We had an early start this morning — a wonderful early risers’ meal was served in the lounge, so we could depart to explore the mangroves of Cispata Bay. At 6:30 a.m. we were already in our Zodiacs exploring this very important ecosystem. “Mangrove forest” is a generic term for many trees of different species that grow in tropical and sub-tropical areas, and all share the characteristic of being able to grow within the incoming and receding tides. A lot of the coastline is not only protected by the mangrove forest but was built by it.

In the afternoon we repositioned the ship and visited the privately-owned Sanguaré Natural Reserve. Once a cattle ranch, some twenty years ago the owners decided to allow the original tropical dry forest to grow back; today a lot of the original flora and fauna has started to return to the extensive property. It’s a great place to enjoy ecotourism, and we encourage conservation initiatives just by visiting here.

After our walks we enjoyed some of the most characteristic experiences of Colombian culture, including delicious local culinary specialties and the colorful performance of local musicians and dancers. Indeed, this was a perfect ending for a perfect first day exploring the Caribbean coast of Colombia and Panama.