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Colorful tree frog of Costa Rica

Costa Rica and Panama Canal

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Greg Mortimer
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Take the opportunity to explore Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia & the Panama Canal on this 11-day cruise aboard Greg Mortimer. Hike through virgin rainforest, look out for acrobatic dolphin pods, swim and snorkel in splendid isolation where the jungle meets the ocean, Zodiac cruise upriver to meet Emberá Mogue, an indigenous community living in the Darién jungle, before crossing the iconic Panama Canal. In Cartagena de Indias, soak up the Afro-Caribbean vibes in this vibrant and colorful UNESCO-protected fort city.
Panama City's Bridge of the AmericasSpotting wildlife in the jungleSunset over CartagenaHiking Costa Rica's stunning rainforestsColorful tree frog of Costa Rica
Highlights
  • Experience an unforgettable daylight crossing of the extraordinary Panama Canal
  • Enjoy a warm welcome by the indigenous Emberá Mogue community in Panama’s Darién Jungle
  • Meet blue-footed, red-footed, and Nazca boobies at ‘Poor Man’s Galápagos’ – Isla de la Plata
  • Discover the staggering beauty of Colombia’s Chocó region
  • Soak up the colonial splendor of UNESCO-listed Cartagena’s old town
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: San Jose, Costa Rica

In San José, make your own way to the group hotel and enjoy time at leisure. 

Day 2: Puerto Caldera | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
After a leisurely buffet breakfast, check-out of your room and drive two-hours west to Puerto Caldera where your vessel Greg Mortimer awaits. After boarding, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before the important briefings before sitting down to enjoy lunch as you sail to Isla Tortuga (Turtle Island). You can relax on the white sand beach or venture into the warm water to swim, snorkel or dive. The water is teeming with a dizzying array of fish and other creatures including manta rays, spinner dolphins and perhaps sharks. There are even some buried treasures there – literally. There are three shipwrecks off the shore of the island, offering plenty of opportunities to explore the remains of sunken vessels. At Isla Tortuga, we will do our kayak orientation and have your first introductory paddle. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Costa Rica and Panama

Day 3: Manuel Antonio National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Boasting over 100 species of mammals, 184 species of birds and a plethora of diverse flora, Manuel Antonio National Park is a paradise for wildlife lovers. Costa Rica’s star attractions - two and three toed sloths, white-faced monkeys and toucans can all be found on hikes that weave through the park. Hiking trails snake their way through the parkland offering access to its rainforest, waterfalls and remote white sand beaches whilst from the water we can snorkel, kayak and paddleboard to view the exquisite coral. Anchor off the shores of Espadilla Beach and Zodiac to shore for a wet landing. Walk along this soft-sand beach or follow a trail through the rainforest parallel to the beach to get to Playa Manuel Antonio, which is the most popular beach inside the park. It’s a short, deep crescent of white sand backed by lush rainforest. There are numerous clearly-marked hiking trails to choose from - a circular loop trail (1.4km/0.9 mile) around a high promontory bluff, which includes a visit to the highest point on this hike – Punta Catedral, which offers spectacular views, takes approximately 25 to 30 minutes return. The hiking trails in Manuel Antonio National Park offer excellent opportunities to spot monkeys, sometimes sloths, agoutis, armadillos and coatis.

Day 4: Corcovado National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The untamed Osa Peninsula is considered by National Geographic to be ‘one of the most biologically intense places on earth’. Considered to be the crown jewel in the park system of Costa Rica, Corcovado National Park is the country's largest and one of the most remote parks in Costa Rica. It is home to the largest and tropical primary lowland rainforest in the world and provides habitat for a plethora of endangered plant and animal species including the scarlet macaw, various frogs, and the tapir - the largest terrestrial mammal in Central and South America. We enjoy a hike along well-marked trails within the national park to not only search for wildlife but also to experience the incredible wet tropical rainforests containing tall trees measuring over 60 meters (197 feet), lianas, epiphytes, palms, gingers and orchids.

