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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.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : San José, Costa Rica | Puerto Caldera | Embark
Day 2 : Corcovado National Park
Day 3 : Golfo Dulce | Osa Peninsula
Day 4 : Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Day 5 : Isla Coiba National Park
Day 6 : Gulf of Panama Islets | Panama Canal Transit
Day 7 : Gatún Lake | Panama Canal Transit
Day 8 : Colón | Panama City, Panama | Disembark/U.S.

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

Ship

National Geographic Quest

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

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.

Day 1 San José, Costa Rica | Puerto Caldera | Embark

Upon arrival in San José, transfer by land to Puerto Caldera and embark our ship National Geographic Quest

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 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. 

Day 3 Golfo Dulce | Osa Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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. In the evening, enjoy a beautiful sunset. 

Day 4 Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

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

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 Granito d'Oro, 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 is 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, we’ll most likely begin our crossing at night, when the canal is dramatically lit. 

Day 7 Gatún Lake | Panama Canal Transit

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

Day 8 Colón | Panama City, Panama | Disembark/U.S.

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

National Geographic Quest

Per person starting at
$5,990
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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.
Select a Date
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
Select a Date
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. 
 

Costs Include:
  • Accommodations aboard ship
  • Meals indicated
  • Non-alcoholic beverages aboard ship
  • Excursions
  • Services of expedition leader, naturalist staff, expert guides and a ship’s doctor
  • Park fees
  • Use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment
  • All port charges and service taxes
Not Included:
  • Air transportation
  • Horseback riding
  • Personal items such as alcoholic beverages, emails, voyage DVD, etc.
  • Discretionary tips to naturalist staff and crew
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
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