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.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling
Free International Air
Panama City Extension
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$5,990 to $8,690
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, the only tropical fiord in the continent. In the evening, enjoy drinks ashore and, hopefully, a beautiful sunset.
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.
Board a Zodiac to visit Barro Colorado Nature Monument in Gatun Lake by special arrangement. Scientists have worked at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Barro Colorado Island since 1923, researching its 120 mammals and diverse tree species. It is also the site of a National Geographic supported project that tracks tagged animals using automated radio signals and wireless technology. Join local guides for a walk through the forests. 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.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary: (Panama City to San Jose)
12/15/2018, 12/29/2018, 1/12/2019, 1/26/2019, 3/29/2019
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.
Optional Pre- or Post-Trip Extension:
Panama City: Extend your stay in Panama City and explore two new sites. 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) 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, stand up paddleboards, and snorkeling gear; 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); © C. Daley-Clark (Forest); © David Vargas (Canal); © Sven-Olof Lindblad (Kayaker, Flower)