PANAMA CITY – The luxury US cruise liner Star Pride, a Windstar Cruises vessel, for the first time this year visited Panama’s Cebaco Island off the country’s Pacific coast with about 150 tourists on board, a spokesperson with the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) reported Thursday.
The Star Pride, which set sail from Puerto Golfito in Costa Rica, “docked last Thursday at Cebaco Island,” which lies just a short distance off the coast of Panama’s central Veraguas province in the Gulf of Montijo.
Most of the 150 passengers and a like number of crew were US citizens, the spokesperson told EFE.
The visitors disembarked by boat to enjoy the sun, the white sands and the crystal waters of the island and many took advantage of the chance to do some snorkeling.
“Last year, the cruise ship made an initial exploratory stop and this year it formalized the stop and the ATP began to provide basic infrastructure to attend to the tourists,” the spokesperson said.
The travelers also made several tours of the Panamanian ports of Balboa and Cristobal, on the country’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts, respectively, before continuing their journey through the Caribbean.
ATP tourist guide Michelle Perez said that the cruise line expects to make about 12 more trips along the same route between December and the end of March.
She said that the tourists arriving at Cristobal can opt to visit the indigenous communities on the banks of the Chagres River, the capital and its historic old downtown section.
Cebaco Island is about 200 square kilometers (77 square miles) in size, the largest island in the Gulf of Montijo and part of the Marino Coiba National Park.
The Panamanian cruise season begins in October and ends in May.