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Secrets of Central America

Puerto Caldera - Colón - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Le Champlain
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Your journey in Central America will begin with a visit to the Curú Wildlife Refuge. Deep inside the tropical rainforest you may be lucky enough to see multicolored birds, monkeys, iguanas and sloths. In Casa Orquideas, in the heart of a region that is home to Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches, you will have the chance to visit a botanical garden with a sublime collection of tropical flowers. Your ship will then head for the magnificent Darien National Park in Panama. This little corner of paradise is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to remarkable plants and wildlife. You will then discover the golden sand and crystal-clear waters of the coral islets of the San Blas Islands. You will finally be able to a visit the magnificent Portobelo Bay, between mangroves, tropical forest and discovery of the Congo culture. 

 
Ruins at the Fortress of SantiagoSan BlasPanama CanalCuruPortobelo
Highlights
  • Discover the fabulous National Parks of Central America.
  • Sail through the Panama Canal, truly a masterpiece of civil engineering
  • Encounter with the indigenous Emberas tribe in the Darien National Park
  • Visit the magnificent San Blas archipelago
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Puerto Caldera | Embark

The port of 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 parksPoas 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: Curú Wildlife Refuge

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula, the small Curú 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: Casa Orquideas

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your ship will sail across the gulf of Dulce in direction of the splendid botanical garden of Casa Orquideas that you will reach by Zodiac®. Golfo Dulce is one of the most intense rainforest landscapes in the world, unfolding and exposing what has been described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth”. More than 400 species of tropical birds, over 500 species of vascular plants, 140 species of tropical mammals, hundreds of butterfly species and many more tropical organisms call this place home.

Day 4: 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 5: 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 unspoilt 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 6: Viveros, Pearl Islands | Sailing around Pacheca Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
strong>The Pearl Islands archipelago, formed by over 220 islands and islets, is named in memory of the pearl oysters present in the Gulf of Panama. In colonial times, the pearls were extracted and used as ornaments or currency. “La Peregrina” was discovered in this archipelago: this pearl is famous for its perfection and for belonging to several royals and, more recently, Elizabeth Taylor. While the pearls have now disappeared from the azure waters of this paradise with its history of adventures and piracy, you can still swim from the sandy white beaches and observe shoals of multi-colored fish performing their gracious ballet.

Pacheca is a small uninhabited island in the far north of the Pearl Islands, home to numerous birds that our naturalist guides will help you to observe and recognize from the ship’s deck. The Pearl Islands archipelago, formed by over 220 islands and islets, is named in memory of the pearl oysters present in the Gulf of Panama. In colonial times, the pearls were extracted and used as ornaments or currency. “La Peregrina” was discovered in this archipelago: this pearl is famous for its perfection and for belonging to several royals and, more recently, Elizabeth Taylor. 

Day 7: 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 8-9: San Blas Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Located on the north-east coast of Panama, the San Blas archipelago is a string of coral islands in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. More than 300 islands and cays cover an area of 300 square kilometres offering travellers a multitude of treasures. Sheltered behind a long coral reef, the San Blas Islands are full of enchanting anchorages. The long sandy white beaches bound by crystal-clear waters will allow you to relax and enjoy incredible marine fauna before engaging with the Kunas Indian community. Still subsisting on hunting and fishing, they will welcome you in their villages of bamboo houses gathered near the beaches.

Day 10: Portobelo

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the province of Colón, along the magnificent Caribbean coast of Panama, Portobelo is located not far from the famous canal. Given its name of “beautiful port” by Christopher Columbus, who discovered it in 1502, this charming and peaceful bay was one of the most important ports for the shipping of precious metals from the New World to Spain. Don’t miss a visit to its fortifications, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town has preserved the strong religious and cultural traditions of its colonial past, such as the veneration of the Black Christ and a strongly-rooted Afro-Caribbean culture. The Congo ceremonies retrace the story of Spanish domination over black slaves through traditional dances and music.

Day 11: Colón | Disembark

strong>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.

Ship/Hotel

Le Champlain

Le Champlain Pool
Le Champlain Observatory
Ponant Sauna

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$6,340
Cabin
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Deluxe Stateroom
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with French window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Deluxe Suite
Area: 27 m². 6m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 3 passengers per cabin.
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Privilege Suite
Area: 32 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 4 passengers per cabin.
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Grand Deluxe Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with sliding bay windows. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower + bathtub.
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Owner's Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with hot tub and sliding bay windows. King-size or twin beds and shower + bathtub.

Notes

*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.
Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
  • 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 
  • Gratuities to onboard crew, local guides and drivers
  • 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. Contact us for details.
  • Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions mentioned
  • Luggage handling
  • 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)

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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