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The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

Program Overview

Travel through one of the greatest engineering marvels of our time and immerse yourself in a natural world of wonder as you journey through virgin rainforests and jungle-fringed beaches from Costa Rica to Panama. This 9-day, 8-night luxury itinerary combines tours of historical and cultural sites with visits to some of the most incredible nature preserves and rainforests in Central America. Cruise from Costa Rica, one of the most biodiverse locations on Earth, to the UNESCO-designated historic district of Panama City and through the mighty locks of the Panama Canal, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

 

Program Details

January 31 to February 8, 2025 (Wind Star) February 21 to March 1, 2025 (Wind Star)
From $5,295* plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Exclusive journey that combines the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica with the treasures of culture-rich, historic Panama.
  • Created in our tradition of innovative programming and educational travel.
  • Access to ports unavailable to larger vessels and included excursions throughout your program.
  • Specially arranged daytime transit through the fascinating Panama Canal, an incredible feat of engineering.
  • Two UNESCO World Heritage sites — Archaeological Site of Panamá Viejo and Historic District of Panamá, Panama, and Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection, Panama.
  • Arenal and San José Pre-Program Extension and Panama City Post-Program Extension.

Day 1      Depart home city/ San José, Costa Rica

Day 2     San José/Puerto Caldera/Embark Wind Star

Day 3     Quepos for Manuel Antonio National Park

Day 4     Puerto Jimenez for Osa Peninsula

Day 5     Isla Coiba, Panama

Day 6     Cruising Pacific Ocean

Day 7     Panama City

Day 8     Panama City/Canal Crossing/Colón

Day 9     Panama City/Return to home city

View detailed program itinerary >

Wind Star

Exclusively Chartered, Deluxe Small Ship

View Wind Star Deckplan >

Learn more about The Windstar Fleet >

Costa Rica, San Jose, Arenal Volcano

Arenal and San José Optional Pre-Program Extension

Explore Costa Rica’s diverse biospheres, from steamy hot springs to misty cloud forests. In view of towering Arenal Volcano, walk in the lush rainforest along a series of suspended and fixed bridges. Visit an organic chocolate workshop, an award‑winning coffee estate and a traditional artisan town known for hand‑painted woodcrafts.

Panama, Panama City

Panama City Optional Post-Program Extension

Experience Panama City’s rich indigenous culture, compelling colonial history and contemporary élan. Tour the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Panamá Viejo, ruins of a European settlement from 1519. At the fascinating Agua Clara Visitor Center, marvel at panoramic views of the Panama Canal expansion and cruise the Gatún River to meet indigenous Emberá people.

Optional Extensions are available at an additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 Depart home city / San José, Costa Rica

Depart for San José, Costa Rica. Please check your bags from your gateway city to your arrival city. Transfer to Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belén and check in for the night. Enjoy your evening at leisure and dinner on your own.

Day 2 San José / Puerto Caldera / Embark Wind Star

After breakfast, explore Costa Rica’s capital city of San José. Founded in 1736, San José has blossomed into a vibrant city, filled with fascinating museums, lively markets, tempting restaurants and more. The cityscape boasts both historic and modern architectural styles. Discover San Jose’s heritage on a tour that includes visits to the National Theater, a regal baroque building modeled on Milan’s La Scala, and the National Museum. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to Puerto Caldera and embarking the deluxe Wind Star.

Day 3 Quepos for Manuel Antonio National Park

Anchor at Quepos and experience an unparalleled diversity of wildlife on a visit to the lush Manuel Antonio National Park—a captivating combination of rainforest, beach and coral reef.

The impressive array of wildlife Manuel Antonio National Park has to offer—despite it being Costa Rica’s smallest national park—will leave explorers in awe. See hundreds of mammal and bird species, along with countless amphibians and reptiles, that call this park home. Naturalist guides will lead an exploration of this protected biodiverse paradise, where you may spot vibrant toucans, camouflaged iguanas, howler monkeys, tree-dwelling squirrel monkeys, two- and three-toed sloths and Capuchin monkeys. Travelers also may relax on the gorgeous beaches lined with lush foliage and take advantage of this premium snorkeling locale at their leisure.

