Costa Rica & the Panama Canal Cruise

Ship Trip
Highlights

Highlights

  • See white-faced capuchin and howler monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Visit Drake Bay, the winter home and breeding ground for many humpback whales
  • Transit the iconic Panama Canal
  • Visit the Embera Indians, one of the seven indigenous groups living in Panama
  • Explore Panama City's historic old town
  • Explore Coiba Island Marine Park, considered one of the ten top diving spots in the world
Map

Map

Map for Costa Rica & the Panama Canal Cruise

Tour Overview

Embrace the exotic beauty of coastal Costa Rica and Panama. Experience tropical landscapes and seascapes by yacht. Transit the Panama Canal in style!

We begin by exploring Costa Rica’s west coast. We’ll call at remote national parks and tropical islands. And we’ll conclude by transiting the Panama Canal!

The Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama is an explorer’s paradise. Each day offers a new discovery: a port of call, a crystal cove, a cultural experience, a glimpse of history. Teeming jungles, charming towns, islands abuzz with life: discover the cultures, flora and fauna of Central America!

What's Included

Tour Price Includes

  • Costa Rica airport transfer
  • Special access permits, entry and park fees
  • Team of expedition staff
  • Guided activities
  • Sightseeing and community visits
  • All Zodiac excursions
  • Port fees
  • Pre–departure materials
  • Educational program
  • Interactive workshops
  • Evening entertainment
  • All shipboard meals
  • Day 1 hotel is included

Tour Price Does Not Include

  • Commercial flights
  • Panama airport transfer
  • Program Enhancements/optional excursions
  • Gratuities
  • Personal expenses
  • Mandatory medical evacuation insurance
  • Additional expenses in the event of delays or itinerary changes
  • Possible fuel surcharges
  • Pre- & post-trip hotel accommodation

Itinerary

Day 1: San Jose, Costa Rica

Arrive at your leisure in San José and meet your fellow travellers at our group hotel in the heart of San José. San José, the country’s capital, is nestled within the Central Valley region, with the Talamanca Mountains to the south and volcanoes to the north.

San Jose mountains

Day 2: Puerto Caldera

Enjoy the morning exploring the heart of San José with local guides, before transferring to the M/S Panorama. After setting sail in the afternoon, we visit the extraordinary bioluminescence area of Punta Cuchillo.

MS Panorama enjoying view

Day 3: Curú and Quesera Beach

Opt for a fascinating birding excursion through the Curú Wildlife Refuge, led by local guides and our team of naturalists. In the afternoon, step foot on the secluded white sands of Quesera Beach, where you will indulge in a delicious beach barbeque and a swim or snorkel in crystal clear waters. Keep your eyes open for humpback whales.

Squirrel Monkey

Day 4: Bahía Drake and Corcovado National Park

Hike at Corcovado National Park, the largest park in Costa Rica, covering almost a third of the Osa Peninsula. National Geographic has called Corcovado, “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity.” Embark on a mangrove cruise through the ecologically rich Sierpe River. Nearby is Bahía Drake, known to be a common wintering and breeding ground for humpback whales.

Costa Rica beach

Day 5: Puerto Jiménez – Golfo Dulce

We start the day with a visit to the local Botanical Gardens for a peek at the region’s botanical delights. Get your camera and binoculars ready to spot wild scarlet macaws, who are regular visitors to the jungles surrounding Puerto Jiménez. In the afternoon, we will visit a family owned and operated sustainable cocoa farm, where we will have a local lunch and learn about how chocolate is grown and made.

Scarlet Macaw © David Newland

Day 6: Isla Coiba National Park & Marine Preserve, Panama

Learn the poignant history of Isla Coiba’s penal colony, which housed Panama’s most notorious criminals and political prisoners for more than ninety years. Choose the guided walk that suits you best, spotting bird species as you go, in this natural paradise that retains 80% of its original forest cover. Relax by the beach or strap on your snorkel for views of the largest coral reef in the Eastern Pacific.

Tropical Beach of Coibita, aka Rancheria, with Isla Coiba in the Background. Coiba National Park, Panama

Day 7: Azureo Peninsula

Visit Pedasi, a quaint fishing village that is rich in culture and history. We will explore the village and take a guided tour of Museo Moscoso—the home of the first female Panamanian President, Mireya Moscoso, whose family has shaped the history of Panama’s independence. After lunch ashore, we set sail to explore the mangroves of the Azureo Peninsula.

Mangrove trees along the shore reflected in water surface of the Caribbean sea, Panama, Central America

Day 8: Playa Muerto, Darién National Park

Journey into the lowland tropical forests of Darién National Park for an excursion to a traditional Emberá community—one of the seven Indigenous nations within Panama. Receive a warm welcome, watch a cultural performance, and appreciate the beautiful handicrafts and traditions.

Dancing in Embera village

Day 9: The Panama Canal

Depart from the marina for a guided walking tour of Panama City, with stops at the Panama Canal Museum, the Miraflores Locks, and the UNESCO Word Heritage Site, Casco Viejo—Panama City’s historic old town. When you re-embark the M/S Panorama, you’ll enter the locks to officially begin your transit through the Panama Canal: gateway to the Atlantic Ocean!

Panama Canal

Day 10: Lake Gatún and Fort San Lorenzo UNESCO World Heritage Site

Enjoy an excursion to Fort San Lorenzo, a Spanish colonial ruin and UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, with possibilities for spotting birds and sloths along the way. Then it’s all aboard to transit the locks of Lake Gatún and begin the final leg of your seaward journey. Enjoy the on board education program and scenic views on deck as you cruise.

Panama City

Day 11: Panama City, Panama

Disembark the M/S Panorama at Colón’s 2000 Terminal and board your complimentary shuttle to the airport or our group hotel in Panama City.

beautiful view of panama city, central america

What to Expect

Our small ship cruising programs allow you to experience the best of the natural world, while enjoying the comforts of our friendly floating hotel. The ship generally makes crossing between islands at night, so every morning you awake to new vistas and discoveries. Every day we offer a combination of interesting shore excursions and fun shipboard activities. You can choose which elements of the program you want to participate in.

Our excurions onshore will involve a relatively low level of exertion, but you will need a reasonable level of mobility to get up and down the gangway and climb into and out of Zodiacs (with assistance). Some of our shore landings will be ‘wet’, requiring waterproof boots. Once you have left the zodiac, you’ll find our shore excursions accommodate both those who wish to enjoy a gentle stroll and those who prefer more active hikes. Our onboard specialists will join us on these shore excurions to provide interpretation and narration to these wonderful landscapes and experiences.

Each evening we will gather in the lounge to recount the days events and share memorable stories. Our onboard musician will provide some lively entertainment during happy hour and the expedition leader will outline the following days’s schedule. Our resource staff of naturalists, historians, and other guest speakers will give informative talks at various times throughout the voyage.

Meals in the ship’s dining room are a great opportunity to meet new friends and recount the day’s adventures. Special diets can be accommodated with advance notice. Safety is also a top priority with Eagle-Eye Tours – our team has extensive experience in the field, and all of our Voyages are run in conjunction with operators with the highest safety standards.

When the ship is underway, it is a wonderful time to join a naturalist on deck, take photos of the stunning scenery, or get caught up on some reading in the library.

We know that everyone travels for different reasons. Over the years, however, we have found one common element among the guest who choose to travel with us – a thirst of knowledge and authentic experience. Knowing this drives us to ensure the highest quality learning experience on our trips, by taking time to carefully design each trip we offer.

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