Travel through the Panama Canal during the 100th anniversary year of the canal’s completion. As you journey through its waterways and mighty locks, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, come to understand the dramatic worldwide impact of this amazing engineering feat. Begin your journey in the San Blas Islands, where the indigenous Kuna people have maintained their traditions for centuries. Then enter the awe-inspiring Panama Canal, tour the old town of Panama City, and cruise to the remote island paradise of Granito de Oro and Coiba National Park. Once in Costa Rican waters, stop to explore the magnificent flora and fauna of the Osa Peninsula and Manuel Antonio National Park. Enjoy lectures by Jim Karr
, an expert in tropical ecology, as well as other speakers. Optional extensions to Panama and Costa Rica are also offered.Check out our slide show for a photo journey of this cruise!
View photos by clicking "Next Photo" at the top of the page!Itinerary
Day 1 — U.S., Panama City, Panama, Colón
Depart for the capital city of Panama. Upon arrival, transfer to Colón on the Caribbean coast to embark the M.V. Tere Moana
. (D)Day 2 — Colón, San Blas Islands
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 Kuna Indians and their centuries-old way of life, including 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. Kuna women continue to hand-stitch traditional colorful molas, reverse appliqué panels, and to wear wini, long strings of tiny beads wrapped around their forearms and legs in striking geometric patterns.
Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception on board this evening. (B,L,R,D)Day 3 — Colón, Panama Canal, Panama City
Cruise from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean through the mighty locks of the Panama Canal. Enjoy a specially arranged lecture on the history of the canal
. (B,L,D)Day 4 — Panama City
Explore Central America’s most attractive capital city, founded in 1519 by Spanish explorers and rebuilt in the late 17th century. See the many historic structures within the designated World Heritage site—Panama Viejo
, the oldest European settlement in the America’s, and Casco Antiguo
, with its cobbled streets and spectacular ruins of 16th-century cathedrals. Visit the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center near the Panama Canal, for an ideal observation area and an opportunity to see how the locks operate. Also visit the new Biodiversity Museum
, designed by architect Frank Gehry of Guggenheim fame, and see exhibits showcasing the ecological significance of Panama’s exotic flora and fauna. (B,L,D)Day 5 — Granito de Oro, Isla Coiba
Visit small Granito de Oro, which means “granules of gold” to reflect its purity. Formed by a steep volcanic outcropping over millions of years, this islet is known as the “live aquarium of Coiba” for its vast array of exquisite marine life such as parrotfish and orange-sided triggerfish.
Continue to the largest island in Central America, Isla Coiba. Once an isolated prison, it hosts 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 protection of endangered species. 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 move through the marine park’s perimeter, and large marlin may be seen leaping from the water. (B,L,D)Day 6 — Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Located along the southern Pacific coast, this secluded natural wonderland was declared “one of the most biologically intense places on earth.” Central America’s largest virgin lowland tropical rainforest, the Osa Peninsula’s rugged natural splendor is home to rare and endangered species, including the harpy eagle, spider monkey and three-toed sloth. Visit Casa Orquídeas
, a stunning, maze-like botanical garden of over 100 species of orchids, bromeliads, heliconias and edible plants, and observe colorful toucans, scarlet macaws and jewel-hued hummingbirds. (B,L,D)Day 7 — Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos
Experience an unparalleled diversity of wildlife in this 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, protected by law in this natural haven.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure in Quepos, named for the native Quepo Indians and the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park. Once known for its banana plantations, Quepos is now recognized throughout the world for its high-quality palm oil and abundant marlin, sailfish and snapper sport fishing. Join the Captain for a Farewell Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)Day 8 — Puerto Caldera, San José
Disembark in Puerto Caldera and enjoy a scenic transfer to San José. The horticultural diversity of Costa Rica, the “Garden of the Americas,” is evident in the parks of this vibrant capital city. On the city tour, also see San José’s interesting mix of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial, Moorish and Modernist. Its National Theater is a regal Baroque edifice modeled on Milan’s La Scala. The National Museum displays impressive artifacts of pre-Columbian Central America. Check into the hacienda-style Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José. (B/L)
(Participants on the Post-Program Option will transfer to Arenal today, returning to San José for the city tour at the conclusion of the Post-Program.)Day 9 — San José, U.S.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)
Pre- and Post-Program Options are available at additional cost. Details will be included with your reservation confirmation.