Paradise personified – combine the Galapagos with Panama

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

Overwhelmed with wanderlust? Keen to explore the world? Why not embark on the adventure of a lifetime by combining a voyage that takes in the best of the Galapagos Islands with a trip to the tropical paradise that is Panama, and the incredible private island resort of Islas Secas?

A luxurious Galapagos voyage 

Your journey begins with a week-long cruise on one of three of Ecoventura’s luxury expedition vessels around the “Enchanted Isles” – dozens of islands that form the Galapagos Archipelago. These heavily protected islands, located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, are largely uninhabited and home to some of the rarest and most diverse species of flora and fauna on earth. 97% of the land area was designated as national park in 1959 and in 1976 the islands were named as the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site; this truly is one of the world’s most pristine natural habitats, with incredible creatures to see both above, and below, the waves.

The surrounding waters were designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1984, and in fact the Galapagos Marine Reserve has recently been expanded to protect an even larger area for the endemic and migratory species that live here. Here in this vast wildlife sanctuary, where time stands still and animals are in charge, visitors can expect extraordinary face to face encounters with a host of fearless locals, including dolphins and whales, giant tortoises, penguins, sealions, iguanas, flamingos and boobies – to name a few!

Ecoventura offers pure contemporary luxury – guest accommodation is in beautifully appointed designer staterooms which are complete with everything you would expect from any Relais & Chateaux property. Delivering the lowest guest-per-guide ratio in the Galapagos, every need is catered for by our team of exceptional staff. Offering an immense choice of activities and excursions, outstanding cuisine and plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind, an Ecoventura voyage is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized and ready for the next part of your journey to Panama.

Panamanian discovery  

Guests who have enjoyed a voyage with Ecoventura return to the Ecuador mainland from San Cristóbal Island with Avianca, which operates regular flights to and from the mainland Ecuadorian cities of Quito and Guayaquil. From Quito or Guayaquil, it’s just a couple of hours direct to Panama City with Copa Airlines, which runs regular, daily flights each week.

Situated close to the equator in the centre of the Americas, tropical Panama is bordered by Costa Rica to the North and Colombia to the South. The country is divided into North American and South American regions by an artificial waterway – the Panama Canal – which links the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean.

Panama’s name means “an abundance of fish and butterflies”. Like the Galapagos, the country teems with diversity, the variety of flora and fauna here several times higher than that of the USA, Canada and Europe combined. The natural landscapes range from wide plains and imposing mountains to tranquil beaches and lush, verdant jungles. Panama is home to the largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere outside the Amazon Basin, which covers over 40% of the country.

All inclusive, totally exclusive

The next leg of your adventure could not be simpler. A short flight from Panama City is all it takes for you to be transported to an idyllic archipelago for a stay on the luxurious private island resort of Islas Secas. This secluded paradise, situated 20 miles off Panama’s Pacific coast, is proud of its “Passion for Conservation”, operating under similar principles to Ecoventura. Guests enjoy maximum comfort, safe in the knowledge that their presence causes minimal environmental impact.

Image courtesy of Islas Secas

Your own agenda

In the words of the Islas Secas team themselves: “It is our absolute delight to share our vibrant seascape and passion for its conservation with our wonderful guests”. Customized itineraries are what the Islas Secas team does best, offering guests all-inclusive, totally exclusive marine safaris, crafting bespoke timetables to accommodate every wish and whim.

Once you’ve eased in to island life, there are some wonderful excursions on offer from Islas Secas – here’s a taste of what you can expect:

The fabulous island heritage site of Coiba National Park is just an hour’s boat ride from Islas Secas and home to a large primary rainforest and a multitude of endemic species. An impressive coral reef makes the Gulf of Chiriqui an ideal snorkel/dive site – prepare for shoals of brightly coloured tropical fish, manta rays and dolphins. On land, explore the hiking trails often frequented by roaring howler monkeys and a host of colourful birdlife.

Keen surfers should make straight for Morro Negrito arguably one of Central America’s top surf spots and just a 45 minute boat ride from the island. Various other watersports are on offer, including standup paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking and wakeboarding, plus whale watching and boat tours. Staying on dry land, there a plenty of trails to explore, incredible bird-watching options, and various activities on site to keep the young and not so young entertained for hours.

Image courtesy of Islas Secas

Return, relax, re-energize

Nothing quite beats returning to the luxury of Islas Secas after a day of exploring, especially when there are a range of restorative treatments on offer in the Spa. Follow on with a tropical cocktail or two and an outstanding dinner while the sun sets over the ocean.

And when combined with a week sailing the Galapagos, there you have it… paradise personified.

Note that Ecoventura does not book trips to Panama; this itinerary is intended solely as a recommendation for those who have two weeks or more to spend on holiday and would like to combine the Galapagos with Panama. Having said that, for further information and to book your trip to the Galapagos itself, feel free to contact our experienced team to find out more.

Cover image courtesy of Islas Secas