In the footsteps of Balboa
The Spanish conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa (b 1475) set sail on a voyage of discovery to Latin America and, following some hair-raising adventures, set up and governed the town of Darién on the Isthmus of Panama. In 1513, he led an expedition from Darién to search for gold and a new sea rumoured to lie to the south. It was a gruelling journey on foot and by canoe through dense, inhospitable jungle, fraught with disease, death and violent conflicts. On 25 September he became the first European to spot the Pacific Ocean from the ridge of a rugged mountain range and claim it and its shores for Spain.
601 years after this first de facto discovery of a route from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean you can experience a taste of this adventure on our challenging jungle hike.
Alternatively you can explore the route more comfortably with a water-borne transit of the Panama Canal or discover Central America’s surprisingly diverse modern state of Panama on one of our Private or Escorted Group holidays.