Scarlet Macaw in Costa Rica

Costa Rica to Panama Voyage

11 days
from
£5,118
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Trip code: 
AUC
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Max group size:
48
Min age:
16

Delight in exploring remote, protected parks and landscapes on the Pacific Coast

Delight in Panama and Costa Rica’s natural treasures by exploring remote, protected parks and landscapes of the rich Pacific Coast in search of spectacular biodiversity and vibrant birdlife. From Panama’s remote Darien Province, which is practically inaccessible other than by air or ship, to the stunning Pearl Islands, we discover incredible destinations that are outstanding for nature and wildlife. Your group explores in comfort both by land and by small ship aboard a gracious yacht.

Small countries with two long coastlines and a number of outlying archipelagos, Panama & Costa Rica arguably have some of the best beaches in Central America.

Spend time at one of the remote beaches. For example, on the northwest Caribbean coast of Panama, an archipelago of nine islands collectively known as Bocas del Toro lays claim to some of the country's most alluring beaches. On the far side of big Bastimentos Island (which is dominated by a national marine park), Red Frog Beach is only accessible by forest path or boat. Although it doesn’t feel quite as remote as it used to, the area is still touched by turquoise waters and simply stunning views.

Highlights

  • Travel by small-ship for seven nights, ensuring access to remote areas where regular tourists are generally unable to go.
  • Explore famed national parks, including Soberania, home to over 530 species of birds & 105 species of mammals, as well as the remote Darien, one of Central America's most ecologically diverse areas.
  • Swim & snorkel off beautiful beaches in the Pearl Islands & Restingue Island.
  • Discover the cultural traditions of the Emberá people.

Key information

  • 7 nights aboard the Panorama and 2 nights in Hotels
  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches & Dinners
  • You’re welcome on the open bridge to meet the captain and learn about navigation.
  • Enjoy a sumptuous selection of cuisine sure to please any palette.
  • We have chartered an incredible yacht to ensure you experience the highest standard of comfort on this incredible expedition voyage.

 

  • Countries visited: Costa Rica, Panama

What's included

  • Guided tours & lectures by native naturalists
  • Services of experienced expedition leaders
  • All meals on voyage
  • Wildlife excursions on land & by skiff
  • Full educational program with lectures & field interpretation
  • Local beer and wine with meals onboard  
  • Tips to porters & waiters for included meals
  • Pre- and post-cruise accommodations as outlined in the itinerary
  • Arrival & departure transfers 

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Optional activities
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Depart London

  • Day 2

    Arrive San José

    Accommodation: Holiday Inn San Jose Escazu

  • Day 3

    San José / Embark

    After a relaxing morning in San José, embark your ship and cruise toward Quepos.

    Accommodation: The Panorama

     

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Manuel Antonio Reserve

    Our Costa Rica cruise starts with an incredible morning in Manuel Antonio Reserve. This fragile rainforest ecosystem boasts an array of wildlife. Watch for the park’s easy-to-spot monkeys, including red-backed squirrel, white-faced capuchin, spider and mantled howler monkeys. Hike with local naturalists along rainforest trails. Cool off while swimming from the reserve’s white-sand beaches before returning to the ship. After lunch, explore the forest canopy. Rejoin your ship in Playa Biesanz. Enjoy dinner onboard while cruising toward the Osa Peninsula.

    Accommodation: The Panorama

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Enjoy a morning exploring the Osa Peninsula

    Enjoy a morning exploring the Osa Peninsula, named one of the “most biologically intense places on Earth” by National Geographic. Hike through secondary forest, spotting endemic plant species along with scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots, coatis, agoutis, collared peccaries, tyras and even tapirs along the way. Cruise across Golfo Dulce towards Casa Orquideas, an exquisite flower sanctuary. The beautifully landscaped private tropical garden showcases hundreds of species of ornamental and edible tropical plants. Meander through the gardens seeing beautiful and interesting plants and flowers, which are a magnet for dozens of different kinds of birds, butterflies, insects and other wildlife. Cap-off our day with time to swim from the nearby beach before cruising to Panama.

    Accommodation: The Panorama

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Restingue Island / Cebaco Island, Panama

    Spend a morning in paradise as you swim and snorkel off the waters of tiny Restingue Island, nestled between nationally protected marine areas! Tuna and wahoo are common, while Humpback and sperm whales migrate through the area and four species of turtles, giant manta rays and dolphins can be spotted just offshore. Indulge in a beach barbecue at nearby Cebaco Island with time to relax and enjoy the white sands and sapphire waters. Early this afternoon, cruise toward the Darien.

    Accommodation: The Panorama

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Darien National Park

    Board local boats heading into the mangroves and estuaries of Panama’s remote Darien. In the mangroves, watch for roseate spoonbill, Amazon kingfisher, white ibis and heron. Journey up river through red, black and button mangroves to an Emberá community on the Mogue River. The unique Emberá people still live much as they did when the Spanish first arrived in the 1500s. During our visit we’ll be immersed in this rich culture through dance and music. Enjoy demonstrations of traditional wood carving and learn about how they use medicinal plants. Emberá women are known as some of the world’s finest basket makers, and we observe as they create beautiful baskets from local palm leaves and natural dyes.

