“I have been pleasantly surprised by Panama and it has far exceeded my expectations”. Henri Gazay on Eldorado has thoroughly enjoyed his stay in Panama. Sailing around the north coast of Panama in the blue turquoise Caribbean Sea, completing the rare achievement of taking his own boat through the Panama Canal, exploring the delights of Casco Viejo (the old town) and visiting the Las Perlas Islands, are just a few of the highlights Henri and his crew have experienced during their stay in Panama. They have certainly made the most of their time in this intriguing and fascinating Central American country.
Not all the usual attractions, restaurants and places of interest have been available during local restrictions, however, this has not deterred the World ARC participants to seek and explore the area. Eager to look around, they have got on their bikes and scooters and made good use of the 4km cycle lanes which run along the Amador Causeway to La Playita Marina where the fleet is moored.
Some have even cycled on to visit Casco Viejo (the Old Town of Panama) which is considered the best area to visit in the City and has provided participants the opportunity to roam around the old romantic Spanish style buildings, churches and historic plazas. Included as part of the World ARC programme this year was a half day tour of both the old and new parts if the city and surrounding areas taking in views of the City’s skyline from the hills above. Thanks to the very knowledgeable guides, participants learned all bout the culture and ways of life in and around the City.
From the old to the new, there is also an American style shopping mall about a 15-minute drive from the marina. After many months of sea, sand and palm trees, the glitz and excitement of the shiny shops is certainly a big attraction and provides a bit of commercial life for those in need of a take-a-way coffee. This is also an excellent stopover to shop for goods and provisions which all the boats have taken full advantage of before setting sail for more remote areas.
Small gatherings on the marina pontoons are permitted so a few evenings have been enjoyed by crew members sharing snacks and drinks while swapping stories from their previous adventures at sea. Getting to know each other is key to forming a good bond between the fleet providing moral support and sharing knowledge, especially when things need fixing.
Today sees the fleet continue onwards to Galapagos. This will be their first leg into the Pacific Ocean. The route and first stop in Galapagos will be to San Cristobal, the most eastern island of the Galapagos archipelago and where the boats will check into the country. The sail is approximately 895 NM from Panama and will take around 5 days. Making landfall in Puerto Baquerizo, on the Island of San Cristobal, they will be met by the World ARC team who will be on hand to support the participants. During their stay on the island and again as part of the World ARC programme, participants will have the opportunity to go on a half day tour of the highlands which includes a visit to meet the giant tortoises.
Galapagos is on many people’s bucket list to visit and the opportunity to sail there is a big event. Participants are certain to be enthralled by these truly unique islands and will definitely be welcomed by many friendly locals.