Day 1 — Colón, Panama
Embark Silver Cloud and depart on your exciting 11-day Silversea Expedition — Central and South American Wonders. This evening, after settling in and participating in a mandatory safety drill, we will be setting sail and your Expedition Leader will introduce important members of the crew and the Expedition Team. Tonight we invite you to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in one of the many restaurants.
We will relocate to the entrance of the Panama Canal, waiting for the beginning of our transit the following morning.
Day 2 — Panama Canal, Panama
Today we pass through the narrowest part of the Isthmus of Panama and the American continent. The Panama Canal is an engineering marvel connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Three sets of locks work as water elevators lifting ships to the level of Gatun Lake and later lowering them again to sea level on the other side. By using the Canal, vessels avoid travelling the 14,000 nautical mile route through the treacherous Drake Passage and around Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America.
By the time we intend to use the Canal a new set of locks has been operating since June 2016. All aspects of the improvement (dredging, raising the operating level of Lake Gatun by 40 centimetres, as well as the Pacific Access Channel) were supposed to permit 1,100 additional transits per year.
NOTE: Although we have requested and booked a day-time transit, due to heavy traffic in the Canal, a daylight transit cannot be guaranteed. Confirmation of exact times will be established once we get close to our actual transit date.
Day 3 — Isla Parida, Panama
Making full use of our small manoeuvrable Zodiacs, we hope to land at this remote part of Panama. Our onboard naturalists will point out the local flora and search for signs of wildlife. Within the National Marine Park Gulf of Chiriquí, Isla Parida is the largest of the 44 islands, islets and cays. The island is located within an important marine corridor used by turtles, humpback whales and hammerhead sharks and boasts excellent sandy beaches that invite to relax as well as warm and crystal clear water to explore snorkeling, looking for more than 40 types of hard and soft coral and some 85% of the fish families of the Tropical Eastern Pacific.
Just offshore from this nature preserve, a rocky headland provides an ideal spot for snorkelling. Join the onboard Marine Biologist and learn to identify damsel fish, jacks, and surgeon fish, trumpet fish, parrot fish, trigger fish and whitetip reef sharks. Take this opportunity to relax on the beach.
Day 4 — Golfito, Costa Rica
Today we have the opportunity to visit Santuario Silvestre de Osa – the only wildlife sanctuary and rescue centre in Golfo Dulce that devotes all of its efforts to the care and rehabilitation of rainforest animals. The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of orphaned and injured animals including: howler monkeys, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots and two-toed sloths. We will enjoy the sanctuary grounds in the company of the park’s creators and wardens as they share their wealth of knowledge on local natural history and show us some of these animals. We will also visit Casa Orquideas, a beautiful garden that contains many tropical plants and a medicinal garden.
If you prefer to watch for dolphins and other marine life, choose to go on a catamaran. The country’s best spot to watch large groups of dolphins, sea turtles and manta rays is in the waters off the Osa Peninsula. Marlins and sailfish can sometimes be seen chasing large schools of tuna, while six different species of turtles might glide by. If time permits there will be the opportunity to swim in the placid waters of Punta Encato.
For those wanting a little more activity, a nature walk in the National Wildlife Refuge of Golfito is on offer. Golfito is surrounded by a spectacular primary rainforest with more than 125 species of trees, 31 species of orchids, and 300 species of birds. Bird species that can be spotted during the hikes include toucans and tanagers, while all four Costa Rican monkey species also call Golfito National Wildlife Refuge home.
Day 5 — Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica
We go ashore by Zodiac to the small port town of Quepos. Quepos is less than 4.5 miles (7 km) from Costa Rica’s most popular gem, Manuel Antonio National Park, which is where we begin the day’s exploration. Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most stunning and bio-diverse areas of the world. Spread out over 683 hectares it is filled with diverse wildlife, has both primary and secondary forests, boasts a stunning shoreline ideal for bird watching or swimming, and is home to a number of endemic species of plants and animals including iguanas, sloths, and squirrel monkeys. Together with our informative Costa Rican naturalist guides we will hike through the exotic, bio-diverse tropical rainforests.
Alternatively, enjoy a cruise through the mangroves, considered to be an important ecosystem packed with hundreds of species of marine and land animals aboard a sturdy vessel designed for this type of cruising. Your guides and captain navigate around shifting sandbanks to reveal the animals, insects and plants that lie hidden from the untrained eye. We will pass through wide lagoons where many species of seabirds can be observed, and round narrow passages, hoping for a chance to encounter white-collared capuchin monkeys.
