The Journey Between the Seas

Discovery Panama Canal Transit, Panama

7 Days/6 Nights

From $3,950 per person

(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)

Select Departures Throughout the Year

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Transit the Panama Canal and explore the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Panama on this fascinating expedition cruise. Encounter Embera Indians in the Darien Jungle, snorkel and swim the waters of the Pearl Islands, and navigate through the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks on the way to the Continental Divide and Gatun Lake. Witness the abundant wildlife of Barro Colorado Island, and visit Fort San Lorenzo on the Chagres River and the historic town of Portobelo, before returning to Panama City by train.

Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 6 nights (6 nights aboard the Discovery), and 18 meals (6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners).

Best Time to Go: December-April.

Destinations: Central America and Panama

Interests: Adventure, Culture & History, Expedition Cruising, Sea Kayaking, and Wildlife Viewing.

Places Visited: Panama City.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Panama City-Flamenco Marina.

Sail the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean towards Contadora, where the Discovery will stay the first night before navigating to the Darien Jungle. Take this opportunity to meet your expedition leaders, the crew and your fellow travelers while you savor our tempting native cuisine. Overnight aboard the ship. (D)

Day 2: Darien Jungle.

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 wood carvings and basketry. After motoring up river 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. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 3: Pearl Islands-San Telmo and Mogo Mogo.

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 of San Telmo and Mogo Mogo are home to some pristine beaches and fertile fishing grounds. View the remains of the submarine Explorer built in 1865 during the Civil War and which sunk off the coast of San Telmo during the oyster fishery of the late 1800´s. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Panama Canal Transit-Gatun Lake.

Wake up at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal and join the morning’s ship convoy for our northbound canal passage traversing Miraflores Locks and Pedro Miguel Locks. The Discovery will be raised 85 feet above sea level to Gatun Lake. You will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience up close the history and operation of this engineering marvel. 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. Spend the night in Gatun Lake on Panama Canal waters. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Panama Canal-Barro Colorado.

Prior to the construction of the Panama Canal, the vast jungle area that is now the Gatun Lake was teeming with an overwhelming abundance of wildlife. As the region was flooded to create the lake, animals took refuge in the mountain peaks, which are now the many islands that dot the renowned lake. Explore Barro Colorado Island where the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Center is located. Your expedition leader will take you on board small crafts past lush rainforests to secluded areas of the lake to witness first-hand the splendor and excitement of the jungle. Exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and crocodiles are just a few of the animals that you could see in their native surroundings. The sights, sounds and scents that make up this beautiful, tropical jungle will engulf you. Cameras are a must as this is considered the world’s premier location for viewing monkeys and other animals in the wild. The Discovery will exit the Panama Canal in the afternoon on its way to the mouth of the Chagres River. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 6: Chagres River-Fort San Lorenzo.

Experience the magnificent Chagres River which was used by the conquistadors to move their gold across the Isthmus of Panama en-route from Peru to Spain and by the gold prospectors who attempted a “short cut” from the US East coast to the gold fields of California. The river was the center piece of the colonial inter-oceanic route and is now the lifeline of the Panama Canal full of wildlife and tropical jungle. Explore Fort San Lorenzo which is located on a cliff at the mouth of the Chagres on the Atlantic side where your leader will offer details of the immense amount of history found on this area. The fort was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend their well-known gold trail. Later that evening, the Discovery will reposition to Colon, where it will spend the night before disembarking the next day. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 7: Portobelo-Caribbean-Panama City.

Wake up to a farewell breakfast before you disembark the Discovery. Travel by motor coach to Portobelo and enjoy this town located on Caribbean waters which was founded by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage to the new continent in 1597. This quaint town is rich in history as it was the site of many sea and land battles between the Spanish colonials and the pirates and corsairs raiding the Spanish Main. Explore the fortifications built by the Spaniards to protect their treasures and visit the Church of San Felipe, the sanctuary of the Black Christ. Later in the afternoon, board the Panama Canal Railway train back to Panama City. This one hour railroad trip will allow you to traverse the picturesque trans-isthmian route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The line flanks the Panama Canal passing through lush rainforests, cruising alongside the Canal’s locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut and gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake. (B,L)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Prices & Dates

Price per Person

Category Single Double
Category 1 (116 sf) $5,925 $3,950
Category 2 (133 sf) $6,075 $4,050
** The prices shown above are in U.S. Dollars. See the cost of this tour in your currency at


  1. The above prices are valid until December 31, 2018.
  2. The March an April departures have a surcharge of $200 per person.
  3. Single sharing is not available.

Departure Dates

March 31, May 29, and October 27, 2018. On April 30, June 5, and November 27, 2018 the cruise operates in reverse order.

What's Included

Price Includes

  • South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
  • For the Northbound Journey, transfers from your hotel to the Flamingo Marina and back. For the Southbound Journey, transfers from your hotel to the train station and back.
  • Accommodations on board the Discovery.
  • Meals as indicated on the itinerary including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Excursions as indicated on the itinerary including all applicable entrance fees.
  • Taxes and port charges.
  • English-speaking crew and naturalist guides.

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare.
  • International airport departure tax ($40, only if not included in the airfare).
  • Hotel nights before/after the cruise.
  • Meals and beverages not indicated on the itinerary.
  • Gratuities to ship crew and naturalist guides (suggested $125-$150 per person).
  • Gifts and personal items.
  • Travel insurance.

We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare and travel insurance and to make these arrangements for you.



Additional Details

Group Private

All transfers and other services are operated on a group basis.




U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Panamanian embassy in their country before traveling.

Travel Insurance

In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.

To Book This Trip

Call or email us to confirm the availability of this ship for your desired dates of travel. Once we have confirmed availability, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $1,000 per person plus the cost of the international airfare (if we arrange it for you). Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Have Questions? Call 1-888-268-9753 to Speak to An Expert.