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HERO Panama Isla Secas Islands

Experiences

Undiscovered Atolls and Hidden Tribes along Panama’s Coast

Panama boasts a vastly diverse landscape, from immaculate coast to vibrant cities and dense, exotic jungle. Discover the countless tiny islands scattering both the Pacific and Caribbean coastline, dive into the underwater world, and journey through the mysterious Darien National Park.

When to go:
December – April

Off the Pacific Coast of Panama lies the extraordinary Islas Secas archipelago, made up of 14 islands, staying here, you will gain exclusive access to these unspoiled atolls. Remote and unknown, there is plenty to explore whilst staying on the islands. Take an incredible marine safari, exploring four miles of protected coastline by paddleboard, kayak or boat, uncovering hidden caves, secluded beaches and searching for the immense humpback whales. Dive below the surface to discover the exotic underwater life including tropical fish, majestic rays and amiable turtles. Pick up speed, surfing and wakeboarding the exhilarating and uncrowded waves.

On land, join a naturalist on a guided hike through the various islands, exploring the wonderful ecology, seen by very few, and uncovering rare vegetation and bird species. As the sun sets, delight in sundowners on a private beach as you relax and absorb this exceptional location.

Panama City is a vibrant metropolis soaked in old-world charm, combining towering skyscrapers with Colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, to create a chaotic, yet charming cosmopolitan hub. Alongside an expert local guide, you will discover the two worlds of Panama, starting at the Cerro Ancon viewpoint which provides spectacular panoramic views over the entire city and the canal. Walk through the cobblestone streets of the picturesque Casco Viejo, a walled city, founded by the Spaniards in 1673 and seeped in colonial and neoclassical architecture and monuments, as you gain an insight into the unique historical and artistic value. Sample fresh ceviche at the famous fish market, donated by the Japanese government in 1989 to benefit the local fishermen.

Gain exclusive access to the famous Panama Canal, the 48-mile long artificial waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Learn about the history and construction of the first set of locks and observe the substantial vessels transit through the locks, as you gain access to restricted areas, allowing you a much closure view of the lock operations.

Travel south through Panama along the Pan-American highway until the road runs out and you reach the Darien Gap, the only break in this 30,000-mile road. The infamous Darien Gap is a wild, remote and roadless swath of jungle, with a somewhat damaging reputation. However, deep in this notorious area is the beauty of the Darien National Park, the largest protected area in Panama, home to seven indigenous tribes including the Darien, Embera, Wounaan, and Kuna people. Alongside an expert PELORUS guide, leave the road behind and begin an off-roading adventure into the heart of the jungle, before transferring to the river to continue your journey in an Embera canoe.

You will be welcomed by the Embera Indians, a friendly community that will proudly teach you of their history and culture. Spend a few days in the Darien National Park, learning from the Embera community and experiencing their beautiful handicrafts, celebratory music, medicinal plants, and many more well-preserved traditions. Hike through this extraordinary jungle on paths that have never been crossed and discovering neotropical plants that few know exist.

Leaving the jungle behind, fly by helicopter to the San Blas islands, a collection of 360 atolls on Panama’s Caribbean coast, home to the Guna people who strictly control the tourism and visitors to their islands. PELORUS are able to obtain exclusive access, allowing you to discover this string of coral islands that boast idyllic beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a remarkably unique culture. Board a vessel and sail around the islands, visiting the secluded beaches and snorkelling in the abundant waters. Experience the Guna community’s way of living, with their culture remaining intact, they maintain many of their customs and traditions, which have been experienced by very few people.