Day 5: Gulfo Dulce

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Golfo Dulce, or Sweet Gulf, is a large bay that hugs pristine beaches, rivers and tall evergreen forests - a protected area known as the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve. As one of the wettest places on Earth with over 5,000 millimeters (200 inches) of rainfall per year, the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve features some of the world’s tallest trees
The warm tropical waters in the gulf are a great place to enjoy aquatic activities, where spinner dolphins are often seen frolicking in the bay. There are ancient coral reefs to explore, where you can see enormous coral gardens and the creatures that inhabit them. On land, there are more pristine rainforest trails for you to explore, where you can marvel at the extraordinary flora and fauna that contribute to Costa Rica’s biodiversity.
In Golfo Dulce, we exit Costa Rica and continue our journey as we sail to Panama. 

Day 6: Coiba National Park, Panama

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We continue to Coiba Island, a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage site, located off the southwest coast of Panama. The national park includes the main island of Coiba and 38 smaller islands in the surrounding marine areas within the Gulf of Chiriquí. Protected from the cold winds and the effects of El Niño, the Pacific tropical forest if Coiba Island features exceptionally high levels of endemic mammals, birds and plants. It is the last refuge for a number of threatened animals including the crested eagle. 

On Coiba Island, we spend the morning in the area of Granito de Oro islet, a unique place that allows snorkellers to encounter diversity and volume of marine life that is usually reserved for scuba divers. This is one of the world’s most sought-after diving destinations. The local ranger will provide guidance on the optimal places where we can enjoy water activities.  

Note: Coiba Island is currently closed due to the Covid pandemic. However, advice from local authorities indicates that Coiba Island may be reopened to visitors by the time Aurora Expeditions is scheduled to visit. If Coiba Island remains closed at the time of our proposed visit, we plan to visit nearby Parida Island located 40 nautical miles northwest of Coiba Island. Parida Island is one of the islands that belong to the Chiriquí Gulf National Marine Park that is included in the Special Zone of Marine Protection under UNESCO World Heritage protection. 

Day 7: Pearl Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Pearl Islands of Panama is an archipelago located in the North Pacific Ocean in the Gulf of Panama, covering around 250 small islands. The Spanish Conquistadors discovered the islands in 1503 and gave them Islands its name due to the great amounts of pearls found on them. The Pearl Islands were originally named by the Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa due to the bountiful pearls that were harvested off the islands’ shores. The Pearl Islands are most famous for their spectacular and tranquil white-sand beaches, untouched forests, and colorful coral reefs offshore – ideal for diving, snorkeling and kayaking.
 

Day 8: Emberá Mogue Village

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
From 1919 to 2004, the penal colony on Coiba Islands was home to Panama’s most dangerous criminals and political prisoners. At the peak of its operations, the prison housed up to approximately 3,000 inmates in about 30 camps spread around the islands. We spend the morning on the hiking trails that lead to a number of waterfalls, hot springs. Remains of the prison, now roofless and rusted, can still be found at Damas Bay on the eastern side of the island. Back on board, enjoy lunch as we set towards the Pearl Islands. The Emberá are an indigenous tribe who live near the Panama-Columbia border. There are about 33,000 living in Darién, Panama, and 50,000 in Colombia, and the tribe has inhabited this region for centuries. On our visit to one of the Emberá villages near Panama City, you will be warmly welcomed by the local villagers and enjoy a presentation to learn about their history, culture and way of life. On a guided walk through their village, you will meet more villagers who may show you inside their home, sample local snacks and learn about their medicinal plants. The Emberá are renowned for their exquisite handmade jewelry and woven handicrafts, and you will have the chance to appreciate and purchase their work. 

Day 9: Panama City

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Three million years ago, the Isthmus of Panama emerged from the sea and changed the world forever. It divided an ocean and joined two continents together, triggering one of the most important natural evolution events in the history of the world. Today, this narrow land bridge in Central America is home to more species of birds and trees than the whole of North America. Panama is of course world-famous for its 77 km / 48 mi canal that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean.

Panama’s history has been formed by a rich pre-Columbian era for more than 12,000 years. Early cultures in Panama were the Monagrillo, the Cueva and the Conte, particularly famous for their pottery, which was the first in the Americas. The first European claiming the territory of today’s Panama was Rodrigo de Bastidas, coming from Colombia’s Atlantic coast in 1501. In 1513 Vasco Nuñez de Balboa became the first Spaniard to see the Pacific Ocean from the top of a hill. Four days later he and his men stood at the shores of the Pacific Ocean. In 1519 Panama City was founded and became an important hub for seized goods making its way from Peru to Spain.

