Panama Canal and Costa Rica January 16 - 24, 2020

Where in the Western Hemisphere must one sail east to find the Pacific, west to enter the Atlantic? Yes, the Panama Canal. And that is only the beginning of its wonders. Just four years ago, the world came together to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the completion of the Panama Canal. That attention surely helped to hasten the completion of a monumental expansion of the canal. The project is now complete, doubling the capacity of the canal and enabling it to accommodate the huge tankers and freighters that ply the waves in world trade. Even in an age of engineering marvels, the canal's 50-mile passage through the narrow isthmus of Panama continues to astonish even today's most veteran traveler. During a specially arranged daylight transit, we'll experience firsthand the mighty locks that raise and lower oceangoing vessels 85 feet, employing only the force of gravity to accomplish in mere hours what once required a three-week circumnavigation of South America.

Our ship of choice is Ponant's new luxury small ship, the 184-passenger Le Dumont D'Urville. We'll sail during the best time of the year on a voyage that also celebrates one
of the planet's most pristine ecosystems, the rainforests, islands and archipelagos of Panama and Costa Rica. On this comprehensive itinerary, we'll explore the heart of Panama City's UNESCO World Heritage-designated Casco Viejo-the city's old town-and visit acclaimed architect Frank Gehry's only design in Latin America, Panama City's Biodiversity Museum. In Costa Rica, we'll visit the stunning and biodiverse Manuel Antonio National Park, where expert naturalists will lead us on a trail walk through a Living Eden of rare endemic species, including the scarlet macaw and resplendent quetzal.

A visit to the Panama Canal is on most travelers' bucket list. For a close-up view of the canal and an informed natural- history expedition along the coast of Panama and Costa Rica, this is a voyage that will fill your bucket indeed.