Cruising Costa Rica & Panama with Tortuguero National Park (SLQ) - 2016 / 2015

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16 Day Tour from San José to Panama City


Cruising Costa Rica & Panama with Tortuguero National Park
Sea turtle in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Sea turtle in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Panama Canal
White-headed capuchin monkey hanging out in Costa Rica
Visit the Arenal Volcano, which erupts on a regular basis
Keel-billed Toucan in Costa Rica
Spot a red eyed tree frog in Costa Ricas Tortuguero National Park
Enjoy a boat ride along unspoiled sections of Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Tortuguero National Park serves as nesting grounds for numerous endangered sea turtles
Squirrel monkey in Costa Rica

Vacation Overview

A perfectly balanced tour of Central America awaits you on this land and sea adventure in Costa Rica and Panama. Landing in San José, head to Arenal, most recently active until 2010, where the imposing volcano serves as your backdrop. 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. After several nights on land, take to the sea! Embarking in Los Sueños on the Variety Voyager mega-yacht, 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, 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 and considered to be among the top 10 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.

Finally, disembark in Colon, Panama, and head to Gamboa Rainforest Resort for the next two nights. See the wildlife of Panama and embrace the culture of the Emberá Indians, who will take you back in time as they share their traditional dances, rituals, and in-depth knowledge of the forest’s plants and wildlife. You’ll also embark on a unique viewing of the rainforest by aerial tram, where you come eye to eye with sloths, Howler monkeys, Capuchin monkeys, and birds—all in a place considered to be some of the best bird watching in the world. Take in the untouched jungle, shimmering waterfalls, and the fascinating culture surrounding you, a relaxing and fulfilling way to end this spectacular sojourn!


Ship Information
Similar Vacations that may interest you:

TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
Guided cruises through the canals to view wildlife; guided walk through the rainforest

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

7-NIGHT CRUISE
Cruise aboard Variety Cruises’ Variety Voyager, visiting Curu Nature Reserve, Tortuga Island, Quepos, Puerto Jimenez/Golfo Dulce, Golfito, Coiba, Granito de Oro, Panama City, the Panama Canal, San Blas Islands, Gran Perro Island, and Colon

TORTUGA ISLAND
Snorkeling and beach BBQ

COIBA & GRANITO DE ORO ISLANDS
Beach BBQ & 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 Carti Island and meet the Kuna Indians

GRAN PERRO ISLAND
Snorkeling and beach BBQ

GAMBOA RAINFOREST

Explore Soberania National Park on an aerial tram; Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite Emberá Indian village visit; farewell dinner


DAY 1Arrive in San José, Costa Rica

Upon arrival you will be met by a Globus representative, who will help you check into your hotel.

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DAY 2San José–Tortuguero National Park

Journey east to the Caribbean shore and TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK. Board a motor launch for your CRUISE along the Tortuguero Canals, waterways crisscrossing a national park dedicated to the protection of endangered turtles. The trained eyes of your guide and boatman help you spot freshwater turtles, caimans, herons, toucans, egrets, and monkeys. An afternoon at leisure lets you explore Evergreen Lodge until you meet for an informative slideshow presentation on the area. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Squirrel monkey in Costa Rica Enjoy a boat ride along unspoiled sections of Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica Spot a red eyed tree frog in Costa Rica Tortuguero National Park serves as nesting grounds for numerous endangered sea turtles 
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DAY 3Tortuguero National Park

A local Naturalist accompanies you on a leisurely BOAT RIDE along remote, unspoiled sections of the park’s waterways, explaining the bountiful flora and fauna. Enjoy a fascinating stroll through an accessible portion of the nearby RAINFOREST. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 4Tortuguero National Park-San José

A morning boat transfer begins your journey to San José. Upon arrival you will be met by your Tour Director, who will help you check into your hotel. (Breakfast)

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DAY 5San 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 filled with 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 
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DAY 6Arenal

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 7Arenal–Los Sueños (Embarkation)

This morning, head toward the Pacific Coast to Los Sueños, where you will embark your expedition-style mega-yacht, the Variety Voyager. This sleek, yet elegant, 36-cabin ship will be your home for the next seven nights. Set sail across the Pacific toward the Nicoya Peninsula, an area humming with rich biodiversity. Later on board, join the Captain for a welcome cocktail and dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)

NOTE:
The majority of landings are made by Zodiac on this cruise.

