Expeditionary Cruise - Costa Rica to Panama Voyage

The remotest reaches accessible only by boat

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The Central American countries of Panama and Costa Rica are rich biodiversity hotspots with protected rainforests, mangroves and waterways that are home to some of the most rare and exotic wildlife in the world. Panama, which is located at the southernmost edge of the North American continent, is most famous for its engineered canal but also boasts for pristine wilderness virtually undiscovered by visitors while Costa Rica has long been heralded as a leader in preserving natural resources ecosystems with 27 National Parks. Meanwhile the calm waters of the Pacific coasts of these two nations are brimming with marine life. This Costa Rica to Panama expeditionary style cruise offers the unique opportunity to visit destinations that are unreachable by road, providing up close encounters with the region’s astonishing flora and fauna.

After embarking in San José, Costa Rica, you’ll head straight for the fragile rainforest ecosystem of Manuel Antonio Reserve to spot white-faced capuchin, spider and mantled howler monkeys before continuing to the Osa Peninsula, named one of the “most biologically intense places on Earth” by National Geographic. Here you’ll hike through secondary forest spotting scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots, collared peccaries and even tapirs along the way and discovering a whole range of bizarre, colourful and medicinal plants and flowers. You’ll swim and snorkel the crystal clear waters of Restingue Island and Cebaco Island (home to whales, dolphins, manta rays and turtles) and visit the remote community of Emberá people who still live much as they did when the Spanish first arrived in the 1500s. Finally entering the Panama canal you’ll spot green iguana, three-toed sloth and a whole host of brilliant and rare birdlife before returning to civilisation, discovering the 16th century Fort San Lorenzo and visiting the canal museum in Panama City.

Your cruise will be aboard the sleek MY Variety Voyager, which has just 36 stylishly appointed, ocean-view cabins, ensuring a small group size and first class hospitality. The Ocean’s Deck has a bar and shaded open air lounge and you will also find a library, indoor and outdoor dining areas, sun deck, mini-spa and fitness area on board. Throughout, floor-to-ceiling windows maximise unobstructed views of the passing scenery and coastline. The guides are master naturalists, known widely not only for their endless knowledge but also their political sway – rumour has it that President Perez Balladares cancelled mining plans and pledged to conserve Cana as a wilderness reserve on account of their knowledge-based appeals!

Why we like it

  • Boutique luxury cruising
  • Guided by the world's leading naturalists
  • Experience the most biologically intense places on Earth
  • Visit the remote community of Emberá people
  • White-faced capuchin, spider and mantled howler monkeys; scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots; iguanas, sloths, collared peccaries and tapirs; whales, dolphins, manta rays and turtles
  • Navigate the Panama Canal

At a Glance

Example itinerary based on ten day expedition. Please contact us for further details, dates and rates.

Day 1 | Arrive San Jose, Costa Rica
Day 2 | Embark and cruise towards Quepos
Day 3 | Hike with local naturalists along rainforest trails spotting white-faced capuchin, spider and mantled howler monkeys. Cool off with a swim from the reserve’s white-sand beaches
Day 4 | Discover the Osa Peninsula, named one of the “most biologically intense places on Earth” by National Geographic. Spot scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots, coatis, agoutis, collared peccaries, tyras and tapirs and countless exotic plants, Cruise to Panama.
Day 5 | Swim and snorkel the crystal waters of Restingue Island where tuna, wahoo, turtles, giant manta rays and dolphins are common.
Day 6 | Navigate the mangroves of Darien National Park and visit the remote community of the Emberá people.
Day 7 | Swim and snorkel the wildlife rich waters and coral reefs off of the Pearl Islands
Day 8 | Boat across Gatun Lake - part of the Panama Canal - looking out for green iguana, three-toed sloth and American crocodile en route. Explore Fort San Lorenzo, built by the Spanish in the late 16th century.
Day 9 | Visit Soberania National Park, which boasts record numebrs of bird species including toucans, hummingbirds, black-breasted puffbird, broad-billed motmot, purple-throated fruitcrow, fasciated antshrike and shining honeycreeper. Return to Panma City
Day 10 | Transfer to airport or continue with onward arrangements. End of itinerary.

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