Summary : There are few places in the world where nature is as exuberant or where the color and variety of the tropics can be experienced so keenly as Costa Rica. Explore the intriguing blend of flora and fauna, plus, transit the legendary Panama Canal, one of the most celebrated human achievements on the planet. Experience Panama's natural beauty, biological diversity and amazing history. The wildlife of the region includes: howler, capuchin and spider monkeys, coatimundis, sloths and over 300 species of birds, as well as toucans and scarlet macaws. All departures will have a certified photo instructor onboard.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling
Just-Released Offer Complimentary international airfare, plus free Panama City extension.
NEW for 2016 - Stand up paddleboarding (Sea Lion only)
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$6,390 to $8,290
Depart the U.S. in late morning via a non-stop flight to Panama City, with a flying time of about three hours. On arrival, drive to Colon to board National Geographic Sea Lion and set sail for the first part of your Panama Canal transit, anchoring in Gatun Lake for the night.
Board an expedition landing craft this morning to visit Barro Colorado Nature Monument in Gatún Lake by special arrangement. Scientists have worked at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Barro Colorado Island since 1946, researching the 120 mammals and diverse tree species that can be found here. It is also the site of a pioneering project supported by National Geographic that tracks tagged animals using automated radio signals and wireless technology. Join local guides for a walk through the forests that so challenged the builders of the canal. This evening, continue through the complex lock system of the canal.
Explore by nimble motorized landing crafts to navigate the tiny islets of the Gulf of Panama today, stopping to explore hidden coves and beaches. Here, you might spot magnificent frigate birds, brown pelicans, neotropic cormorants, and brown boobies.
Isla Coiba is one of Panama’s most remote national parks, where you may hike the tropical, moist forest trails. The area is also perfect for swimming, snorkeling amid tropical fish and stand up paddle boarding. Staff will assist both novice and expert snorkelers alike. For those preferring a drier clime, our naturalists take underwater footage, which animates our evening gathering in the lounge.
Today you make your first landfall in Costa Rica. At Casa Orquideas, a privately owned garden accessible only by boat and special invitation, see a profusion of orchids; and look for tanagers, parrots and gaudy toucans. Later, explore the forested bay of Golfo Dulce, ideal for kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, expedition landing craft cruises and swimming.
The National Geographic Sea Lion anchors off the remote Osa Peninsula and the environs of Corcovado National Park. Your exact landing spot for the day will depend on sea conditions. You may swim in waterfall pools, or horseback ride. Trek through the rain forest for a chance to see three species of monkey in one day: howler, spider and squirrel!
The abundant wildlife here is most active in the early morning, so you are sure to get an early start. Lethargic three-toed sloths can be easy to spot, but it often takes the expert eye of a Naturalist to point out monkeys or vividly colored birds as they zip through the forest. In the afternoon, explore Costa Rica’s beautiful coast where you’ll find a great spot for a final hike or swim.
Disembark National Geographic Sea Lion this morning in Herradura and drive to the airport for flights home, or on to other adventures. The U.S. bound flight departs in late morning, arriving in the late afternoon.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary: (San Jose to Panama City)
11/26/2016, 12/10/2016, 12/24/2016, 1/7/2017, 1/21/2017, 2/4/2017, 2/18/2017, 3/4/2017
Certified Photo Instructor:
Every expedition aboard the Sea Lion/Sea Bird will offer a certified photo instructor. Guests of any interest or skill level can rely on assistance with their camera model, instruction on elements of composition and more, plus useful shooting tips—in the field, where it counts! On select departures, a National Geographic Photographer will join you.
Optional Extension: Extend your stay in Panama City with a pre- or post-trip extension. Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; non-alcoholic beverages aboard ship; shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees; transfers from airport/ship if traveling on group flights; use of kayaks, and snorkeling gear; all port taxes and service taxes during the voyage; gratuities to local guides/drivers; services of the ship's natural history staff and a ship physician. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; extensions; horseback riding; luggage, accident, cancellation insurance; passport and visa fees; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages and laundry; gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion; optional extensions; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Monkeys, Bird, Parrot, Frog); © David Vargas (Kayakers, Canal)