From Panama to Barbados - Expedition Cruise to the Southern Caribbean

From Panama to Barbados - Expedition Cruise to the Southern Caribbean

From Panama to Barbados - Expedition Cruise to the Southern Caribbean

From Panama to Barbados - Expedition Cruise to the Southern Caribbean

Travel information 13 days MS Fram
Departure
13 April 2024
Price from
4490 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

13-day expedition cruise from Colón to Bridgetown, exploring the Caribbean coast of Panama, Colombia, and the Lesser Antilles islands 

Panama and Colombia's coastal gems 

Setting sail from Colón at the gateway to the Panama Canal, you'll explore the San Blas archipelago and remote Capuerganá. Unearth colonial heritage in Cartagena de Indias and Santa Marta, one of South America's oldest towns. A striking change of scenery awaits in the desert landscape of Colombia’s Guajira Peninsula. 

Discover paradise islands 

From the Dutch island of Bonaire, your cruise continues across the Caribbean Sea to the Lesser Antilles. Here you'll explore the dazzling biodiversity and unique cultures of Dominica, St Lucia and Mayreau before ending your cruise in Barbados. 

 

From Panama to Barbados - Expedition Cruise to the Southern Caribbean From Panama to Barbados - Expedition Cruise to the Southern Caribbean
  • Day 1
    Colón 

    Setting sail from Colón  

    13 April 2024

    Bright city lights amid lush rainforest 

    Your tropical expedition cruise to Barbados begins in vibrant Colón, the Caribbean gateway to the Panama Canal. It's a bustling cosmopolitan centre with hot springs, a thriving handicraft scene and wonderful cuisine. 

    Want to see more of Panama before you set sail? Join our optional Pre-Programme to a beautiful jungle lodge by the Chagres River – or head to Panama City and visit UNESCO-listed Casco Viejo. 

    However you choose to spend your time, your expedition ship MS Fram will be ready and waiting. Take time to settle into your cabin and meet your expert Expedition Team before your adventure at sea begins.  

    Day 1
    Colón 

    Setting sail from Colón  

  • Day 2
    Guna Yala 

    The people of Guna Yala  

    14 April 2024

    Discover ancestral traditions on San Blas islands  

    Barely sixty miles from Colón, we enter a different world. The Guna people of the San Blas islands live much as their ancestors did. We're honoured to be their guests, as visiting here is not compatible with large tour groups. 

    You’ll learn how these matriarchal communities live alongside nature, preserving the delicate coral and mangrove ecosystems of these hidden islands. We'll also see local artisans at work, making the famous Guna scarves. 

    Life here moves at its own pace. Take time to swim in the tranquil, crystal waters and enjoy birdsong in the shady palm groves.  

    • Included The Realm of the Gunas
    Day 2
    Guna Yala 

    The people of Guna Yala  

  • Day 3
    Capurganá

    Remote Capurganá  

    15 April 2024

    Explore an isolated stretch of Colombia’s wild coast  

    Capurganá and the neighbouring settlement of Sapzurro are two idyllic villages as remote and isolated as you can get in the Caribbean. No roads and only a short runaway for small planes mean that travelling by boat is the only practical option for locals and visitors. 

    Fringed by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and backed by dense rainforest, the area around Capurganá offers excellent hiking opportunities, exotic tropical wildlife, and ideal conditions for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking.  

    Capurganá has no port facilities, so we’ll drop anchor and use our small expedition boats to land.  

    Day 3
    Capurganá

    Remote Capurganá  

  • Day 4
    San Antero  

    The mangroves of San Antero

    16 April 2024

    Discover pristine mangroves and tucked-away villages  

    San Antero is a small community of scattered villages seldom visited by cruise ships. Located at the mouth of the Sinú River, the wetlands of San Antero are a marine protected area and are home to five different species of mangrove trees.  

    We’ll anchor at Cispatá Bay and use our expedition boats to sail into the mangrove forests, observe birdlife, and go ashore.  

    Besides seeing mangrove forests, you can look forward to water activities on Cispatá Bay, meeting the Zenú communities of the Córdoba region, and learning about the Middle Eastern influences in some of the major villages. 

