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A brightly colored toucan in the forest

An Exploration in Nature in Costa Rica & the Panama Canal

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Le Dumont-d'Urville
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This 11-day cruise starts in Costa Rica, which has done more than any other Central American country to preserve and protect its natural treasures, you will explore three of its world famous nature reserves: the luxuriant tropical vegetation and fascinating fauna of Curù and Manuel Antonio National Parks, as well as the marvels of Corcovado National Park. In Panama, you extend your encounter with the rich biodiversity of Central America as we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Darien Jungle. After transiting the Panama Canal and admiring its design and construction, spend two days in the fascinating marine world of the San Blas Islands, where you will snorkel at Holandes Cayes and visit with the Kuna Indians.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : San Jose to Puerto Caldera | Embark
Day 2 : Curù Wildlife Refuge
Day 3 : Manuel Antonio National Park
Day 4 : Drake Bay | Marenco | Corcova
Day 5 : Golfito
Day 6 : Cebaco Island
Day 7 : Playa Muerto, Darien National Park
Day 8 : Crossing the Panama Canal
Day 9 : Acuatupo | Dog Island, San Blas
Day 10 : Holandes Cayes
Day 11 : Colón | Disembark

Highlights

  • Enjoy Lectures and discussions with ecologist Paul Donahue
  • Explore shore visits in a Zodiac with a team of experienced naturalist guides
  • Discover different landscapes: pristine beaches, mangroves, rainforests
  • Meet with local peoples, including the Kuna of San Blas Islands

Ship

Le Dumont-d'Urville

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Transit the Panama Canal A smiling sloth A brightly colored toucan in the forest A priviledged visit to the remote San Blas islands Ruins in Colon, Panama

Day 1 San Jose to Puerto Caldera | Embark

You will be met at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica and transferred to Puerto Caldera to embark Dumont-D’Urville. Puerto Caldera, lies on the Pacific coast, in the Puntarenas region, at the mouth of the Gulf of Nicoya. Areas of wilderness stretch along the coast. Further inland, among the countless natural wonders to be found in the generous rainforest of the Costa Rica’s national parks, Poas and Arena volcanoes towers up in all their majestic glory. In this luxuriant natural setting, Costa Rica protects one of the planet’s richest biodiversity: monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, iguanas, crocodiles, waterfalls, canyons, and more than ten thousand species of tropical plants.

Day 2 Curù Wildlife Refuge

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula, the small Curù Wildlife Refuge is the oldest protected park in Costa Rica. This refuge is an exemplary site in terms of ecotourism as well as a research center for scientists from all over the world. It has been at the heart of an original conservation and sustainable development project since the 1930s. After a short Zodiac trip, you will discover, via the paths that criss-cross the tropical forest and lead to magnificent beaches, the most emblematic species of Costa Rica: monkeys, iguanas and over 200 bird species. Since their recent reintroduction, the scarlet macaw and the spider monkey have thrived in this preserved environment.

Day 3 Manuel Antonio National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You will land in a Zodiac on the beaches of the Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the jewels of Costa Rica. Protected since the 1970s, this small park, only 16 km² and bordered by the idyllic beaches of the Pacific Ocean, is home to rich biodiversity. Along peaceful paths or during a break on the beach, you will be welcomed by a tropical forest full of life: from the discreet sloth to the noisy howler monkey and the mischievous white-faced capuchin. On the fine sandy beaches rising to lush hills and coconut trees, you will be amused by the dance of the racoons that race down from the trees to tease visitors.

Day 4 Drake Bay | Marenco | Corcova

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located on Costa Rica‘s remote Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park has been referred to by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity.” Its 164 square miles make it the largest national park in Costa Rica, the largest primary forest on the Central American Pacific coastline, and one of the few remaining large areas of lowland tropical rainforests in the world.                     

