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Nice mountain views during Ecuador vacation

Rainforest Cultures & Natural Ecosystems

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Silver Explorer
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Panama, Ecuador and Colombia each offer their own delights on this trip. Traverse the legendary Panama Canal and roam the Darien Jungle, one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Scan your surroundings for wildlife—such as spider monkeys and jaguars—as you explore Utria National Park. Enjoy the rainforests, reefs and local cultures on this foray into Central and South America.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Colón, Panama
Day 2 : Panama Canal, Panama
Day 3 : Bay of San Miguel, Darien Jungle, Panama
Day 4 : Bahia Solano and Utria National Natural Park, Colombia
Day 5 : Utría National Natural Park, Colombia
Day 6 : Cruising the North Pacific Ocean
Day 7 : Isla de la Plata, Ecuador
Day 8 : Machala, Ecuador
Day 9 : Guayaquil, Ecuador


  • Hear the legend of Sir Francis Drake’s buried silver treasure.
  • See the largest Magnificent Frigatebird colony in the South Pacific.
  • Discover Colombia’s Pacific coast special permission has been granted to
  • Take local canoes or Zodiac into the Darien Jungle to visit remote villages


Silver Explorer

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Nice mountain views during Ecuador vacation The Panama Canal Our little ambassador- I called him the Pied Piper Wild Margay cat at Paradise Garden Catch a glimpse of a Blue-footed Booby on your Galapagos Islands tour

Day 1 Colón, Panama

Embark Silver Explorer and depart on your exciting 8-day expedition — “Rainforest Cultures & Natural Ecosystems”. This evening, after settling in and participating in a mandatory safety drill, you will be setting sail and your Expedition Leader will introduce important members of the crew and the Expedition Team. Tonight you are invited to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.

Day 2 Panama Canal, Panama

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the 1880s, a French company began building a canal but was thwarted by engineering problems and tropical disease, which killed over 20,000 workers. In 1903 the United States took over the project, completing it in 1914. Today, pass through the narrowest point of the Isthmus of Panama and the American continent. The Panama Canal is an engineering marvel connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Three sets of locks work as water elevators lifting ships to the level of Gatun Lake, 85 feet (26 metres) above sea level, and later lowering them again to sea level on the other side. By using the Canal, vessels avoid travelling the 14,000 nautical mile route through the treacherous Drake Passage and around Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America.

NOTE: Although a day-time transit has been requested and booked, due to heavy traffic in the Canal, a daylight transit cannot be guaranteed. Confirmation of exact times will be established once closer to the actual transit date.

Day 3 Bay of San Miguel, Darien Jungle, Panama

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Darien Jungle is remote and has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. It is also recognized as one of the world’s top ten birding sites, and you can hope to see many bird species such as the colourful Crimson-collared Tanager, Green and Chestnut-fronted Macaws, Rufous-tailed and Snow-bellied Hummingbirds, whimbrels, willets (a type of sandpiper), White Ibises and egrets, as well as Laughing Gulls. Other wildlife we may see includes tapir and Black-headed Spider Monkey, vultures, and the endangered Great Curassow.

This morning Silver Explorerwill anchor in the Bay of San Miguel. You will explore this pristine, seldom visited area by Zodiac or local canoe, navigating up the tidal Mogue River. At the conclusion of your river adventure, you hear the sound of distant drums welcoming us to the remote Embera Village. The Darien Jungle is rarely visited by outsiders (fewer than 1,000 tourists visit each year), and the Embera are one of several indigenous groups that live in relative isolation.

You will go ashore to melodic rhythms of traditional tribal music played by male villagers on drums, maracas and flutes. Local women and children in brightly coloured attire welcome you to their village and introduce you to their way of life. You will visit authentic tribal dwellings built of nearby trees and plants. Before leaving, villagers will perform a native dance for your entertainment and demonstrate basket weaving and carving techniques. If you are adventurous you might even get temporal mosquito-repellent painted onto your body (careful — the dark markings stay for at least two weeks). And you will have the opportunity to purchase souvenirs of your visit including beautiful handcrafted baskets and carvings.

