Ultimate Costa Rica & Panama
DATES (2018): April 27 | May 11*, 25 | June 08*, 22 | July 06*, 20 | August 03*, 17 | November 02*
- * Reverse Itinerary from Panama to Costa Rica
DURATION: 16 DAYS/15 NIGHTS
EMBARKATION: PANAMA CITY
DISEMBARKATION: PANAMA CITY
SHIP: MV SAFARI VOYAGER
Swashbucklers, a river of gold, and the world’s greatest man-made ditch. Cross the Isthmus of Panamá in search of adventure—the Darién Jungle, colonial history, wildlife, and a Panamá Canal transit.
- Included one-night hotel stay in embarkation city; Intercontinental Hotel in San José or Bristol Hotel in Panamá City
- Transit the 48-mile-long Panamá Canal
- Two national parks, one wildlife refuge, and a conservation area
- Hike lush jungle among untamed wildlife—sloths, howler monkeys, scarlet macaws
- Stroll a butterfly- and flower-rich tropical preserve
- Snorkel, kayak and paddle board among Las Perlas, Guna Yala islands, and Granito de Oro
- Marine life search in the Gulf of Panamá
- Discover indigenous cultures of the Guna Indians and Emberá people
- Wildlife viewing in Darién Jungle by motorized dugout canoe
- Bird watching along the Chagres River
- Tour Miraflores Locks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Casco Viejo and Fort San Lorenzo
- Group transfers from the airport to the ship on day of embarkation
- Group transfer to airport or central location upon
- All scheduled landings/excursions
- All lectures and briefings onboard
- All meals served aboard
- premium spirits, wine, beer; non-alcoholic beverages
- Coffee/tea/cocoa/espresso 24 hours daily
- All port fees
- Pre-departure materials.
- Visa and passport fees (if applicable)
- Airfare, Luggage
- Trip cancellation and Emergency Evacuation Insurance
- Personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunication charges
- Staff gratuities
- Fuel surcharge may be applied for all bookings
- Pre or post-cruise travel expenses.
San José, Costa Rica
Welcome to the land of pura vida! On arrival in the capital city of San José, you’ll be warmly greeted at the airport and transferred to the Intercontinental Hotel for your overnight stay. Relax and unwind, enjoying the hotel’s amenities or nearby attractions.
San José, Costa Rica – Embarkation
The morning is yours to enjoy at leisure or set out to explore nearby sites and cafes. This afternoon, join your fellow adventurers at our hospitality area in the Intercontinental Hotel. After everyone has gathered, travel to the Caldera Port on the Pacific Ocean, where you’ll board the Safari Voyager and meet your enthusiastic crew.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Boasting 109 species of mammals, over 330 bird species, and abundant marine life among its incredibly diverse plant life, Manuel Antonio National Park provides endless opportunity for discovery. On a jungle hike, keep your eyes tuned to the canopy above, watching for two- and three-toed sloths, white-faced capuchins, scarlet macaws, many-colored tanagers, coatis, iguanas, and other colorful and camouflaged creatures. And, keep your ears tuned for the screeching of howler monkeys.
Curú National Wildlife Refuge
Kick off your week of adventure on the southeastern tip of Nicoya Peninsula—untamed wildlife, lush scenery, and active recreation. Local “residents” include a variety of different animal, reptile, avian, and insect species, including frigate birds and hummingbirds, and army ants and butterflies. Hike in Curú National Wildlife Refuge—a prime place to inspect diverse flora and fauna. Off shore, the vibrant, turquoise waters near Isla Tortuga offer inviting opportunities to snorkel, kayak, and paddle board.
Osa Conservation Area
Adventure lies around every bend in the isolated, wild Osa Conservation Area, home to the country’s largest national park, Corcovado. The area is known for its diverse plant and animal species—a whopping 2.5% of the entire planet’s biodiversity is found here—including all four of Costa Rica’s monkeys, tree frogs, caimans, anteaters, scarlet macaws, coatis, and 16 different species of hummingbird. Explore this vast area putting feet to trail on an invigorating hike through the jungle. At the end of the day, enjoy the sunset with a tropical beverage in-hand during cocktail hour and retell stories of the day with your travel-mates.
A birder’s paradise, explore a tropical preserve exploding with vibrant color. From bromeliads, ginger plants, and heliconias, to toucans, hummingbirds, mischievous monkeys, and fluttering butterflies—there’s a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and tastes in every tree and bush you pass on your walking tour. In Golfo Dulce, which separates Oso Peninsula from the mainland, explore the rare flora and fauna of mangroves by kayak and skiff.
