Colombia and the Panama Canal …

ONBOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY – More from our World Cruise:

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Day 9 – Jan 22, Thursday               Santa Marta, Colombia                8 am to 6 pm

A rich history is exists in Santa Marta, Colombia, revealed in the massive, whitewashed cathedral, which is the country’s oldest, and in the founding of the city itself, which dates to 1525, making Santa Marta South America’s oldest city. A faded colonial heritage is being brightened with a refurbishment of the colonial district, while Simon Bolivar’s revered status as Latin America’s hero of independence is forever enshrined at the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, the hacienda where he spent his last days.

You will want to spend every moment you can discovering the city’s historical sites and beautiful location. The fashionable beach resort of El Rodadero beckons from the south. From the north, the fishing village of Taganga invites a visit. Farther up the coast, the protected coastline of Parque Nacional Tayrona summons trekkers and nature lovers to marvel at views of the world’s tallest coastal mountain range and glimpse the area’s wildlife.

Day 10 – Jan 23, Friday                   Cartagena, Colombia                     7 am to 3 pm

Charming Cartagena is one of the most fascinating towns in South America. The old city, almost completely surrounded by lagoons, bays and the Caribbean Sea, is still girded by its 17th-century fortifications. Once these guarded the gold and treasures of the New World, bound for Spain; now they shelter ornate churches and convents, the dramatic Palace of the Inquisition, and other historic gems.

Day 11 – Jan 24, Saturday             Transit the Panama Canal 

Today we will spend an unforgettable day cruising the Panama Canal, a fifty-one-mile waterway through the rainforest that is one of the world’s engineering masterpieces. The ship glides down the canal with inches to spare, through locks that raise and lower it like a toy. Along the way it crosses enormous Gatun Lake, and the amazing Gaillard Cut, blasted out of a solid mountainside.

If you want to know more about the Panama Canal there is a great book, called The Path Between The Sea. The National Book Award–winning epic chronicle of the creation of the Panama Canal is a first-rate drama of the bold and brilliant engineering feat that was filled with both tragedy and triumph, told by master historian David McCullough.

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