Ultimate Costa Rica & Panamá
WHY WE LOVE THIS ADVENTURE
LESS IS MORE
With a maximum of 62 guests, fewer passengers on-board means that expeditions are made up of small groups and the knowledgeable crew can devote more attention to their guests.
Spend 15 days exploring Costa Rica and Panamá’s best-preserved coastlines, islands, national parks, wildlife refuges, and jungles on this impressive tour.
FLORA AND FAUNA
This region is rich in biodiversity and your expeditions allow you to experience the abundant plant and wildlife that cannot be seen elsewhere.
BETWEEN TWO OCEANS
Experience one of the most famous sea passages; transit between two oceans along the 48-mile marvel, the Panamá Canal.
Visit the Kuna and Emberá, Native peoples that have maintained their language and traditional way of life, learn about their remarkable heritage, and admire their colorful handcrafted art.
No hidden fees for excursions gives you the option to kayak, hike, snorkel, paddle board, or hang out on-board and enjoy the view.
ULTIMATE COSTA RICA & PANAMÁ
Ultimate Costa Rica & Panamá
This sample itinerary is only a guideline; variations may occur to maximize your experience.
Day 1 – Panamá City, Panamá*
You’ll be warmly greeted at the airport upon your arrival by the outfitter and transferred to the Bristol Hotel for your overnight stay. Unwind from your day of travel enjoying the hotel’s amenities, or stretch your legs on a walk to nearby city sites and attractions.
Day 2 – Panamá City* – Embark
Enjoy a morning of leisure or explore nearby city markets and café’s. This afternoon, rendezvous with your shipmates in our Bristol Hotel hospitality area, then board the Safari Voyager for a hearty welcome from your captain and crew. At sunset, watch the city’s glittering lights as you sail into the Pacific.
Day 3 – Darién Jungle
Untouched and untamed, the Darién Jungle is nearly as wild and magnificent today as it was for early conquistadors 500 years ago. Traveling the Mogue River by motorized dugout canoe, your expedition guide will help you spot wildlife-astonishingly-colored roseate spoonbills, ibises, osprey, and raccoons can be seen fishing for breakfast from the water’s edge. After welcoming formalities at a local Emberá village, they’ll share their customs and stories, and you’ll have an opportunity to buy handicrafts from the villagers, including their highly-prized and intricately woven rainforest baskets.
Day 4 – Darien Jungle / Marine Life Search
Explore the vast Punta Patiño Nature Reserve on foot. Part of Darién Province and the largest natural protected area in Central America, your exploration of this mythical jungle reveals the lush forest and exotic wildlife. Back on board, relax and enjoy the changing scenery with the cocktail du jour in hand. Motor toward Las Perlas-the Pearl Islands-where golden sand meets topaz-colored water, and beaches make way for lush vegetation and rocky volcanic outcroppings. Keep watch along the way for bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, smaller shark species, and early in the migration season, whales.
Day 5 – Pearl Islands Archipelago / Panamá Canal
The 90 islands and nearly 130 islets of the Pearl Islands are almost entirely uninhabited by humans but play host to a plethora of tropical flora and fauna. Mid-summer through early-fall, dolphins and humpbacks frequent the archipelago-so keep your eyes peeled for acrobatic spinning and telltale blow spouts. Select your modus operandi-kayak, paddle board, skiff, or snorkel-and set out in a nature lovers’ dreamscape. Take in the whole of it, as you prepare for one of the most memorable travel experiences-transiting between two seas along the 48-mile marvel, the Panamá Canal.
Day 6 – Chagres River
Once the “world’s most valuable” river and Panamá’s largest, the Chagres was the route by which Incan gold was transported in Colonial times, and today, is a vital artery of the canal. Walk among the battlements and canons of Fort San Lorenzo-a UNESCO World Heritage Site-built in the 1500s by the Spanish crown as a military stronghold and sacked multiple times by swashbuckling pirates. And if conditions allow, see the wild side of the river by skiff, paddle board, and kayak. Hundreds of avian species live in this migration hot-spot-ground cuckoos, crested eagles, trogons, toucans, white hawks, with their “neighbor” monkeys, wild pigs, white tailed deer, and other wildlife.
