Transcontinental – Ridge to Reef

5-6 days

Contact us for the date

$2,490+

Based on group size

Join this transcontinental expedition only experienced by a very few people, because the majority of the journey goes deep through Guna territory normally off-limits to tourists

Starting at our Science and Leadership Training Center, Centro Mamoní, hike up over the continental divide following the jaguar trail into the pristine primary rainforests of the Guna territory. Afterwards, raft or trek down the Cangandi river to get to the remotely located traditional Guna village of Gan Igar before arriving to Caribbean coast.

Finally, end the expedition lying in a hammock between two coconut palms on a tiny island surrounded by white sandy beaches and coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Contact us to get a more detailed itinerary & options, and description of locations!

Expedition overview:

1
Day
TransportTransport to Centro Mamoní
Gear check. Sleep in cabana bed
2,5 hours80 km
2
Day
Rainforest TrekkingLunch by the river
3,5 hours10 km
River RaftingIn rainforest river (grade 2 approx.)
3 hours5 km
SleepSleep in rainforest campsite: expedition hammocks
3
Day
River RaftingRiver rafting (grade 2- approx. + waterfall portage) in rainforest
4 hours6 km
SleepSleep in rainforest indigenous community: expedition hammocks
3 hours5 km
4
Day
TrekFlat forest terrain
1,5 hours5 km
Boat RideTo Caribbean Island
1 hour25 km
SleepSleep on island campsite expedition hammock or bed
5
Day
Guna Islands TourSea pool, sunken ship, community
1,5 hours35 km
Return TripBoat ride to mainland
 and SUV ride back to PTY/MVP
3,5 hours215 km
Total
motorized
8,5 hours260 km
Total
human powered
12 hours26 km

Expedition Details

  • Fitness Level: Healthy lifestyle and a good level of general fitness
  • Season availability: Rafting: Dec – Feb and May – August. Hiking: All Year
  • Total duration: Min. 3 nights / Max. 5 nights
  • Physical activity duration: 6 hrs /day
  • Distance: 26km/16.25miles
  • Elevation Gain – Loss: 1,495m/4,933ft – 1,528m/5,042ft
  • Common hazards: Hike: spiky palms, slippery rocks, heat exhaustion; Rafting: Rocks hitting butt, capsizing, strainer caused by felled tree; Portage: slippery rocks, dangerous rapids, steep climb on rocks
  • Modes of transportation: Trekking, rafting, 4×4, motor boat
  • Natural environment: Primary forest, young and old secondary forest, pioneer succession, pasture, urban forest, agriculture, wetlands, river, sea, environment at risk, icon species
  • Learning content (optional/typical): Indigenous community; Biomimicry; Conservation Climate change (ocean rise)
  • Lodging: Tent, hammock, lodge

What others say about it

“Easily the highlight of my career! Seeing a Jaguar up close is incredibly rare – truly magical.”

Alex Bigwood, PAWGI Instructor

FAQ

The Trek

Starting by foot from our Science and Leadership Training Center, Centro Mamoní, that lies within the Mamoní Valley Preserve, you’ll trek north through moist tropical rainforest over the continental divide and into the semi-autonomous indigenous region of the Guna people. 

Trek or float in your personal pack raft down the pristine rivers that flow through the primary forest to the 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 over the continental divide starting from the Pacific basin and ending in the Caribbean sea― a unique expedition involving trekking with a rafting option. 

Compared to our other expeditions, it also offers some diverse ecosystems from moist tropical rainforests and cloud forest-like ecosystems, mangrove forests, 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 Geoversity’s Science and Leadership Center, Centro Mamoní, gear check and orientation

Day 2: Trek through the moist tropical rainforest, over the continental divide, and raft your way down to your jungle campsite. 

Day 3: Float in pack rafts down the remaining stretch of the river that will take you through a remote jungle Guna community where you’ll spend the night. (This community night can be skipped and ambitious trekkers can fast track directly to the islands.)

Day 4: Trek 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 5: After a morning exploration of the Guna islands and communities, we ride back to Panama City in SUV’s.

Day 7: After a morning exploration of the Guna islands and communities, we ride back to Panama City in SUV’s.

Fitness Requirements

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 in humid environments, along with river rafting portions that can be done by inexperienced paddlers (class 2-3 rapids based on the international scale American Whitewater Association) 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+
Geoversity Guarantees
  • 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 to the city 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
Not Included
  • 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.

Other expeditions: