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Panama To Costa Rica + Monteverde, Arenal Volcano And Tortuguero

Panama To Costa Rica + Monteverde, Arenal Volcano And Tortuguero

At a glance

Duration: 15 Days, 14 Nights

Coverage: Colon, Panama to San Jose, Costa Rica

From: $10,410

Season: January - March, December

Activities: Wildlife

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Lindblad Expeditions, in partnership with National Geographic

An extraordinary, holistic expedition

Experience all the wildness and beauty of Costa Rica and Panama on a sweeping adventure through the canal, along the coasts, and inland to a mist-shrouded cloud forest, volcano, lake, and a car-free, jungle village.

Highlights

  • Explore the Pacific and Caribbean sides of Costa Rica, inland rain forests, mountains, and see wonderful wildlife
  • Transit the Panama Canal, with an exclusive visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute at Barro Colorado Island
  • Kayak, snorkel, swim, hike—actively explore every day
  • Hike through the mist-shrouded cloud forest reserve in Monteverde and enjoy great bird watching
  • Walk suspension bridges in the dense forest surrounding Arenal Volcano and relax in nearby hot springs
  • Visit the remote, car-less town of Tortuguero and venture through rain-forest-shrouded canals in small boats.

Exhilarating coastal adventures

First explore aboard the versatile National Geographic Quest, with a variety of expedition tools. You’ll walk in the rain forest, kayak through mangrove forests, search for whales and dolphins in an expedition landing craft, and transit the Panama Canal—a modern wonder of the world. Snorkel at Isla Coiba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the best reefs in the Eastern Pacific.

An extensive inland exploration

Following your expedition, travel to dramatic Monteverde cloud forest for naturalist-guided walks in the rain forest reserve. Walk suspension bridges along Arenal Volcano, active since 1968. Visit a family owned, third-generation coffee farm with a chance to pick coffee cherries during a tour of the grounds. Drive to Lake Arenal, which we cross in small boats.

Wild Tortuguero: The Caribbean coast

After a short charter flight and a lake crossing by private boat, you’ll find yourself in remote, wild Tortuguero National Park. Stay in a rustic lodge at the water's edge, wander the narrow streets of the car-free village where the rain forest pushes in from all sides. Experience the wildness on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica by venturing into the narrow canals that let us navigate deep into the park in search of monkeys, caiman, and tropical birds.

Travel with an exceptional team

Explore with the largest, most knowledgeable expedition team in the region. With one naturalist for every 12 guests, you’re ensured more access and varied points of view. With no assigned groups, you are free to experience the different personalities and specialties of our staff. They know these trails and coastlines well, adding insight, depth, and clarity to each landing. Our naturalists are adept at spotting wildlife and our photo instructors will help you with camera settings in the jungle and aboard ship. Their enthusiasm for the region and its biodiversity is contagious.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

Day 1 — U.S./Panama City, Panama/Colón/Embark

Upon arrival in Colon, transfer by land to Panama City and embark our ship National Geographic Quest. (D)

Day 2 — Gatún Lake/Panama Canal Transit

Board our 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. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — 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 frigatebirds, 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. It 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. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Isla Coiba National Park, Panama

The first stop in Panama this morning is at the remote Isla Coiba, one of the many islands of Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once a penal colony, the island has long been protected and accessible by special permit only. Among its many endemic species are the Coiba Island agouti and the mantled howler monkey, as well as four varieties of sea turtle. Discover rich marine life while snorkeling, go kayaking or hiking, try stand-up paddleboarding, or simply relax on the beach. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Enter the mangrove-fringed Golfo Dulce along the southwestern edge of Costa Rica. Visit Casa Orquídeas, a tropical paradise of ornamental palms, bromeliads, heliconias, and orchids, closed to the general public and reached by boat only. Keep your eye out for tanagers, parrots, and toucans. Later, explore the placid bay, ideal for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, Zodiac rides, and swimming. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Golfo Dulce/Osa Peninsula

Go ashore in the pristine waters of Playa Blanca. Head inland to meet and share with inspiring local families living in remote communities and working with cocoa, heart of palm, and sugar cane. Hike mature rain forest or kayak in peaceful waters in Golfo Dulce, the only tropical fiord in the continent. In the evening, enjoy drinks ashore and, hopefully, a beautiful sunset. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Corcovado National Park

