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Costa Rica & the Panama Canal

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300
8 Days
Availability : Dec 2018 / Jan - Mar 2019
San Jose - Costa Rica
Panama City - Panama
National Geographic Expeditions

 

 

EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Traveling aboard the new National Geographic Quest, cross through the historic Panama Canal and examine its fascinating lock system with our onboard experts.
  • By special permission, take a guided walk through the tropical forests of Barro Colorado Nature Monument, site of a National Geographic-supported wildlife tracking study.
  • Snorkel the pristine reefs surrounding Isla Coiba, one of Panama’s most remote national parks.
  • Discover the hidden waterfall pools within the jungles of the Osa Peninsula, and cruise into Costa Rica’s Golfo Dulce to visit Casa Orquídeas, a flowering tropical paradise reachable only by boat.

 

EXPEDITION TEAM

Accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of experts – from naturalists to regional specialists – who will share their knowledge and insights the wildlife, landscape and local culture. Select a member of the expedition team below to see their bio and dates.

Kike Calvo
 
ITINERARY

Immerse yourself in the natural wonders along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama on a voyage aboard the new National Geographic Quest. Venture into the rain forest of Corcovado National Park; search for monkeys, frogs, sloths, and brightly colored birds on the Osa Peninsula; or take an optional horseback ride on pristine beaches. Cap off your voyage with a crossing of the legendary Panama Canal.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.

 
 
DAY 1: U.S./SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA/PUERTO CALDERA

Upon arrival in San José, transfer to Puerto Caldera and embark the National Geographic Quest.

Meals Included:Dinner
 
DAY 2: OSA PENINSULA

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 beach, or trek through the rain forest for a chance to see four species of monkeys—howler, spider, capuchin, and squirrel.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 3: OSA PENINSULA/GOLFO DULCE

Enter the mangrove-fringed Golfo Dulce, a protected gulf along the southwestern edge of Costa Rica. Venture ashore at the white sands of Playa Blanca. Then head inland to visit remote indigenous communities and experience daily life on the Osa Peninsula. Meet with local artisans working with cocoa, heart of palm, and sugar cane, and watch as they ply their trades. Later, hike in mature rain forest where sloths, monkeys, and brightly colored birds can be spotted, or kayak in the Golfo Dulce, one of the few tropical fjords in the world. In the evening, enjoy drinks and a beautiful sunset.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 4: GOLFO DULCE

Visit the Casa Orquídeas, a tropical paradise of ornamental palms, bromeliads, heliconias, orchids, and flowering gingers closed to the general public and reachable only by boat. Keep your eye out for tanagers, parrots, and toucans. Later, explore the placid bay, ideal for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, expeditions landing craft rides, and swimming.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 5: COIBA NATIONAL PARK, PANAMA

Isla Coiba, one of Panama’s most remote national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers some of the best reefs for snorkeling in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Observe a vibrant undersea world while swimming, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 6: GULF OF PANAMA ISLETS/PANAMA CANAL TRANSIT

Today, explore the tiny islets of the Gulf of Panama by Zodiac or kayak. Here, we might spot frigate birds, 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 and is still traversed by some 14,000 ships every year. As cargo ships tend to pass through the canal during the day, we’ll most likely begin our crossing at night, when the canal is dramatically lit.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 7: GATÚN LAKE/PANAMA CANAL TRANSIT

Board a Zodiac 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 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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 8: COLÓN/PANAMA CITY/U.S.

After breakfast, disembark in Colón and transfer to the airport in Panama City for your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast
 
WHAT TO EXPECT

Your expedition experience can be tailored to the activity level you choose, whether it’s light or moderate or a little of both. Travelers should be in good health, comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time, and able to get in and out of expedition landing craft. Daily activities may include Zodiac cruises, easy hikes, walking tours, and visits to cultural or historic sites, with options each day for more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, or biking.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert or photographer joins the expedition team on select departures.

 
SHIPS & DECK PLANS

Traveling aboard the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet, you’ll enjoy the daily thrill of discovery without sacrificing comfort. Each of our ships provides an inviting home base with superior amenities, personalized service, and a vibrant yet casual onboard atmosphere. Step aboard and you’ll find comfortable cabins, a well-stocked library, and dining rooms serving regionally inspired cuisine with fresh, local ingredients. Expansive decks provide an exceptional vantage point for spotting and photographing wildlife.

National Geographic Quest 

The National Geographic Quest traces the coast of North America, bringing travelers to Alaska and British Columbia in the summer, and heading south in the winter to navigate Baja California and the Sea of Cortez as well as Costa Rica and Panama. The ship is designed to navigate narrow inlets and wildlife-rich passageways inaccessible to larger ships.

 
 
EXTENSIONS

Add a three-day pre-trip extension to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or seven-day post-trip extension to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Arenal Volcano, and Tortuguero on select departures. Please call for details.

Extend your trip by combining this voyage with our Costa Rica: Cloud Forest to the Caribbean land-based expedition.

WHAT’S INCLUDED
  • Transfers upon arrival/departure for guests booked on recommended group flights
  • Accommodation aboard the world-class expedition ships of the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet or a luxury chartered ship
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities
SPECIAL OFFERS
Complimentary Airfare

Book by October 31, 2018 and receive free international round-trip airfare between Miami and Costa Rica or Panama, or a complimentary Panama City extension, on the December 8 and 15, 2018 departures and all 2019 departures. Offer is for new bookings only, may not be combined with other offers, and is subject to availability. Please call for details.

Available Departures
  • Dec 8-15, 2018
  • Dec 15-22, 2018
  • Jan 5-12, 2019
  • Jan 12-19, 2019
  • Jan 19-26, 2019
  • Jan 26-Feb 2, 2019
  • Feb 2-9, 2019
  • Mar 29-Apr 5, 2019
Via Travel & Cruising
Via Travel & Cruising
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