Day 7 – Guna Yala
Home to one of the best preserved Native cultures in the Americas, the indigenous province of Guna Yala (formerly the San Blas Islands) encompasses over 360 islands of white sand beaches backed by palm trees and dotted with thatched-roofs. Discover the remarkable heritage of the Guna (or Kuna)-don’t pass on a chance to buy their colorful handcrafted “molas.” Enjoy the natural wonders of these islands with a snorkel in the crystalline Caribbean waters.
Day 8 – Guna Yala
Another beautiful day awaits in Guna Yala. Slow the pace lazily lounging on a beach or taking an easy stroll in the sand with views of the brilliant sea. Relish one last snorkel, paddle board, or kayak in these beautiful islands. This festive evening includes a special captain’s dinner-toast to your absolutely unforgettable voyage and the adventures you’ve experienced so far.
Day 9 – Colón / Panamá City
After breakfast and a morning ride to Panamá City, take in historic sites. At Miraflores Locks, watch large ships transit the canal and learn the waterway’s history during a presentation by the Panamá Canal Authority. A drive through the former US Panamá Canal Zone ends at Casco Viejo-a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy lunch and a stroll through Casco Viejo’s colonial compound with spectacular views from the top of old city’s wall-fishing boats dotting the Pacific Ocean, massive ships lined up for the canal transit, and the skyline of modern Panamá City. Returning to the Safari Voyager, sail toward the beautiful Guna Yala. Laundry service will be provided today.
Day 10 – Gulf of Panamá Islands
The diverse islands and islets in the Gulf of Panamá are all unique, and today, its captain’s choice as you cruise among them. Hosting hundreds of avian species, you may enjoy superb bird watching on an exciting skiff exploration, or stroll a charming coastal village that boasts the hemisphere’s second oldest church. This evening, sailing further away from civilization, you could almost chart your course by the stars.
Day 11 – Granito de Oro, Coiba National Park, Panamá
Sail through the islands of Coiba National Park, making a stop at the postcard-perfect Granito de Oro islet. Offering a little bit of everything despite its small size, volcanic outcroppings at either end of this tiny landmass and a dense, mini-jungle in the center are connected by gorgeous white sand beach. Named one of the world’s top 10 diving sites, your day of play features snorkeling among abundant marine life, kayaking around rocky outcroppings, and lounging on the warm sand. It’s another perfect day in paradise.
Day 12 – Golfo Dulce
A birder’s paradise, explore a tropical preserve exploding with vibrant color. From bromeliads, ginger plants, and heliconias, to toucans, hummingbirds, mischievous monkeys, and fluttering butterflies-there’s a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and tastes in every tree and bush you pass on your walking tour. In Golfo Dulce, which separates Oso Peninsula from the mainland, explore the rare flora and fauna of mangroves by kayak and skiff.
Day 13 – Osa Conservation Area
Adventure lies around every bend in the isolated, wild Osa Conservation Area, home to the country’s largest national park, Corcovado. The area is known for its diverse plant and animal species-a whopping 2.5% of the entire planet’s biodiversity is found here-including all four of Costa Rica’s monkeys, tree frogs, caimans, anteaters, scarlet macaws, coatis, and 16 different species of hummingbird. Explore this vast area putting feet to trail on an invigorating hike through the jungle. At the end of the day, enjoy the sunset with a tropical beverage in-hand during cocktail hour and retell stories of the day with your travel-mates.
Day 14 – Manuel Antonio National Park
Boasting 109 species of mammals, over 330 bird species, and abundant marine life among its incredibly diverse plant life, Manuel Antonio National Park provides endless opportunity for discovery. On a jungle hike, keep your eyes tuned to the canopy above, watching for two- and three-toed sloths, white-faced capuchins, scarlet macaws, many-colored tanagers, coatis, iguanas, and other colorful and camouflaged creatures. And, keep your ears tuned for the screeching of howler monkeys.
Day 15 – Curú National Wildlife Refuge
Enjoy your last day on the southeastern tip of Nicoya Peninsula-untamed wildlife, lush scenery, and active recreation. Local “residents” include a variety of animal, reptile, avian, and insect species, including frigate birds and hummingbirds, and army ants and butterflies. Hike in Curú National Wildlife Refuge-a prime place to inspect diverse flora and fauna. Off shore, the vibrant, turquoise waters near Isla Tortuga offer inviting opportunities to snorkel, kayak, and paddle board. Cap off your week with a celebratory farewell dinner, and then join your expedition team for slideshow highlighting the week’s adventures.
