Columbus continued exploring to the south, along the coasts of present-day Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. He met several native cultures, observing maize being cultivated on terraces. They saw stone structures and discovered some interesting and vital facts (which made Columbus even surer that he had found the path he had dreamed of). They traded also for food and gold whenever possible. In early 1503, the ships began to fail. In addition to the battering they had taken from one hurricane and several major storms, it was discovered that they were infested with termites.
On June 25 1503, Columbus made the decision to abandon ship for Jamaica and they found themselves stranded on St. Anne’s Bay. Christopher Columbus then arranged with one of his captains to purchase a canoe from a native and make his way to Hispaniola.
Upon his return, the captain Diego Mendez was immediately imprisoned for the next seven months and was denied use of any vessel to save the stranded Christopher Columbus and the remaining crew. Christopher Columbus was therefore left stranded on Jamaica for about another year.
Diego Mendez was finally released and he further made his way to Santo Domingo but found no vessels existed to salvage the mission. He finally arranged a smaller ship to get the men and it was on June 29 1504 that the group was discovered. And on November 7 1504 that Christopher Columbus set foot on his home island again and officially finished his last and most memorable voyage.