Explore Costa Rica's natural wonders and cruise the mighty locks and waterways of the Panama Canal during a day-time transit, plus meet with scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Starting at: $4,995 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 One of the many locks at the Panama Canal. Credit: Russell Kord /Alamy.com  The scarlet macaw. Credit: Harvey Abernathey  Squirrel Monkey  Exotic Poison Dart Frog  Coati found in Panama  Metal Mark butterfly  Ships moving through a lock in the Panama Canal. Credit: Hemis/Alamy  STRI scientist at work in lab  Flora found in Panama  The delightful beaches of the San Blas Islands  Traditional <i>mola</i> art work of the San Blas Islands Credit: Danita Delimont/Alamy  Display of traditional <i>molas</i> on the San Blas Islands Credit: Hemis/Alamy

A Cruise of Panama and Costa Rica

Featuring a Transit of the Panama Canal

9 days from $4,995

Explore Costa Rica's natural wonders and cruise the mighty locks and waterways of the Panama Canal during a day-time transit, plus meet with scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose

San Jose, Costa Rica

One of the top-rated hotels in Central America, the hacienda-style Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San Jose is set on a 30-acre coffee plantation. Modern amenities include a full service spa, fitness center, and a pool.

Number of nights: 1

Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Alajuela , Costa Rica

Number of nights: 2

Bristol Hotel Panama

Panama City, Panama

Nestled in the heart of Panama City, this hotel is one of the city’s premier addresses for holiday stays. Annually recognized as the “Best Hotel in Panama” and among the “Top 10 Hotels in Latin America” by Condé Nast Traveler, this legendary hotel envelops each in an embrace of uncompromising urban style and sophistication. Guest rooms feature air conditioning, direct dial telephone, cable/satellite television, DVD player, radio, minibar, hair dryer, safe, bathrobe, wireless Internet access and tea/coffee making facilities. Hotel facilities and guest services include a restaurant serving regional cuisine, two lounges, hair salon, laundry and dry cleaning services, elevator, business center, wireless Internet access, fax service, hotel safe, concierge services, 24-hour room service, fitness center, spa and outdoor swimming pool.

Number of nights: 2

Activity Level

Activity Level 3: Moderate / Active


Expectations: Ocean-going ship requires using smaller boat conveyances to get to shore for excursions, although the ship may also pull into a pier for embarkation and disembarkation. This is an expedition-type cruise that involves  excursions by small boats and wet shore landings by rubber Zodiac boats (i.e. step from the Zodiac directly into ankle high water). Travelers must be able to negotiate a steep gangway and get in and out of the Zodiacs with minimal assistance. Excursions will be at an active pace during the mornings and afternoons. Some standing and walking for periods of time (up to one and a half hours) during outdoor activities and tours and nature walks. Walking two to three miles will be over sometimes difficult terrain, such as uneven/slippery walking trails in rain forests. Opportunities for swimming and snorkeling are offered during the cruise. Be aware that you will experience hot temperatures (over 80 degrees), high humidity, and strong sun due to the proximity to the equator. Wildlife observation requires time spent on small excursion boats that do not provide shade or protection from the strong tropical sun.   

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Tour Extension

*Cloud Forest and Volcanoes Pre-Program Option — 4 Days, 3 Nights

Experience a medley of Costa Rica’s diverse biospheres, where a 9,000-foot-tall volcano cradles an emerald green lagoon deep within a mile-wide crater and misty cloud forests shelter a dazzling array of flora and fauna. Explore the distinctive layers of the lush Arenal rainforest along a series of suspended and fixed bridges. Enjoy a soothing soak in secluded geothermal hot springs. Tour historic San José, an organic chocolate workshop and an award-winning coffee estate. Accommodations are for two nights in the ideally located Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort and two nights in the hacienda-style Costa Rica Marriott - San José


Panama Post-Program Option — 3 Days, 2 Nights

The perfect complement to Panama’s man-made wonder and “the crossroads of the Americas” is an exploration of old and new Panama. Visit the World Heritage-designated Panama Viejo to see the ruins of the oldest European settlement on the Pacific coast of the American continents and enjoy an architectural tour featuring modern Panama City. Cruise on the Gatún River through the rainforest to encounter Panama’s indigenous Embera people. Accommodations for two nights are in the ideally located, deluxe Bristol Hotel Panama.

