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PONANT and Smithsonian Journeys are collaborating on 21 itineraries across a series of co-branded sailings for 2023. The itineraries will be led by two Smithsonian Journey Experts—whether an art historian, a solar astrophysicist or an international relations expert—whose expertise and knowledge will shed new light on a destination and deepen travelers’ immersion in place.

The new sailings include an 8-day cruise aboard Le Bellot to Panama and Costa Rica. The immersive journey will combine a crossing of the Panama Canal, snorkeling and swimming on the beautiful Holandes Cayes, tours in the Darien and Manuel Antonio National Parks, and encounters with local Indigenous communities—plus a specially arranged visit to the Punta Culebra Nature Center at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), an open-air museum dedicated to tropical science and conservation. Back on the ship, guests can attend inspiring talks and informative events led by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts, including climate leader Steve Paton, who has spent his career monitoring the climate and oceans of the tropics.

After setting off from Colon, Panama, Le Bellot will sail to the San Blas archipelago. From there, the ship will cross the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal before exploring the capital’s atmospheric Old Quarter, the Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo and the Punta Culebra Nature Center at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). There, staff will share the latest research related to marine science and guests will observe rare species up close.

The ship then sails to Darien National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the most remote part of Panama, where guests will have a chance to visit the Emberá Amerindian village.

The last stretch of the trip takes place in Costa Rica, starting in the spectacular Manuel Antonio National Park. Le Bellot then heads to Puerto Caldera, the point of disembarkation, and the gateway to the Arenal Volcano.

Rates start at $6,030 per person.

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