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San Diego to San José (Puntarenas)

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Victory
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Discover the coastlines of Central America on this 15-day pacific expedition, from the tropical jungles of Costa Rica to the Sea of Cortez and beyond. You'll travel around the Pacific Ocean to get to know the heart and soul of well-known locations. A superbly situated beachside sanctuary and turquoise waters that glitter in the evening are waiting.
Dolphins Jumping in BajaHumpback Whale Puerto VallartaBeach in Costa RicaDesert Landscape in BajaGray Whale tail splashingSunset in La PazPeppers hanging up in MexicoSurf the waves of Costa Rica's pristine beachesSnorkeling in Costa Rica's crystal clear watersRed-eyed tree frog on flower
Highlights
  • Explore the vibrant city of San Diego
  • Visit the impressive arching stone cliffs at Cabo San Lucas
  • Discover the charming town of Isla Espíritu
  • Enjoy the unique islands in the Sea of Cortez
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Hotel Stay in San Diego, California, USA

Enjoy your complimentary stay at the pre-cruise hotel. The evening is yours to become acquainted with the city. For your convenience, our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel, and our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving premium experiences. Representatives from American Queen Voyages and our local port/city partner will be available to provide you with dining, entertainment and sightseeing options to maximize your time here. 

Day 2: San Diego, California, USA | Embark

Perfect weather. White-sand beaches. Coronado Island. After more than a fortnight of traversing the sparkling waters off Costa Rica and Mexico, park yourself in paradise for an exhilarating encounter with America’s Finest City. Extend your vacation, and explore San Diego’s myriad attractions, such as Balboa Park, La Jolla and Liberty Station.

Day 3-4: Scenic Ocean Cruising

A day to rise with the sun and meet with friends in the restaurant of your choosing over breakfast...or sleep in and order room service. Gather in the Compass Lounge for snacks and games...or take in the view from the deck with your favorite cocktail in hand. This day is yours to craft as you desire. Relax and keep your camera at hand as sail along the marine-rich Baja coast.  

Day 5: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Sailors from Manila have long known the coast of Baja California in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. They hunted wild animals at an estuary next to the mouth of a river and stored up on water and food supplies. Their galleons were loaded with silks, pearls, and spices. They then continued their trip until Acapulco, from where the load was sent overland to Mexico City and from there to Veracruz, where it was finally embarked on ships headed to Spain. Since Francisco de Ulloa discovered it in 1537, Cabo San Lucas was a point of nautical reference. Nevertheless, when pirates found out about it, it became a closely watched point by both parties, and in 1730, the government of New Spain ordered Father Nicholas Tamaral to found a fort and a Jesuit mission in San Jose. Cabo San Lucas, or simply Cabo, together with San José del Cabo form a metropolitan area known as Los Cabos. The Los Cabos Corridor has become a heavily trafficked vacation destination. Rated as one of Mexico’s top 5 tourist destinations, Cabo is known for its beaches, scuba diving locations, and the Arco de Cabo San Lucas. The arch, locally known as “El Arco,” is a distinctive rock formation. The waters around Cabo are home to marine wildlife including rays, sharks, mahi-mahi (dorado) and striped marlin. In the winter, pods of whales can be observed. They bear their calves in the warm local waters after traveling up to 6,000 miles from Alaska and Siberia. 

Day 6: La Paz, Mexico

The area’s modern history began with the arrival of Hernán Cortés, who sailed here in 1535 and named the bay Santa Cruz. A century later, Jesuit missionaries established the Nuestra Señor del Pilar de La Paz, but abandoned the site 30 days later because of harsh conditions, hostile natives and disease. There were sporadic attempts at secular and religious settlements, but a permanent one would not be established until 1811. In 1846, American forces occupied the area during the Mexican American War. La Paz remained a sleepy town, known best for pearls for many years. In the mid-20th century, Hollywood found La Paz. Clark Gable came to fish for marlin. Bing Crosby bought a home here, as did Desi Arnaz and Engelbert Humperdick. Every year, Jacques Cousteau rented a house on the bay to watch the whale migrations. By the 1960s, it looked like the area might become the next Acapulco. Over the following decades, there were growth spurts, but the boom did not happen. Industries that contribute to the local economy include silver mining, agriculture, fishing, pearls, and eco-tourism. As one of the most biodiverse places on earth, eco-tourism is the most important driver of the local economy. There are about 900 islands and inlets in the Sea of Cortez with 244 now under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) protection as World Heritage Bio-Reserves. The Isla Espíritu Santo group is a primary tourist destination. Here, you can opt to swim with whale sharks or snorkel with sea lions. 

