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Greg Mortimer<br>10 Night Pacific to Caribbean Discovery<br>Guayaquil to Cartagena (Columbia)

Greg Mortimer
10 Night Pacific to Caribbean Discovery
Guayaquil to Cartagena (Columbia)

Ship: Greg Mortimer
Cruise Line: Aurora Expeditions
Departures:  28 April 2020
Duration: 10 Nights
Ports: Guayaquil, Isla de la Plata, Ensenada, Bahia Solano, Panama City, Panama Canal, Cartagena - Colombia
Airport gateway (Arrival) : Guayaquil
Airport gateway (Departure) : Cartagena

Explore Ecuador’s Isla de la Plata, affectionately referred to as ‘poor man’s Galapagos’ before venturing north to the jungle-covered remote Pacific coast of Colombia’s Chocó region and Panama, both of which are beckoning to be explored by the adventurous traveller. Hike through virgin rainforest, look out for acrobatic dolphin pods, swim and snorkel in splendid isolation where the jungle meets the ocean, Zodiac cruise upriver to meet Emberá Mogue indigenous community living in the Darién jungle, before crossing the iconic Panama Canal. In Cartagena de Indias, soak up the Afro-Caribbean vibes in this vibrant and colourful UNESCO-protected fort city.

Expedition Highlights

  • Experience an unforgettable daylight crossing of the extraordinary Panama Canal
  • Enjoy a warm welcome by the indigenous Emberá Mogue community in Panama’s Darién Jungle
  • Meet blue-footed, red-footed, and Nazca boobies at ‘Poor Man’s Galápagos’ – Isla de la Plata
  • Discover the staggering beauty of Colombia’s Chocó region
  • Soak up the colonial splendour of UNESCO-listed Cartagena’s old town

Itinerary

Day 1 – Guayaquil, Ecuador

Arrive in Guayaquil and make your own way to the group hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
 

Day 2 – Guayaquil, Ecuador

Guayaquil is a city that was founded on July 25, 1538 by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana. Officially named Santiago de Guayaquil, it is the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador, as well as the nation's main port. Guayaquil is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean, and because of its location, the city is the centre of Ecuador's fishing and manufacturing industries. A city tour taking in the city’s main attractions reveals Guayaquil’s intriguing history as well as its modern achievements. In the late afternoon, board the Greg Mortimer to commence your voyage to Cartagena de Indias.
 

Day 3 – Isla de la Plata, Ecuador

Isla de la Plata is a small island in the north coast of Ecuador and is part of Machalilla National Park. The island’s name comes from the belief that it contains a treasure that was hidden here by a pirate. Isla de la Plata is also known to feature many of the unique bird species that inhabit the Galapagos Islands. These include the blue-footed booby, red-footed booby, Nazca booby, frigatebirds, waved albatross, and Peruvian pelicans. Other excursion to choose from include Los Frailes - an enclosed beach park to relax and explore the nature trail and beaches. Salango and Agua Blanca - a private community hosting remains of one of the most ancient civilizations in South America, the Monteño, along with trails and a lagoon suitable for swimming.
 

Day 4 – At Sea

Our series of interesting onboard presentations begin, delivered by our hand-picked group of experts. Learn about the people, culture, wildlife, and history of the places you’ll visit on this journey of discovery. You’ll also pick up a few photography tips along the way. Sea days are a great opportunity to get to know our friendly and approachable expedition team and your fellow expeditioners. Relax in one of the many observation areas on board the Greg Mortimer, enjoy a good book, relieve those weary muscles with a massage or simply unwind in the sauna or outdoor jacuzzi.
 

Day 5 – Ensenada de Utría NP, Colombia

Welcome to Colombia’s remote Chocó region, one that is relatively cut-off from the rest of the country, where the first expedition cruise ship to visit Chocó region was as recent as 2014. Chocó receives more rain than in any other part of the world and the richness of the jungles, mangroves and the abundance of the Pacific Ocean’s marine wildlife converge in a fascinating way in the Utría National Natural Park. Snorkel and swim at Playa Blanca, a desolate beach located on an island with a stunning natural sandy beach with volcanic rocks, caves and natural vegetation, trek through virgin jungle on a rainforest walk. In the afternoon, experience the diversity of ecosystems found in the area on a guided boardwalk tour through mangroves and rainforests, before being treated to a performance by local singers from the nearby village.
 

