Amazingly diverse flora & fauna—and an engineering marvel
Within the lush and vibrant green of this region lie many discoveries. The flash of scarlet macaw wings amid treetops. The scinitllating iridescence on the hummingbirds sipping nectar as they hover. And so many moments that will stay with you long after you leave—the atavistic thrill of hearing howler monkeys call to each other in the trees or the peace of sinking into a pool at the base of a waterfall deep in the jungle. Add to that the privilege of seeing one of the world’s great feats of engineering from the deck of an expedition ship as you cross the Panama Canal—an absolute peak travel experience.
FREE ROUND-TRIP AIRFARE OR 50% OFF PANAMA CITY EXTENSION
Book Costa Rica & the Panama Canal and receive FREE round-trip economy group airfare between Miami and San Jose/Panama City. Or, receive 50% off a 3-day Panama City Extension in 2022, combinable with the expedition. Offer not available on holiday departures. Complimentary air is based on economy group flights, must be ticketed by Lindblad Expeditions, and is not available with land extensions. Baggage fees may be additional. In the case that Lindblad’s group flight is not available at time of booking, you will receive a $450 credit. New bookings only and not combinable with other offers. Call for details.
SOLO TRAVELER SAVINGS
Book by May, 31, 2021 and we will waive the solo premium on solo cabins on the 2020 non-holiday departures.
Book Monteverde + Costa Rica & Panama and receive a $450 air credit. Or choose to take 50% off a 3-day Panama City pre or post voyage extension. Offer not available on holiday departures. New bookings only and not combinable with other offers. Call for details.
Actively discover the legendary wildness of Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. Hike, paddleboard, kayak, snorkel, zipline. Go by ship to venture to places far from tourist infrastructure, landing at remote beaches by Zodiac to find exotic birds and flowers, and empty beaches. If you venture to Colombia, explore some of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, where endemic species thrive amidst intriguing, modern cultures. If you choose to cross the Panama Canal, do so in a way worthy of the peak experience. Go aboard an expedition ship with open decks to experience it up close. Cross over two days, to see the workings of the locks by day and in the coolness of night.
Enjoyed learning about the environment and creatures by taking pictures. The snorkeling and kayaking was a treat.
Explore with top expedition teams
See, do and learn more by going with engaging experts who have been exploring this region for decades.
Veteran expedition leaders are the orchestrators of your experience. Many have advanced degrees and have conducted research or taught for years. They have achieved expedition leader status because they possess the skills, experience and the depth of knowledge necessary to continually craft the best expedition possible for our guests.
Our naturalists, passionate about the geographies they explore (and return to regularly), illuminate each facet through their enthusiasm and knowledge. Our guests consistently cite the expertise and engaging company of our staff as key reasons to repeatedly travel with us.
Undersea specialists are your eyes on the world that lies beneath the waves. Using an array of tools including a high-definition camera, our Cousteau-like undersea specialist show you strikingly clear images of the seldom-seen world beneath the ship.
Every expedition aboard a ship in our National Geographic-flagged fleet offers an exclusive service—a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor. This naturalist is specially trained to offer assistance with camera settings, the basics of composition, and to help you become a better, more confident photographer.
Video chroniclers accompany every expedition shooting vivid HD footage—with no recycled footage ever—to provide you with a professionally edited and completely authentic memento of your expedition. Working during the day, and editing into the night, they have your video ready for preview prior to, and available to purchase, at disembarkation.
Our wellness program embodies the belief that nature is vitalizing and that wildness, as Thoreau famously said, supplies a tonic. Wellness Specialists are fully accredited and experienced licensed massage therapists, and are aboard every ship in the National Geographic-flagged fleet. They lead morning stretch class, aerobic walks ashore, kayak outings, and more.
Escape winter, or go to relish one of the world’s most exciting natural environments. The onboard atmosphere is comfortable and casual, akin to that of a large, private yacht. And our wellness philosophy is designed to relax and revitalize mind, body, and spirit.
Making a Difference
Lindblad Expeditions supports stewardship efforts through the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Fund. 100% of traveler contributions to the LEX-NG Fund in Costa Rica, Panama & Colombia support the National Geographic Society’s Early Career Grants, which promote future leaders with novel and exploratory projects that span the fields of conservation, education, research, storytelling, and technology. In awarding each $5,000-$10,000 grant, preference is given to projects that directly impact Costa Rica, Panama or Colombia coastlines and communities.