Day 7: Scenic Ocean Cruising

A perfect day for indulgence – treat yourself to a massage or your favorite beauty treatment – or take in the view from the Observation Lounge.

Day 8: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is a special tourist destination on the west coast of the Mexican state of Jalisco. The modern town dates from the mid-1800s and its port from 1885. Puerto Vallarta grew organically from being a fishing village, into a world-class tourist destination. Tourism is a major economic activity because of the climate, scenery, tropical beaches, and rich culture. Mexican city dwellers discovered the clear sandy beaches, spectacular sunsets, and clear emerald-blue waters in the 1950s. Hollywood and the jet-set fell in love with the place in the early 1960s; John Huston frequently brought Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Ava Gardner with him for long holiday weekends. Little by little, with part luck and lots of local effort and promotion, Puerto Vallarta evolved into a welcoming and modern resort area with lots to do, gourmet restaurants, and top hotels. With so many natural and cultural delights, visitors can stroll the picturesque boardwalk, go horseback riding, snorkel, shop for local handicrafts or enjoy a blissful beach day. Your included tour visits the main square, Our Lady of Guadalupe church, and Playa Grande, where it feels like time has stood still. You will also learn how tequila is made at Rio Bendito. Optional tours let you go to market with a local chef and then learn to cook a traditional Mexican lunch at a rustic, country kitchen. Or join a 45-ft cutter for a 4-hour sail on the Bay of Banderas. Look for sea turtles, dolphins, and even a humpback whale, or two.

Day 9: Manzanillo, Mexico

Mexico’s busiest seaport lies on the Pacific Ocean between Manzanillo Bay and Cuyutlán Lagoon. In pre-Columbian times the site was called Tzalahua and ships were built there for Hernán Cortés’ 1533 expedition to the Gulf of California. The city’s commercial and manufacturing activities are based on products made from the farmlands, forests, and waters of the Colima and neighboring Jalisco states. The chief exports include corn, bananas, lemons, fish, minerals, lumber, wine, canned goods, and copra–dried sections of the meat of the coconut. The beaches along Manzanillo Bay and Santiago Bay, north of the seaport, are beautiful, and many international resorts contribute to the local economy. Lush, verdant hillsides lead to sandy beaches in a balmy, tropical setting. This magical, historic, cultural, and intimate destination is Manzanillo. It offers all the old-world charm of Mexico with every 21st-century creature's comfort. The crashing Pacific is surely a siren’s call for many visitors. You can go swimming or surfing. Join a deep-sea, sportfishing, snorkeling or SCUBA diving excursion. Or rent a kayak or small sailboat. Visitors to the area between December and April may get to see whales in Manzanillo Bay. Landlubbers need not despair. Explore Manzanillo’s quaint, old-town plaza, Miramar Flea Market or join an eco-tour to a volcano or waterfall. This enchanting resort is also a popular backdrop for Hollywood blockbusters as you will see on the included city tour. Optionally, you can visit a turtle sanctuary in Cuyutlán or Salt Flats to learn how top-quality salts are made. 

Day 10: Scenic Ocean Cruising

Enjoy all Ocean Victory has to offer as you continue our adventure cruising along the Mexican coast. 