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 coast, or trek through the rain forest for a chance to see four species of monkeys—howler, spider, capuchin, and squirrel. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Puerto Caldera/Monteverde

Disembark National Geographic Quest and transfer to the Tarcoles River to bird watch. Later, visit the Bat Jungle exhibit or hear from an early Quaker settler. Stay at a peaceful retreat with plenty of picturesque views. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Monteverde

Breakfast at the hotel before visiting a butterfly farm where we’ll have the opportunity to see dozens of local species in a short time. After lunch, we’ll tour the Monteverde reserve with trained Naturalists, relying on their expertise to spot mantled howler monkeys and possibly the rare Resplendent Quetzal. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Monteverde/Arenal

We'll enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then visit a family-owned farm practicing sustainable agriculture and traditional sugar processing. A local guide will give us a walking tour of the farm and accompany us as we see the original trapiche sugar press. We'll have a chance to sample the local sugar cane liquor called guaro. After the tour, we'll drive to Lake Arenal, which we'll cross in 40-passenger boats landing at a restaurant on the lake's far side. Afterwards, we will check into an elegant hotel surrounded by gardens and pastures with grazing animals, and every room offers a panoramic view of the smoldering Arenal volcano. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Arenal Volcano

Walk the Arenal Hanging Bridges strung more than 3 kilometers through the rain forest canopy, and then explore the Arenal bridges winding through the dense forest. In the evening, relax in thermal pools naturally heated by the volcano. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Arenal/Tortuguero

Transfer from your hotel to the Arenal airstrip for a charter flight to Tortuguero, a spectacular lowland forest on Costa Rica’s northeast coast, accessible only by water or air. A short boat ride brings you to the rustic Aninga Lodge, set on the water’s edge. Settle into your accommodations in charming private bungalows raised above the rain forest floor and enjoy lunch at the lodge’s restaurant. The lodge also has swimming pools and a walking trail to take advantage of. Later, explore the canals of Tortuguero National Park in small boats with your naturalist guides. Be on the lookout for howler, spider and capuchin monkeys as well as caiman, ibis, tiger herons, curassow and myriad other bird species. Dine tonight at the lodge restaurant, nestled in the middle of the rain forest. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Tortuguero

Set out by boat to explore more of Tortuguero National Park’s canals. You can choose guided boats or go by kayak for a more personal exploration. In the early afternoon, you’ll have free time to enjoy the lodge’s amenities such as the pool or optional spa treatments before visiting the Sea Turtle Conservancy. There you’ll learn about the history of the region and important conservation work taking place on Tortuguero’s beaches. Later, stroll through the car-less village to see small shops before dining at Miss Junies, a restaurant with a rich heritage and Afro-Caribbean flair. (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Tortuguero/San José

En route to San José, stop to visit Sibú Chocolatier, makers of some of the world’s finest organic chocolate. Learn the Aztec & Mayan history of the cacao plant and enjoy a workshop on preparing chocolate. The day ends with a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 15 — San Jose/U.S.

Transfer to the San José airport for flights home. (B)

Panama To Costa Rica + Monteverde, Arenal Volcano & Tortuguero

Dates & Rates

Dates 1 2 3 4 5 Single 1 SIngle 2
Dec 15, 2018 $10,410 $11,010 $11,410 $12,210 $13,110 $13,910 $14,810
Dec 29, 2018 $10,410 $11,010 $11,410 $12,210 $13,110 $13,910 $14,810
Jan 12, 2019 $10,410 $11,010 $11,410 $12,210 $13,110 $13,910 $14,810
Jan 26, 2019 $10,410 $11,010 $11,410 $12,210 $13,110 $13,910 $14,810
Mar 29, 2019 $10,410 $11,010 $11,410 $12,210 $13,110 $13,910 $14,810

Ships

National Geographic Quest

National Geographic Quest

Lindblad's newest ship is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built expedition vessel made for exploring coastal waters, shallow coves, and fast-moving channels where wildlife congregate while sailing with the luxury of supreme comfort. Spacious cabins, open decks for wildlife viewing, and specialty tools for exploration make it the ideal platform for sailing in the remote areas of Costa Rica. View ship details...

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