By Lola Méndez
By Lola Méndez
Navigate the Caribbean coastline from Panama to Colombia with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic.
Bursting with biodiversity and made up of a multitude of cultures, Colombia is an extraordinarily rich land. Sail the Caribbean coast to see the region’s ecotourism efforts, learn about the country’s past, native peoples, and unique traditions. In Panama, transit the incredible canal and discover the pristine Guna Yala islands. Reflect on the diversity of these countries, take jungle hikes, tour historic towns, and explore the turquoise waters and coastal mangroves via snorkel, kayak, Zodiac, and stand-up paddleboard.
“Expedition travel is hard to describe. In essence, imagine exploring places and accessing the most remote or complex spots. All are surrounded by a wealth of experts in a myriad of topics connected to the area you are visiting. And then, sharing those experiences with mind-alike travelers at dinner. It’s a formula that is hard to beat for those who love to learn while they discover new places,” says Kike Calvo, National Geographic Photography Expert.
“It’s a formula that is hard to beat for those who love to learn while they discover new places.”
The first stop in Colombia is a visit to the isolated villages of Sapzurro and Capurgana. You can visit the villages and enjoy a nature walk between the towns. On the walk, you may see mantled and Colombian red howler monkeys as well as toucans, parrots, and trogons. There will be more wildlife sightings during the expedition including bottlenose dolphins, Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths, Geoffrey’s spider monkeys, greater sac-winged bats, and white-nosed coatis.
Birders will want to look out for great tinamous, wood storks, magnificent frigatebirds, little blue herons, ospreys, orange-chinned parakeets, blue-headed parrots, mealy parrots, greater anis, smooth-billed anis, rufus momots, slaty-tailed trogons, and more. On snorkel excursions in the Caribbean Sea search for parrot fish, filefish, trunkfish, angelfish, and wrasse.
Throughout the sailing, you’ll learn about Colombia’s indigenous people including the Emberá and Zenú. You can visit the village of Tuchín to meet with Zenú people who are known for their irrigation systems and have been artisans for centuries weaving a traditional hat known as sombrero vueltiao using a sun-dried coastal cane. Shop for an authentic handmade sombrero vueltiao for a meaningful souvenir.
“The African, the indigenous, and the Spanish elements are all combined in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.”
“Colombia is the fusion of all. The African, the indigenous, and the Spanish elements are all combined in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. A place with a complex history, and an example of resilience.” Calvo says. The disembarkment at Santa Cruz de Lorica includes a short drive to a riverside town influenced by immigrants from France, Belgium, England, Syria, and Lebanon. The cultural melting pot is apparent in the architecture with a Spanish-colonial cathedral and colorful Arabic-style buildings.
You can enjoy shore excursions along the route in Chocó, San Antero, and Bolívar. During the Santa Cruz del Islote landing, you can visit one of the most densely populated islands on Earth with around 600 inhabitants living in an area about the size of two soccer fields. While visiting the island you’ll stroll through motor-free streets, and past brightly painted houses and bustling docks.
Want to keep reading?
Princess offers an immersive cruising experience in Japan – with cultural elements both onboard and in port.
New extended destination voyages promise in-depth exploration with Holland America Line.
When you crave warmth and relaxation, a luxury hotel can be your gateway to a vacation filled with sunshine.