Day 11: Huatulco, Mexico

Known for its nine bays and 36 miles of beautiful beaches, Huatulco (wah-tool-ko) offers an ideal mix of culture and relaxation. Named for the nearby national park, Huatulco is located in the state of Oaxaca, southeast of Mexico City on the Pacific coast, halfway between Acapulco and Guatemala. Oaxaca is seeped in indigenous culture and pride; over 350,000 Zapotec and 240,000 Mexitec people call the state home, and over 16 other indigenous groups are registered there. In addition to Spanish, at least half of the population speaks indigenous languages, and they each have distinct food, clothing, traditions, and dance. You could visit one area of Oaxaca and then visit another and experience something totally unique. Not as well-known as Cabo, Cancún, and Puerto Vallarta, the area has been popular with Mexicans for years and there is a sizeable community of Canadian retirees. Regrettably, many who travel to Mexico never experience this beautiful coastal city. And while Huatulco offers fun-in-sun beach vibes, there is more to see. Here American Queen Voyages guests encounter Oaxaca’s rich heritage and gain access to a little-known, nature-lovers utopia. Ecotourism is gaining in popularity, so river rafting or a hike through the jungle may be available. Optionally, you can venture to La Crucecita, billed as “a new town with old-fashioned sensibilities.” The tourist development complex has an interesting Arts and Crafts Museum managed by the artisans themselves. Here visitors can sample and purchase various regional products such as chocolate, mole, mescal and even grasshoppers – if you dare. 

Day 12: Puerto Chiapas, Mexico

Chiapas is Mexico’s most southern and – according to legend – most mysterious state. The port in Chiapas is a small fishing and agricultural transport center, opened in 1975. Updates carried out by the government regularly since 2005 have added facilities and conveniences for cruise and cargo ships. There is little of interest to cruise guests in the immediate vicinity of the port. There is a craft market as one leaves the dock, but the nearest town, Tapachula, is a few miles inland. Here, it’s possible to taste some Chiapas fare and get a cold drink, but not much else. The surrounding communities are home to a mix of indigenous cultures. Most visitors to Puerto Chiapas come to explore Izapa, on the Izapa River near the base of the Tacaná volcano – the sixth tallest peak in Mexico. The site – located on hilly, volcanic soil – is very hot and wet. The surrounding area, known as the Soconusco region, was used by the Aztecs to cultivate cacao, from which cocoa, cocoa butter, and chocolate are made. Izapa is also home to a very large, pre-Columbian archaeological site. Several archaeologists have theorized that Izapa may have been settled as early as 1500 BCE, making it as old as the Olmec sites of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán and La Venta. Izapa remained occupied until approximately 1200 CE. Due to the abundance of carved Maya stelae and monuments at Izapa, the term “Izapan style” is used to describe similar works throughout the Pacific foothills and highlands, including some at Takalik Abaj and Kaminaljuyu.

Day 13: Scenic Ocean Cruising

Explore the Pacific Coastline of Central America en route to our first Costa Rican port of call. Watch for abundant marine life along the way.

Day 14: Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

Chiapas is Mexico’s most southern and – according to legend – most mysterious state. The port in Chiapas is a small fishing and agricultural transport center, opened in 1975. Updates carried out by the government regularly since 2005 have added facilities and conveniences for cruise and cargo ships. There is little of interest to cruise guests in the immediate vicinity of the port. There is a craft market as one leaves the dock, but the nearest town, Tapachula, is a few miles inland. Here, it’s possible to taste some Chiapas fare and get a cold drink, but not much else. The surrounding communities are home to a mix of indigenous cultures. Most visitors to Puerto Chiapas come to explore Izapa, on the Izapa River near the base of the Tacaná volcano – the sixth tallest peak in Mexico. The site – located on hilly, volcanic soil – is very hot and wet. The surrounding area, known as the Soconusco region, was used by the Aztecs to cultivate cacao, from which cocoa, cocoa butter, and chocolate are made. Izapa is also home to a very large, pre-Columbian archaeological site. Several archaeologists have theorized that Izapa may have been settled as early as 1500 BCE, making it as old as the Olmec sites of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán and La Venta. Izapa remained occupied until approximately 1200 CE. Due to the abundance of carved Maya stelae and monuments at Izapa, the term “Izapan style” is used to describe similar works throughout the Pacific foothills and highlands, including some at Takalik Abaj and Kaminaljuyu.

