From Panama City we cruise to the Las Perlas Islands, 45nm away. More than 250 tiny islands make up this archipelago, getting its name since Spanish colonial days because of the many pearls that were found there. We have a few days to explore the area before meeting up with the other WARC boats and setting sail for the Galapagos.
We depart for the Galapagos on the 12th February, and at around 850nm the passage should take about a week. Our first stop is San Cristobal where we will have ample time to explore all the island has to offer.
The unique and diverse ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands - extending from the land to the sea - means that it has earned the title of being a living museum, where you can still observe species that are not found anywhere else on the planet.
On land, there will be the opportunity to get up close to sea lions, giant tortoises, seals, iguanas and an immense amount of different birdlife. Under the sea, it is no different with multitudes of different fish, sharks, dolphins, whales and penguins.
The movement on and around the islands concerning hiking and cruising is strictly controlled by the Ecuadorian Government, so locally organised tours are the best way to explore onshore and for diving and snorkelling.
We end this leg in Santa Cruz Island only a day’s sail away from San Cristobal, where further opportunities to dive, snorkell, kayak and hike will be available.
Panama City, gateway to the Panama Canal offers the visitor world-class dining, nightlife, casinos and shops offering some of the world's most famous such as Gucci, Prada, Cartier, Hermes, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Micheal Kors, Carolina Hererra, Chanel, and many more. The city is steeped in history despite its modern appearance with gleaming skyscrapers towering above the waterfront. Away from the waterfront the brick streets and balconies of the Casco Viejo are reminiscent of the French Quarter of New Orleans whilst the tree-lined boulevards of Balboa are a mixture of early-20th-century American architecture and exuberant tropical vegetation.
The Pearl Island Archipelago of Panama covers some 250 small islands, most of which are uninhabited. The locals call the islands Islas de las Perlas, the name dates to Spanish colonial times when Spanish Conquistadors discovered them and gave the Islands its name due to the great amounts of pearls found on them. Today the Islands attract tourists from far and wide who visit to enjoy spectacular white sandy deserted beaches, water sports such as scuba diving, the Islands marine life and the islands delicate ecosystems. Tourists tend to head for Contadora Island as it offers great resorts, hotels, and an Airport. Another noteworthy island is Isla Saboga, you can find traditional Island culture here.
Renowned as a truly iconic tourist destination with stunning beaches which are ranked amongst the best in the world, the Islands also feature some of the world’s most unique and endemic wildlife, marine animals, flora, and fauna. The Islands offer a veritable playground for the adventurous, from trekking through the spectacular scenery of the National park, to snorkelling, scuba-diving, Kayaking, and swimming in crystal clear blue seas.