Take on this once-in-a-lifetime cross-continental expedition to be one of the few explorers to trek across the narrowest path of the Americas on a bike, foot, and pack rafts.
This expedition starts on the Pacific side in Panama City and ends in the Caribbean archipelago of Gunayala. Along the way, you’ll explore one of the most significant estuary wetlands and virgin tropical rainforests, plunge into pristine waterfalls, learn from remote indigenous Guna communities, and experience postcard-worthy islands with their turquoise waters and tropical reefs.
Contact us to get a more detailed itinerary & options, and description of locations!
- Fitness Level: Healthy lifestyle and a good level of general fitness
- Season availability: All year
- Total duration: 5 days/5 nights
- Physical activity duration: 6 hrs /day
- Distance: 86 km
- Elevation Gain – Loss: 1,495m/4,933ft – 1,528m/5,042ft
- Common hazards: Blisters and bruises from hitting rocks and branches if too little paddling experience, sore but if lack of bike training, blisters from trekking if shoes are new, spines in hands from grabbing palm trees.
- Modes of transportation: Trekking, paddling, rafting, mountain biking, sailing, 4×4, motorboat.
- Natural environment: Primary forest, secondary forest, urban forest, agriculture, wetlands, river, sea, man-made reservoir, the environment at risk, icon species.
- Learning content (optional/typical): Expeditions skills, team building, climate change, indigenous issues.
- Lodging: Tent, hammock, lodge.
What others say about it
I wanted to express my gratitude for the opportunity to join the first transcontinental expedition and also my true appreciation for the magnitude of the expedition and the professionalism of the staff on the expedition. This was of the best experiences of my entire life. The leadership was outstanding from start to finish, not only kept us safe, but kept us going and learning. I would highly recommend anyone considering a life-changing expedition to join Geoversity on the transcontinental expedition.Dr. David S. Ricketts, Innovation Fellow, Tech, Harvard Uuniversity
Starting by sailboat from Panama City you’ll head east to the mangrove forests that protect the shorelines where the Bayano river flows into the Pacific ocean. From here, you’ll bike your way through lowland farm pastures and dry forest, which eventually lead you into more the pristine moist rainforests that lie within the Mamoní Valley Preserve and where at our Centro Mamoní Science and Leadership Training Center you’ll end your biking section.
The next days will consist of trekking through primary rainforest and over the continental ridge that splits the two great oceans, and encounter the pristine rivers that flow into the semi-autonomous indigenous region of Gunayala, which in personal pack rafts will float you down to remote jungle indigenous communities and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean sea where you’ll end this expedition with our Guna hosts on one of their islands of white sandy beaches surrounded by tropical reefs.
Why This Experience is for You
You want to experience the opportunity to cross the Americas starting from the Pacific ocean and ending in the Caribbean sea—our most diversified expedition involving sailing, biking, trekking, and rafting.
Compared to our other expeditions, it also offers the most diversified ecosystems from Pacific ocean to Caribbean seas and everything in between: mangrove forests, dry forests, moist tropical rainforests, cloud forest-like ecosystems, and Caribbean marine ecosystems.
Along the way you’ll experience the cultures of the countryside mestizos and the indigenous Guna.
The Itinerary Outline
Day 1: Arrival to Panama City and orientation
Day 2: Sail from Panama city to the Bayano estuary
Day 3: Bike from the Pacific shorelines to our hosts on the Panamerican highway
Day 4: Bike from the dry forest terrain into the moist rainforests of the Mamoní Valley Preserve where you’ll be hosted at our rainforest science and leadership center, Centro Mamoní (link to our campuses)
Day 5: Trek through the moist tropical rainforest, over the continental divide, and raft your way down to your jungle campsite.
Day 6: Float in pack rafts down the remaining stretch of the river that will take you through a remote jungle Guna community and eventually to the Caribbean coast where you’ll be taken to a Guna island in the San Blas archipelago where our hosts will accommodate us.
Day 7: After a morning exploration of the Guna islands and communities, we ride back to Panama City in SUV’s.
This expedition is for anyone with a healthy lifestyle and a good level of general fitness. Participants should be willing to be part of a team working together to enjoy a safe, fun, and meaningful experience. The biggest challenges on these expeditions will be trekking on steep jungle terrain and biking sections on steep roads in humid environments, along with river rafting portions (class 2-3 rapids based on the international scale American Whitewater Association) that can be done by inexperienced paddlers who have the ability quickly adapt to the basic skills needed.
Arriving unprepared and/or without meeting the minimum fitness requirements can jeopardise your health and the overall expedition experience, so take training seriously.
Get in touch with any fitness, health, training or packing questions that you might have. Our certified wilderness guides prefer to have video conversation with participants in advance to ensure that fitness expectations and packing needs are met.
Additionally, you should expect the following:
- Carry up to 15kg/33lbs per person in your expedition pack.
- Trekking as much as 6-8 hours on some days and covering up to 10km or more per day.
- Anticipate wet, dense tropical rainforest with steep terrain on rustic paths and frequent river or stream crossings.
- Climate is hot and humid and below 1,000m/3,333ft elevation
- Being comfortable around water is essential for this expedition
- Age minimum is 17+
- Airport translate to/from PTY airport and Panama City
- In-country transport as outlined in the itinerary
- Certified wilderness guides and wilderness first aid trained with medical kit and sat phone
- Specialist indigenous guides and instructors for on route interpretation
- Fees to on-route indigenous communities and the Gunayala comarca
- Three meals per day, snacks, water, tea, coffee, and natural drinks
- Accommodation throughout; beds, expedition hammocks
- Beverages at all stations and camps
- Inflatable Alpacka Rafts
- Paddles, life vest and paddle helmet
- Expedition hammock with mosquito netting and rain cover
- Cooking gear, eating utensils, mug, cup, and ingredients for cooking
- Special permits and permissions
Optional Add Ons
- Return travel from the Caribbean by chartered aircraft, including mandatory carbon offset agreement for the benefit of the Mamoní Valley Preserve.
- Extra days and nights at Centro Mamoní in the Mamoní Valley Preserve
- Extra days and nights in the rainforests of Gunayala during jungle trek
- Lobster dinner
- Alcoholic beverages
- Bag porter
- Video documentation of the entire expedition
- International air transportation to and from Panama City (for USD 150, Geoversity offers a 5-year carbon offset opportunity in the Mamoní Valley Preserve)
- Insurance of any kind
- Alcoholic beverages not provided by hosts with meals
- Additional hotel days/nights in Panama, Centro Mamoní or in the jungle
- Personal equipment according to personal needs and preferences (list of mandatory items and recommendations will be provided upon registration)
- Tips to local support guides; discretionary but anticipated by the local guides. Your trip leader can help advise on how much.