Canoe fraud: Holiday company offers Darwin tours to Panama

Posted on 10:33 PM by Sameer Shah

The seven-day 'Darwin Tour' trips to Panama will take in the bustling capital Panama City, the spectacular Panama Canal and the idyllic jungle retreat of Lake Gutun, where the Darwin's lived and visited.

And there is even a chance to go canoeing.

Mr Darwin was jailed for six years and three months after admitting fraud while his wife was jailed for six years and six months after being convicted of fraud and money laundering.

They swindled £250,000 from pensions and insurance companies after Mr Darwin faked a fatal canoeing accident in March 2002.

They tried to start a new life in Panama where they set up a business and bought property with the eventual aim of, ironically, offering canoeing holidays.

Laura Forsyth, from London-based Journey Latin America, who are offering the breaks said: "Brits are fascinated with criminality and to follow in the footsteps of such a notorious couple like the Darwin's is really intriguing

"This was one of the biggest and stories of the year, and now tourists can be a part of it.

"The Darwin's at least got it right choosing Panama, it's one of our most popular destinations for UK tourists and amazingly beautiful and diverse country."

Increasing numbers of UK citizens are choosing central American destinations like Panama and neighbouring Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

She said: "The Darwin trip also offers canoe expeditions on Lake Gatun, but thankfully these are totally legitimate."

Journey Lation America is hoping the 'Darwin effect' will have holidaymakers flocking to book the deals.

But Hartlepool Labour MP Iain Wright condemned the scheme.

He said: "I suppose it's funny on one level, but these people were fraudsters, they're criminals.

"Really they are the last people I would want associated with the town if we want to have investment and opportunity for the region."

The Darwin-themed package includes a nine-night tailor-made itinerary including, historic Panama City, a full-day transit on the Panama Canal, accommodation in a rainforest lodge overlooking Gatun Lake, a full-day boat trip to spot wildlife on Gatun Lake and three nights wind down in Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean.

Prices starts from £1,389 per person and includes all flights, accommodation, transport, some meals and some guided excursions.

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