*Pre‑program pricing includes a credit for the cost of one of the two nights’ accommodations in San José and the San José city tour as these features are already included in the cost of your main program.

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

Ship

Le Champlain

Launched in 2018,  Le Champlain is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by the Ponant cruise line, along with sister ship Le Lapérouse. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury.

Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining
International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise.

Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sounds beneath the ocean surface. 

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs. 

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse.

Respect for the Environment
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designd with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while provideing a safe and comfortable voyage. 

Le Champlain

Launched in 2018,  Le Champlain is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by the Ponant cruise line, along with sister ship Le Lapérouse. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury.

Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining
International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise.

Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sounds beneath the ocean surface. 

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs. 

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse.

Respect for the Environment
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designd with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while provideing a safe and comfortable voyage. 

Reading List
The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914
By: David McCullough
The National Book Award–winning epic chronicle of the creation of the Panama Canal, a first-rate drama of the bold and brilliant engineering feat that was filled with both tragedy and triumph, told by master historian David McCullough.From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Truman, here is the national bestselling epic chronicle of the creation of the Panama Canal. In The Path Between the Seas, acclaimed historian David McCullough delivers a first-rate drama of the sweeping human undertaking that led to the creation of this grand enterprise. The Path Between the Seas tells the story of the men and women who fought against all odds to fulfill the 400-year-old dream of constructing an aquatic passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a story of astonishing engineering feats, tremendous medical accomplishments, political power plays, heroic successes, and tragic failures. Applying his remarkable gift for writing lucid, lively exposition, McCullough weaves the many strands of the momentous event into a comprehensive and captivating tale. Winner of the National Book Award for history, the Francis Parkman Prize, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, and the Cornelius Ryan Award (for the best book of the year on international affairs), The Path Between the Seas is a must-read for anyone interested in American history, the history of technology, international intrigue, and human drama.
Nature of the Rainforest: Costa Rica and Beyond (Zona Tropical Publications)
By: Adrian Forsyth
A Zona Tropical Publication"The words 'tropical rainforest' may conjure up vistas populated by jaguars, brilliant macaws, and flowers amid the grandeur of towering buttressed trees. But the eager, expectant visitor is not regaled with the sight of charismatic vertebrates, gaudy birds, and luminous orchids. In the rainforest, close encounters with life that moves are usually rare but brilliant episodes; one is bedazzled for an instant and then left alone in the quiet greenery. Under such conditions, one must see the episode as part of a process; tracing the connections between organisms is the essence of rainforest appreciation."―Nature of the RainforestNature of the Rainforest is a breathtaking tour of an environment that is the pinnacle of biodiversity and evolutionary sophistication by an award-winning author and two photographers who love the rainforest, understand its intricacies, and have spent considerable time there documenting its wildlife and complexity. Adrian Forsyth draws on four decades of personal encounters with the animals of the rainforest―including poison-dart frogs, three-toed sloths, bushmasters, and umbrellabirds―as a starting point to communicate key ecological topics such as biodiversity, coevolution, rarity, chemical defense, nutrient cycling, and camouflage. The luminous photographs capture stunning and rare creatures in action, including the now- extinct golden toad mating, a jaguar on the prowl, and the hermit hummingbird feeding. The behaviors and characteristics of the rainforest inhabitants featured here not only illustrate the text but also advance the scientific narrative and exemplify the critical importance of conservation. Thematic chapters are interspersed with four chapters devoted to specific habitats and regions of Costa Rica and Peru, areas with some of the most diverse arrays of plant and animal species in the world. The result is an exuberant celebration of the rainforest in text and images.
The Wildlife of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Zona Tropical Publications)
By: Fiona A. Reid, Twan Leenders, Jim Zook, Robert Dean
