Costa Rica and Panama Discovery

from £5730
excluding flights *
10 nights Jan-Mar, Nov-Dec

Overview

From the verdant jungles of Costa Rica to the man-made wonders of the Panama Canal, this small ship expedition cruise takes in the abundant marine wildlife, ancient indigenous traditions, spectacular coastlines and countless islands of the Pacific Coast.

Highlights

  • Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Darien Jungle, Coiba National Park & Fort San Lorenzo
  • Hike in Corcovado NP, home to a staggering 2.5% of the world's biodiversity
  • Meet the Indigenous Embera people
  • Transit the Panama Canal at night
  • Cruise the Golfo Dulce, one of only 4 tropical fjords in the world
  • Search for marine wildlife in the Gulf of Panama
  • Encounter howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, white-faced capuchins and sloths
  • Snorkel, kayak, and paddleboard among Las Perlas and Granito de Oro

What's Included

  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Shore landings and skiff cruises
  • Kayaking and paddle-boarding excursions
  • Experienced guides on board

Full description

Along the way enjoy guided hikes through pristine tropical jungles, cruise through mangroves, snorkel in azure waters and kayak or paddleboard around rocky volcanic outcrops. Come face to face with monkeys and sloths and tick off numerous species of rainbow coloured birds from toucans and macaws to hummingbirds and roseate spoonbills. Dolphins, turtles and rays can be seen below and sometimes above the water.

Against this wild backdrop you will also have the chance to visit a traditional Embera village and learn about the Indigenous way of life that survives in the very heart of the jungle. This provides a fascinating contrast to the historic Fort San Lorenzo and the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal, completed in 1914.

Throughout your journey the expedition team will be on hand to share a wealth of knowledge, making sure you don’t miss a thing as you explore the wonders of Central America.

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Authentic holidays for passionate travellers

Prices & Dates

2019/20 Departures - Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin

Departure Duration Vessel Prices from (pp) Special Interest
20 Nov 2019 * 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730 Photography Focus
30 Nov 2019 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730 Photography Focus
10 Dec 2019 * 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730
20 Dec 2019 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730
30 Dec 2019 * 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730
09 Jan 2020 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730 Wellness Focus
19 Jan 2020 * 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730 Birding Focus
29 Jan 2020 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730
08 Feb 2020 * 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730
18 Feb 2020 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730
28 Feb 2020* 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730
09 Mar 2020 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730
19 Mar 2020 * 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730
29 Mar 2020 11 days Safari Voyager £5,730

* this departures operates in reverse, starting in Panama City and finishing in San José, Costa Rica

What's Included

  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • All skiff transfers, cruising & shore landings
  • Guided kayaking and paddle-boarding excursions
  • Presentations by the on-board team of guides
  • Return airport-ship transfers
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee

Itinerary & Vessels

Itinerary & Vessels

Day 1: Embarkation in San José, Costa Rica

On arrival in Costa Rica you will be met and transferred to the waiting ship. Meet your captain and crew and enjoy a welcome dinner as you set sail along the Pacific coast.

Day 2: Curu National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica

At the south-eastern tip of Nicoya Peninsula - in the tangled mangroves of Curu - the cycle of life is evident everywhere. Local residents include everything from exotic birds and deer to leafcutter ants, snake-eating frogs and hungry crocodiles. Land crabs shift in and out of their burrows with such force it’s enough to make the earth move. Hiking trails offer the chance to spot howler and spider monkeys, as well as the immense blue morpho butterfly. An afternoon on the beach provides time to swim or stroll along the shore.

Day 3: Osa Conservation Area, Costa Rica

Head ashore today to hike through the wild Osa Conservation Area, home to the country’s largest national park, Corcovado. Scenic Drake Bay, named after its discoverer Sir Francis Drake and allegedly still home to the explorer’s hidden treasures, is also known for hundreds of distinct species of plants, trees and animals. An incredible 2.5% of the entire planet’s biodiversity is found here, including all four of Costa Rica’s monkey species, as well as tree frogs, caimans, anteaters, scarlet macaws, coatis, and 16 different species of hummingbird.