    Day 4
    San Antero  

    The mangroves of San Antero

  • Day 5
    Cartagena de Indias 

    Historical gem of the Caribbean  

    17 April 2024

    See one of Colombia's best-preserved colonial towns.  

    Travel back to the 16th century in Cartagena de Indias; a port city tucked in a sheltered bay on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Its impressive fortifications are a reminder of its former status as the Spanish crown's chief port and link to the West Indies.  

    The walled old town of Cartagena de Indias offers a deep dive into colonial buildings for the architecture enthusiast.  

    Take it easy and take in the colourful plazas, beautiful mansions and impeccably preserved churches and monasteries of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll also have a wide choice of culinary delights and handicrafts to tempt you as you stroll around.  

    Day 5
    Cartagena de Indias 

    Historical gem of the Caribbean  

  • Day 6
    Santa Marta 

    Historical Santa Marta 

    18 April 2024

    Explore Spanish colonial heritage and tropical jungles 

    Your southern Caribbean expedition cruise reaches one of South America's oldest towns, Santa Marta, founded in 1525. It's also one of the most attractive, surrounded by idyllic beaches and mountains. 

    You'll see evidence of the former Spanish outpost's history all around, from colonial architecture to the impressive statue of libertador Simón Bolívar. Head to the fantastic Tairona Gold Museum to learn more. 

    For those seeking quiet contemplation or something more active, you'll find both in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountain range and magnificent Tayrona National Natural Park. 

    • Included Historic Santa Marta Walking Tour
    Day 6
    Santa Marta 

    Historical Santa Marta 

  • Day 7
    The Guajira Peninsula 

    The Guajira Peninsula 

    19 April 2024

    Visit Cabo de la Vela and sail round Colombia’s Cape Horn 

    Arid Puntas Gallinas on the Guajira Peninsula wins the prize for being South America’s northernmost tip. It's also the ancestral home of the proudly independent Wayúu people, who refused to cede to the Spanish conquistadores. 

    Few ships sail these windswept, shallow waters, so you're in for quite an adventure. All our activities here will, of course, depend on the weather.  

    First, we’ll attempt to land at the spectacular Cabo de la Vela. Here, you can find incredible ocean and desert views from the famous Pilón de Azúcar. We’ll then try to round Punta Gallinas, giving you the chance to spot its famous lighthouse.  

    Day 7
    The Guajira Peninsula 

    The Guajira Peninsula 

  • Day 8
    Kralendijk 

    Eye-catching Kralendijk 

    20 April 2024

    A vibrant meeting place of Old and New Worlds 

    The first thing you'll notice about Kralendijk is just how colourful everything is. This charming capital of Bonaire, a Dutch island with Spanish and Portuguese heritage, is an exhilarating mix of cultures.  

    Historical sights are all within strolling distance. Explore Bonaire’s oldest structure Fort Oranje, the bright yellow Bestuurskantoor, and the archaeological treasures of the Terramar Museum. 

    To see more of this beautiful island, why not join a nature walk or go flamingo watching at one of the many Ramsar sites. 

    • Included Bonaire Hightlights North & South
    Day 8
    Kralendijk 

    Eye-catching Kralendijk 

  • Day 9
    At  Sea 

    Science at Sea 

    21 April 2024

    Get involved in the Science Center on this day at sea 

    After a week of adventure, you’ll be grateful for the opportunity to recharge your batteries on your comfortable expedition ship.  

    Sea days are also the perfect time to get up to speed with what’s happening in the Science Center. Our access to some of the world’s most remote areas enables us to provide the scientific community with precious data. We invite you to take part in these Citizen Science projects. 

    Feel free to spend time out on the deck enjoying the fresh sea air as you scout for wildlife. After a sumptuous dinner, relax in the elegant Explorer Lounge & Bar or do some stargazing. 

    Day 9
    At  Sea 

    Science at Sea 

  • Day 10
    Portsmouth 

    Explore ‘Nature Island’ 

    22 April 2024

    Witness nature's raw power in Dominica 

    Dubbed ‘Nature Island’, Dominica is a mountain paradise by the sea. There are more mountains, volcanoes, and jungles here than anywhere else in the Lesser Antilles. 