This full-color field guide is an indispensable companion to the most popular neotropical ecotourism destination: Costa Rica. Featuring all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods that one is likely to see on a trip to the rainforest (as well as those secretive creatures such as the jaguar that are difficult to glimpse), The Wildlife of Costa Rica is the guide to have when encountering trogons, tapirs, and tarantulas.In addition to providing details for identifying animals along with interesting facts about their natural history, this guide offers tips for seeing them in the wild. Costa Rica, a peaceful nation with many and diverse animal species, is one of the best places in the world for wildlife watching and nature study. It has an excellent system of national parks and reserves, a wide choice of ecolodges, and many professionally trained tourist guides. It is possible to leave the capital city of San José and, just a few hours later, visit a high-elevation cloud forest, dense rainforest, savanna-like plain, or coastal habitat, each with a unique collection of animal species.This new lightweight field guide provides nature enthusiasts visiting Costa Rica with the best introduction to the country's amazing diversity of wildlife. It is the first general field guide to Costa Rica to combine the most sought-after features:•treatment of all major phyla in the country;•coverage of the animals most likely and most desirable to be seen;•more than 600 detailed illustrations integrated with the text (the preferred method of animal identification in the wild);•full species accounts including ID points, range and habitat, size, and behaviors;•a wealth of natural history information, including more than 20 photographic natural history features; and•tips for seeing animals.
A Brief History of Central America
By: Hector Perez-Brignoli
This is the first interpretive history of Central America by a Central American historian to be published in English. Anyone with an interest in current events in the region will find here an insightful and well-written guide to the history of its five national states—Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Traces of a common past invite us to make generalizations about the region, even to posit the idea of a Central American nation. But, as Hector Perez-Brignoli shows us, we can learn more from a comparative approach that establishes both the points of convergence and the separate paths taken by the five different countries of Central America.The author offers a concise overview of the region's history from the sixteenth century to the present, beginning with human and cultural geography in the first chapter and ending with the present crisis in the last. He deals with the fundamental themes and problems of the area: the characteristics of the colonial heritage, independence and the crisis of the Federal Republic, the formation of nation-states during the nineteenth century, and the development of export agriculture based on coffee and bananas. The narrative moves finally into the twentieth century to look at the growing impoverishment that multiplies inequalities and leads to the shipwreck of liberal democracy. The case of Costa Rica, exceptional in more ways than one, receives special attention.
How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal
By: Ovidio Diaz Espino
This book tells a previously untold story of decades of financial speculation, fraud, and international conspiracy that led to the creation of the Panama Canal. The author meticulously details the dark alliance — among a French company; Teddy Roosevelt with his gunboat diplomacy; and a secretive syndicate of Wall Street financiers — that masterminded a coup in Colombia and the secession of Panama in 1903. Panama then welcomed the canal building, and the U.S. foreign policy precedent was set for the 20th century. How Wall Street Created a Nation includes historical photographs and is a fascinating telling of this scandalous true story.
The Building of the Panama Canal in Historic Photographs
By: Ulrich Keller
In 1889 the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interocéanique declared bankruptcy. The French firm's optimistic and ill-planned attempt to construct a canal across the Isthmus of Panama had resulted in the death of 22,000 workers (most from yellow fever, typhoid fever, and malaria); the complete loss of one and a half billion francs for the company's 800,000 shareholders; and the bitter failure of Chief Engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps — the man responsible for the Suez Canal.On August 15, 1914, the S.S. Ancon took nine hours and forty minutes to traverse the lock-and-lake waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. What occurred in the quarter century between 1889 and 1914 is a larger-than-life true story of adventure, revolution, ordeal, and accomplishment: the building of the Panama Canal — perhaps the greatest engineering marvel of the early twentieth century.In 164 magnificent historic photographs and a well-researched text, noted photohistorian Ulrich Keller tells the compelling story of this hitherto unparalleled technological achievement. Selected from an archive of over 10,000 images amassed by Ernest Hallen (Official Photographer of the Isthmian Canal Commission), these historic prints document the Canal's construction and its way of life: 450 miles of railroad; housing for 60,000 based on a caste system; the exotic settings; tremendous hardships and health risks; leisure activities; the Canal Zone's internal government, administration and policing; dredging operations, including spectacular movements of earth and water; unheard-of engineering feats and disastrous failures; and finally, victory!Photographers, historians, engineers, and tudents of industry and technology will immediately recognize this volume as an important primary source of industrial archaeology. Photography enthusiasts and lovers of true adventure will delight in the vibrant, you-are-there sensation imparted by the photos and Ulrich Keller's exceptionally informed text and meticulous captions. The Building of the Panama Canal in Historic Photographs takes the reader back to a different era, and one of the proudest episodes in what the author calls "the 'heroic' age of industry."
The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa Rica
By: Mavis Hiltunen Biesanz, Richard Biesanz, Karen Zubris Biesanz
Written with the perspective of more than half a century of first-hand observation, this unparalleled social and cultural history describes how Costa Rica's economy, government, education and health-care systems, family structures, religion, and other institutions have evolved, and how this evolution has affectedCand reflectedCpeople's daily lives, beliefs, and their values. The authors are particularly concerned with change and continuity since the economic crisis of the early 1980s and the structural adjustment that followed. Providing a comprehensive introduction to a country they know well, the Biesanzes also contribute astutely to an understanding of the reciprocal influence of structural adjustment and national culture.