Day 5 Golfito

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The town of Golfito lies on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Puntarenas, one of the most humid regions in the world. It was occupied by the indigenous Bruncas tribe during the Pre-Columbian era. Once specialized in the export of bananas, Golfito has today become the starting point for walkers who want to reach the Corcovado National Park, one of the largest primary tropical rainforests in Central America. Meanwhile, the beaches of Golfo Dulce are some of the most beautiful in Costa Rica, with the Piedras Blancas National Park as their backdrop, along with the Vida Silvestre refuge, home to many tropical birds and monkeys as well as a variety of rare species of plants.

Day 6 Cebaco Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Off the Pacific coast of Panama, at the entrance to the Gulf of Montijo, Cebaco Island conjures visions of paradise lost. Covered in tropical rainforest, edged by white sandy beaches, home to exceptionally rich plant and wildlife, the island offers a number of hiking routes along which to discover its pristine natural environment. Its magnificent coral reefs, located in the outlying regions of the Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are the refuge for many marine species and offer stunning underwater landscapes.

Day 7 Playa Muerto, Darien National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The most remote and least developed region of Panama, the province of Darien is an unspoiled land with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna. Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, Darien National Park offers its extraordinary scenery of rocky coastlines, mountain ranges, mangroves, rivers and creeks. Discover Playa Muerto, a tiny coastal village home to the Emberas Amerindian community. You will visit the village, attend traditional songs and dances of the locals, and admire beautiful local craft.

Day 8 Crossing the Panama Canal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Aboard your ship, experience something unique, that has inspired the imagination of numerous adventurers in the 20th century: sailing the Panama Canal. Its construction started in 1880 under the direction of Ferdinand De Lesseps. Abandoned then resumed, this marvel of engineering was completed by the United States in 1887 and opened in 1914. The canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama and links the Atlantic to the Pacific. Including three levels of locks and by raising ships to the level of Lake Gatun, almost as if the water was a lift, it allows them to avoid having to round Cape Horn.

Day 9 Acuatupo | Dog Island, San Blas

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The San Blas Islands stretch from the Golfo de San Blas nearly all the way to the Colombian coast and offer a multitude of natural and cultural treasures.  Meet the local people, the Kuna, who govern the islands as an autonomous province with minimal interference from the national government. The Kuna have maintained their own economic system, language, customs and culture, with distinctive dress, legends, music and dance, which they willingly share with visitors.

Day 10 Holandes Cayes

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Holandes Cayes is among the islands of the San Blas archipelago, a string of coral islands that graces the heart of the Caribbean Sea. Some 378 islands and cays covering an area of 260 square kilometers offer travelers a multitude of natural and cultural treasures. Holandes Cayes, which is nicknamed "the swimming pool", is popular with the cruise-yachting community for its white sand beaches and diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Day 11 Colón | Disembark

Disembark this morning after breakfast and transfer to the airport for flights homeward. Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is today an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city.  Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened.

Le Dumont-d'Urville

Per person starting at
$5,870
Cabin
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Deluxe Stateroom
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² Private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Deluxe Suite
Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 6m² private balcony
Cabin
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
8m² private balcony King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
8m² private balcony King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Privilege Suite
Area: 32 m² Capacity: up to 4 passengers per cabin 8m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Grand Deluxe Suite
Area: 45 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 30m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
Cabin
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Owner's Suite
Area: 45 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 30m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds

Notes

*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:

•Transfers and luggage handling from San Jose airport to the ship
•Comprehensive 10-night cruise aboard the deluxe Dumont-D’Urville, with all the amenities for which Ponant ships are famous.
•All excursions and onboard activities during the cruise as described above
•Gratuities to guides and drivers throughout
•Transfer and luggage handling from the ship to the airport in Panama
•All meals while on board the ship 
•Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
•“Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
•Evening entertainment and events
•24h Room service (special selection)
•English speaking lecturer 
•Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite
•Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
•Park entry fees into protected areas
•Free and unlimited Wi-Fi (Internet access may be slower or in some situations interrupted, depending on certain geographic locations or other circumstances beyond our control).​​​

Cruise fares do not include:

•Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned 
•Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
•Luggage handling
•Optional Spa package to be booked prior to your departure
•Meals and beverages other than the ones mentioned
•Laundry services, hair salon and à la carte Spa treatments
•Personal expenses, on board medical consultations and drug prescriptions
•Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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