chagres River - Fort San Lorenzo
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 center piece of the colonial inter-oceanic route and is now the lifeline of the Panama Canal full of wildlife and tropical jungle. Explore Fort San Lorenzo which is located on a cliff at the mouth of the Chagres on the Atlantic side where your leader will offer details of the immense amount of history found on this area. The fort was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend their well known gold trail. Later that evening, the Discovery will reposition to Colon, where it will spend the night before disembarking the next day. (B,L,D)
Portobelo – Caribbean
Wake up to a farewell breakfast before you disembark the Discovery. Travel by motor coach to Portobelo and enjoy this town located on Caribbean waters which was founded by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage to the new continent in 1597. This quaint town is rich in history as it was the site of many sea and land battles between the Spanish colonials and the pirates and corsairs raiding the Spanish Main. Explore the fortifications built by the Spaniards to protect their treasures and visit the Church of San Felipe, the sanctuary of the Black Christ. Later in the afternoon, 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. (B,L)
B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner
SOUTHBOUND JOURNEY FOLLOWS THE SAME EXPLORATION ROUTE IN REVERSE
* Cruise itineraries are subject to wind, tide and weather conditions and are operated in the sole discretion of Panama Marine Adventures, Inc., in the interests of the safety and welfare of the passengers, crew, and vessel.
THE SHIP, the Discovery.
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, purpose built catamaran providing 8 queen and 4 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 mid deck which is fitted with floor to ceiling “glass walls” providing a spectacular dinning experience and plenty of space to unwind. Enjoy Panamanian haute 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 gently into the water and also retrieves them in perfect safety and comfort.
THE LEADERS, the experts.
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. Our 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.
THE MESSAGE, the promise
A few years ago, I was sailing in the rich waters of the Gulf of Panama and decided to spend the night anchored in the wild tropical coast of Darien. The sun was setting on the memories of an intense day in the waters of an ever generous sea, which had opened up to show me its treasures: marlin, dolphins, manta rays and even a humpback whale that frolicked near its young in the tepid, tropical Pacific waters. Under the violet blaze of the Panamanian sunset, the dense Darien jungle drew itself mysterious and wild. Between the green and turquoise lace that forms the thick mangrove, I thought I saw something move. Spurred by my curiosity, I threw the ship’s little kayak into the water. Suddenly, I found myself face to face with Ngobere, a smiling member of the Emberá, one of Panama’s native human groups. It was dark now and the sounds and primitive aromas of the impressive jungle awakened; some were sweet and kind, others were brutally aggressive. The image of my new friend set against the light of an improvised bonfire made me travel 500 years back in time. This man, I thought, could be a direct descendent from that Pankia’kó who guided the conquistador, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, through this very same jungle in 1513, all the way from the Caribbean so the Spaniard could discover the Pacific Ocean. Even today it is fascinating to make the journey from one ocean to the other, and discover the rich and different forms of life these coasts harbor. The next day, the whistle of the ships at the entrance of the Panama Canal welcomed me back to civilization. An enormous container ship passed by me, on its way to Asia, no doubt. But I could not get the memory and the experience I had lived in the restless loneliness of the rainforest out of my head. The city with a New York feel about it towered in front of me and I thought of the unique essence of this country that offers so many different and distant places, cultures and worlds as these, within reach of each other in just a few hours. I believe it was then when I decided that it was worth working so that other people could experience equally intense moments. This can only be done in a place like Panama, where so many different histories, lives and events entwine imperceptibly and coexist in the same time and space, weaving a plethora of forms and cultures that inhabit the thin strip of land that shapes the waist of the Americas. Today, I am pleased to share my experiences with you, through an extraordinary and intense journey….The Journey Between the Seas.
Jose R. de la Guardia
Panama Marine Adventures, Inc.
THE VOYAGE, the expedition.
The Journey Between the Seas Panama Exploration Cruise
The Most Unique Experience
Category 1: $3,850 per person. Category 2: $3,950 per person.
There will be a $250 per person early booking discount if full payment is received by PMA 180 days before departure.
2014 Saling Dates
Mar 28 - Apr 25 - May 2 - Oct 31
-Transfers of passengers to and from the ship. -Transportation, shore excursions, and the use of equipment -All meals, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages onboard the ship. -Taxes and port charges.
Price does not include:
-International Airfare. -Lodging in Panama City.
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