Costa Rica: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: Barbara Ras, Oscar Arias
Journey into the Costa Rican imagination through twenty-six remarkable stories, selected and organized regionally for the curious traveler. Here, for the first time in English, the best of Costa Rica's writers conjure the country's allure and vitality, its coffee fields and palm groves, cicadas and songbirds, shrouded mountains and blazing savannas, while telling stories unique to Costa Rican life. Contributors include Alfredo Aguilar, Fernando Durán Ayanegui, Alfonso Chase, Quince Duncan, Fabián Dobles, Louis Ducoudray, Carlos Luis Fallas, Mario Gonzáles Feo, Joaquín Gutiérrez, Carlos Salazar Herrera, Max Jiménez, Carmen Lyra, Carmen Naranjo, Yolanda Oreamuno, Abel Pacheco, Julieta Pinto, Uriel Quesada, Samuel Rovinski, José León Sánchez, and Rima de Vallbona.
Wildlife of the World (Dk Smithsonian)
By: DK Publishing
Wildlife of the World takes you on a journey through some of the most scenic and rich animal habitats — from the Amazon rain forests to the Himalayas, the Sahara to the South Pole — meeting the most important animals in each ecosystem along the way.In Wildlife of the World truly spectacular portrait-style photography brings you "face-to-face" with individual animals in up-close and engrossing profiles on how the animals interact with their environments, mate, survive, and even play.From the shaggy musk ox foraging in the Canadian high arctic to the angered Scottish wildcat prowling the Highlands to the rock-climbing gelada monkey of Ethiopia, each animal featured in Wildlife of the World plays a key role in its environment. An additional eighty-page illustrated reference section on the animal kingdom explains the animal groups and profiles additional species.Produced in association with the Smithsonian Institution.
Natural History (Smithsonian)
By: DK
A landmark in reference publishing and overseen and authenticated by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Natural History presents an unrivaled visual survey of Earth's natural history. Giving a clear overview of the classification of our natural world-over 6,000 species-Natural History looks at every kingdom of life, from bacteria, minerals, and rocks to fossils to plants and animals. Featuring a remarkable array of specially commissioned photographs, Natural History looks at thousands of specimens and species displayed in visual galleries that take the reader on an incredible journey from the most fundamental building blocks of the world's landscapes, through the simplest of life forms, to plants, fungi, and animals.
The Monkey's Bridge: Mysteries of Evolution in Central America
By: David Wallace
Central America is a fascinating evolutionary artifact. Three million years ago, the Panama land bridge emerged as a link between what is now North and South America, and as flora and fauna traversed this great bridge between worlds, they cross-fertilized extensively and one of the Earth's most rich and varied environments developed. The Monkey's Bridge is the story of this extraordinary environment. The culmination of ten years of research and travel, the book combines a vibrant travelogue with personal insights on the landscapes, cultures, and ecosystems of Central America. David Rains Wallace creates an astounding portrait of a captivating part of the world.
The Tapir's Morning Bath: Solving the Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest
By: Elizabeth Royte
An engaging portrait of a community of biologists, The Tapir's Morning Bath is a behind-the-scenes account of life at a tropical research station that "conveys the uncertainties, frustrations, and joys of [scientific] field work" (Science). On Panama's Barro Colorado Island, Elizabeth Royte works alongside the scientists -- counting seeds, sorting insects, collecting monkey dung, radiotracking fruit bats -- as they struggle to parse the intricate workings of the tropical rain forest. While showing the human side of the scientists at work, Royte explores the tensions between the slow pace of basic research and the reality of a world that may not have time to wait for answers.
Travellers' Wildlife Guides Costa Rica
By: Les Beletsky
The Travellers' Wildlife Guides are aimed at environmentally conscious travellers for whom some of the best parts of any trip are glimpses of wildlife in natural settings. The purpose of this series is to enhance enjoyment of a trip and enrich wildlife sightings by providing identifying information on the most frequently encountered animals in each of the represented countries. With stunning color illustrations and photographs of amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds, this series is unique in that it aims to aid the visitor in identifying all types of vertebrate land animals while providing current information on the conservation statuses of the animals. Not only for travellers, the Travellers' Wildlife Guides are for all those fascinated by wildlife and concerned about our environment. Most travellers to Costa Rica want to experience its lush tropical forests and catch glimpses of exotic wildlife; toucans and parrots, hummingbirds and hawks, monkeys and big cats, frogs and toads, crocodiles, and (yes) snakes. Here is all the information you will need to find, identify and learn about Costa Rica's magnificent wildlife. --Identification, distribution, and conservation information on Costa Rica's frequently spotted animals. --Full-color illustrations of nearly 350 of Costa Rica's most common amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. --Up-to-date information on the ecology, behavior, and conservation of the families of animals to which the pictured species belong. --Information on habitats and on the most common plants you will encounter. --Brief descriptions of Costa Rica's most frequently visited parks and reserves. --Information on ecotourism in general and on conservation in Costa Rica. Easy-to-carry, entertainingly written, beautifully illustrated-you will want to have this book as constant companion on your journey.
Costa Rica Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species (A Pocket Naturalist Guide)