    Accommodation: The Panorama

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Swim and snorkel in the wildlife rich waters

    Spend a morning swimming and snorkeling in the wildlife rich waters off of the Pearl Islands, named by the Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa in honor of the bountiful pearls that were harvested off the islands’ shores. The islands boast white-sand beaches and untouched forests. Explore the coral reefs just offshore, home to white-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, manta rays and moray eels. After a beach barbecue, sail toward Panama City. Spend our evening touring Old Panama — Casco Viejo — before dinner at a local restaurant.

    Accommodation: The Panorama

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Enjoy boating across Gatun Lake — part of the Panama Canal

    Enjoy boating across Gatun Lake — part of the Panama Canal. Along the way, watch for commonly spotted green iguana, three-toed sloth, American crocodile, snail kite and osprey on the hunt for peacock bass. Explore Fort San Lorenzo, a stone fortress that overlooks the mouth of the Chagres River. The face of Fort San Lorenzo has undergone many changes since it was first built by the Spanish in the late 16th century. First captured then razed by pirates, including the infamous Henry Morgan, the fort was rebuilt in its current location on higher ground. Savor lunch overlooking the newly expanded Canal from the park-like setting of the Panama Canal Expansion Observation Center. Return to Panama City and visit the Canal Museum, watching ships in the locks.

    Accommodation: The Panorama

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    After disembarking, head to Soberanía National Park.

    After disembarking, head to Soberanía National Park. Pipeline Road is where the Audubon Society held its world Christmas bird count record for 19 years straight, with 357 species of birds identified in a period of 24 hours. The now-abandoned road built in World War II to transport fuel from one ocean to the other to maintain the pipeline provides excellent walking access to Soberanía's tropical rainforest. The park boasts an impressive list of over 530 species of birds including the black hawk-eagle, black-cheeked woodpecker, black-breasted puffbird, broad-billed motmot, blue cotinga, purple-throated fruitcrow, masked tytira, violaceous trogon, fasciated antshrike, shining honeycreeper and a great array of North American migrants. Soberania is also home to 105 species of mammals including large felines, tamandua, two and three-toed sloth, four species of monkeys, agouti and 59 endemic plant species in four life zones. Visit the Rainforest Discovery Center, where you enjoy spectacular views of Soberania and spot canopy bird species from the 100-foot observation tower. Standing above the canopy, witness the morning flight of keel-billed toucans, red-lored Amazons and the silent movement of mantled howler monkeys. Continue exploring the network of trails surrounding the Discovery Center and enjoy the hummingbird feeders.

    Accommodation: The Bristol

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Depart Panama City

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

There are no visas required for U.S. or Canadian citizens to enter Costa Rica.

Vaccinations

Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required only when arriving from a country where yellow fever is present. Yellow fever is not present in North America so guests arriving from the US or Canada do not have to show proof of vaccination. According to the CDC, yellow fever is not present in the areas of Panama and Costa Rica you will visit on this itinerary so they do not recommend vaccination. No other vaccinations are required but guests should contact their physician to discuss health abroad and consult with the CDC at wwwn.cdc.gov/travel with regard to travelers’ health.

Eating and Drinking

Meals are served in one seating in the dining room, and each meal boasts international and traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, fresh fruit and sumptuous desserts.

Weather

Is this trip for you?

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company International Expeditions. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, International Expeditions, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you would expect. International Expeditions operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

The Central American countries of Panama and Costa Rica both hit the biodiversity jackpot. Their protected rainforests, mangroves, and waterways are home to some of the most abundant wildlife in the region. Panama, which is located at the southernmost edge of the North American continent, is not just known for the engineering marvel of its world-famous canal, but also for pristine wilderness and rich wildlife. Costa Rica has long been known for its dedication to preserving its natural resources, boasting 27 National Parks.

The calm waters of the Pacific coasts of these two nations are brimming with marine life. International Expeditions' new Costa Rica to Panama cruises offer ample opportunities to visit destinations that are unreachable by road and get up close to rare and exotic birds and mammals.

Here’s a look at a few of the region’s most noteworthy natural highlights: 

Soberanía National Park, Panama 

Sitting along the eastern bank of the Panama Canal is Soberanía National Park, which boasts over 530 species of birds, 105 species of mammals, and 55 species of amphibians across its 55,000 acres.

Located just a short drive away from Panama City, the park has well-maintained hiking trails through tropical rainforest. It offers plenty of chances to spot sloths, toucans, howler monkeys, anteaters, and adorable “honey bear” kinkajous in the early morning hours.

Bird lovers can spot avian life from the famous Pipeline Road, which was built during World War II to transport fuel from one ocean to the other. Here, the Audubon Society held its Christmas bird count world record 19 years in a row, with 357 species identified in just 24 hours. Deep in the old-growth forests, you might find yellow-eared toucanets, crimson-bellied and black-cheeked woodpeckers, and Purple-throated fruit crows. If you’re lucky, you may even catch sight of the endangered harpy eagle, Panama’s national bird.

