Explore Costa Rica's natural wonders and cruise the mighty locks and waterways of the 100-year-old Panama Canal.

Starting at: $4,795 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 STRI scientist at work in the field  Metal Mark butterfly  Ships moving through a lock in the Panama Canal. Credit: Hemis/Alamy  Flora found in Panama  Barro Colorado Island, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute  Research facilities at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute  Coati found in Panama  STRI scientist at work in lab  The scarlet macaw. Credit: Harvey Abernathey  Research facilities at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute  Display of traditional <i>molas</i> on the San Blas Islands Credit: Hemis/Alamy  Exotic Poison Dart Frog  Squirrel Monkey  One of the many locks of the Panama Canal  Traditional <i>mola</i> art work of the San Blas Islands Credit: Danita Delimont/Alamy  The delightful beaches of the San Blas Islands  Gatun Locks along the Panama Canal. Credit: Stan Shebs  Red-eyed tree frog

A Cruise of Panama and Costa Rica

Featuring a Transit of the Panama Canal

9 days from $4,795

Explore Costa Rica's natural wonders and cruise the mighty locks and waterways of the 100-year-old Panama Canal.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Cloud Forest and Volcanoes Pre-Program Option — 5 Days, 4 Nights

A medley of Costa Rica’s diverse biospheres, this spectacular extension features a walk through the mysterious cloud forest and across hanging bridges in the rainforest, a dip in soothing geothermal springs nestled among powerful volcanoes and a taste of the rich culture—coffee, chocolate and historic San José. Accommodations are for two nights in the ideally located Hotel Royal Corin and two nights in the hacienda-style Costa Rica Marriott - San José


Panama Post-Program Option — 3 Days, 2 Nights

The perfect complement to your transit through the Panama Canal is an exploration of Panama’s natural beauty and native culture, as well as the historic and contemporary landmarks of its cosmopolitan capital city. Cruise by motorized canoe into the 320,000-acre Chagres National Park to encounter the indigenous Embera people, who have lived here in harmony with nature for centuries. Explore the past and present of Panama City as you walk through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Panama Viejo, the oldest European colonial settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas, and tour the magnificent landscape of contemporary architectural achievements in the city’s financial district. Accommodations for two nights are in the ideally located, deluxe Bristol Hotel Panama.

Pre- and Post-Program options are available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1­­ — Depart the U.S. for San José, Costa Rica

Depart for San José. Upon arrival, check into the hacienda-style Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José. The evening is at leisure.

Day 2 — San José, Puerto Caldera

The horticultural diversity of Costa Rica, the “Garden of the Americas,” is evident in the parks of San José. On the city tour, you’ll also see the interesting mix of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial, Moorish, and Modernist. The National Theater is a regal baroque edifice modeled on Milan’s La Scala. The National Museum’s exhibits feature impressive pre-Columbian Central American artifacts.

After lunch in a local restaurant, enjoy a scenic transfer to Puerto Caldera to embark the Star Pride. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Quepos for Manuel Antonio National Park

Experience an unparalleled diversity of wildlife in Manuel Antonio National Park’s lush tropical paradise, a captivating combination of rainforest, beaches, and coral reefs, home to more than 100 species of mammals, almost 200 species of birds, and various reptiles and amphibians. In this “Living Eden,” expert naturalists will help you spot colorful toucans, screeching howler monkeys, camouflaged iguanas, squirrel monkeys, and rare and endangered species, such as the scarlet macaw and quetzal, all of which are protected by law in this natural haven.

Attend the Captain’s welcome reception on board this evening. (B,L,R,D)

Day 4 — Cuŕu Wildlife Refuge

Unlike traditional nature reserves, Curú Wildlife Refuge is a unique blend of sustainable agriculture, forest management, and wildlife protection, encompassing five distinctive untouched habitats making it the ideal place to see the intricacies of co-dependent ecosystems. Board a Zodiac for a wet landing on the beach and enjoy a guided walk in the morning—the best time of day to observe an abundance of wildlife, including pumas, anteaters, ocelots, monkeys, otters, and more than 230 species of birds. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Isla Coiba, Panama

Designated a World Heritage site, Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection has emerged as a rich laboratory for studying coral, mammals, and plants. In addition to 69 species of fish, humpback, orca, sperm, and Cuvier’s beaked whales are known to migrate through the marine park’s perimeter.

Explore Isla Coiba, the largest island in Central America. Once an isolated political prison, Isla Coiba today is a host of terrestrial wonders—untouched rainforest, rugged headlands, pristine white‑sand beaches, and mangrove thickets—the perfect environment for the evolution of new and endemic subspecies and for the preservation and protection of endangered species. Enjoy opportunities to snorkel or swim in the turquoise waters or encounter the wildlife during a guided nature walk on this tranquil and pristine, lesser traveled paradise. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Panama City, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Punta Culebra Nature Center

Depart by coach for a visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s, Punta Culebra Nature Center, for a visit guided by the staff.  The new Biodiversity Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry of Guggenheim fame, showcases the ecological significance of Panama’s exotic flora and fauna.

One of Central America’s most attractive capital cities, Panama City was founded in 1519 by Spanish explorers and rebuilt in the late 17th century. In the “old quarter” known as Casco Antiguo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, discover a charming neighborhood with cobblestone streets, a stunning 16th‑century cathedral and many historic architectural edifices that remain intact. (B,L,D)

Schedule permitting, attend a talk on Panama by a member of the United States Embassy stationed in Panama City. 

Day 7 — Daylight Transit of Panama Canal, Colón

Cruise from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea during a daylight transit through the mighty locks of the Panama Canal. Enjoy a specially arranged lecture on the history of the canal. Transit times through the canal are controlled by the Panama Canal Authority and traffic conditions. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — San Blas Islands, Holandes Cays

Cruise to the sun-drenched San Blas Islands, located on the Caribbean side of Panama and an extraordinary testament to Panama’s commitment to the indigenous Guna Indians, also known as the Kuna Indians, and their centuries-old language, customs, and culture. Villagers live in typical thatched roof huts, barter or trade in fish and agricultural products, and paddle dugout canoes, their main mode of transportation. Guna women continue to hand-stitch traditional colorful molas (reverse appliqué panels) and wear winis, long strings of tiny beads wrapped around their forearms and legs in striking geometric patterns.

This afternoon, enjoy an opportunity to snorkel at pristine Holandes Cays, the most remote cays of the San Blas archipelago and home to a wide variety of coral and tropical fish species.

Join the Captain for a farewell reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Depart Panama City for the U.S.

Disembark in Colón and transfer to Panama City for your return flight to the U.S.

Stop for a visit of the Agua Clara Visitor Center overlooking the expansion project (departure flight times permitting).  The Observation Center has much to offer including a short video presentation, a history exhibit, a geologic exhibit, a view of Lake Gatún, and the main draw - looking down onto the construction of the massive new locks. (B)