By: James Kavanagh, Waterford Press
One of the richest ecosystems on Earth, Costa Rica is home to over 500,000 species of animals (mostly insects). The Jesus Christ lizard (a basilisk that can run on water) is one of thousands of species of animals inhabiting the diverse ecosystems found throughout the region. This beautifully illustrated guide highlights over 140 familiar and unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies. This convenient laminated guide is an ideal, portable source of practical information and ideal for field use by naturalists of all ages. Made in the USA.
Panama General Wildlife Guide (Laminated Foldout Pocket Field Guide) (English and Spanish Edition)
By: Rainforest Publications
Slip this laminated foldup pocket guide into your backpack or front pocket. Folded, it is only 3.5" (9cm) by 8.75" (22cm). When spread flat it is approx. 24" (61cm) by 8.75" (22 cm). You get twelve 9cm by 22cm "pages" of critters plus front and back cover pages. The guide contains beautifully illustrated, detailed scientific accurate illustrations of the Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Birds that you will see on your travels in Panama. Slips into your pocket so its handy when you need it. Illustrations of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians are by Mark Wainwright. Robert Dean illustrated the birds. Both Robert and Mark are British naturalists who have lived in Central American since the early 90s. Rainforest Publications' Panama General Wildlife Guide is highly portable, waterproof, full color, and scientifically reviewed.... Critters are identified in English, Spanish, and Latin. Our wildlife guides are the perfect companion if you're a naturalist, critter watcher, or adventure traveler.
The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Zona Tropical Publications)
By: Richard Garrigues
This is the one compact, portable, and user-friendly field guide the novice or experienced birder needs to identify birds in the field in the diverse habitats found in Costa Rica. It features descriptions and illustrations of all 903 species definitely known from Costa Rica, including pelagics and species regular to Cocos Island. Fifty-six of these species are placed in a "Rarities" section that includes accidentals, rarer pelagics, and species that have not been reported in more than twenty years.The detailed full-color illustrations show identifying features―including plumage differences among males, females, and juveniles―and views of birds in flight wherever pertinent.Robert Dean has supplied more than 360 new illustrations, including sixty-four species that are illustrated for the first time in this edition. These include recent additions to the country list, pelagic species, Cocos Island species, and all accidentals recorded from the Costa Rican mainland. Range maps and nomenclature have been updated for this edition, which also has a new user-friendly organizational scheme and an alphabetical quick-find index of groups on the inside back cover.
The Birds of Panama: A Field Guide (Zona Tropical Publications)
By: George R. Angehr
The isthmus of Panama, where North and South America meet, hosts more bird species than all of North America. More accessible than ever to birdwatchers and other ecotourists, the country has become a premier neotropical birding and nature tourism destination in recent years. The Birds of Panama will be an essential tool for the new generation of birders traveling in search of Panama's spectacular avifauna. This user-friendly, portable, and affordable identification guide features:•large color illustrations of more than 900 species;•the first range maps published to show the distribution of Panama's birds;•concise text that describes field marks for identification, as well as habitat, behavior, and vocalizations;•range maps and species accounts face illustration pages for quick, easy reference;•the inclusion of North American migrants and seabirds, as well as female and juvenile plumage variations;•an up-to-date species list for the country that reflects recent additions, taxonomic splits, and other changes in classification.Panama's unique geography, small size, and varied habitats make it possible to see a vast diversity of birds within a short time. Its western and central areas harbor representatives of species found in Central America; species characteristic of South America may be found in the east. In the winter, birds from northern climes are commonly found in Panama as migrants. This is the one field guide the novice or experienced birder needs to identify birds in the field in Panama's diverse habitats.
Tropical Plants of Costa Rica: A Guide to Native and Exotic Flora (Zona Tropical Publications)
By: Willow Zuchowski
Ranging from miniature epiphytic orchids to towering trees, and from mangrove forests lining coastal waterways to high-elevation cloud forests, Costa Rica's rich and varied flora dazzles visitors and botanists alike. Tropical Plants of Costa Rica, the first popular treatment to include plants from all regions of the country, is an indispensable guide to native and exotic species found in the neotropics.This book is beautifully illustrated with more than 540 full-color photographs taken in the field, each depicting an entire plant or a closer view of flowers, fruits, or seeds. Instructive pen-and-ink drawings of botanical details also accompany many of the accounts. The text clearly explains each plant's identifying characteristics and reveals fascinating facts about its natural history, chemical properties, economic importance, and medicinal and other uses. Sidebar features throughout the book highlight conservation, ethnobotany, and ecology; their topics include unusual applications for plants, distinct attributes of certain plant families, and plants of particular microhabitats. Tropical Plants of Costa Rica is a wonderful resource for naturalists, students, and researchers, as well as both experienced and first-time visitors to Costa Rica and the American tropics.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes on-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance. You will receive details on this included insurance with your Tour Confirmation and Tour Bulletins after you book a tour (U.S. Residents only).

