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Authentic longboat floating in Panama's pristine warm waters

Yacht Experiences

Crossing a Continent in Panama

Panama presents the best of all worlds. Enjoy lazy days on deserted Caribbean Islands or dive in the Pacific in the company of pelagic giants. Discover indigenous peoples in dugout canoes and explore ruined Spanish forts perched on the edge of the Caribbean coast. Trek through the jungle, surf off the coast and snorkel rainbow reefs teeming with fish.

When to go:
January – April

SAN BLAS

Land in Panama City and transfer to Colon on the opposite side of the country. Once there you will be met by your yacht captain and escorted to your yacht. Spend the day cruising through the San Blas Archipelago. This archipelago is comprised of 378 islands scattered around 100 square miles. The majority of these islands are uninhabited but some of the larger one’s support communities of indigenous people. With expert local guides you will find the hidden secrets of this archipelago. Explore the crystal-clear waters using your vessels array of toys. Paddleboard on the turquoise waters or snorkel and get the chance to see a variety of tropical fish and starfish that inhabit this archipelago. Stop off on a deserted island and enjoy fresh seafood caught by locals including lobster and fish. Your chef will cook these to perfection on a barbecue on the beach. If you are in the mood for adventure, allow yourselves to be castaway on a deserted island and spend the night here sleeping under the stars with the sound of the gently lapping water as a lullaby.

GATUN LAKE

After spending time as a tropical castaway, make your way back towards the mainland. Transfer from your yacht to a dugout canoe and make your way up the wild Gatun River. Here you will witness the dense and fascinating jungle that spills onto the banks of the river. Watch this jungle drifting by as you make your way to the Embera Quera, an indigenous community based on the banks of Gatun Lake. The Embera tribe lives in harmony with Mother Nature and they will welcome you at the wooden pier. You will get a truly authentic insight into how this tribes lives today and how their lives have been affected by the changing world around them. The village chiefs may even give you a brief history of the tribe, its traditions, cultures, and beliefs.

Whilst you are in the company of the Embera, enjoy a traditional lunch of fish and plantains, before taking part in a traditional Embera dance. Allow yourself to be painted with an Embera tattoo using ink made from local fruit and help the community thrive by purchasing some of their unique and beautiful handicrafts.

SOBERENIA NATIONAL PARK

Make your way with an expert naturalist guide to Gamboa where will begin walking the famous pipeline road, a place renowned for its bird watching. Soberenia National Park spans over 55,000 acres and is home to over 525 species of bird and a number of other animals. Make your way down winding trails that wiggle through the undergrowth. Keep your eyes peeled for bird species that flit among the canopy including hummingbirds, jacanas, least grebes, toucans, and snail kites. And closer to the ground keep an eye out for crocodiles, anteaters, sloths, coatis, monkeys, and an exceptional array of butterflies. Make your way up the huge, 40-metre-high viewing platform located near the lake. From here you will have an unimpeded view of the stretching jungle canopy and the lake. Here you will see some of the aquatic birds that wade through the water.

Head out onto the lake and in a dugout canoe or boat and get even closer to the species of the rainforest. Make your way to Barro Colorado Island, the largest island in the lake that has been protected since 1923. Here you will find iguanas, monkeys, and sloths all in their natural, protected habitat.

PANAMA CITY

Cruise along the iconic Panama Canal towards Panama City. Drop anchor and discover this stunning metropolis a world away from the jungle and deserted islands on the other side of the country. Discover a melting pot of cultures as you explore this city. Walk along the stunning coastline with a backdrop of towering skyscrapers. Or head to the Casco district, the old Spanish quarter, an area that has been carefully restored and that brims with traditions and history. Explore the ruins of Panama Viejo, the remaining part of the original Panama City that was sacked by privateer Henry Morgan. Learn about how the city’s history is inextricably linked with both piracy and its colonial past.

In the evening explore the old quarter where jazz spills out of the doors of every bar you pass. Head to Danilo’s Jazz Club where the best live jazz music in the city is to be found. Enjoy drinking, eating and dancing the night away before returning to your vessel for the night.

CERRO HOYA

Cruise overnight from Panama City to Cerro Hoya. Here venture inland to the cloud forest where you will take part in an exciting surveillance project with the Panama Wildlife conservation group. Intense poaching activity in recent years has caused the local population of felines, white-lipped peccary and many other animals to be declared almost extinct in most parts of Panama. The camera trap project that you will be taking part in aims to survey these endangered animals over a long period of time. The information will then be used in a local environmental education programme for schools and local communities. This will allow them to monitor the status of the wildlife in the area and the effectiveness of various conservation efforts. This will also allow materials to promote local and international awareness of the plight of local wildlife and the need for its conservation. After you return home you can continue to monitor the results of your research and camera traps for up to 5 years after you plant them.

