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Panama Canal Expedition Cruise and Adventure

Example 7 Day Cruise aboard Discovery
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Discover the natural and cultural beauty of Panama on board of the Discovery cruise Yacht. This amazing journey will take you to  Darien National Park in search of amazing wildlife and for a cultural exchange with a distinct indigenous group: the Emberas. You will also navigate the Pearl Island Archipelago and will have the unique experience of a crossing the renowned Panama Canal. This will be combined with historical tours while walking the legendary trails of the of Pirates and Conquistadores that once fought in the Isthmus that changed the world.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Panama City
Day 2 : Panama City
Day 3 : The Pirate Trail: Agua Clara Locks & Fort San Lorenzo
Day 4 : Embark | Panama Canal Transit
Day 5 : Darien Jungle
Day 6 : Pearl Islands
Day 7 : Disembark | Hiking tour in the Soberania National Park


  • Enjoy the rich history and extensive panorama within San Lorenzo National Park
  • Journey into the lives of the Embera Indians, master crafters of cocobolo woodcarvings and basketry
  • Lookout for wildlife that is particularly active along the river’s edge
  • Visit the Biodiversity Museum designed by Canadian-American Architect Frank Gehry



Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Toucan relaxing in the tree Cathedral of Casco Viejo Traverse the Panama Canal A smiling sloth Fort San Lorenzo Fort San Lorenzo

Day 1 Panama City

A representative will meet you at the Tocumen International Airport to assist and transfer you to your hotel located in Panama City. 

Day 2 Panama City

During the half-day morning tour, you will visit the ruins of Old Panama, climb up the Cathedral tower, visit the Old Panama Museum and then continue to Casco Viejo (the old city compound), which dates back to the late 1600’s. A bilingual guide will describe the events in history leading up to the eventual movement of the capital city to its present location. Casco Viejo is home of monuments of Ferdinand de Lesseps and other Frenchmen instrumental in the ill-fated attempt of the French to construct a canal through Panama. 

The full-day tour continues to visit the Biodiversity Museum designed by Canadian-American Architect Frank Gehry, the Biomuseo is his only work in Latin America and the tropics. The building was designed to tell the story about how the Isthmus of Panama rose from the sea, uniting two continents, separating a vast ocean in two, and changing the planet’s biodiversity forever. The Biomuseo’s 4,000 square meters contain 8 permanent exhibition galleries designed by Bruce Mau Design.

An expert from the Museum will conduct the visit. In addition to the main spaces, the museum includes a public atrium, a space for temporary exhibitions, a shop, a cafe, and multiple outdoor exhibits displayed in the botanical park. The permanent exhibition is a combination of art and science that leads the visitor to experience a marvelous phenomenon. Return to the hotel in the afternoon for overnight. 

Day 3 The Pirate Trail: Agua Clara Locks & Fort San Lorenzo

Early in the morning, your guide will meet you at your hotel for a drive across the Isthmus of Panama to the Caribbean province of Colon. You will visit the Gatun Locks and Fort San Lorenzo, which was sacked by the famous Pirate Captain Morgan during his legendary attack on Panama City. Also, you will hike the San Lorenzo National Park trails looking for wildlife with an expert naturalist guide. Along the way, you will stop at a site where remnants of Las Cruces Trail, the 400-year-old colonial trail used by the Spaniards to transport gold across the isthmus, are still found. Once in Colon Province, you will take a short ferry ride over the Panama Canal, you will have the opportunity to see both the Gatun and Agua Clara Locks on one end and Colon 2000 port at the other end. Once you reach the other side of the Canal you will make your way to Fort San Lorenzo a UNESCO World Heritage Site built at the mouth of the Chagres River.

The road will lead you deep into the rainforest until you get to the impressive ruins situated on cliffs overlooking endless rainforest and abandoned coastlines. The Spanish bastion formerly served to fortify and protect the river entrance of the Las Cruces Trail that led to Panama City on the Pacific Ocean. This entrance was later used as the port of entry for gold diggers on their way to California during the second half of the 19th century. Enjoy the rich history and extensive panorama of the fort and hike through the rainforest within San Lorenzo National Park, watching out for monkeys, Two and Three-toed sloths, coatimundis, toucans and other wildlife species. Lunch will be at a local restaurant.  The return if is a weekday will be on board of the transcontinental train to recreate the experience of the California Gold Rush age and enjoy the spectacular landscape of the heart of the Panama Canal watershed from the comfort of your train cabin.  Overnight at the Central hotel. 

Day 4 Embark | Panama Canal Transit

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you will be transferred to the middle of the Panama Canal for the Discovery embarkation. After embarkation, you will join the afternoon’s ship convoy for a southbound canal passage. 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. At Pedro Miguel Locks and Miraflores Locks, the Discovery will be lowered 85 feet back to sea level of the Pacific Ocean. You will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience up close the history and operation of this engineering marvel. 

Day 5 Darien Jungle

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 woodcarvings and basketry. After motoring upriver, 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

Day 6 Pearl Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 are home to some pristine beaches and fertile fishing grounds.

Day 7 Disembark | Hiking tour in the Soberania National Park

  • 1 Breakfast
Today you will arrive in Flamenco Marina and disembark the Discovery. Your guide will take you for a ride to the scenic Gamboa Road to Pipeline Road located in the Soberania National Park. You will experience a unique tour exploring the canopy of the Soberania National Park; you will be fascinated by the beautiful view of the forest, the lake and the national parks that protect the canal’s watershed. The upper rainforest canopy at the Rainforest Tower is 30 meters high with emergent trees reaching 40m. Your naturalist guide will explain you the wildlife that you will observe during this trip and you will learn about the sustainable use of water and the recycling materials of this great educational facility in the core of the forest.  Along the way, watch out for Green iguanas and three-toed sloths resting on tree branches, Ospreys in the hunt for Peacock basses, Snail Kites and Keel-billed toucans, amongst many other wildlife species.  Look for the White-faced Capuchin, Mantled Howler Monkey, Central American Spider Monkey, and Geoffrey’s Tamarin among other species.

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.


Panama City - Hotels

Per person starting at
Comfortable suite
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Category 1
One Queen-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom, big picture window. 116 sq. ft.
Your suite on the Discovery
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Category 2
One Queen-sized bed, private bathroom, big picture window. 133 sq. ft.


Please note that cruise itineraries are subject to wind, tide and weather conditions and are operated in the interests of the safety and welfare of the passengers, vessel, and crew.

Cruise fare includes:
* Transfers of passengers to and from the ship (within hotels in Panama City)
* Panama Canal Railway tickets
* Shore excursions and the use of equipment (kayaks, snorkeling gear and zodiacs)
* All meals and beverages onboard the ship
* Taxes and port charges
* Airport roundtrip transfers
* Tours mentioned in the itinerary
* Lodging from day 1 until day 7
* A specialist guide in all the tours
* In the land portion meals included are as mentioned
* In the vessel portion, all meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic are included

Cruise fare does not include:
* International Airfare
* Panama Tourist Card ($5.00)
* Lodging in Panama City
* Personal gear
* Gratuities to naturalist guides and crew
* In the land portion dinners are not included
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Alexandra L

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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