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian - “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian's 19 museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy) 
  • The expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Travel Director(s), and local guides throughout the tour.
  • Meals, including special Welcome and Farewell Receptions, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner).
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the cruise.
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in the itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • Gratuities to hotel staff, local guides, and drivers.
  • All on-tour transportation unless otherwise noted.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for all participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only).

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, à la carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Airfare and departure taxes.
  • Ship staff gratuities (2019). 
  • Taxes.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included. 
  • Optional Travelers’ Protection Plan: Unexpected events before or during a trip may leave you with canceled plans, lost luggage, or unforeseen medical expenses. This optional plan offers an affordable package of benefits and services that can provide coverage and assistance for the unexpected. Visit TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys to learn more.

Registration
Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process, or please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (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. Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your request, the following is necessary:

Required Information

For all international departures, passport information including the following, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program as well as by our international travel partners: your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, and gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov). In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.
 

Payments
Deposit of $1,000 per person ($200 per person pre/post optional extensions), 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.

Balance due upon invoicing at least 95 days prior to the program. If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration
Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered a "late registration" and must be subject to special confirmation. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card or by check and sent by overnight mail to the tour operator before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full.

Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the program within the designated late registration period for that program.

For additional information, please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time) or visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact.

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. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised prior to departure. 

Wait List
If the program(s) of your choice are fully subscribed, you will be placed on a wait list. If you choose to withdraw from the wait list, please notify us.

Please note that we are unable to keep you apprised of your status on the wait 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 855-330-1542.