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DAY 8Cruising: Curu Nature Reserve & Tortuga Island

Wake up off the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula and Curu Nature Reserve, a privately owned reserve made up of five different habitats—from mangroves to tropical forest. An optional Naturalist-led walk introduces you to the wildlife that thrives here, including 200 species of birds, monkeys, anteaters, and much more. Return to the ship for a short sail to palm-studded TORTUGA ISLAND for snorkeling in the turquoise waters off this uninhabited island. While you play in the waters, the crew is busily preparing a special BBQ lunch on the white-sand beaches of this paradise island. This evening, join the ship's Naturalist for a lecture on tomorrow's port of call. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 9Cruising: Quepos

A morning sail brings you to Quepos. 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! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 10Cruising: Puerto Jimenez/Golfo Dulce & Casa Orquideas

Wake up off the Osa Peninsula in Puerto Jimenez, where you will find the entry to the Osa Conservation near Corcovado National Park. This area 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. It is large enough to support a great population of the endangered Baird’s tapir, and holds about 140 species of mammals (representing 10% of the mammal species in America). Join an optional excursion into the Osa Conservation and with some luck, you may see harpy eagles, red-eyed tree frogs, scarlet macaws, ocelots, toucans, and monkeys. This excursion also includes a visit to a sea turtle hatchery where turtle conservation is the focus. Back on board, enjoy a late lunch, followed by the chance to visit a private orchid farm, Casa Orquideas. Sail to Golfito, where the boat will clear immigrations into Panama and continue on to Coiba Island. Enjoy an onboard lecture by the ship's Naturalist tonight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 11Cruising: Coiba Islands & Granito de Oro, Panama

This morning, arrive at the largest island in Central America: Coiba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005. You may like to join an optional hike with the Naturalist to search for monkeys, agoutis, and other mammals commonly found here. The waters are teeming with life and are home to one of the largest coral reefs in the Americas. Snorkeling is a must as the beach BBQ is being prepared! Continue to Granito de Oro, a pristine island off the Panama coast. These waters inside COIBA NATIONAL PARK are considered among the top 10 snorkeling and diving sites in the world. Time for swimming and snorkeling to explore the reef full of fish, turtles, eels, and dolphins. (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 12Scenic Cruising: Panama City & Panama Canal Transit

This morning, arrive in Panama City, where you have the option to venture into Old Town Panama City, founded in 1673 after the original city was destroyed by pirates. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts restored colonial buildings, churches, and historical monuments. Also visit the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center to learn about the history of the canal and its construction. After a late lunch on board, prepare for a special treat as you begin a late-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, which will raise us over 85 feet to the Atlantic Ocean. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

NOTE:
Entrance into the canal is controlled by the Panama Port Authority. Clearance for a daylight crossing cannot be guaranteed, but it’s a highlight at any time of day.

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

DAY 13Cruising: San Blas, Carti & Gran Perro 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 at Carti Island, you can 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. Sail to nearby Gran Perro Island for a beach BBQ and snorkeling time. This evening, join the Captain and crew for a farewell cocktail and dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 14Colon (Disembarkation)-Gamboa Rainforest

Disembark your ship in the Caribbean port city of Colon and make your way into the Panamanian jungle of SOBERANIA NATIONAL PARK. Arrive at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort on the banks of the Chagres River near the Panama Canal, where you will stay for the next two nights. This afternoon, venture into the tropical rainforest with a Naturalist who will take you into the canopy on an AERIAL TRAM that brings you eye to eye with the birds and other animals commonly found here. Glide silently through the treetops in search of Capuchin monkeys, Howler monkeys, sloths, and many species of birds, just to name a few. (Breakfast)

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DAY 15Gamboa Rainforest

An enchanting journey takes you deep into the dense jungles of the Chagres, where the Emberá Indians have lived for centuries. The adventure begins with a CRUISE up the river in dugout canoes, the Emberá traditional hand-carved boats. Upon arrival at the Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite INDIAN VILLAGE, you will be taken back in time as you are immersed in ancient Emberá cultural dances and music that have not changed much since Columbus arrived in the 1500s. The Emberás provide a glimpse into their mystical rituals and amazing knowledge of medicinal plants and other natural remedies. The Indians will then invite you to explore the area’s abundant variety of birds and wildlife during a trek that takes you through the untouched jungle and past sparkling waterfalls. Return to your resort, where you will enjoy a special farewell dinner this evening. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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DAY 16Gamboa Rainforest

Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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Breakfast daily, 8 lunches, 11 three-course dinners including a welcome dinner in Arenal and a farewell dinner in Gamboa

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