Costa Rica and the Panama Canal
Mission and Eligibility
Smithsonian Journeys are designed to engage members in the broad vision and wide-ranging interests of the Smithsonian. Like the Institution, they are intended to expand the intellectual horizons of visitors and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation in Smithsonian Journeys benefits the work of the Smithsonian's 19 museums and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.
Smithsonian Journeys is a benefit of Smithsonian membership. If you are not already a member, please include your membership payment of $29 with your deposit. You will then receive all the benefits of a national membership, including a subscription to Smithsonian magazine, notice of events in your area, free admission to the Cooper- Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City, the opportunity to take Smithsonian Journeys, and discounts at our museum shops and gift catalog. Become involved in your nation’s cultural heritage, beginning with membership in your national museum.
What Is Included in the Tour Cost
- Seven (7) nights aboard the ship.
- Meals served as indicated in itinerary.
- Nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship.
- Transfers to/ from airport if traveling on group flights.
- Excursions outlined in itinerary
- Comprehensive program of lectures and activities led by onboard naturalists.
- Services of expedition leader and ship physician.
- Port taxes and fees.
- Gratuities to local guides.
- Administrative costs.
- Pre-tour packet including Tour Bulletins and Reading List.
- Emergency evacuation insurance (up to $50,000) and access to emergency assistance service.
What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost
- Air transportation U.S./Panama City, San Jose/U.S. (unless indicated otherwise).
- Meals not indicated as included.
- Optional extensions.
- Passport fee.
- Voyage DVD.
- Personal items such as alcohol, laundry, LEX Wellness.
- Discretionary gratuities to the naturalist staff and ship’s crew.
Space is reserved in the order of receipt of reservation request.
To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process starting at the bottom of each tour page, or call 1-855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour. You will be notified of your status when your request has been received and processed.
To complete your request, the following is necessary:
Deposit of $1,100 per person, per tour, payable by check or major credit card to the tour operator is required to reserve a space on a tour. Deposits are applied to payment of the program price.
If you are not a Smithsonian member, please add $29 for a one-year membership. Only one membership per household is required.
Please note: Balance due upon invoicing, 60 days prior to departure.
If purchasing air arrangements, airfare will be billed by the tour operator 45 days prior to departure and may be paid by check or credit card.
Due to the nature of tour operators and supplier payment schedules, any registration received within 60 days of departure is considered a "late registration" and must be subject to special confirmation by a Reservation Specialist.
Full payment is required at this time and must be paid immediately to the tour operator. You will be advised by the Smithsonian as to the name of the operator and what forms of payment are acceptable.
For additional information, please call a Reservations Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) or e-mail Reservations@SmithsonianJourneys.org
A Note About Costs
Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee. Details and costs will be advised prior to tour departure.
If the program(s) of your choice are fully subscribed, you will be placed on a waiting list. If you choose to withdraw from the waiting list, please notify us.
Please note that we are unable to keep you apprised of your status on the waiting list. We will call you only if a space becomes available, but you are welcome to call us at your convenience to inquire about your status at 1-855-330-1542.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys (subsequent written notice required):
Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policies.
- 90 or more days prior to expedition start: $300 per person cancellation fee
- 89-60 days: $1100 Advance payment cost
- 59-30 days: 50% of trip cost
- 29-0 days: No refund
- Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
- No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.
Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers
Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your flights.
Air Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Tours also can be cancelled due to low enrollments. Neither Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.
In addition to the included coverage for emergency evacuation, emergency medical assistance and dental service which is part of the price of your tour, Smithsonian Journeys strongly urges you to purchase the optional Travelers’ Protection Plan to help ease your worries. If unexpected circumstances should arise and you must cancel or interrupt your trip, our plan covers your investment. We strongly urge you to consider this plan or another of your choosing in addition to your own health insurance policy. Details of our plan will be sent with your confirmation letter. The plan provides help in many unexpected circumstances, such as loss, delay or damage of baggage; a medical problem that may suddenly arise which causes you to cancel your trip; and medical costs outside the U.S. (most medical policies, including Medicare, do not provide full coverage for medical expenses incurred outside of the U.S.).
Physical and Medical Considerations
Please note that these tours require that participants be in good physical condition: you must be capable, without assistance, of walking a minimum of two miles over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of travelers on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542.
Some tours have additional notes regarding physical and medical considerations, which are noted on the Special Tour Information link.
Itinerary or Program Modifications – Cruises and Train Tours
Smithsonian strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itineraries are sent. Please note that weather conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.
Smithsonian Journeys offers special tours and cruises for families. In general, children should be at least 8 years old to enroll in a family program. All other tours are designed for adults, although some may be suitable for older children. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, and a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.
Smithsonian chooses hotels based on a combination of their location, service, atmosphere and price. On adventure tours and programs in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. In most cases, hotels have elevators and meeting rooms for Smithsonian lectures. Program prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.
Singles and Roommates
Hotel rooms are always reserved for single travelers, however the number of single rooms/cabins available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will apply for a single room/cabin. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, the single supplement will be charged.
Preparing for Your Journey
Prior to departure, you will receive Tour Bulletins containing both tour specific and general tour information to help you prepare for your travel experience.
Tour Bulletin 1 includes such information as:
Tour Bulletin 2 includes such information as:
- Passport and visa instructions
- Flight information
- Weather, clothing, and packing suggestions
- A suggested reading list
- General information about the countries you will visit, e.g. the food, customs, medical precautions and currency.
- Information about your study leader(s) and tour staff
- Baggage tags and name badges
- Final Itinerary
- Participant List
Participants may join the group en route and/or stay on after the end of the program. In such cases, however, no refund can be made for unused portions of the tour. Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.
Participants on Smithsonian Journeys may be photographed for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution.
For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. Smoking is not permitted in passenger cabins aboard ships and is only allowed on a limited basis in designated outdoor public areas aboard ships.
RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER
Read Carefully: Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer
Smithsonian Journeys are managed by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer its members a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.
The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time, when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant, subject only to the requirement that the recoverable portion of the total amount paid that corresponds to the cost of unused services and accommodations be refunded, if any. Participants are encouraged to purchase airline tickets no sooner than 60 days before the tour begins to avoid airline cancellation penalties if a tour is canceled or otherwise modified subsequent to the participant’s purchase of those tickets. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator accept no liability for the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets to the tour departure city and return. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.
Dates, schedules, program details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication of the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.
AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:
The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour brochure(s), and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour brochure(s). The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour.
By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.