The Pacific coast also opens up the endless cruising grounds of the vast Pacific Ocean, promising life-changing journeys for the growing number of superyachts setting out on the Great Southern Route.
One of the greatest feelings a master of a superyacht can experience is clearing the Miraflores Locks on the southern side of the Panama Canal and splashing into the clean blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. It is hard to imagine any other point on this planet that offers so much diversity of opportunity for those clearing Balboa and setting a course.
Should the captain head south to the west coast of South America, discovering the rich coastlines of Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina before setting off across the Southern Ocean to Antarctica?
Or should they turn northward to Central America and North America’s Pacific Coast, exploring Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, then heading north to California, Oregon and Washington before cruising the fjords and wildernesses of Canada and Alaska?
Perhaps a southwest passage calls, passing through the Galapagos, Easter Island, the Marquesas, French Polynesia, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia on a great South Pacific journey? Or maybe charting a course north-west to the many exotic wonders of Hawaii, Japan and Asia is in order?
Since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, superyachts have ventured into the Pacific through the Panama Canal in higher numbers than ever before. Many set out for a specific destination, visiting Central America, Mexico, California, Alaska or the Galapagos before returning to the Caribbean. But increasing numbers of superyachts are choosing to explore the whole Pacific Rim, taking a year or more to do so.
Depending on the time of year and the wishes of the owner, superyachts generally circumnavigate the Pacific Rim in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. A clockwise route takes the yacht to the Galapagos, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Australia before heading north to the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Palau, East Asia and Japan, and crossing to Alaska, Canada and the West Coast of the USA, then finally back to Central America.
Where else in the world is a superyacht captain presented with so many options to embark on a voyage of discovery?
Due to the significant number of yachts transiting this Pacific voyage of discovery over the last decade, high-quality superyacht facilities now exist in many of the ports visited on the Great Southern Route. Large superyacht refit facilities are also available in New Zealand, Australia and San Diego, and provide a much-needed pit stop as well as support services that can repair and provision even the most sizeable yacht.
Superyacht captains will discover a very mature support industry and network of agents along the journey – many of them ex-superyacht captains themselves – who will be pleased to provide all the assistance necessary to make your voyage a memorable success.
Welcome to the west coast of the Americas, where the enticing blue of the Pacific Ocean awaits.