If cruising on a river is more to your liking, choose the Savegre River, considered one of Central America’s most beautiful rivers, for a two-hour class I & II amazing river floating activity. During the bus-ride to El Silencio, from where the river part starts, and the river floating you will have spectacular scenery and can see cormorants, egrets, herons, and White Ibises.
Day 6 — At Sea
Attend informative lectures that will prepare you for the upcoming ports-of-call in Ecuador and Peru. Apart from lectures there will also be a food workshop. Since bananas and plantains are very important in Ecuador’s cuisine, our Chef might present the various uses for banana and plantain.
Day 7 — Isla de la Plata, Ecuador
Exploration and discovery await us as we anchor off the coast of the uninhabited and unspoilt Isla de la Plata. An island whose name was derived from the legend of swashbuckling pirate Sir Francis Drake’s buried silver treasure. The island was privately owned until 1979, when it was declared part of Ecuador's Machalilla National Park. Best known for its fauna, which is amazingly similar to that of the Galapagos Islands, Isla de la Plata is a delightful place for birding, photography and long nature walks.
Although just south of the equator, the influences of the colder Humboldt Current bring nutrient-rich water as far north as Isla de la Plata. As the Silver Cloud approaches the island, Blue-footed Boobies circle overhead. Together with our local natural history guides, we will go ashore and enjoy various walks, watching for herons, pelicans, gulls, and Magnificent Frigatebirds, Blue-footed, Red-footed, and Nazca Boobies. Potential songbirds on the island include Collared Warbling-Finch, Short-tailed Woodstar, and Gray-and-white Tyrannulet. A special treat would be the Waved Albatross, an endemic to Isla de la Plata and Española, Galapagos.
Day 8 — Machala, Ecuador
Machala, with a population of approximately 250,000 inhabitants, is called the “Capital of the Banana” as the ‘World Fair of the Banana’ is held there during the third week of September. Fortunately for us, there is more to Machala than just bananas: opposite Machala is Santa Clara. Whales and dolphins can still be seen in Santa Clara’s vicinity in October.
Several National Sanctuaries or Ecological Reserves can be found near Machala and you have three options: you can either visit the Buenaventura cloud forest reserve with its staggering amount of hummingbirds and a known lek of the rare Long-wattled Umbrellabird, or visit the Arenillas Reserve, a “dry forest”. If you like extremes, the Puyango Petrified Forest might be more to your liking: it is one of the largest petrified forests in the world –located within a lush tropical forest.
Since Machala is also known for several typical dishes, mostly seafood -from raw marinated shrimp to shrimp soup and fried shrimp; and from fried bananas to fish soup, all excursions will have some sample of local refreshments.
Day 9 — Paita, Peru
While Silver Cloud sails south towards Peru, take the time to attend one of the lectures, seminars or workshops, savour the tempting food our chefs have prepared for you or simply relax next to the pool –a Pisco Sour might be a good first introduction to Peru and its special tastes. In the evening we will arrive in Paita for a technical stop to clear into Peru.
Day 10 — Cruise & Explore Isla Lobos de Tierra, Peru
Today, the Silver Cloud anchors off Isla Lobos de Tierra and Lobos de Tierra — steep and rocky islands that protrude more than 200 feet (61 metres) from the surface of the deep blue Pacific. An abundant array of marine mammals and seabirds surround these two islands and offer us a splendid opportunity to explore with our Zodiacs. Sea lions bask on the beach and hundreds of Blue-footed Boobies can be viewed ashore as well, while Peruvian Pelicans pass overhead. If the weather permits, we will attempt to make a landing on the island.
Day 11 — Salaverry, Peru
This morning we explore the main religious centre of the Mochica culture. The archaeological complex includes the Temple of the Sun –one of the largest adobe structures in the world- and the Temple of the Moon, covered with beautiful Moche designs.
We will next visit a private hacienda for sparkling wine and appetizers, witnessing a performance of Peruvian Paso horses -an unrivalled opportunity to immerse ourselves in genuine Peruvian culture spanning centuries.
During the afternoon our onboard Videographer will present the specially created voyage documentary.
Day 12 — Callao (Lima), Peru
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
Not sure what to wear while onboard? Visit our shop and gear up. We've got layers to keep you dry and warm, breezy wear to keep you covered and cool, and accessories to keep everything packed up and ready to go. So, no matter the weather, you'll be better prepared for your expedition.
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