Day 6 – Bahía Solano, Colombia

Bahía Solano is located in splendid isolation with the Pacific Ocean on one side and thick impenetrable jungle on the other. Situated within a beautiful bay, Bahía Solano has the feeling of a frontier town. On a walking tour of the town, you’ll visit the local secondary school, kindergarten, and local fish market, where we may buy some fresh fish for the chef to prepare. A second excursion will include a Zodiac ride across the bay for a hike through natural rainforest reserve called the ‘Jardin Botanico.’ Landing on the beach you’ll be welcomed with a fresh coconut milk before commencing the walk through the mangroves to the tropical rain forest.
 

Day 7 – Emberá Mogue Village, Panama

The Darién jungle is a place of immense natural beauty and incredible bounty, where life in the jungle has remained relatively unchanged for the indigenous inhabitants. It is Panama’s – and by some measure, the world’s – last frontier. The province itself spans some 16,671 square kilometres (6,437 square miles) and contains Panama’s largest national park and most extensive lowland tropical forest. With only 40,000 inhabitants, the Darién is also the most sparsely populated part of Panama. You will visit Mogue, an Emberá village, a remote destination where you will be rewarded with a unique look at a fairly traditional Emberá village. Take a Zodiac ride up Mogue River to the village to meet villagers who are proud to show travellers their culture, customs and traditional way of life. On guided hikes, you might be able to spot a harpy eagle or crested eagle—the nests of both birds have been spotted here in the past.
 

Day 8 – Panama City

Three million years ago, the Isthmus of Panama emerged from the sea and changed the world forever. It divided an ocean and joined two continents together, triggering one of the most important natural evolution events in the history of the world. Today, this narrow land bridge in Central America is home to more species of birds and trees than the whole of North America. Panama is of course world-famous for its 77-kilometre (48-mile) canal that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean. Panama City was founded in 1519 and became an important hub on the way from Peru to Spain. The Peruvian Inca gold and silver was shipped on the Pacific to Panama City, crossed the Isthmus overland before being shipped again to Spain. Excursions today include exploration of the UNESCO protected old town at Casco Viejo, Gatun Lake, Miraflores to see the huge vessels passing the Panama Canal, visit the Museum and Visitor Centre with exhibits explaining the construction of the Canal – a masterpiece of engineering.
 

Day 9 – Panama Canal Crossing

Crossing the Panama Canal will surely be a highlight for many travellers. Each year, over a million people visit the canal to witness this engineering marvel at work. Starting in the Pacific Ocean, you will be able to admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City’s splendorous skyline before passing under the ‘Bridge of the Americas’. The vessel will pass through three sets of lakes and locks - Miraflores, Pedro Miguel, and Gatun, before reaching the Atlantic Ocean in approximately 10 hours, a journey that once almost took two weeks, where vessels were forced to sail around the notoriously rough seas around Cape Horn at the bottom of South America to reach the Pacific coast.
 

Day 10 – At Sea

Enjoy a few final presentations from our team of experts including how to edit photos, finish that book you’ve been reading, or simply relax on your private balcony or in one of the many shared spaces on board the ship.
 

Day 11 – Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Arrive in Cartagena de Indias on Colombia’s Caribbean coast and bid a fond farewell to your fellow travellers and expedition team. Founded in 1533, Cartagena was formerly the Caribbean gateway port used by the Spanish. This passionate and vibrant city with some of the best preserved colonial architecture in all of South America exudes character. Add in African rhythms and indigenous influences with the Spanish colonial splendour and Cartagena is truly an amazing destination in which to extend your holiday.

* Ports of call may vary based on itinerary and departure dates selected

 

Cabin Pricing

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Ports

Guayaquil

Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador, as well as the nation's main port.

Isla de la Plata

Ensenada

Ensenada is located 70 miles south of the US border and only a 90-minute drive from San Diego. Visitors are drawn to Ensenada's warm Mediterranean climate, friendly atmosphere and easy access -- by land, air, and sea. It has become Mexico's second most visited port of call for major cruise lines and pleasure boats.

Country -  Mexico
Distance from port to City - 0kms
Distance to Airport - 105kms
Currency - Mexican Pesos (MXD)

Places of Interest
La Bufadora. Riviera del Pacifico, Bodegas de Santo Tomas

Bahia Solano

Panama City



Country
Distance from port to City
Distance to Airport
Currency

Places of Interest

Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is approximately 50 miles long and joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The waterway was cut through one of the narrowest portions of land joining North and South America and took over 400 years to complete. The canal was started by the French and finished by the United States. During the course of this construction over 30,000 people lost their lives. The first ship to transit the Panama Canal was in 1914 and today about fourteen thousand vessels do so each year.


Country - Panama

Cartagena - Colombia

Cartagena is a modern seaport and commercial center still boasts much of its original Spanish colonial architecture. Explore this beautiful and historic city's walled Old Town. Its fortress walls, quaint, narrow streets and balconied houses are all vivid reminders of its former colonialists. The city's numerous monasteries, plazas and noble mansions are significant links to this region's grand past.