    Portsmouth is the perfect base to explore the natural wonders of Dominica. Nearby are the headland of La Pointe and the historical remains of 18th century Fort Shirley, both part of Cabrits National Park. The tropical forest, swamps and sandy beaches of Cabrits National Park are excellent places for nature walks and birdwatching. 

    Or why not see more of Dominica and learn the traditions and customs of the Indigenous Carib people.  

     

    • Included Cabrits Historical & Fort Shirley
    Day 10
    Portsmouth 

    Explore ‘Nature Island’ 

  • Day 11
    Volcanic St Lucia 

    Volcanic St Lucia 

    23 April 2024

    Enjoy breathtaking vistas in the 'Land of Iguanas' 

    There are two things you can't miss on St Lucia – the stunning volcanic landscape and its many, many iguanas. You'll see both as you explore the peninsula of Pigeon Island on the isle's northern tip.  

    Take in the idyllic panoramic ocean views and learn about St Lucia's colonial past. Then step back into modern day life in the bustling yachting marina of Rodney Bay – and spend some time enjoying its restaurants and galleries.  

    See more highlights of this beautiful island on nature walks or birdwatching in the rainforest-covered mountains and more. 

    • Included Panoramic St Lucia
    Day 11
    Volcanic St Lucia 

    Volcanic St Lucia 

  • Day 12
    Mayreau 

    Tiny Mayreau! 

    24 April 2024

    Welcome to the smallest paradise in the Caribbean 

    At barely more than 1 square mile, Mayreau may be the most petite paradise in the Caribbean. The island is only accessible by boat, has only one road, and most of the residents live on a hilltop called Station Hill. 

    However, what Mayreau lacks in size, it more than makes up in beauty. This island gem has some of the most beautiful beaches in the West Indies.  

    The Tobago Cays are just over one mile due east from Mayreau. They’re a cluster of 5 small islands and extensive coral reefs now protected as a Marine Park. Offering some of the best beaches for swimming and snorkelling, you’ll be spoilt for choice in this island paradise.  

    Day 12
    Mayreau 

    Tiny Mayreau! 

  • Day 13
    Barbados 

    Beautiful Barbados 

    25 April 2024

    Discover UNESCO-listed treasures in Bridgetown  

    Your Southern Caribbean expedition cruise reaches its final stop in beautiful and historic Barbados. But that needn't be the end of your adventure. 

    You'll disembark at the island's capital Bridgetown – home to the UNESCO-listed Parliament Buildings and the Garrison Historic Area, with 70 original buildings and forts from the 18th century. 

    Day 13
    Barbados 

    Beautiful Barbados 

Departures

2024

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April:
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What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Cruise 

  • A stay in a cabin of your choice 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages* in restaurants Aune and Fredheim 
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests 
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board† 
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle 
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore 
  • Range of included activities 

*House beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water 

†Please note there is very limited Wi-Fi and phone signal in the remote areas we travel to, and streaming is not supported.  

Onboard Activities 

  • In-depth lectures and discussions hosted by experts on the Expedition Team 
  • Full use of our Science Center, small library and advanced biological and geological equipment 
  • Citizen Science Programme where you can assist with ongoing scientific research 
  • Photography tips and techniques for capturing landscape and wildlife from our onboard professional photographer 
  • Use of ship's hot tubs, panoramic sauna and indoor gym 
  • Informal gatherings with the crew for daily briefings 

Landing Activities 

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats 
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles and all equipment for activities 
  • Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket 
  • Expedition photographers on hand to assist you 

Notes 

  • All planned activities are subject to weather conditions 
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change 
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities expected 

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights 
  • Travel insurance 
  • Luggage handling 
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners 
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team 
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo
MS Fram in Antarctica
Photo: Sandra Walser
Your ship

MS Fram

Year built 2007
Year of refurbishment 2022
Shipyard Fincantieri, Italy
Passenger capacity 250 (200 in Antarctica)
Beds 276
Gross tonnage 11 647 T
Length 114 m
Beam 20.2 m
Speed 13 knots
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo

The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions.

Read more about MS Fram

Icebergs – one of many favorite photo motives when on an expedition with MS Fram
Photo: Tomas Mauch
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