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New Edinburgh, Scotland’s Tragic Darien Colonization Failure

Located in a remote area of the Kuna Yala region of the Darien, is a tranquil Caribbean bay with a tragic, but little known history. Puerto Escocés (or Scottish Harbour) is the location of Scotland’s largest endeavor of colonization 320 years ago. Known as New Edinburgh, the endeavor was a colossal failure that bankrupted Scotland with a tragic loss of life for 2,500 Scottish settlers. And now accessible for you by a 45-minute seaplane trip.

After departing from Panama City, we fly across the lush and uninhabited rainforests of Panama to the Caribbean side of the country and the Kuna Yala region. As our seaplane lands in the glassy waters of the bay, you can let your imagination go back to 1690’s and feel the thrill that the 1,200 Scottish settlers on the first five ships arriving must have felt after their months at sea. Unfortunately the undertaking was beset by poor planning and provisioning, devastating epidemics of disease, and collusion between the England Spanish to keep the colony isolated from trade. Only 300 settlers made it back to Scotland.

Word of the tragic failure never made it to Scotland before another 1,000 settlers left for the doomed colony in Panama. Deaths on the ships, lack of provisions and disease after landing in the abandoned colony site also quickly decimated this second group of settlers. Only a handful survived to return to civilization.

During our trip you’ll explore the few remnants of the largest failed colony on the coasts of Central America. Our guide’s stories will  bring you back to what the settlers faced over 300 years ago in this tropical paradise. And then we  return by seaplane for a solemn cocktail at your hotel, and a toast to those brave settlers of 300 years ago.  

Another of the amazing and unique Panama adventure experiences enabled by seaplane travel in Panama. 

Watch a wonderful video from Geographics HERE