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Costa Rica and the Panama Canal

Costa Rica and Panama Tour

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.

This trip operates aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion.

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins


Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!

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Day 1
U.S. / Panama City, Panama / Colon / Embark

Arrive in Panama City and drive to Colon to board National Geographic Sea Lion. Set sail for the first part of your Panama Canal transit, anchoring in Gatun Lake for the night.

Day 2
Gatún Lake / Panama Canal Transit

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.

Day 3
Gulf of Panama Islets

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.

Day 4
Isla Coiba National Park

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.

Day 5
Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

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.

Day 6
Osa Peninsula

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!

Day 7
Manuel Antonio National Park

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.

Day 8
Herradura / Disembark / San Jose / U.S.

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.

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, 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.

Not Included:
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.

Photo Credit: © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Monkeys, Bird, Parrot, Frog);© C. Daley-Clark (Forest); © David Vargas (Canal); © Sven-Olof Lindblad (Kayaker, Flower)

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