- Starts at: Colon, Panama
- Ends at: Cozumel, Mexico
- Duration: 10 Days / 9 Nights
Visiting six countries in ten days, our Caribbean Explorer takes you to the tropical waters of Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize & Mexico. Famous for its high concentration of wildlife, Central America offers the perfect blend of wildlife watching, active discovery and relaxation in warm waters. With turquoise seas and lush forests, magnificent Mayan ruins, bustling markets and flourishing farms, the Caribbean coast of Central America is packed with opportunities to explore. Swim and snorkel around colourful coral reefs during the day before dancing the night away to reggae music by night under clear skies. Whether you choose to soak up the sun on palm-lined beaches, hike through protected national parks or kayak to remote bays, our small group expedition will offer something for everyone.
Today, we will meet at a central location in Panama City and transfer by bus to the port at Colon. Upon arriving at the port we will board RCGS Resolute, our home for the next 10 days. After embarking and settling into our rooms, we’ll gather for cocktails, followed by dinner, after which we’ll relax on the deck and enjoy the tropical sunset.
With over 365 islands scattered over 100 square miles, we could spend an entire year visiting an island each day. Most of the islands are not inhabited, however, the larger islands – Aguja, Kuanidup, Chichimei and El Porvenir are inhabited by the indigenous people known as the Kuna, or Guna.
Cartagena’s ‘Old Town’, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is surrounded by more than 10 kilometres of centuries-old stone walls which we will explore. Later in the day, we’ll sail for the Rosario Islands, which were declared a National Park in order to protect the critical coral reef that encircles the archipelago. We will grab a snorkel, kayak or paddleboard and head off to learn more about the coral and ecosystems first-hand. The evening and following day will be spent at sea, heading towards the San Andrés and Providencia Islands.
This quirky pair of islands, San Andrés and Providencia, found off the coast of Nicaragua, are historically connected to England and are politically part of Colombia. The result, socially speaking, is the 300-year-old English-Creole-speaking Raizal culture which bumps up against the much more recently arrived Colombian culture. We will take the time to investigate the quieter corners, bays, and atolls, perhaps stopping for a snorkel or paddle, to take in the beauty of the coral reefs. On Providencia we can, once again, spend time in the small town, or stretch our legs on a hike up Alto El Pico, for 360-degree views of the entire Caribbean. Those looking for a more gentle stroll can wander the beaches or head to the north end of the island to cross Lover’s Bridge, which takes you to Santa Catalina, the next island.
Once a hot-spot for pirates, Miskito Cays may be the least discovered island of Nicaragua. Sitting 80km off shore, Miskito Cays are part of the Northern Atlantic autonomous region, which is recognized by the Nicaraguan government. The Miskito people have maintained their ancient culture. The seascape and marine life in this area is so complex, delicate and interesting, it was declared part of the larger Biological Marine reserve and Coastal Fringe. What better way to take in this amazing ecosystem than with a tranquil paddle in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard.
Guanaja is both lush and mountainous with its highest peak topping out at 1400 feet. We have the option of a short hike to the only waterfall on the island or a longer hike up to Grant’s Peak for amazing views of the nearby islands. Sitting on the second largest barrier reef in the world, it is not surprising that diving and snorkeling are very popular activities.
Officially named Jeanette Kawas National Park in honour of the murdered environmental activist, this park was previously known as Punta Sal. Here the large lagoon, marine estuaries, tropical rainforests, and mangrove swamps make for an incredibly diverse National Park. Jungle trails allow us to explore the park, a well-known birding destination with over 300 species noted. The West Indian manatee and several types of sea turtles also frequent this area. Further inland you may run into howler or white-headed capuchin monkeys. This park is also inhabited by the Garifuna people who have lived here for hundreds of years. Their villages are scattered throughout the park and the Garifuna traditions and culture are also protected by the park’s mandate.
World-renowned for their diving, snorkeling and fly-fishing, Blackbird Caye and the Turneffe Atoll offer an incredible array of marine life. Using our kayaks, paddleboards, zodiacs, or simply our feet, we will get up close and personal with these hidden treasures.
Today you will wake up off the shores of Cozumel, Mexico the final destination of this voyage. After breakfast we will bid farewell to the crew and disembark the ship. Transportation will be provided to the Cozumel airport where you can begin your journey home, or on to further adventures in Mexico!
Included in the price of this voyage:
Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your voyage
Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport or local hotel on disembarkation
Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes that open on each deck
High quality, eco friendly, Canadian made natural amenities in every cabin
All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar lounge plus in-cabin tea, coffee, hot chocolate replenished daily
Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine bioligists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
Daily off-ship excursions by zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and community visits
Educational presentations and talks by experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore
Resident photography guide available to assist all guests
Access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
An emergency trained medical physician onboard every voyage
Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
Onboard sauna, plunge pool, jacuzzi and fitness centre including personal trainer and massage options (charge applies for massage and spa treatments)
Access to well stocked library full of reference books
Optional Sea Kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddling boarding, etc. (inlcuded in the voyage fare)
End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
Not included in the price of this voyage:
Any international or local airfare unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary
Visa and passport expenses
Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone)
Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (comprehensive travel insurance is mandatory on all trips)
A voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount – $US12-15 per day)