Special Request
When preparing for your Silversea Expedition, you are encouraged to purchase and pack a donation of school supplies. Much-needed items include pens, pencils, writing pads, reading material, and new or second-hand clothes for children ages 1 to 12 years old. The village is also always in need of prescription reading glasses, over-the-counter medicine and medical equipment. Donations will be collected on board by the Expedition Team and distributed to the local villagers during your visit as part of your cultural exchange.

Day 4 Bahia Solano and Utria National Natural Park, Colombia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, arrive in Bahia Solano, where you will anchor offshore and be brought to land by local tender or Zodiac. Bahía Solano is located in splendid isolation; connected to the outside world by a single, small local airport. Tucked inside a beautiful bay, the small Columbian town is lined by the Pacific Ocean on one side and thick, impenetrable jungle on the other. The majority of the 10,000 residents work in local industries, which are predominantly fishing, agriculture and eco-tourism.

If you select the Bahia Solano Town Tour with your own local guide, the tour begins at the local secondary school, where you will be welcomed by the children who will sing the Colombian national anthem. Afterwards, take a relaxed walk through the community, wandering the streets with their array of different shops and businesses, visiting the main church, the primary school and library, before visiting the small fishing port where there will be a small display of the locally caught fish, which are flown out daily to the main cities of Colombia. The tour ends on the “malecon” or seafront, with a performance of Afro-Pacific and Indigenous Colombian dance, a gastronomic display with the opportunity to taste local dishes and an artisans’ market where handicrafts will be available for sale. If you wish to take your adventure up a notch, there will also be the opportunity to take a short “chiva” ride to the local waterfalls and take a short, but steep, walk up the hill for a bird’s eye of view of Bahía Solano.

Alternatively guests can choose to go on the Botanical Gardens of the Pacific. Departing from the ship the Zodiac will cross the Bay of Solano to a natural reserve, known as the Botanical Gardens. Landing on the beach the guests will be welcomed with a fresh coconut juice before boarding launches for a short ride through the mangroves to the tropical rain forest. The Botanical Garden is a 170-acre reserve, which is dedicated to the protection and conservation of the local wildlife through education and recovery. One of the most interesting projects of the reserve is the development of a seed bank and a reforestation project. During the walk the guides will point out the amazing variety of flora and fauna, the reforestation project and will also explain the relationship between the indigenous culture and the plant and animal life, showing how trees can be used for communicating and fungus used as medicines. After 2 hours in the rainforest the walk ends with a gentle stroll along the beach and refreshment before re-boarding the Zodiacs for the ride back to the ship.

During lunch Silver Explorer will relocate to Utría National Natural Park.

Your explorations of the Colombian Pacific coast continue with a visit to Utria National Natural Park. From coral reefs and mangroves to the marine environment, tropical rainforest and rocky beaches where sea turtles come to lay their eggs, few places in the world encompass the diversity of Utría’s ecosystems. The Expedition Team will offer a choice of trail hikes. As for flora, the park has several species of timber trees, notably the area’s beloved Cohiba tree and the Oquendo tree, which is used in the creation of local art and handicrafts.

Day 5 Utría National Natural Park, Colombia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The exploration of Utria National Natural Park continues. Again today the Expedition Team will offer a choice of trail hikes to explore the park’s numerous highlights. During your walk, you can hope to see some of Utría’s great variety of animal life, which includes deer, wild pigs, anteaters, black howler and spider monkeys, wild cats (such as jaguar, puma and ocelot), sloths, and some adorable rodent species.

Day 6 Cruising the North Pacific Ocean

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After your exploration in Colombia you have a day at sea. As strange as it may sound, you will be cruising the North Pacific Ocean — you are still north of the Equator.

The lecture team will offer several interesting and enlightening talks about natural history and the cultures that inhabit this part of South America. Perhaps the story of Francis Drake and his voyages is something you might want to hear. Join the Expedition Team in the Theatre or Panorama Lounge, or relax on the Pool Deck, savouring some local drinks or cocktails.