Tonight, join your fellow passengers for the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner onboard the ship.

Day 4 Puerto Jimenez for Osa Peninsula

Today you will have a choice of three different included excursions—choose one for the morning and one for the afternoon. Between morning and afternoon, return to the ship and tuck into a delicious lunch, then head back out for more excitement. The three excursions are as follows:

  • Rain Forest Excursion. Explore a network of hiking trails of various lengths, where naturalist tour guides will search for wildlife and point out fascinating facts about the endemic flora and fauna.
  • Sloth Visiting Center. Meet sloths in their natural habitat, in a preserve established and maintained by a local family. On the Osa Peninsula, there is incredible biodiversity, including two native species of sloths: the two-toed and the three-toed. Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of birds and other wildlife as well!
  • Cocoa Farm and Chocolate Making. Calling all chocolate lovers! Today you can savor the ultimate chocolate experience, from learning the history of its production (by the ancient Mayans!) to seeing the steps of modern chocolate making, to tasting the delicious results. Try farm-grown fruit dipped in farm-made chocolate fondue for the ultimate fresh food experience!

At the end of the afternoon, return to the ship for a relaxing evening and savor a delicious dinner on board.

Day 5 Isla Coiba, Panama

For almost 100 years, this island served as a notorious penal colony. Then in 1992, it was designated part of the larger Coiba National Park, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. An astounding range of wildlife calls this area home, including agoutis, howler monkeys, giant toads and green iguanas. The clear turquoise waters support bottlenose dolphins, giant seahorses and numerous species of shark and whale.

Today choose one of the following included excursions.

  • Marine Life Tour with Snorkeling.
  • Beach Walk with Naturalist Guide.

Day 6 Cruising Pacific Ocean

Spend the day relaxing and gazing at the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy the amenities—and three delicious meals—on board today.

 

Day 7 Panama City

After breakfast, begin your day with a tour of historic Panama City, the nation’s capital. Panama City is considered the oldest continuously occupied European settlement along the Americas’ Pacific coast, which was founded in 1519. The city’s rich and fascinating history includes Spanish colonization, slave rebellion and a 1671 pirate attack destroying the town—which resulted in the city being moved to the area today called Casco Antiguo. Delight in Casco Antiguo’s eclectic collection of architecture, including exquisite examples of buildings from the 17th-20th centuries.

Return to the ship for lunch. Then, continue your introduction to Panama City with one of the following excursions:

  • Miraflores Locks Visitor Center & BioMuseo. Visit this unique interactive museum to learn about the Panama Canal and the engineering behind it. Exhibits analyze the canal's history, design, operations and effects on the environment. Next, stop at the new BioMuseo (Biodiversity Museum) in the Bridge of Life building, the first Latin American building designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.  The museum's mission is to educate the public about the biodiversity of the isthmus of Panama and the need to protect its environment.
  • Culinary Excursion. Take a culinary tour of Panama with stops for cooking demonstrations and tastings. Possible visits include the seafood market and Panamanian coffee roasters. This afternoon is sure to be a delight for the senses!

Day 8 Panama City / Canal Crossing / Colón

Spend the morning enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime experience of traveling from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea through the Panama Canal. A total of 40 miles long, this waterway connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans was first constructed in the early 1900s. The Panama Canal was first built and solely controlled by the United States in 1914, with joint agency between the U.S. and the Republic of Panama going into effect in 1979 and complete control being passed to Panama in late 1999. As we voyage through the canal from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, watch as the mighty locks open and close, ultimately raising and lowering the ship 85 feet in this unique and memorable experience.

 Tonight, join your fellow passengers for a Captain’s Farewell Reception on the ship, along with dinner onboard. Raise a glass to your fabulous adventure!

Day 9 Panama City / Return to home city

After breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City for your return flight home.