Granito de Oro, Coiba National Park, Panama
Sail through the islands of Coiba National Park, making a stop at the postcard-perfect Granito de Oro islet. Offering a little bit of everything despite its small size, volcanic outcroppings at either end of this tiny landmass and a dense, mini-jungle in the center are connected by gorgeous white sand beach. Named one of the world’s top 10 diving sites, your day of play features snorkeling among abundant marine life, kayaking around rocky outcroppings, and lounging on the warm sand. It’s another perfect day in paradis
Gulf of Panamá Islands / Panamá Canal
The diverse islands and islets in the Gulf of Panamá are all unique, and today, its captain’s choice as you cruise among them. Hosting hundreds of avian species, you may enjoy superb bird watching on an exciting skiff exploration, or stroll a charming coastal village that boasts the hemisphere’s second oldest church. Later, transit from ocean to ocean along the 48-mile Panamá Canal (time varies depending on when the lock authority gives the final go ahead for late afternoon or evening). Truly a marvel of engineering and human tenacity, it took over 56,000 workers to build it. At a special captain’s dinner, toast to your absolutely unforgettable voyage and the adventures you’ve experienced so far.
Colón / Panamá City
After breakfast and a morning ride to Panamá City, take in historic sites. At Miraflores Locks, watch large ships transit the canal and learn the waterway’s history during a presentation by the Panamá Canal Authority. A drive through the former US Panamá Canal Zone ends at Casco Viejo—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy lunch and a stroll through Casco Viejo’s colonial compound with spectacular views from the top of old city’s wall—fishing boats dotting the Pacific Ocean, massive ships lined up for the canal transit, and the skyline of modern Panamá City. Returning to the Safari Voyager, sail toward the beautiful Guna Yala. Laundry service will be provided today.
Home to one of the best preserved Native cultures in the Americas, the indigenous province of Guna Yala (formerly the San Blas Islands) encompasses over 360 islands of white sand beaches backed by palm trees and dotted with thatched-roofs. Discover the remarkable heritage of the Guna (or Kuna)—don’t pass on a chance to buy their colorful handcrafted “molas.” Enjoy the natural wonders of these islands with a snorkel in the crystalline Caribbean waters.
Another beautiful day awaits in Guna Yala. Slow the pace lazily lounging on a beach or taking an easy stroll in the sand with views of the brilliant sea. Snorkel, paddle board, or kayak among these picture-perfect islands.
Chagres River / Panamá Canal
Once the “world’s most valuable” river and Panamá’s largest, the Chagres was the route by which Incan gold was transported in Colonial times, and today, is a vital artery of the canal. Walk among the battlements and canons of Fort San Lorenzo—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—built in the 1500s by the Spanish crown as a military stronghold and sacked multiple times by swashbuckling pirates. And if conditions allow, see the wild side of the river by skiff, paddle board, and kayak. Hundreds of avian species live in this migration hot-spot—ground cuckoos, crested eagles, trogons, toucans, white hawks, with their “neighbor” monkeys, wild pigs, white tailed deer, and other wildlife. Later, transit the Panamá Canal back between the two seas to the Gulf of Panamá.
Pearl Islands Archipelag
Golden sand meets topaz-colored water, and beaches make way for lush vegetation and rocky volcanic outcroppings on the 90 islands and nearly 130 islets of Las Perlas—the Pearl Islands. Almost entirely uninhabited, the islands are host to a plethora of tropical flora and fauna. Mid-summer through early-fall, the archipelago is frequented by dolphins and humpbacks—so keep your eyes peeled for acrobatic spinning and telltale blow spouts. Select your modus operandi—kayak, paddle board, skiff, or snorkel—and set out in a nature lovers’ dreamscape.
Untouched and untamed, the Darién Jungle is nearly as wild and magnificent today as it was for early conquistadors 500 years ago. Traveling the Mogue River by motorized dugout canoe, your expedition guide will help you spot wildlife—astonishingly-colored roseate spoonbills, ibises, osprey, and raccoons can be seen fishing for breakfast from the water’s edge. After welcoming formalities at a local Emberá village, they’ll share their customs and stories, and you’ll have an opportunity to buy handicrafts from the villagers, including their highly-prized and intricately woven rainforest baskets.
Darien Jungle / Marine Life Search
Explore the vast Punta Patiño Nature Reserve on foot, part of Darién Province and the largest natural protected area in Central America. Then set sail in search of wildlife, keeping watch for bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, smaller shark species, and early in the season for migration, whales. This festive evening includes a special farewell dinner and celebratory slideshow from your expedition team.
Panamá City, Panamá – Disembarkation
After an early breakfast, bid adiós to your crew. You’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight home or to begin further explorations.