During the night Silver Explorer will head into the Southern Hemisphere — Neptune permitting…

Day 7 Isla de la Plata, Ecuador

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Exploration and discovery await you as you anchor off the coast of the uninhabited and unspoilt Isla de la Plata (Island of Silver). The island’s name was derived from the legend of swashbuckling pirate Sir Francis Drake’s buried silver treasure. The popular legend states that in the 16th century, hundreds of tons of silver and gold were never fully recovered and is still hidden on the island. The island was privately owned until 1979, when it was declared part of Ecuador’s Machalilla National Park. Best known for its fauna, which is amazingly similar to that of the Galapagos Islands, Isla de la Plata is a delightful place for birding, photography and long nature walks. Although just south of the equator, the influences of the colder Humboldt Current bring nutrient-rich water as far north as Isla de la Plata. Together with your local natural history guides, you will go ashore and enjoy various walks, watching for herons, pelicans, gulls, frigatebirds, Masked Boobies, Nazca Boobies, albatross and hawks.

Day 8 Machala, Ecuador

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Machala, with a population of approximately 250,000 inhabitants, is called the “Capital of the Banana” as the ‘World Fair of the Banana’ is held there during the third week of September. Producers and buyers from Perú, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, México, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Guatemala, Panamá, República Dominicana, El Salvado, Honduras and, obviously, Ecuador will show up . Fortunately for you, there is more to Machala than just bananas: opposite Machala is Jambeli Island with its sun-drenched beaches and mangrove forests, Isla del Amor (the “Island of Love”), an ecological island where pelicans, frigatebirds, and egrets nest; Santa Clara, a refuge for seabirds, such as Blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds and pelicans, is further out to sea — and even whales and dolphins can still be seen in Santa Clara’s vicinity in October. Several other National Sanctuaries or Ecological Reserves can be found near Machala.

Machala is also known for several typical dishes, mostly seafood -from raw marinated shrimp to shrimp soup and fried shrimp; and from fried bananas to fish soup.

Tonight the on-board videographer will present the voyage-DVD, letting you reminiscence all those extraordinary moments and encounters during your voyage.

Day 9 Guayaquil, Ecuador

  • 1 Breakfast
Silver Explorer will arrive in port in the early morning. Following breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.

Silver Explorer

Per person starting at
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Adventurer Class
6 cabins on Deck 3, 180 sq. feet, Twin or Queen beds, 2 portholes.
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Explorer Class
4 cabins on Deck 4, Twin or Queen beds, 180 sq. feet with view window.
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View Suite
12 suites on Deck 3, 230 sq. feet with view window, Twin or Queen beds.
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Vista Suite
16 suites on Deck 4, 194 - 230 sq. feet with large window, Twin or Queen beds.
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Veranda Suite
8 suites on Deck 5, 215 sq. feet with French balcony, Twin or Queen beds.
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Expedition Suite
4 suites on Deck 3, 430 sq. feet with 2 view windows, Twin or Queen beds.
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Medallion Suite
2 suites on Deck 7, 358 sq. feet with private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.
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Silver Suite
6 suites on Deck 5, 430 sq. feet with 2 French balconies, Twin or Queen beds.
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Grand Suite
2 suites on Deck 7, 650 sq. feet with large private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.
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2 suites on Deck 7, 540 sq. feet with large private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.


Please note: Fares are capacity controlled, and subject to change at any time without notice. All prices are in US dollars, cruise-only per person based on double occupancy.

- The supplement for single occupancy in a Vista, Veranda or Midship Veranda Suite ranges from 25% – 100% above the double occupancy fare, depending upon the sailing and suite selected. Single supplement for a Silver or Medallion Suite (Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper), Owner’s, Grand or Royal Suites are 100% above of the double occupancy fare. Suites for single and third guests are capacity controlled.

Included in cruise fare:
Suite accommodations, onboard meals and entertainment, gratuities aboard ship (except spa), complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soft drinks, water, tea and coffee. All fares are quoted in US dollars, are per guest and based on double occupancy.
Not included in cruise fare:
Airfare, hotel accommodations, transfers and luggage handling, optional shore excursions, meals ashore, fuel surcharges, accommodations whilst ashore, casino gaming, laundry or valet services, purchases from the ship boutiques or any item or service of a personal nature such as medical care, massages, spa treatments, private fitness instruction, hair styling and manicures. Some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars are not included in your fare and may not be available at all times.

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.


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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
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