Today is the last day of the final trip of
National Geographic Quest
in the Central American region of Costa Rica and Panama for quite a long while. We’ve had great wildlife sightings and interactions with local Costa Rican families and the Panama Canal.
Today was an icing-on-the-cake kind of day as we explored the immaculately preserved rainforest of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. In the morning, we visited Caletas Wildlife Refuge owned by our dear friend Enrique, better known as Bam Bam. A buffer zone for Corcovado National Park, Caletas exhibits so much life, while still outside of Corcovado domain. While there, we spotted Central American spider monkeys, giant woody vines (or “lianas”), lots of palm plants in the understory, leaf-cutter and army ants, a 10-foot long boa constrictor, and many giant trees which are all indicative of a forest in great health.
In the afternoon, we repositioned to Corcovado forest proper. Established in 1975, this land encompasses an area of 424 square kilometers (164 square miles), covering nearly one third of the Osa Peninsula and is one of the largest parks in Costa Rica. It is certainly the crown jewel of the country’s park system, and its ecological variety is quite stunning. National Geographic once dubbed it "the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity." This is a wilderness of which disappointment is not does not follow. Whether one opted for the waterfall walk or trekking along the Pargo River trail, we came back with great wildlife sightings to include monkeys, birds, basilisk lizards, snakes, and coatis: all memories baring goodbye until the nest sailing season.
We kept going with the exploration of the land of the Pura Vida, and we had the great opportunity to choose two out of the three activities on the table for that day, each geared to better acquaint us with the culture and natural environs of Costa Rica.
Following departure to Playa Blanca, we toured gold panning and heart of palm operations. It was astounding to see how many everyday products, food related and otherwise, that one will find the heart of palm or “palmito” part of. We afterward ate the most delicious “empanadas” we’ve had over the whole of this trip, then afterward visited a chocolate plantation. Guests quickly realized upon sampling that actual chocolate is quite a bit stronger (and far less sweet) than that bought in western grocery stores.
Our morning excursions were followed with a lunch on the beach, with the big surprise of the performance of local school children dancing in traditional folklore dress. Today was one for the books!
All right, we are now in Costa Rica!
National Geographic Quest
arrived early this morning to Golfito, and after going through customs, we headed directly to Casa Orquideas. Our dear friends Trudy and Ron were there to welcome us one last time for our final visit to Casa Orquideas.
Our guests had a great chance to walk around the property with the naturalists. Birdwatching, plants identification, and of course photography, was encouraged. There was something for everyone in such a beautiful place. We thanked Trudy and Ron for their genuine friendship and for sharing so much with us in the short time we have been here.
In the afternoon,
National Geographic Quest
repositioned to Playa Blanca. Scientists of Latin America Sea Turtles greeted us and gave one very expansive lecture about sea turtles. We visited their local project for the protection of turtles and the mangroves communities.
We learned how they acquire data from sea turtles, and we had the opportunity to release two green sea turtles and a hawksbill sea turtle after collecting the information gathered. Part of the afternoon experience also included planting of the seedlings of red and tea mangroves. This was definitely a PURA VIDA day!
Today’s itinerary offered fascinating exploration on land an sea alike. We had a whole morning to scout for wildlife at Panama’s Coiba National Park, which came in what seemed like countless variations shared between the park’s flora and fauna.
Fantastic sightings continued beneath the sea surface off the coast of Granito de Oro Island. Our guests geared up for snorkeling and wasted no time descending into an underwater world replete with an array of coral reefs, turtles, and fish schools. Guests who opted for adventure above water had the choice between kayaks and paddleboarding in the refreshing Pacific breeze and surrounding scenery.
Repositioning to Rancheria Island that afternoon,
National Geographic Quest
brought us to a complex trails to observe many more birds species, while others went on honing their paddleboarding and kayaking in the surrounding waters. In all, this was perfect last day in beautiful Panama.
Today our expedition took us to Iguana Island, one of the most beautiful wildlife refuges of Panama, having been named after the presence of black “spiny-tailed” iguanas.
Known as a key sanctuary for frigate birds, our guests had the experience to admire their beauty as they dipped and flew overhead.
Further into the day, we had the options of hiking and snorkeling, both of which did much to enhance the whole experience of visiting this wildlife-rich territory. And in the afternoon, we cruised to our next destination while looking for marine wildlife. What a place to be witnessing!
The Panama Canal, which effectively connects more than 144 shipping routes, 1,700 ports, and 160 countries, is much more than its transit locks. It is miles of wild landscape, rich with intrigue and an astonishing biodiversity of wildlife.