Country - Colombia
Distance from port to City - 0kms
Distance from port to Airport - 5kms
Currency - Colombian Peso (COP)

Places of Interest
Fortaleza de San Filipe, Las Bovedas, Church of San Pedro Claver

 

Map

Greg Mortimer Cabin Info

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Cruise line info

Aurora Expeditions

Aurora Expeditions

From the start, Aurora Expeditions was destined to be different. Co-founders Greg and Margaret Mortimer had a passion for adventure, exploring wild places and sharing the experience with friends and in 1991, Aurora Expeditions, named in honour of Sir Douglas Mawson's ship, was born.

Their aim was simple - to take small groups of travellers on voyages of discovery to regions that inspired them, thereby creating lifelong ambassadors for the preservation and protection of these sacred places. More than two decades later, that pioneering spirit burns just as brightly, as does our preference for small-group, personal expeditions.

Less people means more solitude and greater flexibility if tides, currents, ice or weather dictate a schedule change. And because we have fewer people to ferry ashore, we often make more landings.

We make the most of our size advantage to create intimate expeditions varying in length from 10 to 26 days. Simply choose the region you’d like to explore, the amount of time you’ve got and what activities you enjoy. Focus on one destination or combine back-to-back trips for the ultimate adventure.

You’ll be accompanied by expedition staff we believe are the world’s best. Remote area specialists, their onboard lectures entertain and expand your knowledge.

Whether you’re joining us for the first time or returning for another thrilling adventure, our original goals remain unchanged. Explore wild places that stir the soul, offer personal attention on unforgettable expeditions and welcome new friends into the Aurora family.
 

 

Ship info

Greg Mortimer

Proudly named after Aurora's adventurous co-founder, this 104-metre ship is our very first, purpose-built expedition vessel. Capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, the Greg Mortimer is built to world-class polar standards – designed in close consultation with our expedition specialists, taking advantage of our more than 25 years of experience.

Accommodating a maximum of 100 passengers plus kayakers and divers in the polar regions*, and 160 passengers in other destinations, the Greg Mortimer redefines expedition cruising for the future. Not only is the ship bigger to contend with adverse weather conditions, its added creature comforts make for a more enjoyable journey out on the open ocean. The Greg Mortimer remains true to our ethos and focus on multiple landings, flexible itineraries and family atmosphere – just with an improved home base!
 

Ship Life

As your base and home away from home during your Aurora Expeditions adventure, the Greg Mortimer is designed to serve your every need. It's your bedroom, bathroom, lounge, dining room and even your observatory. Make yourself at home, the Greg Mortimer is yours to enjoy!

Onboard observation points

Let's face it – you don't want windowless rooms when travelling around some of the most beautiful locations around the world. This is why the Greg Mortimer is designed with plenty of dedicated observation spaces – ideal for keen bird spotters, wildlife watchers and those wanting to watch the scenery go past. From the indoor 180-degree lounge and outdoor 360-degree open deck, both on deck 8, to the 270-degree open sundeck on level 7, there are plenty of observation points to share around the ship! If these are full, then you can take up a spot on one of the two hydraulic viewing platforms on deck 5. Aurora Expeditions also has an open bridge policy, which means at any point you can come up to the bridge and check out what the captain and officers are up to. From watching navigational practices to observing mapping techniques, you can get a firsthand look at the inner workings of the Greg Mortimer.

Shore excursions

Although the ship is fun, the real enjoyment comes from the many shore excursions that are available. Depending on the weather and itinerary, it's possible to take two to three landings daily, taking a look at everything from rock formations and ancient ruins to cute groups of penguins. We know time is of the essence in these wild locations, so the Greg Mortimer has been designed with more Zodiacs (15) than any other Aurora ship, which means you can maximise your time on shore. From four dedicated sea level launching platforms, transfers are quicker, safer and enable you to get closer to the action for a longer period of time. Just remember to charge your camera before you step onto the Zodiac!

Activity options

One of the great benefits of travelling with Aurora Expeditions is the number of optional activities that you can participate in. From kayaking and skiing to diving and climbing, these are one-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you need to take advantage of. Aboard the Greg Mortimer there is a specially designed launching platform for all activities, a concept overseen by our activity experts. This area also includes individual lockers in the expansive mudroom and rapid drying areas for wetsuits so you can quickly get warm after exploring in the elements! 