Cancellation and Refund Policy
Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellation within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellation after 7 days of booking: $1,000 retained; $200 pre/post cruise optional extension.
  • Final payment due: 95 days before departure.
  • Cancellation made less than 95 days prior to departure: 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.

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policies. 

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, or otherwise because of a flight delay, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time.  If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high fees for changes. We urge you to check airline cancellation fees before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation fees related to domestic or international airline tickets.

Travel Insurance Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  Smithsonian Journeys provides the following travel coverages with Travel Guard as part of your trip.

Limit (Maximum per person)

·   Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation of Remains up to $100,000

·   Emergency Medical Expenses up to $25,000

·   Emergency Dental Expenses up to $500

The Evacuation/Repatriation provides coverage for emergency air and ground transportation due to a serious illness or injury.  You also have worldwide access to a 24-hour travel assistance hotline if you need help with lost documents, cash transfers, and other travel-related problems.

IMPORTANT: Smithsonian Journeys offers an optional, travel insurance plan which will cover you for trip cancellation, interruption, and/or delay; baggage loss, theft, damage or delay; accident and/or sickness, medical expenses, and accidental death. To learn more, visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call 800-208-6142. Please consider this or other coverage.  Many insurance and HMO/PPO plans offer reduced benefits when traveling internationally and Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the U.S. 

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If you are a U.S. citizen and your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For certain international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and/or with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens. The U.S. Department of State no longer will add visa pages into U.S. passports. Applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we strongly recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov. For medical information, we strongly recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants 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. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, itinerary changes, speakers, experts, places visited, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation use, hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants when they are available; however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room. 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 hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

This paragraph relates solely to the tour operator (Thomas P. Gohagan & Company). You agree that any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) concerning, relating or referring to these Terms and Conditions, the brochure or any other literature concerning your tour, or the touritself, shall be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§1-16, either according to the then existing Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or pursuant to the Comprehensive Arbitration Rules & Procedures of the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (JAMS). Such proceedings will be governed by substantive (but not procedural) Illinois law and will take place in Chicago, IL. The arbitrator and not any federal, state, or local court or agency shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, conscionability, or formation of this contract, including but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this contract is void or voidable. By agreeing to these terms and conditions, you (and we) are waiving our right to a trial by jury.

Any action or legal proceeding against the Smithsonian Institution in connection with your trip shall be brought only in a United States federal court of competent jurisdiction.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties. This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals in certain hotels or aboard ship. There is no smoking aboard the ship, and some hotels may not allow smoking anywhere on the property. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer travelers a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator books services of independent suppliers for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator is 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 its designated 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 (including, but not limited to inappropriate or offensive behavior) 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.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

Thomas P. Gohagan & Company and its employees, shareholders, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors or trustees, successors and assigns (“Gohagan”) and Smithsonian Institution and its  Regents, officers, employees, representatives, agents, successors, and assigns (“Smithsonian”) do not own or operate any entity which is to or does provide goods or services for your tour including, for example, lodging facilities, airline, vessel, or other transportation companies, guides or guide services, local ground operators, providers or organizers of optional excursions, food service or entertainment providers, etc.  All such persons and entities are independent contractors.  As a result, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is liable for any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any such person or entity or of any other third party.

  

In addition and without limitation, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is responsible for any injury, loss, death, inconvenience, delay, or damage to persons or property in connection with the provision of any goods or services whether resulting from, but not limited to, acts of force majeure, acts of government, acts of war or civil unrest, insurrection or revolt, bites from or attacks by animals, insects or pests, strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities of any kind or the threat thereof, sickness, illness, epidemics or the threat thereof, the lack of availability of or access to medical attention or the quality thereof, overbooking or downgrading of accommodations, mechanical or other failure of airplanes, vessels, or other means of transportation, or for any failure of any transportation mechanism to arrive or depart timely or safely. 

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The reader 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 including the Dispute Resolution paragraph as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour as well as the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The reader further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to acts of force majeure, the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, other criminal conduct, illness, inadequate medical facilities and difficulty in evacuation to same, and damage to persons 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 the Smithsonian, the United States, and/or Gohagan. 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.