Day 4: Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Today you will take a guided walk through a botanical reserve exploding with vibrant colour. From bromeliads, ginger plants and heliconias, to toucans, hummingbirds, mischievous monkeys, and fluttering butterflies, here you will find a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and tastes in every tree and bush you pass. Golfo Dulce is the ‘sweet gulf’ which separates Osa Peninsula from the mainland, and is one of only four tropical fjords on the planet. Bottlenose, spotted and spinner dolphins play here, whilst an excursion by kayak or skiff will allow you to discover the rare flora and fauna of the mangroves.

Day 5: Granito de Oro, Coiba National Park, Panama

Cross into Panamanian waters today as you sail through the islands of Coiba National Park, making a stop at Granito de Oro islet. Despite its small size the islet offers a little bit of everything: volcanic outcroppings at either end and a dense, mini-jungle in the centre, connected by a pristine white sand beach. Named one of the world’s top 10 diving sites, here you can snorkel among abundant marine life, kayak around rocky headlands or lounge on the warm sand in the company of hermit crabs. Continue to the National Park’s main island, Coiba, to stretch your legs on a hike through the jungle. With luck you may find mantled howler monkeys, scarlet macaws and two turtle species here.

Day 6: Panama’s South Coast

Today you will cruise along the south coast of Panama. There may be an opportunity for a snorkel or kayak before you settle down on deck and watch the world go by, keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way.

Day 7: Wildlife spotting in the Gulf of Panama

Cruise through the diverse isles and atolls of the Gulf of Panama, home to hundreds of avian and marine mammal species. Your guide will provide presentations and your Captain will determine the best locations and activities for the day ahead based on what nature delivers. You may even be lucky enough to spot a silvery glint streaking across the water – the unbelievable sight of mobula rays taking flight.

Day 8: Darien Jungle, Panama

The timeless Darien Jungle is best explored by motorised canoe, cruising the Mogue River in search of colourful roseate spoonbills, ibises and osprey, as well as raccoons fishing from the water’s edge. Delving deeper into this mysterious, almost mythical place, you will meet the indigenous Embera people, who will share their traditional customs, stories, songs and dance.

Day 9: Pearl Islands Archipelago and the Panama Canal

Discovered by Spanish conquistadors and named for the flood of pearls found, the 90 islands and nearly 130 islets of the Pearl Islands are now almost entirely uninhabited by humans and instead boast a plethora of tropical flora and fauna. Here you can enjoy superb bird watching on a skiff cruise around Bartolome Island’s bird sanctuary, home to frigatebirds, brown pelicans and yellow warblers. There may also be time to explore further with some snorkelling or by kayak, paddleboard or skiff. This evening you will experience one of the modern wonders of the world as you transit the Panama Canal. This feat of engineering spans around 50 miles and takes 8 hours to navigate as you cruise from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic.

Day 10: Fort San Lorenzo, Panama

Your final day includes a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fort San Lorenzo, built in the 1500s by the Spanish crown as a military stronghold and sacked multiple times by swashbuckling pirates. Tonight enjoy a Farewell Dinner and a slideshow presentation from your expedition team, to celebrate the highlights of your adventures in Central America.

Day 11: Disembarkation in Panama City, Panama

After an early breakfast you will disembark the ship. Your transfer will take you via the Agua Clara Visitor Centre with the chance to take in views of Lake Gatun and the newly expanded locks, before your expedition ends and you say farewell to your fellow-adventurers.

Notes

All voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only - embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on wildlife sightings and weather/sea conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential!

Safari Voyager

Grade: Standard

Type: Expedition Ship

A home away from home in the tropical climes of Costa Rica and Panama, the Safari Voyager is equipped for adventure on and in the water.

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