Cruising Costa Rica, Panama & Colombia (SL) - 2014 / 2015

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13 Day Tour from San José to Cartagena


Cruising Costa Rica, Panama & Colombia
Panama Canal
Panama Canal
Get close-up views of the enormous crater with its deep, green lake
Cartagena, Colombia
Visit the Arenal Volcano, which erupts on a regular basis

Vacation Overview

A perfectly balanced tour of Central and South America awaits you on this land and sea adventure in Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. Landing in San José, you’ll head to Arenal, where the imposing volcano serves as your backdrop, most recently active until 2010. Generating dozens of hot springs, surrounded by hanging bridges and nature trails, bodies of water, and caves, Arenal is a place of mystic beauty and adventure—the perfect place to start your journey.

After several nights on land, take to the sea! Embarking in Los Sueños on your mega-yacht, the Variety Voyager, get ready for seven nights of cruising past pristine white beaches, hundreds of wildlife species, and lush national parks and rainforests. You’ll have the opportunity to see three-toed sloths, howler monkeys, and iguanas in Manuel Antonio, endangered bird species, red-eyed frogs, and ocelots in Corcovado, and maybe even whales and dolphins off the coast!

Sail through Granito de Oro and the Coiba Islands of Panama, where time allows you to swim and snorkel in the clear waters teeming with ocean life. The waters of Coiba Island are considered to be among the top ten diving spots in the world! Around the southern peninsula of Panama, sail up to the Panama Canal, an engineering marvel that connects the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, making it a vital channel for world trade. Then, on to Panama’s fascinating and beautiful archipelago of the San Blas Islands, where the Kuna Indians, who still maintain their autonomy, language, customs, and economic independence, will welcome you and teach you about their traditional ways of life—an insightful trip back in time.

Disembark in Cartagena, Colombia, a charming old city rich with colonial Spanish architecture, panoramic views of the bay, and streets filled with stories and tradition. Visit the San Pedro Claver Convent, home to the young priest who dedicated his life to helping African slaves. The vibrant seaside of Cartagena brushes up against brightly colored city homes and buildings, a warm and unforgettable experience that serves as the perfect end to this spectacular sojourn!


Ship Information
Similar Vacations that may interest you:

ARENAL
Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite Tabacón Hot Springs & Arenal Volcano; welcome dinner

7-NIGHT CRUISE
Cruise aboard Variety Cruises’ Variety Voyager, visiting Quepos, Corcovado, Golfito, Granito de Oro, Coiba, the Panama Canal, San Blas Islands, and Cartagena

GRANITO DE ORO & COIBA ISLANDS
Snorkeling in Coiba National Park

PANAMA CANAL
Full transit of the Panama Canal through the Gatun, Pedro Miguel, and Miraflores Locks

SAN BLAS ISLANDS
Visit the islands and meet the Kuna Indians

CARTAGENA
Sightseeing with a Local Guide; Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite horse-drawn carriage ride through the colonial city; farewell dinner


DAY 1Arrive in San José, Costa Rica

Welcome to the capital city of San José! Upon arrival you will be met by your Tour Director, who will help you check into your hotel.

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DAY 2San José–Arenal

This morning, journey to the artisan town of Sarchi, made famous for its ornately painted oxcarts, which were originally used to transport coffee beans. Spend some time exploring the local shops full of handmade wood artifacts before continuing to the Arenal Volcano area, where you will stay two nights. From your hotel, you can admire Arenal Volcano, which was Costa Rica's most active volcano until 2010, when it entered a resting phase. Due to the geothermal area surrounding the volcano, there are many therapeutic hot springs to enjoy. And no visit to Arenal would be complete without a visit to the most famous, Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite TABACÓN HOT SPRINGS. Take a dip and relax in the numerous natural springs and pools of mineral waters surrounded by lush, tropical forest, followed by a special welcome dinner at Tabacón Hot Springs. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Get close-up views of the enormous crater with its deep, green lake Visit the Arenal Volcano, which erupts on a regular basis Arenal Volcano 
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DAY 3Arenal

Today is at leisure to explore on your own. Perhaps visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a network of suspension bridges, platforms, and trails built in the cloud forest. From here, explore the forest canopy with a bird’s-eye view, giving you a different perspective of the forest’s wildlife. A great opportunity for nature lovers and bird watchers! Alternatively, you may choose a rafting adventure, horseback riding, or spelunking in nearby Venado Caves. (Breakfast)

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DAY 4Arenal–Los Sueños (Embarkation)–Curu

This morning, head toward the Pacific Coast to Los Sueños, where you will embark your mega-yacht, the Variety Voyager. Launched in 2012, this sleek yet elegant 36-cabin ship will be your home for the next seven nights. On board, join the captain for a welcome cocktail and dinner. This evening, set sail for Curu where you will anchor for the night. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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DAY 5Cruising: Curu & Tortuga Island

