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Cuba and Costa Rica + Panama Canal

Central America and Cuba Cruise

Summary : Meet the Emberá Indians of the Darién and the Kuna Indians of San Blas who proudly preserve their cultural heritage. Enjoy a daylight transit through the historic locks of the Panama Canal. Step ashore on seldom-visited Isla de Providencia, Colombia—its long history includes tales of colonization, conquest, and buried treasure. Stroll the atmospheric streets of Havana to discover stunning colonial architecture and sun-splashed plazas, where classic American cars complete the scene of a by-gone era. Snorkel or dive over healthy coral reefs to view colorful tropical fish, turtles, stingrays, and more!

Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Snorkeling


Save 5% when you combine this with the Circumnavigation of Cuba trip. Groups of 8 or more people save 10% per person off the cost of the expedition.

Prices from
$999,999,999 to $0

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Day 1
Depart USA / Panama City, Panama

Board your independent flight and transfer to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 2
Panama City / Embark

This morning enjoy a tour of this cosmopolitan city, with lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, board the Hebridean Sky.

Day 3
Isla Coiba, Panama

Anchor off Isla Coiba for an exploration of one of the largest marine parks in the world. Zodiacs take you on excursions along wild shores and bring you to secluded beaches. On nature hikes search for more than 130 species of birds, including red-legged honeycreepers, crimson-backed tanagers, and brilliantly colored lance-tailed manakins. Snorkeling is excellent, as Coiba is also the site of a large coral reef where a convergence of currents reveals an array of eastern tropical Pacific marine life.

Day 4
At Sea

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea and attend lectures from your onboard experts.

Day 5
Darién Province, Panama

Panama’s remote Darién Province is one of Central America’s last unspoiled regions. This morning enter Emberá Indian territory as you land on Playa del Muerto at the mouth of the Mogue River. Enjoy warm welcomes from the Emberá community of Mogue, where you’ll learn about their traditional way of life and enjoy a lively dance performance.

Day 6
Daylight Transit of the Panama Canal

During your daylight transit, the Hebridean Sky gracefully navigates the dramatic Gaillard Cut, Gatun Lake, and the canal’s three mighty locks. Relax on deck and enjoy a historical perspective as you follow this famed waterway to the Atlantic.

Day 7
San Blas Archipelago, Panama

The San Blas Archipelago is a group of over 350 islands stretching for 200 miles along Panama’s east coast. Largely roadless, and many ringed with reefs, they vary in size from tiny uninhabited islets with few palm trees to larger islands clad in jungle.

San Blas is also home to the Kuna Indians, a semi-autonomous tribe still practicing the traditions of their ancestors, including the crafting of molas, brightly colored, appliquéd fabrics. Meet the Kuna, learn about their culture, and admire or purchase molas. In the afternoon land at Holandes Caye to snorkel in the inviting waters.

Day 8
Portobelo / Colon, Panama

This morning disembark in the historic town of Portobelo, one of Spain’s most important strongholds in the Americas during colonial times. Visit Forts San Geronimo and Santiago de la Gloria, as well as the Church of San Felipe.

Day 9
Puerto Limón / Tortuguero Canals, Costa Rica

Board shallow-draft boats today for an excursion among the Tortuguero Canals, home to 2,000 plant species, more than 400 species of birds, and 13 of Costa Rica’s 16 endangered mammals. During your exploration of the raffia-lined waterways, you may spy sloths; howler and capuchin monkeys; wood storks, bare-throated tiger herons, roseate spoon-bills, Montezuma oropendolas, and ringed kingfishers; and crocodiles, caimans, turtles, iguanas, as well as the Jesus Christ lizard, so named for its unique ability to run across water. Return to the ship for lunch and set sail for Colombia.

Day 10
Isla de Providencia, Colombia

Far from mainland Colombia, rarely-visited Isla de Providencia is a warm and friendly, English-speaking island with the nostalgic feel of the Caribbean of yesteryear. An island tour takes you to a parochial school and other points of interest ashore. Or, venture out to snorkel among a variety of fish that populate the island’s coral reef.

Day 11
At Sea

Attend lectures on the region’s history and wildlife or simply relax on deck.

Day 12
Cienfuegos / Playa Larga, Cuba

With its French spirit and fabulous setting along Cuba’s most spectacular bay, Cienfuegos has earned UNESCO status for its outstanding architecture, which you will discover on a guided walking tour. Then depart overland for the UNESCO-designated Zapata Wetland region. View some of the local wildlife at the Fiesta Campesina zoo-park before touring the Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) Museum, located at the site of the unsuccessful military invasion by US-backed anti-Castro forces in April 1961.

Day 13
Isla de la Juventud, Cuba

This beautiful island offers breathtaking beaches, lush forests, and excellent snorkeling and diving. Join naturalists on walks to search for indigenous flora and fauna, explore the rich marine environment, or simply relax, and soak in your surroundings on a white-sand beach.

Day 14
Maria La Gorda, Cuba

Isolated Maria La Gorda is one of the most diverse biological regions in the world—home to a variety of different natural habitats, including coral reefs, beaches, mangroves, scrublands, and evergreen forests with more than 170 species of birds and dozens of reptile and mammal species. Spend the morning snorkeling over pristine reefs and searching for wildlife on nature walks.

Day 15
Havana, Cuba / Disembark

Disembark after breakfast and get acquainted with Old Havana—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—on a walking tour. After lunch make a stop at El Floridita Bar, the birthplace of the daiquiri and one of Hemingway’s favorite watering holes. This evening, climb into one of Havana’s vintage cars for a stylish ride to Rio Mar for dinner, then enjoy a performance at the legendary Buena Vista Social Club. Check in to the five-star Meliá Cohiba, which overlooks the city’s famous three-mile-long Malecón, for dinner and overnight.

Day 16
Havana, Cuba / USA

Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.


Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.

Scuba Diving: Limited to 16 Advance Open Water (AOW) certified scuba divers. You must complete two open water dives within the 12 months prior to the trip’s departure. 

Accommodations and meals as per the itinerary, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; services of the expedition staff, including lectures; daily group activities and excursions as per the itinerary; landing and port fees; gear certificate; gratuities; limited emergency medical and evacuation coverage*. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/ cancellation travel insurance; snorkeling and diving; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges and alcoholic beverages other than those listed as included, email/Internet/fax/telephone charges; fuel surcharge may apply.

*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.

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