Dining

From the moment you step onto the Greg Mortimer, we aim to give you the best hospitality service possible. Starting with the official Captain's welcome, as our guests, you're welcome to 24 hours complimentary coffee, tea and snack facilities in addition to the range of different menu options and courses for each meal. Meals are served in large dining room/restaurant with family style dining, perfect to swap stories with your new expedition family. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild, preparing yourself for another exciting day to follow. On the last day of your trip, the team on the Greg Mortimer put on a special farewell four-course dinner and cocktails – a perfect way to reflect on your time on the ship and consolidate lifelong friendships with the people you've met on-board.

On-board entertainment

When you’re relaxing during a sea day or you have a little downtime on the ship between excursions, what is there to do onboard the Greg Mortimer? Plenty! On all our expeditions, there are experts who lead presentations in the spacious lecture room so you can understand the region a little better. These often include topics as broad as history and culture to biology and climate change, these presentations aim to educate and entertain. If you're keen to just watch the surroundings and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, you have access to two bars/lounges where the stunning floor to ceiling windows offer a special perspective on the landscape. The Greg Mortimer is also decked out with other facilities for your enjoyment. There is a library on Deck 5 with books and maps and a Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa. Feeling a little sore after walking around all day? Treat yourself to a massage at the Wellness Centre and feels the aches disappear! Keen photographers and artists will revel in the multimedia room on Deck 5.


Ship Features

As a modern and custom-designed ship, the Greg Mortimer is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. Robust, powerful and built with our guests in mind, this ship marks a significant investment in our fleet's capabilities. From the European Arctic to the depths of Antarctica, and other far-flung destinations in-between, the Greg Mortimer will make your journey a breeze!

X-BOW™

Our expeditions face some of the worst Mother Nature can throw at us. However, this won't be problem on the Greg Mortimer with the introduction of the patented X-BOW™, created by Norwegian ship designer ULSTEIN. As one of the leaders in marine engineering, ULSTEIN's X-BOW™ is an inverted bow concept that's been built on over 100 vessels in the shipping industry. Excitingly, we are the first expedition cruise operator to utilise this technology for the challenging open ocean waves!

Hydraulic viewing platforms

Although there is no doubt that you'll love the aesthetics of the Greg Mortimer, we are all here to admire the spectacular landscape and spot the elusive wildlife in their natural habitat. To ensure you get the best views possible, the new ship features unique viewing platforms, custom-built for the Greg Mortimer. Accessed from Deck 5, the two platforms fold out hydraulically for unobstructed views of passing marine life and seabirds – make sure your camera is locked and loaded!

Zodiac launching platform

Zodiacs are a vital part of getting up close and personal on your adventure – sneaking into areas that the Greg Mortimer can't reach. On this new ship, there are specially designed launching platforms that enables us to load Zodiacs easily and quickly, allowing you to spend more time exploring on the two to three daily landings. There are 15 Zodiacs that are boarded from either side of Deck 3 (sea level), perfect for when there is a group of fluffy cute penguin chicks that we need a photo of!

Custom-built activity platform

Regardless of your destination, we offer a number of additional activities to allow you to see more of the environment. From kayaking and diving to climbing and ski touring, it's these optional activities that often leave the biggest impression on your trip as a whole. Onboard the Greg Mortimer, there is a spacious prep and loading platform for these activities and more – designed in consultation with our expert activity guides.

Environmentally friendly

Climate change and carbon emissions continue to be major issues that everyone needs to be aware of and actively managing. We at Aurora Expeditions treat preserving and protecting the environment with the upmost importance and this is reflected in several features on the Greg Mortimer.

This includes reduced emissions into the air and sea, lower energy consumption, high fuel efficiency, reduced light pollution for minimal wildlife disruption and lower on-board plastic use. It's vital to also mention the state-of-the-art virtual anchoring technology of the X-BOW™, which means the ship can float anchorless while launching Zodiacs, kayaks etc, without disturbing delicate sea floor areas.

We are inaugural members of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), highlighting our ongoing efforts to protect the most fragile environments around the world.

Safety features

Safety is always a critical element of Aurora operations, with the Greg Mortimer featuring the most up-to-date and concise safety technology across our fleet. This starts with the return-to-port equipment – not compulsory on a ship of this size – which duplicates the propulsion system. This enables the ship to maintain operating systems and comfort in the event of engine failure. Furthermore, the Greg Mortimer is Polar Code 6 compliant, holds BV class and is fully compliant with the latest SOLAS requirements. It's also built with a Rolls Royce stabiliser system.  If there's an incident or accident during your adventure, the ship has an onboard, fully-stocked medical centre – where our trained medical team can provide necessary treatment in a timely fashion.

Safety continues to be an issue that our team takes very seriously and the Greg Mortimer allows us to create an environment where you can concentrate on the brilliant landscape and wildlife, without worrying about your wellbeing.
 

Greg Mortimer Deck plans

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