Come find the natural and man-made wonders combined on this exotic voyage full of bucket list places and activities. Learn about the area from a local Naturalist on board, then take a Zodiac ashore and find rare experiences for yourself. Hike through Manuel Antonio National Park in search of its lovely beaches and abundant animal life. Soar high above the Quepos jungle floor as you zipline searching for such wildlife residents as monkeys, sloths, and toucans, then explore Golfo Dulce with some of the most intense rainforest landscapes in the world. Take a daylight transit the massive Panama Canal, one of the world's most stunning feats of engineering on a yacht that lets you see it all.
Colon is the Caribbean Ocean terminus of the Panama Canal. A veritable crossroads of the world, you will see all manner of vessels here, awaiting their turn to transit the canal. Only the largest war ships, tankers and cruise ships are too large for the canal.
The city is the capital of Panama's Colón Province. The city was founded in 1850 as one end of the Panama Railroad then under construction. For a number of years early in its history, the sizable United States emigré community called the town Aspinwall while the Hispanic community called it "Colón". The name "Colón" is in honor of Christopher Columbus.
Much of the city was burned during a Colombian civil war in 1885, and again in an accidental fire in 1915. In 1900 the population was some 3,000 people. It grew ten-fold with the building of the Panama Canal. In 1953 Colón was made a Free Trade Zone.
Panama Canal, Panama
The Panama Canal is a major ship canal that traverses the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The construction of the canal was one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. It has had an enormous impact on shipping, as ships no longer have to travel the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 6,000 miles, well under half the distance of the previous 14,000 mile route around Cape Horn.
Balboa, founded by the United States during the construction of the Panama Canal, was named after Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the first European to explore the eastern shores of the Pacific Ocean. The city is located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, and thrives on the business from Balboa Harbor, it's commercial port. In 1979 the Canal Zone, previously a U.S. territory, was ceded to Panama under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaties. The Panama Canal's Administration Building, former seat of the Canal Zone Government and Panama Canal Company, is located in Balboa Heights. Sightseeing high points include the Canal Administration Building and the fairly well-preserved architecture of the Canal Zone era, the Goethals Memorial, El Prado Boulevard, and the handicrafts markets.
Isla Partida, Mexico
Isla Partida is connected to Isla Espíritu Santo by a narrow isthmus, an ancient volcanic crater. These two islands, in the Gulf of California, are protected by UNESCO as biospheres.
The island is in the Sea of Cortez, very near La Paz, Mexico. Isla Partida is dry and covered with cacti such as the large cardon cacti, which give their name to El Cardonal Bay, where the small cruise ship the Safari Quest anchored for the night. El Cardonal Bay is a popular anchorage on Isla Partida for sailboats and other pleasure crafts. The land area near El Cardonal Bay is interesting because of the many mangrove trees, which need to be near salt water, growing in close proximity to the many cacti and desert rocks.
Quepos, Costa Rica
This seaside town is the epitome of “jungle chic”. Fresh seafood is the order of the day - your taste buds will thank you for being such a savvy traveler. Quepos is best known as the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park - Costa Rica’s crown jewel. White face monkeys squeal with delight as you trek jungle trails to a waterfall falling directly into the ocean as exotic birds fly overhead.
Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica
Puerto Caldera is, as the name implies, a port complex for both cruise ships and cargo vessels, its beginnings dating back to 1577. It serves as the primary access point from the Pacific Coast to the capital of San Jose.
The unspoiled natural beauty of the region is one of Puerto Caldera's main attractions. Its rain forests, starting just inside the coastline, continue up into the mountains, contain rivers, waterfalls, national parks and wildlife preserves. South of Puerto Caldera are two forest reserves, known for large and diverse populations of forest and aquatic birds. These are the Biological Reserve of Carara, and a preserve that encompasses Guayabo, Negritos and Los Pajaros islands.