Day 16 – San José, Costa Rica – Disembark
Enjoy an early breakfast aboard and say adios to your crew. Upon arrival at the Caldera Port, you’ll be transferred to San José to connect with your flight home.
*For trips departing from San José, Costa Rica, the itinerary will be in reverse.
Flexible, Fun & Full!
Your days will be filled from the moment you wake until you retire to your cabin with opportunities for group meals, off-ship outings, and presentations in the evening. You can choose to participate in the activities and presentations each day or sit them out, but one thing is for sure, this cruise will keep you moving!
We’ve been connecting our clients to water adventures around the world since 1987. We partner with select outfitters who share our values and are pros at creating exceptional experiences. There is no fee for our service; we earn our commission from the outfitters we represent, and the cost of your expedition is the same as booking direct.
Depending on which itinerary that you choose, your trip will begin either in Panamá City, Panamá at the Tocumen International Airport or in San José, Costa Rica at the Juan Santamaría International Airport. You will be met by the outfitter at the airport and transferred to your hotel (the Bristol Hotel in Panamá City or the Intercontinental Hotel in San José) for your first night’s stay. The following day you will begin your adventure.
The last night on the ship, you will have a special farewell dinner, and the next morning after breakfast, you will disembark in either San José, Costa Rica or in Panamá City, Panamá for your flight home.
All on-board meals; premium spirits, wine, and beer; non-alcoholic beverages; one night’s stay at Bristol Hotel or Intercontinental Hotel; exclusive transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark days; entry fees to national parks/preserves; all adventure activities and equipment from the boat. Your vessel also has wellness offerings such as fitness equipment, yoga mats, and a complimentary massage.
Weather & Water Temperatures
April – October in this region is usually warm during the day with high humidity. The daily temperatures are typically between 85°F – 95°F and the evenings will cool down to around 70°F. In the tropics rain can fall throughout the year, but most of the rainfall is short and you can expect lots of sun year-round. Similarly, the water temperatures are warm with little fluctuation throughout the year. The average water temperature is between 80°F – 85°F; perfect for enjoying water sports.
Coastal Central America
Costa Rica and Panamá are a biodiversity hotspot and part of the major north-south flyway for migratory birds in the Americas. The region’s flora and fauna is abundant and often endemic to the region, making this an incomparable trip for wild and birdlife opportunities. Transition between two seas through the 48-mile Panamá Canal, a human engineering marvel and home to a diverse amount of wildlife.
This is a small-scale cruise and your vessel will have a maximum number of 62 guests and a generous guest to guide ratio of 2.2 guests for each crew member. This means that you will have plenty of opportunities to learn about the landscape, ecology, and culture of the area, as well as have expert instruction for all your adventure activities.
Meet the Safari Voyager – a newly refurbished vessel that offers ample vantage points including the 270-degree window-lined lounge for taking in the sights. The ship carries all the adventure equipment for guests including kayaks, paddleboards, inflatable skiffs, hiking poles, and snorkel equipment. All cabins are equipped with a TV and DVD, iPod docking station, private bath, view windows, air conditioning, and generous closet space. Your vessel includes a cozy library and elegant dining room to sit back and relax. The vessel also comes equipped with fitness equipment, yoga mats, and a complimentary massage for you to enjoy.
You can look forward to a delicious daily menu filled with meals designed to reflect the flavors of the region including locally sourced ingredients when possible. For breakfast – you can choose from an early riser breakfast with fresh baked pastries and fruit or a full breakfast with hot, cold, and specialty dishes. For lunch – you will find a range of salads, sandwiches, and homemade soups. For happy hour – enjoy a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres in the lounge. For dinner -choose from several entrées including fresh, local seafood and meats or a vegetarian dish with a chef-selected wine pairing and be sure to leave room for an indulgent dessert, such as tiramisu.
Length: 15 nights
Price: $8,345 – $15,395 per person; $770 for port taxes & fees; Kids ages 8 to 13 save $500 per child
Season: April; June – August; October
Min. Age: 8 years
Activity: Expedition Cruise
Adventure Level: Mild
Overview of Ultimate Costa Rica & Panamá