Come aboard a small motor yacht for a one-of-a-kind journey between two mighty oceans through the Panama Canal. Along the way, meet the indigenous Embera people, whose traditional lifestyles have remained unchanged for 600 years; kayak and snorkel the pristine beaches of the Pearl Islands; and spot abundant wildlife at Gatun Lake, the world's premier location for viewing monkeys in the wild. On the canal's Atlantic side, you'll explore the magnificent Chagres River and tour historic Portobelo before returning to Panama City on a scenic train ride.
Cruise the historic Panama Canal and Gaillard Cut aboard a deluxe, 24-passenger yacht
Kayak into the jungle and spot exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and other wildlife
Journey into the lives of the Embera tribe, whose traditions have remained unchanged for centuries
Board the M/V Discovery and set sail in 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 savoring tempting local cuisine.
Enter the Darién jungle and travel to a place that few have had the privilege of exploring. More than an excursion, this is a journey into the lives of the Embera Indians, a proud people who have been able to preserve their traditions and lifestyle as they were before Spanish colonization. These natives are also master crafters of cocobolo wood carvings and basketry. After motoring up river, see their village emerging from the jungle. Keep your eyes open to spot the abundant wildlife along the river's edge.
Snorkel and swim in the waters of the Pearl Islands. The archipelago owes its name to the abundance of pearl oysters that supported a substantial fishery in the early 1900s. 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, which sunk off the coast of San Telmo in the late 1800s.
Wake up at the entrance of the Panama Canal and join the morning's ship convoy for your northbound canal passage through Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks. Experience the history and operation of this engineering marvel up close when your boat is raised 85 feet above sea level to Gatun Lake. Sail through the Gaillard Cut, the narrowest section of the Panama Canal, and spend the night on Gatun Lake along the Panama Canal.
Witness the splendor and excitement of the jungle firsthand as you board a kayak and paddle past lush rainforests to secluded areas of Gatun Lake. Take in the sights and sounds of the tropical jungle as you observe exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and crocodiles in their native surroundings. Cameras are a must, as this is considered the world's premier location for viewing monkeys and other animals. Climb back aboard the Discovery and exit the Panama Canal, sailing toward the mouth of the Chagres River.
Discover the magnificent Chagres River, which was used by the conquistadors to move their gold from Peru to Spain. The river was the centerpiece of the colonial inter-oceanic route and is now the lifeline of the Panama Canal, full of wildlife and tropical jungle. At the mouth of the Chagres, explore Fort San Lorenzo, a fort built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend their well-known gold trail. Later that evening, cruise to Colon and spend the night before disembarking the next day.
Wake up to a farewell breakfast before disembarking. Travel by coach to Portobelo and explore this town that was founded by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage to the new continent. See 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, passing through lush rainforest, cruising alongside the Canal's locks, and gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake.
MT Sobek has been adventure cruising since 1969, working with local crews the world over to create water-based dream adventures.
This Panama experience allows you to enjoy the wonders of the Panama Canal and Darien Jungle onboard an intimate 24-passenger catamaran.
Enjoy the flexibility of exploring Panama on 6 departures between March and November - all with expert local guides.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Kayaking through the rainforest, snorkeling among islands, and experiencing the wonder of the Panama Canal firsthand.
Spend six nights aboard the M/V Discovery, a 108-foot catamaran. MT Sobek travelers will join other travelers on this book-in cruise.
Panama has a tropical climate, with year-round constant temperatures ranging from 90°F during the daytime to 70°F in the evening.
Yes. The Discovery will cross the canal in daylight, and therefore should be visible.
Panama has one international airport called Tocumen International Airport (PTY) which is located in Panama City. It is about 20 minutes from downtown.
Transfers to and from the ship are included from your hotel (in Panama City). Transfers from the airport are not included, however, they can be coordinated at an additional cost.
All cabins of the Discovery are outside cabins. They have wall-to-wall windows, private bathrooms with showers, and individual air conditioning. They are equipped with toiletries, a blow-dryer and flashlight.
You'll savor Panamanian haute gastronomy prepared by a talented chef, and accompanied with local beer and selection of wines.
No, certain departures run the itinerary in reverse (southbound). Check with your Adventure Coordinator for details.
We offer this trip on a private basis with seasonal departure dates that offer great flexibility (pending availability). Click below to request dates and an MT Sobek Regional Specialist will be in touch to help organize your private adventure.
"This trip contained wonderful wildlife viewing, sea kayaking, hiking and cultural activities. The food, staff and our accommodations were exceptional."
Belinda & Gary S.
MT Sobek Guest, Panama: Journey Between the Seas
"MT Sobek put together a wonderful trip for us. The guides and crew on this trip were world class. Great job MT Sobek you have a customer for life."
MT Sobek Guest, Panama: Journey Between the Seas