San Blas Islands, Panama

On Panama's Caribbean side are the 375 islands of the beautiful San Blas archipelago. While most isles are the domain of sea turtles and palm trees, 40 are inhabited by the Kuna, who live in traditional thatched-roof communities and ply dugout canoes. One of Panama's most prized native crafts is created here: the colorful hand-stitched appliqués called molas, representing birds and nature in abstract and geometric designs.

Panama Canal, Panama

Begun in 1881 by Ferdinand de Lesseps, builder of the Suez Canal, the "Big Ditch" connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. During the 58-mile crossing, our ship rises 85 feet through a network of locks, canals and lakes set in a valley flanked by two mountain ranges. The entire passage takes about nine hours, a journey of spectacular scenic beauty.