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UNESCO Wonders of Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean

UNESCO Wonders of Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean

Cruise Only
8 nights

Luxury Holiday
Church of St Peter Claver, Cartagena
The Wharf at Bridgetown, Barbados
Kralendijk, Bonaire

Call us now on 01756 706500 to secure your cabin!

EJ

A tale of two cities, Cartagena is a seaside siren who is both heroic and handsome with a well-preserved 15th century fortress (a UNESCO marvel) that staved off plunderers with massive iron cannons that now, ironically, point toward her shining city of modern buildings.

Magnificent marvels continue in Colon, home to the impressive Gatun Locks and Gatun Dam of Panama Canal as well as the UNESCO site of Fort St. Lorenzo, that once protected the Spanish Crown. Wonders never cease here at the world’s second largest free-trade zone, Zona Libre, where virtually everything is sold. Curacao calms the pace with its UNESCO site harbour that resembles a tropical Amsterdam. Don’t miss the adjacent Pietermaai District which is referred to as the “SoHo of Curacao,” the likewise hippest borough of New York City. Cosy cafés, chic shops, and pedestrian streets lined with bright, bygone abodes of wealthy shipping merchants.

For the ultimate utopian experience, Bonaire offers unmatched drama: dazzling coral reefs, blue coastal grottoes, flocks of pink flamingos, and cacti that grow to more than 9 meters tall. But its best curiosity may be its massive pyramids of salt that tower up to 16 meters, as goods exported around the world. It’s little wonder that salted fish figures into the local cuisine. In Martinique, we anchor off the Arrondissement of Saint-Pierre before the brooding baroque facade of Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Port, where ancient cannons atop stoic city walls under the looming shadow of Mount Pelée. In a few steps you can join hiking trails that scale upwards through the clouds to reach the rim of the crater. Our final UNESCO delight is Bridgetown Garrison, that has guarded the prosperous British outpost of Barbados since 1705.

EJ132 Operated by Explora Journeys

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UNESCO Wonders of Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean Itinerary

Day 1 - Cartagena

Sparkle in this jewel of the Caribbean; the cultured and very colourful Cartagena. Saunter or ride by Segway through a maze of cobbled streets for historic architecture, bougainvillea-dripping plazas, old churches and chic eateries where you’ll discover a blend of Caribbean cool and Colombian sophistication. Learn new cooking techniques with a personal chef, birdwatch at the National Aviary, visit botanical gardens, take a cycle tour or head to Turbaco. Roam offshore to Islas Del Rosario for magnificent beaches and snorkelling through colourful coral reefs. And as the sun sets over the ancient city walls, prepare for an intoxicating nightlife scene - in no time you’ll be sipping moreish mojitos, nodding to reggaeton and - once really in the spirit - gyrating to the salsa.

Day 3 - Colón

Travel through time to one of the world’s finest man-made wonders, The Panama Canal. But Colon doesn’t just transport tankers or provide a short cut between two oceans; wander through Colonial and Neoclassical architecture in the old town, meet the native Embera Indians in the Chagres National Park and admire spectacular scenery as you gently sail the man-made Gatun Lake. Pass into forested San Lorenzo National Park for ecological bliss, a likely glimpse of sloths or toucans, and the fort that kept pirates at bay. And as you learn of the latest locks for maritime trade, wonder how many more million vessels will surge through these waterways.

Day 5 - Willemstad

Embrace a slice of Europe immersed in Caribbean heat. Wander through Scharlooweg’s pastel colonial architecture, delightful museums and a thriving art scene. Roam glorious beaches with hidden caves, snorkel with turtles and dive through spectacular reefs. Learn how to cook Creole cuisine, walk the town’s sun-kissed waterways, explore the prickly Hato Plains and then re-hydrate in ripe aloe plantations. As the heat of the day subsides, drop into trendy eclectic lounges, where friendly locals welcome and the legendary blue curacao cocktail awaits.

Day 6 - Kralendijk

Unwind in the beautiful island of Bonaire, rooted in Dutch heritage. Immerse in a dazzling underwater wonderland where warm cobalt waters make way for blissful swimming, sailing and snorkelling. Inland is just as enticing with pink-hued sands and island cars that bear ‘paradise’ badges of honour. Journey off-road through Arawak history, kayak through mangroves and visit saltwater lagoons at the aptly named Goto Lake – where flocks of pink flamingos pose. You’ll find a hint of pink tint at every turn - no need for rose-tinted glasses in this paradisiacal place.

Day 8 - Saint Pierre

Embrace Martinique’s natural joie de vivre. Volcanic in origin, Gallic in heritage and Creole at heart; explore old sugar plantations, premium rum distilleries, cocoa farms and St Pierre ruins at the foothills of the still smouldering Mont Pelée. Chase the Saut du Gendarme waterfall, explore the 10 million-year-old Caravelle peninsula, roam northern beach dusky sands and visit Le Carbet made famous by the artist Gauguin. And as you slow down to contemplate the sweet concoction of the national punch, you’ll understand why the Creole and French blend makes Martinique so magical.

Day 9 - Bridgetown

Gently breeze into the vibrant capital of Barbados. Steeped in fascinating history, with architecture to match, uncover the wonderfully laid-back West Indian ambiance. Embrace the slow Bajan rhythm of this welcoming island; surf, snorkel and try spotting turtles in balmy azure waters. Explore subterranean Harrison’s Cave, Jacobean St Nicholas Abbey and zipline high above bountiful tropical flora. Then return to restore on pastel pink sands at palm-studded beaches, where you’ll discover cocktail hour is endless, and measures of rum are copious.

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