This morning, wake up off Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula in a tropical paradise where Curu Nature Reserve is found. You may opt to join a walking tour of Curu Nature Reserve led by naturalists to explore this area that is teeming with life. Easy to spot are birds, capuchin and howler monkeys, sloths, coati, iguanas, anteaters and much more! A short sail brings you to the island paradise of Tortuga Island around noon. There will be time to swim and snorkel in the clear waters to view turtles and other marine life that is prolific here. Enjoy a BBQ lunch served on the island’s white sand beach followed by more time to explore the area. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 6Cruising: Quepos

Wake up in Quepos this morning. Today, you may opt to take a Naturalist-guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the lushest places in Costa Rica. Explore some of the dense mangrove swamps that shelter a variety of wildlife, including the three-toed sloth, coati, howler monkey, and much more. As you arrive on the pristine white-sand beaches, watch for iguanas and white-faced monkeys, as they are commonly found there! Later this evening, depart for Drake Bay. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 7Cruising: Corcovado & Golfito

Wake up in Drake Bay off the Osa Peninsula, where you will find the entry to Corcovado National Park. This park conserves the largest primary tropical rainforest on the American Pacific coastline, and is one of the few remaining sizeable areas of lowland tropical rainforests in the world. Corcovado is large enough to support a great population of the endangered Baird’s tapir, and it holds about 140 species of mammals (representing 10% of the mammal species in America). With some luck, you may see harpy eagles, red-eyed tree frogs, scarlet macaws, ocelots, quetzals, and, in the water, pilot whales and dolphins. Back on board, sail around the Osa Peninsula to Golfito on the Golfo Dulce (Gulf of Dulce) and continue to Coiba. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 8Cruising: Coiba Islands & Granito de Oro, Panama

This morning, arrive at the largest island in Central America, Coiba, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The waters here are teeming with life and are home to one of the largest coral reefs in the Americas. Snorkeling is a must! After lunch onboard sail to Granito de Oro, a pristine island off the Panama coast. These waters inside COIBA NATIONAL PARK are considered to be among the top 10 snorkeling and diving sites in the world. Time here allows for swimming and snorkeling to explore the reef full of fish, turtles, eels, and dolphins. Set sail for Panama City this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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The World Heritage List includes over 800 properties with cultural and/or natural heritage of global significance.

DAY 9Scenic Cruising: Panama Canal Transit

Arrive in Panama City this morning and depart for the Miraflores Locks Visitors Center and Canal Museum where you will learn about the construction, history, expansion and importance of the canal. With its location adjacent to the Miraflores Locks, you will be able to witness Panamax ships and other smaller boats transiting the locks just a few feet away. Continue to the World Heritage Site of Panama Viejo, Old Panama, for a walking tour of the Old Quarter in Panama City that was the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. Return to the Voyager for lunch and to begin the afternoon transit of the PANAMA CANAL. This engineering marvel connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic took 34 years to construct and carved a 51-mile path through the Continental Divide. Our passage begins from the Pacific, and we will transit three sets of locks: the Miraflores, Pedro Miguel, and Gatun Locks, which will raise us over 85 feet to the Atlantic Ocean. This ship will enter the locks anywhere between 2:30 PM and 5:00 PM depending on the Panama Port Authority. Clearance for a daylight crossing cannot be guaranteed, but it’s a highlight at any time of day. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Panama Canal 
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DAY 10Cruising: San Blas Islands

Arrive in the San Blas archipelago in the Caribbean, governed by the Kuna Indians, who maintain their autonomy and run their own economy, language, customs, and culture. The San Blas Islands are comprised of over 365 islands surrounded by spectacular reefs, turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, and centuries-old native Kuna villages. Traveling here is like stepping back in time! Upon arrival, visit a nearby Kuna VILLAGE to learn about the traditional way of life. Also learn about age-old ceremonies, the local laws of the native villages, and the stories behind the colorful molas worn by the Kuna women. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 11Cartagena, Colombia (Disembarkation)

Disembark your ship in the beautiful Spanish colonial port city of Cartagena and embark on a guided city TOUR. From La Popa hill, gain panoramic views of the historic city and bay below. See the San Felipe Fortress, which was built by the Spaniards between 1500 and 1600 to protect the city from invading pirates. Continue into the colonial walled city, where you will see the colorful streets and plazas of Old Cartagena, like Plaza de la Aduana, where slaves were traded hundreds of years ago. End with a visit to SAN PEDRO CLAVER CONVENT, which was home to a young priest, San Pedro, who dedicated his life to helping African slaves and was ultimately the first priest canonized in the New World. The remainder of your day is at leisure to discover this vibrant seaside city on your own. (Breakfast)

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DAY 12Cartagena

Today is free to explore Cartagena as you like. Perhaps visit San Felipe Castle, built by the Spanish in the 1600s, or explore the Old Quarter and relax at one of the outdoor patios that pepper the squares. Tonight, a special treat is in store for you! Dress in Cartagena’s trademark look—all whites—and Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite board a horse-drawn CARRIAGE RIDE into the colonial city, reminiscent of eras gone by. Pass through the narrow cobblestone streets, admiring the beautiful architecture and illuminated buildings as you arrive at a local restaurant for your farewell dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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DAY 13Cartagena

Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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Breakfast daily, 6 lunches, 9 three-course dinners including a welcome dinner in Arenal and a farewell dinner in Cartagena

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