Day 10: Panama Canal Crossing

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Crossing the Panama Canal will surely be a highlight for many travelers. Each year, over a million people visit the canal to witness this engineering marvel at work. Starting in the Pacific Ocean, you will be able to admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City’s splendorous skyline before passing under the ‘Bridge of the Americas’. The vessel will then transit through the first set of locks, the Miraflores Locks, where it will be lifted 16 meters in two distinct steps. Next, your ship will enter Miraflores Lake, which is a small artificial body of freshwater that separates Pedro Miguel Locks from Miraflores Locks. The vessel will transit through Pedro Miguel Locks, which is one of the two sets of locks on the Pacific side, and here the vessel is lifted 9 meters in one step. After exiting Pedro Miguel locks, your boat will travel through the Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the canal. The Gaillard Cut (also known as Culebra Cut because its curves resemble a snake) is one of the main points of interest for visitors because it was carved through the Continental Divide and this section of the canal is full of history and geological value.

Day 11: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sail to Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. While at sea, enjoy a few final presentations from our team of experts. Edit photos, finish the book you’ve been enjoying, or simply relax on your private balcony or in one of the many public spaces on board the ship.
 

Day 12: Cartagena de Indias | Disembark

Disembark in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, inscribed by UNESCO as a site of Outstanding Universal Heritage. The city’s rich history, diverse culture and energy captivates visitors with its vibrancy, Afro-Caribbean character, indigenous influences and some of the best-preserved colonial architecture in all of South America.

Day 13: Cartagena de Indias Depart Home

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, farewell your fellow travelers and check-out of your room before making your own way to the airport for your onward journey.

Ship/Hotel

Greg Mortimer

Greg Mortimer
Greg Mortimer Expedition Cruise
Greg Mortimer Expedition Cruise

San Jose - Hotels

Cartagena - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$6,395
Greg Mortimer-Aurora StateroomGreg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom Triple
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
230.34 ft² - 245.41 ft² - 6 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, three single beds, porthole window, desk area and 42" flat-screen TV
Greg Mortimer-Aurora StateroomGreg Mortimer
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Aurora Stateroom
170 ft² - 245.41 ft² - Greg Mortimer features 8 porthole rooms, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action.
Greg MortimerGreg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom C
224.97 ft² - 266.95 ft² - 14 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg Mortimer-Balcony StateroomGreg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom B
254.03 ft² - 266.95 f - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg MortimerGreg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom A
259.41 ft² - 301.39 ft² - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg Mortimer-Balcony StateroomGreg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
303.54 ft² - 432.70 ft² - With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Greg Mortimer's two Balcony Suites are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. Featuring private balconies, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area, these will sell out quickly!
Greg Mortimer
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Junior Suite
The Greg Mortimer's four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage 418.71 ft² - points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
Greg Mortimer
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Captain's Suite
478.99 ft² - The largest of all the rooms, the Greg Mortimer's singular Captain's Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite.

Notes

Inclusions
  • Transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1.  
  • Welcome Reception / Pre-embarkation Briefing on Day 1. 
  • One night’s hotel accommodation in San Jose, including breakfast on Day 1. 
  • Transfer from hotel to Puerto Caldera on Day 2. 
  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service. 
  • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage. 
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner. 
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages. 
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises. 
  • Educational lectures and guiding services from Expedition Team. 
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation). 
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information. 
  • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees. 
  • Gratuities for ship’s crew. 
Exclusions
  • International or domestic flights not mentioned in the itinerary, unless specified in the itinerary. 
  • Transfers – unless specified in the itinerary. 
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes. 
  • Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges. 
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Hotel accommodation and meals unless specified in the itinerary.
  • Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • All items of a personal nature including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges. 
Included
  • 12 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Complimentary Parka 
  • Complimentary boot rental is available. However, due to the limited supply of boots available aboard the ship, it is recommended that you bring your own rubber boots for best fit and availability. Youth size boots are not available.
  • Beer, House Wine, and Soft Drinks with Dinner 
  • Educational Lectures and Guiding Services from Expedition Team 
  • Access to Onboard Doctor and Basic Medical Services
  • Waterproof Expedition Jacket
  • Port Surcharges, Permits, and Landing Fees
  • Gratuities for crew will automatically be added to your bill. Please advise at the time of settlement if you would like this to be removed.
  • Complimentary Dry Bag Backpack
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Manuel Antonio National Park Entrance Fee $16
  • A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their ‘Suite Benefits’.

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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