After a morning working in the rainforest, you will be rewarded with a paradise picnic in a clearing in the jungle before you make your way back to your vessel in the afternoon. Spend your afternoon spearfishing or surfing in the pristine waters, or simply restoring your energy as you relax on deck.

The next day kayak upriver from the bay and explore the prime rainforest at the base of the mountain. Swim, wade, or kayak in the river here spotting kingfishers and otters as you make your way towards crashing waterfalls.

In the evening make your way ashore with an expert Pelorus guide to assist efforts to identify and observe important nesting sites for critically endangered leatherback turtles. Monitoring and protecting these new nesting sites is an important step in encouraging the restoration of the population of the largest sea turtle species.

Help tag nesting mothers as you learn more about their changing migration patterns for years to come and maybe even witness some of the newly hatched babies making their way to the sea. Any turtles you tag you will then be able to track for the rest of their lives as they traverse as far north as Canada and Norway and as far south as New Zealand and Patagonia. Head back onboard for a well-deserved midnight feast as you exchange stories of turtles you have tagged.

Humpback Whale Breaching in Panama PAnama San Blas Islands and Beach Palm Trees
Panama San Blas Islands

COIBA

Arrive at Coiba Island and explore this site that was separated from the mainland during the last Ice Age about 12,000 to 18,000 years ago. Sea levels rose causing an extraordinary evolutionary study. Animals on this newly formed island had to adapt to island life. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute conducts extensive studies on the biodiversity of the area, one of the wildest places in central America. This densely forested island is a true natural oasis of incredible and diverse ecosystems just waiting to be explored.

Arise early and head to the swim platform of your vessel where you will be met by a local tender and a local Pelorus Naturalist. Cruise to the windward side of the island. Here the rocky cliffs of Jicarita and Jicaron provide a nesting sanctuary for several species of marine birds both resident and migratory. These include the frigate bird, yellow-footed booby, neotropical cormorant, and brown pelicans. Enjoy a picnic tender as you drift in the tender to observe the only significant population of the nationally endangered scarlet macaw as they feed on the fruits of overhanging almond trees. Take part in monitoring and recording this iconic bird to help local monitoring conservation efforts. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the water where lazy crocodiles rest at close quarters.

In the afternoon explore Coiba proper driving in 4x4s to the abandoned Coiba prison. This prison was built in 1919 and once housed over 3,000 inmates. Since it was abandoned it has been completely reclaimed by nature transforming from a deadly prison into a natural paradise. Housing endemic birds and mammals including howler monkeys, agouti, and possum.

Indulge in a leisurely breakfast onboard before heading out in a tender for a fishing adventure. Your Pelorus guides will bring you close to the legendary Hannibal Bank and Isla Montuousa where there is an abundance of marlin and tuna. Return to your waiting vessel and cruise toward Islas Secas.

ISLAS SECAS

Awake in Islas Secas, a marine national park. Spend the morning with Pelorus guides tracking down elusive populations of humpback whales that visit Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui. Catch sight of them breaching the water, spy-hopping, and tail lobbing. Return to Islas Secas and take to the water equipped with only a pair of flippers and snorkel as you explore this stunning water and the abundance of sea life that is to be found among the reefs surrounding the archipelago. Witness parrotfish, angelfish, eagle rays and endangered turtles that inhabit these calm waters. Return to your vessel for supper surrounded by the thrum of natural life.

After a relaxed breakfast, a Pelorus dive guide will accompany you as you explore below the surface of the national park. With a range of dive sites to suit all levels of experience and training from calm inshore reefs to high-octane diving on exposed offshore pinnacles and seamounts, there is something for everyone. For something truly exceptional, head below the water in a submersible, venturing deeper than you thought possible. During a submersible expedition, you may encounter sharks, turtles, whale sharks and countless other marine creatures from the safety of the submarine.

In the afternoon head out in a tender to a huge colony of soaring Frigates. It is a thrill to watch these spectacular birds dive and dance and you may even have the chance to catch these birds catching their prey mid-flight. Return to Isla Cavada where two miles of jungle trails await. Cross the island in any direction you chose exploring the depths of the forest in search of birds and animals that make their home on the island. Return to your vessel for supper and make your way back to Panama City to catch your flight back home.