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Panama Canal Between the Seas



7 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.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Panama City

  • Day 2

    Chagres River and Gatun Locks

  • Days 3

    Gatun Lake Exploration

  • Day 4

    Daylight transit of the Panama Canal

  • Day 5

    Sail to the Darien Jungle

  • Day 6

    Pearl Islands

  • Day 7

    Panama City

Day 1

Panama City

Day 2

Chagres River and Gatun Locks

Days 3

Gatun Lake Exploration

El Valle de Anton, Panama

Day 4

Daylight transit of the Panama Canal

Day 5

Sail to the Darien Jungle

Journey to the Darien Jungle and spend a day with the community of Embera Indians who thrive here.

Day 6

Pearl Islands

White Sand Beach, Pearl Islands, Panama

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

Day 7

Panama City

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

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.

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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

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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