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San Blas

Secrets of Central America

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Le Bellot
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Embark on an 11-day expedition cruise from Colon to Puntarenas aboard the Le Bellot. Visit San Lorenzo’s Fort, an extraordinary fortress safeguarding transatlantic trade. Next, explore the San Blas Islands, home to the Kuna people and their vibrant craft of molas. Cross the legendary Panama Canal before venturing to the Pearl Islands and Darien National Park, a UNESCO site with diverse landscapes. Encounter the semi-nomadic Emberas community. Enjoy Cebaco Island's beach before heading to Costa Rica. Discover Rio Esquinas and Drake Bay, then conclude in the lush Curú nature reserve, a haven for diverse wildlife.
Panama CanalCuruRuins at the Fortress of SantiagoSquirrel monkeySan Blas
Highlights
  • Explore Fort San Lorenzo in Colón and immerse yourself in its history and natural beauty
  • Discover the enchanting San Blas Islands and experience the vibrant marine life and indigenous Kuna culture
  • Experience the wonder of crossing the Panama Canal and marvel at its engineering feat
  • Swim and observe colorful fish in the Pearl Islands' azure waters and visit Isla Pacheca to spot unique bird species
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: Colón | Embark

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.

Day 2: Fort San Lorenzo, Colón

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the Colón District, Fort San Lorenzo faces the sea, its canons pointing towards the horizon as they used to under the Spanish Crown. This construction is part of a group of buildings exemplifying the military architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries along the Caribbean coast of Panama, hence its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander along the fort’s alleyways, accompanied by the melodious singing of the birds that have made the surrounding forest their home. Enjoy an unforgettable port of call combining history and walking in nature.

Day 3: San Blas Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 kilometers, offering travelers 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 4: 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 and opened in 1914. The canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama and links the Atlantic to the Pacific. Including three levels of locks and raising ships to the level of Lake Gatun, almost as if the water were a lift, it allows them to avoid having to round Cape Horn.

Day 5: Pearl Islands | Pacheca Island

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

Isla Pacheca lies in the far north of the maze of more than two hundred islands composing the Pearl Islands. This small piece of uninhabited land is a special place for the numerous bird species that have taken up residence there. Among these is the unusual-looking blue-footed booby, which you might spot wandering along one of the island’s beaches. The shore visit in a Zodiac dinghy holds the promise of an unforgettable moment spent in lush nature between white-sand beaches and verdant rainforest.

Day 6: 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 a World Heritage Site, 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 can visit the village, attend the traditional songs and dances of the locals, and admire beautiful local crafts.

Day 7: 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, and 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 Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are the refuge for many marine species and offer stunning underwater landscapes.

Day 8: Rio Esquinas

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The beauty of Costa Rica and the richness of its biodiversity reveal themselves at this port of call in the heart of the mangroves. In the meanders of Rio Esquinas, a tropical corner of paradise, discover an incredibly dense ecosystem. Aboard your Zodiac dinghy, brush past the tangled arms formed by the roots of the mangrove trees. This green and lush gallery forest and its inhabitants welcome you. Watch closely: common squirrel monkeys, white ibis, Eurasian whimbrels, ospreys, toucans, snowy egrets, and great blue herons can be found hiding here.

Day 9: Drake Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located on Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park covers 164 square miles, making it the country’s largest national park, the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coast, and one of the few remaining large areas of lowland tropical rain forests in the world.

Day 10: 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, 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 11: Puntarenas | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
The capital of the eponymous province, Puntarenas, is sometimes called “the pearl of the Pacific”, for its unique charm. It sits on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, along the Gulf of Nicoya, lined with long expanses of wild natural environments. Further inland, among the countless natural wonders to be found in the generous rainforest of Costa Rica’s national parks, Poas and Arena volcanoes tower 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.

Ship/Hotel

Le Bellot

Ponant Sauna
Owner's Suite
Relax aboard

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$7,090
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige DeckPrestige Deck
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Prestige Deck 4
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige DeckPrestige Deck
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Prestige Deck 5
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige DeckPrestige Deck
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Prestige Deck 6
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Deluxe SuiteDeluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 3
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Deluxe SuiteDeluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 4
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Deluxe SuiteDeluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 5
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Deluxe SuiteDeluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 6
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Deck Suite 5
38 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Deck Suite 6
38 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Privilege SuitePrivilege Suite
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Privilege Suite Deck 5
32 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Privilege SuitePrivilege Suite
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Privilege Suite Deck 6
38 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Grand Deluxe SuiteGrand Deluxe Suite
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Grand Deluxe Suite Deck 6
45 m² area featuring, 40m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Bathtub
Grand Deluxe SuiteGrand Deluxe Suite
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Grand Deluxe Suite Deck 5
45 m² area featuring, 40m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Bathtub
Owner's SuiteOwner's Suite
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Owner's Suite
45 m² area featuring an 30m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Included
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • 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. 
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • CDP recommends that every Traveler has full and adequate travel insurance covering the risks of cancellation, assistance being required, repatriation, damages to and loss of baggage, and medical expenses

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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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