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Join Phil & Carol on a Smithsonian Journey Discovering Panama and Costa Rica with PONANT on a splendid 8-day cruise. Discover the rare tropical ecosystems of Panama and Costa Rica on a voyage that features a full daylight transit of the Panama Canal. Venture to Panama's pristine Caribbean islands, then cross the historic canal to the Pacific Coast. Visit Darien National Park before calling Fuerte Amador.  Smithsonian scientists have conducted research on tropical ecology in Panama since 1910 in part to prepare for the opening of the canal. Gain insight from today's scientists on an exclusive visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Punta Culebra Nature Center. Then cruise to Costa Rica to explore Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park.


San Blas Islands: Go snorkeling among coral reefs, walk white-sand beaches, and meet the indigenous Kuna people in this remote archipelago.

Panama Canal and Panama City: Make a full daylight transit of the Panama Canal, one of the greatest wonders of engineering in history. Then take a guided tour of the Biomuseo, designed by architect Frank Gehry. The museum's interactive biodiversity exhibitions were created by scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Panama. Enjoy lunch and a walking tour in the charming colonial center of Casco Antiguo, or learn about the history, biodiversity, and operation of the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Visitor Center.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI): On a specially arranged tour of the Smithsonian's Punta Culebra Nature Center guided by STRI staff, hear about the latest studies, observe marine species up close, and explore the unique flora and fauna of the tropical dry forest. Also, visit the new Biomuseo, designed by Frank Gehry and dedicated to the ecological importance of Panama's wilderness areas.

Darien National Park: Within this World Heritage-listed Park, ride Zodiacs to a traditional village of the indigenous Embera people, who have maintained their timeless lifestyle. Learn about their rich culture, from their excellent craftwork to the music and dance traditions.

Costa Rica: Dock in Quepos, and choose from a guided nature walk in Manuel Antonio National Park, a wildlife cruise through the thick mangroves, or a rafting adventure on the Savegre River.

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