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, a marvel of engineering. Venture into remote wilderness: hike among monkeys, sloths, and tropical birds, and explore far from any inhabited places. Kayak cool azure waters where the rain forest meets the sea; explore idyllic islands; snorkel over a vibrant coral reef; and take an expedition landing craft cruise through a lush mangrove forest.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling
- Offer applies to select dates; may not be combinable; conditions may apply
- Free air between Miami and San Jose/Panama City; or 2-day Panama City extension
- Solo travelers pay no solo premium
Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$6,170 to $10,490
Upon arrival in San Jose, transfer by land to Puerto Caldera and embark the ship.
Anchor off the Osa Peninsula to see some of the most pristine lowland rain forest on the Pacific coast. In the environs of Corcovado National Park, swim in waterfall pools, take an optional horseback ride on the coast, or trek through the rain forest for a chance to see four species of monkeys—howler, spider, capuchin, and squirrel.
Go ashore in the pristine waters of Playa Blanca. Head inland to meet and share with inspiring local families living in remote communities and working with cocoa, heart of palm, and sugar cane. Hike mature rain forest or kayak in peaceful waters in Golfo Dulce. In the evening, enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Only for 3/15/2019, 3/22/2019, and 3/29/2019:
Visit the Osa Conservation and learn about their program that monitors the nesting activity, predation rates, and hatchling success of these incredible species. Take part in activities, enjoy dinner and a sunset cocktail get-together and when it gets dark, patrol the beach at night searching for nesting green sea turtles.
Enter the mangrove-fringed Golfo Dulce along the southwestern edge of Costa Rica. Visit Casa Orquídeas, a tropical paradise of ornamental palms, bromeliads, heliconias, and orchids, closed to the general public and reached by boat only. Keep your eye out for tanagers, parrots, and toucans. Later, explore the placid bay, ideal for kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, Zodiac rides, and swimming.
The first stop in Panama this morning is at the remote Isla Coiba, one of the many islands of Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once a penal colony, the island has long been protected and accessible by special permit only. Among its many endemic species are the Coiba Island agouti and the mantled howler monkey, as well as four varieties of sea turtle. Discover rich marine life while snorkeling, go kayaking or hiking, try stand up paddleboarding, or simply relax on the beach.
Today, explore the tiny islets of the Gulf of Panama by Zodiac or kayak. Here you might spot frigatebirds, brown pelicans, neotropical cormorants, and brown boobies. Set sail for the Panama Canal this afternoon. Stretching more than 50 miles, the canal was a colossal engineering feat completed in 1914. It is still traversed by some 14,000 ships every year. As cargo ships tend to pass through the canal during the day, you’ll most likely begin your crossing at night, when the canal is dramatically lit.
By special arrangement, National Geographic Quest will anchor in Gatun Lake near the Barro Colorado Nature Monument overnight. Today, choose hikes and Zodiac cruises at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute facility on Barro Colorado Island, or take a boat ride to the mouth of the Chagres River and hike on the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center trails. This evening, continue through the complex lock system of the canal.
After breakfast, disembark in Colon and transfer to the airport in Panama City for your flight home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary: (Panama City/San Jose)
12/1/2019, 12/15/2019, 12/29/2019, 1/12/2020, 1/26/2020, 3/23/2020
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Green Sea Turtle Experience:
11/24/2019, 12/1/2019, 12/8/2019, 12/15/2019, 3/23/2020
An extraordinary experience with the iconic sea turtles of the Pacific awaits you as we visit Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) Association at Playa Blanca on the Osa Peninsula. Take part by assisting researchers with data collection, hear presentations by the staff at LAST including a talk by the head biologist who has dedicated her life to the conservation of these animals. At the end of our visit, we will be invited to assist and observe as rehabilitated, healthy turtles are released back into the Pacific--a truly poignant moment.
Optional Pre- or Post-Trip Extension: Panama City
Venture to the Agua Clara Visitor Center at the Panama Canal’s new, larger Pacific lock to see the intricacies of its workings up close. Plus, visit the Frank Gehry-designed BioMuseo (Museum of Biodiversity), the architect's only work in Latin America. 1 Day from $450 per person. Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Transfers between airport and ship if booked on group flights; shipboard accommodations; kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding; video chronicle of your trip; gear on loan (snorkeling gear and wetsuit); all meals onboard ship; soft drinks onboard ship. 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 ©: Alexandra C. Daley-Clark (Panama Canal - Day, Forest); Ralph Lee Hopkins (Monkeys, Bird, Parrot, Frog, Zodiac, Hummingbird); David Vargas (Kayakers, Panama Canal - Night)