A mile from the Pipeline Road is the Rainforest Discovery Center, an ideal perch to witness the morning flight of keel-billed toucans, red-lored amazons, and other canopy birds from its 100-foot observation tower. Take a break at the hummingbird feeders and you may be able to spot up to 10 different species.

Punta Patiño Nature Reserve, Panama

Set along the southern shore of the Gulf of San Miguel, Punta Patiño Nature Reserve is the largest private preserve in Panama. This wildlife preserve consists of 74,132 acres of primary and secondary forest, and is home to fascinating wildlife. But because it’s surrounded by dense forest, the only way to reach it is by boat or plane.

Feathered creatures populate the reserve’s trees, mangroves and waterways, and can be spotted via its well-maintained trails and from small boats. If you’re lucky, you might catch the clumsy mating dance of the male blue-footed boobies, watch frigatebirds wheel overhead, and admire the beauty of blue dacnis, the Orange-chinned parakeet, blue-headed parrot and the crowned woodnymph.

If you haven’t seen the majestic harpy eagle before, your chances greatly increase here. You may also be able to see capybaras (the largest rodent in the world), crab-eating raccoons and gray foxes.

Just offshore, in the Gulf of San Miguel, pods of humpback whales, pilot whales, and bottlenose dolphins are often spotted swimming happily near boats.

Coiba Island National Park, Panama

Panama’s largest National Park, Coiba National Park, covers an astounding 667,500 acres of marine reserve. It is often referred to as the Galapagos of Central America, due to its biodiversity and myriad opportunities to see marine life on dives and snorkeling adventures around its healthy coral reefs. Because this was the home of a brutal penal colony until 2005, locals kept away from the area. As a result, nature seems relatively untouched in this region, which can be reached by sailing across the Gulf of Panama from the mainland.

Coiba is a great place to see the scarlet macaw in the wild. Hiking along the Los Monos Trail, you can also find bicolored hawk, white-throated thrush, lance-tailed manakin, and native brown-backed dove.

The Hot Springs Trail passes through primary rainforest and mangroves, offering you the ability to soak your feet in the therapeutic, thermal springs at the end. Hiking the trail may also yield sightings of the blue-throated golden tail, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, howler and white-faced monkeys, and the main attraction: the endemic Coiba spinetail. In the shallow waters surrounding the island, snapper, grouper, jack, and benign white-tipped reef sharks are often found.

After taking in the island’s natural wonders, enjoy a relaxing picnic at Granito de Oro. This beautiful small islet lies off the northeastern coast of Coiba, with a white sand beach and a grove of coconut trees. Just keep your distance from the hermit crabs!

Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s newest national park, Piedras Blancas National Park (link sends e-mail), is situated next to Golfito National Wildlife Refuge. It was created to protect the flora and fauna inhabiting the evergreen primary forests, bays and beaches of Golfo Dulce. The park’s rugged landscape is shaped by the Esquinas and Piedras Blancas Rivers, which empty into the Golfo Dulce.

Piedras Blancas is considered one of the best birdwatching parks in the country, as it is an important gathering point for many birds of the Americas. Species you may encounter there include the fiery-billed aracari, violaceous trogon, red-capped manakin, long-tailed hermit, scarlet-thighed dacnis and green honeycreeper.

Wildlife such as sloths, howler monkeys, white-nosed capuchins, and spider monkeys can often be seen and heard in the trees. The park is also home to five species of wild cats: the ocelot, margay, jaguarundi, puma, and the increasingly rare jaguar. Just don’t expect to have any encounters with these elusive and nocturnal creatures!

Terraba-Sierpe Reserve and Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, Costa Rica

In Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, situated between the deltas of the Terraba and Sierpe Rivers, you’ll find the largest protected tidal ecosystem in Central America. It’s near Corcovado National Park, which National Geographic has described as one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.

Covering 85 square miles of lagoons, estuaries, and mangrove forests, the Terraba-Sierpe Reserve is best explored by boat. Along the way, you may catch sightings of the American crocodile, Jesus lizard (a.k.a. basilisk), river turtles, coatis, and primates. Bird lovers can look for herons, egrets, the yellow mangrove warbler, toucans, common potto, and frigatebird.

The Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, which is located 12 nautical miles offshore, boasts some of the bluest waters in the country. For snorkelers and divers, it offers unparalleled visibility to see Olive Ridley sea turtles, dolphins, rays, and reef sharks. You might have a chance to see humpback and pilot whales during their migrations from July to October, and again in December through March. It’s an experience you’ll surely remember for many years to come.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

The Panorama - A three-masted motorsailer

Panorama


International Expeditions has chartered an incredible yacht to ensure you experience the highest standard of comfort for our incredible expedition cruises. The Panorama three-masted motorsailer is sleek and spacious. While most of our time is spent strolling through colorful villages and exploring remote landscapes, while onboard Panorama, emphasis is placed on time outdoors. An aft Sun Deck equipped with loungers, cushy chairs and a bar is available. After briefings on history, culture and nature, enjoy the lounge, which features a small library and comfy sofas. Plus, you’re welcome on the open bridge to meet the captain and learn about navigation. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a sumptuous selection of cuisine sure to please any palette.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 020 8772 3936