Day 15: San José (Puntarenas), Costa Rica | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
As your American Queen Voyages journey concludes, there are other opportunities for you to take in the town -- whether it's an optional premier post-cruise experience or a quick transfer to the airport for your final trip home 

Ship/Hotel

Ocean Victory

The lounge
Pool Deck
The Restaurant

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
Ocean Victory Category F
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Category F
Stateroom with French Balcony, Private bath with spacious shower and beautiful finishes, Complimentary designer amenities, Large storage spaces for luggage, clothing, and personal items, Hair dryer, Mini refrigerator, Bathrobes and slippers, In room safe, Onboard laundry service, Your personal water bottle for use at refillable stations throughout the ship, Panoramic view
Ocean Victory Category E
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Category E
Stateroom with Private Balcony, Private bath with spacious shower and beautiful finishes, Complimentary designer amenities, Large storage spaces for luggage, clothing, and personal items, Hair dryer, Mini refrigerator, Bathrobes and slippers, In room safe, Onboard laundry service, Your personal water bottle for use at refillable stations throughout the ship, Panoramic view
Ocean Victory Category D
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Category D
Private bath with spacious shower and beautiful finishes, Complimentary designer amenities, Large storage spaces for luggage, clothing, and personal items, Hair dryer, Mini refrigerator, Bathrobes and slippers, In room safe, Onboard laundry service, Your personal water bottle for use at refillable stations throughout the ship, Panoramic view.
Ocean Victory Category C
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Category C
Deluxe Stateroom with Private Balcony, Private bath with spacious shower and beautiful finishes, Complimentary designer amenities, Large storage spaces for luggage, clothing, and personal items, Hair dryer, Mini refrigerator, Bathrobes and slippers, In room safe, Onboard laundry service, Your personal water bottle for use at refillable stations throughout the ship, Panoramic view.
Ocean Victory Category BB
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Category BB
Private Balcony Suite, Private bath with spacious shower and beautiful finishes, Complimentary designer amenities, Large storage spaces for luggage, clothing, and personal items, Hair dryer, Mini refrigerator, Bathrobes and slippers, In room safe Onboard laundry service, Your personal water bottle for use at refillable stations throughout the ship, Panoramic view.
Ocean Victory Category B
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Category B
Private Balcony Suite, Private bath with spacious shower and beautiful finishes, Complimentary designer amenities, Large storage spaces for luggage, clothing, and personal items, Hair dryer, Mini refrigerator, Bathrobes and slippers, In room safe Onboard laundry service, Your personal water bottle for use at refillable stations throughout the ship, Panoramic view.
Ocean Victory Category A
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Category A
Deluxe Suite with Private Balcony, Private bath with spacious shower and beautiful finishes, Complimentary designer amenities, Large storage spaces for luggage, clothing, and personal items, Hair dryer, Mini refrigerator, Bathrobes and slippers, In room safe, Onboard laundry service, Your personal water bottle for use at refillable stations throughout the ship, Panoramic view.
Ocean Victory Category PS
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Premium Suite
Premium Suite with Private Balcony, Private bath with spacious shower and beautiful finishes, Complimentary designer amenities, Large storage spaces for luggage, clothing, and personal items, Hair dryer, Mini refrigerator, Bathrobes and slippers, In room safe, Onboard laundry service, Your personal water bottle for use at refillable stations throughout the ship, Panoramic view.

Notes

PLEASE NOTE: All fares, itineraries, special interest series, entertainment, shore excursions and other voyage attributes are subject to change without notice, and we reserve the right to not honor any published prices that we determine were erroneous due to printing, electronic or clerical error. 

 
Included
  • 14 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners
  • 14 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • Port Taxes & Fees
  • Open Bars & Lounges throughout the vessel including a juice bar every morning
  • In-Room Dining
  • Bicycles & Hiking Sticks equipment if needed
  • Live, Daily Onboard Entertainment & Enrichment
  • Locally Sourced & regionally Inspired Cuisine from land and sea
  • Gourmet Selections of freshly prepared choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Unlimited Beverages including an extensive wine list, choice spirits, local craft beers and specialty coffees
  • Unlimited Guided Tours designed with your comfort in mind aboard private, deluxe motorcoaches
  • 1-night Pre-cruise Hotel Stay with free ground transfers between hotel and vessel
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Optional Premium Shore Excursions - highly recommend booking these in advance. If interested, ask us for a detailed list of premium excursions for your cruise as these vary depending on your departure date.
  • Transfers to and from the airport

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