Natural and Cultural History in Central America
8 days with Ponant Rating:
Day 1 – COLÓN
Embarkation from 19H00 to 20H00. Departure at 23H00.
Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is today an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city. Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened.
Day 2 – CROSSING THE PANAMA CANAL.
Aboard your ship, experience something unique, that has inspired the imagination of numerous adventurers in the 20th century: sailing the Panama Canal. Its construction started in 1880 under the direction of Ferdinand De Lesseps. Abandoned then resumed, this marvel of engineering was completed by the United States in 1887 and opened in 1914. The canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama and links the Atlantic to the Pacific. Including three levels of locks and by raising ships to the level of Lake Gatun, almost as if the water was a lift, it allows them to avoid having to round Cape Horn.
Day 3 – VIVEROS, PEARL ISLANDS
Day 4 – PUNTA ALEGRE, DARIEN NATIONAL PARK
The most remote and least developed region of Panama, the province of Darien is an unspoilt land with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna. You will love its extraordinary scenery of rocky coastlines, mountain ranges, mangroves, rivers and creeks. If you head for the Afro-Darienite village of Punta Alegre, you will gain a deeper insight into this unexplored area. This tiny coastal village is home to the Emberas Amerindian community. From Punta Alegre, you can head to Darien National Park, listed by UNESCO as World Heritage and considered one of the most diversified parks in the whole of Central America.
Day 5 – AT SEA
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Day 6 – QUEPOS
Quepos makes for a charming stop-off on the Pacific coast, just next-door to the famous Manuel Antonio National Park, an untouched tropical natural reserve lined with white sandy beaches. The town's seafront is an opportunity to stroll through market stalls touting pineapples and bananas in the shade of the manchineel trees. In this coastal town criss-crossed with tree-lined streets in bloom, admire the houses and their incredible sculpted balconies. Enjoy a spot of shopping in the many traditional boutiques: pick up some handmade cotton clothing, ceramics embellished with Costa Rican designs and home décor pieces in hand-painted wood.
Day 7 – HERRADURA
Herradura takes its name in Spanish from the horseshoe form of its bay, covered in lush tropical vegetation, its beauty enhanced by the hills that loom over it. This small town is surrounded by national parks that are remarkable for the rich variety of fauna and flora they protect. When your ship calls here, it will be the moment to take a journey in small covered boats along the Tarcoles River, whose banks are home to crocodiles and iguanas. This mangrove also hosts the loyal and flamboyant Scarlet Macaw, with its red, blue and yellow plumage, known for mating with the same partner for life.
Day 8 – PUERTO CALDERA
Disembarkation at 07H00.
The port of Puerto Caldera lies on the Pacific coast in the Gulf of Nicoya. Further inland, step into the midst of a luscious tropical forest. Among the countless natural wonders to be found here, the Poas volcano towers up in all its majestic glory. Venture deeper into the luxuriant canopy and enjoy a unique experience as you slide from one tree to the next in total safety. Back on firm ground, an untouched cove offers up glimpses of osprey, tireless fishing birds that circle the surf to catch their next meal.
All This Included
PONANT takes you to discover Panama and Costa Rica with a brand-new 8-day expedition cruise. A truly beautiful journey aboard Le Dumont-d’Urville, between sailing through the Panama Canal, nature reserves and encounters with local communities.
After sailing through the world-famous Panama Canal, which connects the Pacific to the Atlantic, you will enjoy the stunning beaches on Viveros Island in the heart of the Pearl Islands.
Le Dumont-d’Urville will then sail on to the magnificent Darien National Park in Panama. This little corner of paradise is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to remarkable plants and wildlife. Rrocky coastlines, mangroves, swamps and tropical rainforests vie with each other for beauty and offer a feast for photographers. This will also be the occasion for meeting the astonishing semi-nomadic Embera community.
Your journey in Central America will end with a visit to two superb Costa Rican national parks: Manuel Antonio National Park and Carara National Park. Deep inside the tropical rainforest or under the rainforest canopy, you may be lucky enough to see multicoloured birds and monkeys.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Dumont d'Urville
Terms and Conditions
For Ponant terms and conditions, please click here.
* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.