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Immerse yourself in the natural wonders along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama on a voyage aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion or the National Geographic Quest. Venture into the rain forests of Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks; search for monkeys, frogs, sloths, and brightly colored birds; or take an optional horseback ride on pristine beaches. Cap off your voyage with a crossing of the legendary Panama Canal.
A fleet of six paddleboards are available on both the National Geographic Sea Lion and the National Geographic Quest, allowing guests to further explore parts of Costa Rica and Panama from the water.
Discover hidden pools and waterfalls deep within the jungles of the Osa Peninsula.
Explore the tiny islands of the Gulf of Panama and snorkel off Isla de Coiba.
Examine the fascinating lock system that made the Panama Canal one of the greatest engineering achievements of its era.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — U.S./San José, Costa Rica/Herradura
Upon arrival in San José, transfer to Herradura and embark the National Geographic Sea Lion or National Geographic Quest. (D)
Day 2 — Manuel Antonio National Park
Spend the morning in Manuel Antonio National Park, where thick forests fringe spectacular white-sand beaches. Venture into this lush wilderness, watching for three-toed sloths lazing among the branches as well as monkeys and vividly colored birds. This afternoon, trace the park's beautiful coastline and stop to take a refreshing swim or a hike. (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Osa Peninsula
Anchor off the Osa Peninsula to see some of the most pristine lowland rain forest on the Pacific coast. In the environs of Corcovado National Park, swim in waterfall pools, take an optional horseback ride on the beach, or trek through the rain forest for a chance to see four species of monkeys—howler, spider, capuchin, and squirrel. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Golfo Dulce
Enter the mangrove-fringed Golfo Dulce, a protected gulf along the southwestern edge of Costa Rica. Visit the Casa Orquídeas, a tropical paradise of ornamental palms, bromeliads, heliconias, orchids, and flowering gingers closed to the general public and reachable only by boat. Keep your eye out for tanagers, parrots, and toucans. Later, explore the placid bay, ideal for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, expeditions landing craft rides, and swimming. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Coiba National Park, Panama
Isla Coiba, one of Panama’s most remote national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers some of the best reefs for snorkel- ing in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Our staff will assist novice and expert snorkelers alike, and –Alvaro Ugalde, “Striking Gold in Costa Rica,” National Geographic Traveler, October 2009 you’ll also observe a vibrant undersea world while swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Gulf of Panama Islets/Panama Canal Transit
Today, explore the tiny islets of the Gulf of Panama by expedition landing craft. Here, we might spot frigate birds, brown pelicans, neotropi- cal cormorants, and brown boobies. Set sail for the Panama Canal this afternoon. Stretching more than 50 miles, the canal was a colossal engineer- ing feat completed in 1914 and is still traversed by some 14,000 ships every year. As cargo ships tend to pass through the canal during the day, we’ll most likely begin our crossing at night, when the canal is dramatically lit. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Gatún Lake/Panama Canal Transit
Board an expedition landing craft to visit Barro Colorado Nature Monument in Gatún Lake by special arrangement. Scientists have worked at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Barro Colorado Island since 1923, researching its 120 mammals and diverse tree species. It is also the site of a National Geographic-supported project that tracks tagged animals using auto- mated radio signals and wireless technology. Join local guides for a walk through the forests. This evening, continue through the complex lock system of the canal. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Colón/Panama City/U.S.
After breakfast, disembark in Colón and transfer to the airport in Panama City for your flight home. (B)
Book by March 31, 2017 and receive free round-trip
international airfare between Miami and San
José/Panama City, or instead choose a complimentary
one-day extension and overnight stay in
Panama City on all departures. For the March 4
and 11, 2017 departures only, receive free air plus
your choice of $500 off the expedition cost or
a complimentary extension.
Accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of experts — from naturalists to regional specialists — who will share their knowledge and insights on the wildlife, landscapes, and local culture. See one of the members of our extraordinary team below.
José Calvo has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist guide in Costa Rica, where he is a certified naturalist with Costa Rica’s National Learning Institute (INA). He is recognized as an expert birder on Costa Rica’s Central and South Pacific Coasts. José has also guided extensively in Panama. José has led natural history focused trips for leading conservation and wildlife organizations, and also adventure and multi-sport trips for young adults and students. When not sharing the treasures of Costa Rica and Panama with travelers, he works as a graphic designer and pursues his passion for wildlife photography.
José will join the following departures:
Jan 28 - Feb 04, 2017 Feb 04 - 11, 2017 Feb 18 - 25, 2017 Feb 25 - Mar 04, 2017
National Geographic Sea Lion National Geographic Quest REV Indicates trip operates in reverse.
Add a three-day pre-trip extension to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or new seven-day post-trip extension to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Arenal Volcano, and Tortuguero on select departures. Please call for details.
Extend your trip by combining this voyage with our new Costa Rica: Cloud Forest to the Caribbean land-based expedition.
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin on the Sea Lion in 2016 or 2017, add $3,100 to Category 1 and $3,800 to Category 2. For a single cabin on the Quest in 2017 or 2018, add $3,000 to Category 1 and $3,300 to Category 2.
International airfare from Miami to San José and return from Panama City is not included in the expedition cost.