Our People
  • Amy snow biking Our Team

    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

  • Chris Packham Our Tour Experts

    We carefully select our experts based on their knowledge, companionship and influence, ensuring that you can travel with the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.

Lake Gatun, Panama Canal

Panama Canal Between the Seas

  • TAILOR-MADE

Duration

12 Days

Prices Start from

£5,800 ex. flights

Utilising a nimble 24-passenger catamaran to travel between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans via the Panama Canal, this beyond the ordinary cruise offers an in-depth insight to the waterway, its endemic wildlife and traditional cultures. When not sailing between the homeland of the Embera Indians to historic sites of the Spanish conquistadors, spend time in a lodge in the verdant foothills of a fertile volcanic valley.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Darien Embera, M/V Discovery, Panama 1

Darien Jungle

Journey to the Darien Jungle and spend a day with a thriving community of Embera Indians.

Resplendent Quetzal 2

Wildlife of the Jungle

Discover the phenomenal wildlife of Panama, including crocodiles, sloths to exotic birds.

Panama Canal, Panama 3

Sail the Panama Canal

Sail a daylight transit of the Panama Canal and visit sites of the Spanish conquistadors.

Snorkelling, Portobelo, Panama 4

Kayak & Snorkel

Snorkel amongst the spectacular marine life of the Pearl Islands and kayak unspoiled water.

Why we like it

Suited to wildlife enthusiasts and those who endeavour to spend time with local communities, this expeditionary voyage is bolstered by world-class guiding and thrilling experiences. In addition to the luxury of travelling from place to place without packing and unpacking, cruising is a great means to cover a huge area in a relatively short amount of time. To travel by boat is to access lesser-visited areas such as the Darien Jungle and the Pearl Islands, and to have the opportunity to make a full transit of the Panama Canal. What’s more, with each traveller we send to the Darien Embera Village, a donation is made to community school in the form of materials, supplies and toys.

Don't forget, we will customise this journey to suit you.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
    Panama City
  • Day 2
    Panama City - El Valle de Anton
  • Days 3-4
    El Valle de Anton
  • Day 5
    El Valle de Anton - Panama City
  • Day 6
    Sailing Panama to Portobelo: Embark in Panama City
  • Day 7
    Sailing Panama to Portobelo: Darien Jungle
  • Day 8
    Sailing Panama to Portobelo: Pearl Islands
  • Days 9-10
    Sailing Panama to Portobelo: Panama Canal
  • Day 11
    Sailing Panama to Portobelo: Chagres River
  • Day 12
    Sailing Panama to Portobelo: Disembark in Portobelo
El Valle de Anton, Panama
El Valle de Anton, Panama

Skyscrapers & Mountains

Spend time in Panama City, the cosmopolitan capital of great contrasts where sparkling skyscrapers hover over the archaeological remains of ancient Panama Viejo. Explore this fascinating city on foot, wandering the narrow streets of the old quarter in the company of a local guide or perhaps taking a trip out to Amador Quays. Then escape from the lowland heat of Panama City to the golden frogs and bright flowers of El Valle de Anton, the traditional highland town surrounded by virgin forests teeming with exotic birdlife. Simply driving into the valley, formed by the crater of an extinct volcano, is a breath-taking journey flanked by majestic mountains swathed in blues and greens. From an upmarket lodge, embark on expertly guided tours of the cloud forest and birding expeditions.

Gatun Lake, Panama
Gatun Lake, Panama

All Aboard the Discovery

In the company of on-board specialist guides, travel through a variety of landscapes that include the Pearl Islands and the Panama Canal on-board a nimble 24-passenger catamaran named Discovery, complete with an upper deck observation platform, delicious indigenous dining and a barbeque. During the six-night sailing, discover the plethora of wildlife, history and culture of this tiny but diverse isthmus and witness the extraordinary construction of the canal during a guaranteed daylight transit. The vessel also navigates the length of Chagres River from Gatun Lake, a unique experience that allows you to explore the wildlife of the area and better understand its role in the trade routes of the 16th century.

Lake Gatun, Panama Canal
Lake Gatun, Panama Canal

Darien Jungle & Embera Indians

Journeying by boat grants access to the revered Darien Jungle, a feat not easily organised when travelling overland, to visit the homeland of the local community of Embera Indians. Skilled weavers and carpenters, these are people that few intrepid travellers have had the privilege of meeting. Discover their proud traditions and lifestyle, still intact since long before the Spaniards colonised the region, and observe as they create cocobolo wood carvings and basketry. A colourful community with authentic artisan wares to sell, this is an enchanting place where chickens run wild and thatch-roofed homes rest on stilts.

White Sand Beach, Pearl Islands, Panama
White Sand Beach, Pearl Islands, Panama

Snorkel the Pearl Islands & Scout for Wildlife

This navigation passes by the Pearl Islands, the namesake archipelago of an earlier abundance of pearl oysters, where it is possible to swim and snorkel through rich fishing grounds or while away the hours on their pristine and unspoiled beaches. Later, while sailing through the Panama Canal, revel in the abundance of wildlife during small boat disembarkations that move through lush rainforests and secluded lakes. Scout for lurking crocodiles, chattering monkeys, slow-moving sloths and singing birds while moving through little-visited landscapes with camera in hand. By its very nature, cruising offers the best of both worlds – after adventurous excursions, return to the comfort of the vessel to take in the views with a cooling drink in hand.

Let’s chat

Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

Send us an enquiry

Or send us a quick email below and start your next journey.

Call us

I have always wanted to see the Panama Canal, but John’s suggestion of sailing in the Guna Yala was a fantastic addition that we had not considered prior to speaking with him.

Destination: Panama
Travel Expert: John

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?


Why Steppes

Get in touch

  • This page is attached to this enquiry

  • By sending your enquiry you are stating that you agree to our T&C

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.