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Trekking through Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica & the Panama Canal

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Quest
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Join the National Geographic Quest on this 8-day expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. Discover diverse wilderness and jungle wildlife coupled with an in-depth crossing of the Panama Canal, a marvel of engineering, and gain special access to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Canal Zone. Get prepared for exhilarating daily adventures as you explore the distinct facets of the region: forest trails for hiking, a cool swim in a waterfall pool, or a coral reef to snorkel.
Making your way through the Panama Canal.The Golden-Mantled Howler Monkey stares down at the camera.Horseback riding through Playa Caletas.Kayaking through the waters of Costa Rica.Trekking through Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica.
Highlights
  • Enjoy incredible opportunities to see creatures in their natural environs
  • Kayak through magical mangroves, searching for local wildlife
  • Transit the historical Panama Canal, a modern wonder of the world
  • Explore hidden coves and beaches in the tiny islets of the Gulf of Panama
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: San José, Costa Rica | Puerto Caldera | Embark

After arrival in San José this afternoon, transfer to the Pacific Coast town of Puerto Caldera. This evening, embark on ship National Geographic Quest and set sail south on the Central American adventure.

Day 2: Corcovado National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Anchor off the Osa Peninsula to see some of the most pristine lowland rain forests 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. 

Day 3: Golfo Dulce | Osa Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enter the mangrove-fringed Golfo Dulce along the southwestern edge of Costa Rica as the nimble expedition ship takes you into the remote upper reaches of this placid bay. Go ashore on the western side of the bay, in the pristine waters of Playa Blanca, on the Osa Peninsula. 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 rainforest or kayak in peaceful waters in Golfo Dulce, the only tropical fiord in the continent. By special arrangement, visit the Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) Association on the Osa Peninsula and assist researchers with data collection and hear presentations by the staff at LAST including a talk by the dedicated researchers, working so hard to positively impact sea turtle conservation. At the end of the visit, be invited to participate in the release of rehabilitated, healthy turtles back into the Pacific—a truly poignant moment. In the evening, enjoy drinks ashore and a beautiful sunset.

Day 4: Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As the Golfo Dulce exploration continues by Zodiac, paddleboard and kayak, encounter Pacific Costa Rica’s dazzling avifauna as you watch for golden-hooded and Cherrie’s tanagers, yellow-throated toucans, fiery-billed aracaris and crimson-fronted and orange-chinned parakeets, constantly chattering in flight above the jungle treeline. The flora is a kaleidoscope of tropical color with bromeliads, heliconias and orchids set against the verdant green of the tropical forest.

Day 5: Isla Coiba National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 6: Gulf of Panama Islets | Panama Canal Transit

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, explore the tiny islets of the Gulf of Panama by Zodiac or kayak. Here you 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, you’ll most likely begin the crossing at night, when the canal is dramatically lit.

Day 7: Gatún Lake | Panama Canal Transit

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, choose hikes and Zodiac cruises at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute facility on Barro Colorado Island, or take a boat ride to the mouth of the Chagres River and hike on the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center trails. This evening, continue through the complex lock system of the canal. By special arrangement, National Geographic Quest will anchor in Gatún Lake near the Barro Colorado Nature Monument overnight.

Day 8: Colón | Panama City, Panama | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, disembark in Colón and transfer to the airport in Panama City for your flight home.

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Quest

National Geographic Quest
Lounge aboard National Geographic Quest

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$6,601

Please confirm embark/disembark locations before reserving flights, as this itinerary operates in reverse on alternating departures.
Rates are subject to change without notice. Book early to get the best rate.
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Category 1
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, and two portholes. Individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.
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Category 2
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, and two portholes. Individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.
National Geographic Quest Cabin
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Category 3
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, and a large view window. Individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.
Select a Date
Category 4
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, sliding glass door, and small, private balcony. Individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.
National Geographic Quest Cabin
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Category 5
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, large view windows, an expanded bathroom, writing desk, ample storage space, and a convertible sofa bed to accommodate a third person. Each cabin has individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are all available, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.

Notes

Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available, but is subject to availability. 



Rates are capacity-controlled and are subject to change without notice.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Assistance by the onboard National Geographic Photography Expert
  • Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits aboard the ship. We are also pleased to offer a selection of super premium wines and liquors that are available for purchase.
  • Complimentary Starlink-enabled Wi-Fi internet is available to all guests aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, enabling email, messaging, and social media.
  • Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes
  • Excursions, hotels, and airport transfers, as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Selection of exploration tools curated to your destination, such as Zodiacs and glass-bottom boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits, masks, and fins), and other state-of-the-art gear
  • Guidance and company of leading expedition staff
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore. Meals are inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • Hors d’oeuvres inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
  • Presentations on your destination by expedition staff and expert guest speakers
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • The services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic  where available
  • Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment where available
  • 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library stocked with regionally relevant literature, and other shared spaces 
  • Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor
  • Gear Rental: Snorkeling Gear
  • Services of ship's doctor 
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Crew gratuities
  • Laundry, spa treatments, scuba diving, Wi-Fi and phone services (except when indicated as included)
  • We strongly recommend our guests to take Travel Protection Plan. A Plan with comprehensive coverage to protect you from cancellation fees, costs incurred due to trip delays/interruption, damaged or lost baggage, medical assistance, and evacuation during your travels
  • Airfare (except flights when indicated as included), pre- and post-expedition extensions, additional hotel nights, and private transfers (except when indicated as included)
  • Travel protection plans and passport, visa, and immigration fees 
  • Enhanced and premium Wi-Fi plans, which may enable video chat, web browsing, and streaming (connectivity permitting)

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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.
Nancy Sin
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