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Setting sail from Colón
Situated at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, Colón takes its name from Christopher Columbus, known in Spanish as Cristóbal Colón, although it's hard to imagine the famous explorer would find much reason to linger here nowadays. Once a thriving port, the city is now in a state of seemingly terminal decline, its colonial architecture crumbling and the modern city beset by social problems. It's not somewhere you will want to hang around for long, and serves merely as a gateway to the Canal, which will carry you to much nicer places.
The Historical Panama Canal Railway goes from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast – the journey time is about one hour, and the views are amazing.
Panama: San Blas Islands
Situated just off the coast of Panama, the idyllic San Blas islands are home to the Kuna Indians, who enjoy political autonomy from the mainland and have an unusual degree of control over tourism to their homeland. Visiting these simple island communities is a privilege, and an insight into an indigenous way of life unsullied by mass tourism.
Panama: Fuerte Amador (Panama City)
The port of Fuerte Amador sits at the southern edge of Panama City, near the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The shining skyscrapers of the Panamanian capital are a testament to the city’s status as a key financial centre, while the tiny Casco Viejo is home to pretty colonial streets, hip hotels and happening bars.
Panama: Darién Jungle
The Darién Gap is the only break in the Pan-American Highway that runs from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, a wild and untamed region of thick jungle. Although the region has a reputation for lawlessness, tourism is making inroads thanks to the jungle’s staggering biodiversity and the fascinating culture of the indigenous Emberá people.
Costa Rica: Playa Herradura
Playa Herradura was just a sleepy fishing village until the arrival of Marriott’s sprawling Los Sueños resort transformed the area in the 1990s. The town is surrounded by national parks, and a boat trip on the Tarcoles river is a popular option, with the chance to spot wildlife including scarlet macaws, crocodiles and iguanas.
Arriving in Puerto Caldera
Puerto Caldera is a major port on Costa Rica's Pacific coast, about an hour and a half from the capital, San José. Caldera itself is an industrial port with little to detain you, but the nearby city of Puntarenas is a popular beach destination, with a nice seafront promenade where you can relax with a drink or enjoy a seafood lunch. Other local attractions include the fantastic flora and fauna of the Carara Biological Reserve and beautiful Tortuga Island, a great spot for snorkelling.
Your home from home
Sleek and stylish, Ponant's wonderful Explorer yachts blend luxury and intimacy with a discreet elegance and tasteful décor.
What we love
Named after six of France's most famous explorers, Le Champlain, Le Lapérouse, Le Bougainville, Le Dumont d'Urville, Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier offer exciting and adventurous itineraries in the utmost comfort. Technologically advanced, with the latest in environmentally friendly hardware, the new ships embody Ponant's trademark élan and flair, with just 92 spacious rooms and suites, a stylish pool deck and an intimate, refined onboard ambience.
|Style||Refined with a wonderful mix of a modern super yacht and nautical tradition, all with a French flair.|
Tailor-make your trip
Stay a little longer in Panama
It’s not in Colón, but if you want to extend your stay we propose Isla Palenque, off the Pacific coast of Panama – tricky to get to, but not to be missed.
Explore the Panamian jungle
Take a canopy tour and swing between great trees, seeing the wildlife as you go. Watch out – it’s not for the faint-hearted!