Passage through the Panama Canal and Costa Rica

Program Overview

Join this incomparable nine-day journey from the Costa Rican rainforest through the mighty locks of the Panama Canal. Spend one night in a deluxe hotel in San José, Costa Rica. Cruise for seven nights aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star Le Champlain. Experience a daylight passage through the awe-inspiring Panama Canal and explore the terrestrial wonders of Costa Rica’s National Parks, wildlife refuges, botanic gardens and pristine waters that diverse marine life call home. Call at seldom-visited Cébaco Island, tour Panama City and enjoy lectures by exclusive onboard study leaders. Costa Rica Pre-Program Option and Panama Post-Program Option.

Program Details

January 30 to February 7, 2022 (Le Champlain)
From $4995 plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Introducing the extraordinary Blue Eye, the world’s first multisensory, underwater Observation Lounge.
  • Exclusively chartered cruise aboard the Five‑Star expedition ship Le Champlain.
  • Only 92 Suites and Staterooms—each with a private balcony.
  • Once-in-a-lifetime daytime passage through the Panama Canal.
  • Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages throughout cruise.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi aboard the ship (conditions permitting).
  • Comprehensive cruise/land program—islands, jungle, wildlife, culture and history—all excursions included.
  • Access ports unavailable to larger vessels and an excursion included in each port.
  • Onboard naturalist guides and specially arranged lectures.
  • Visit Panama City’s Casco Antiguo, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Swimming and snorkeling opportunities in pristine waters offer extraordinary visibility and color.
  • Landscapes of Costa Rica Pre‑Program and Panama’s Renaissance Post-Program Options.

Day 1 - Depart the U.S. or Canada / Arrive San José, Costa Rica

Day 2 - San José / Puerto Caldera / Embark  Le Champlain

Day 3 - Curú National Wildlife Refuge / Tortuga Island

Day 4 - Quepos for Manuel Antonio National Park

Day 5 - Rio Seco Rainforest

Day 6 - Cébaco Island, Panama

Day 7 - Panama City

Day 8 - Panama Canal Transit / Colón

Day 9 - Colón / Disembark ship / Panama City / Return to the U.S. or Canada

View detailed program itinerary >

Le Champlain

Exclusively Chartered, Five-Star Luxury Small Ship

Le Champlain, launched in 2018, ushers in a new generation of Five-Star small ships, combining revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury for unparalleled cruising. Dock in smaller ports inaccessible to larger ships, where authentic cultural experiences and majestic scenery await you.

Learn more about the Le Champlain >

Landscapes of Costa Rica Pre-Program Option

Experience the beauty of Costa Rica’s diverse biospheres, from steamy hot springs to misty cloud forests. In view of towering Arenal Volcano, explore the lush rainforest along a series of suspended and fixed bridges. Tour historical San José and visit an organic chocolate workshop, an award-winning coffee estate and a traditional artisan town known for intricately hand-painted woodcrafts. Accommodations are for two nights in the ideally located Hotel Royal Corin and two nights in the deluxe Costa Rica Marriot Hotel Hacienda Belén.

Panama’s Renaissance Post-Program Option

An exploration of old and new, Panama is the perfect complement to “the crossroads of the Americas.” Visit the UNESCO World Heritagedesignated Panama La Vieja to see the ruins of the oldest European settlement on the Pacific American coast; tour the fascinating Agua Clara Visitor Center for panoramic views of the Panama Canal expansion and cruise the Gatún River to meet the indigenous Emberá people. Spend two nights in the deluxe Bristol Panama Hotel.

The Pre- and Post-Program Options are available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

Pre-Program pricing includes a credit for one night’s accommodations in San José and the San José city tour already included in the cost of the main program.

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 U.S. / San José, Costa Rica

Depart the U.S. for San José. Upon arrival, check into the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belén. The evening is at leisure.

Day 2 San José

In the heart of the fertile Valle Central, Costa Rica’s dynamic capital city of San José possesses an eclectic mix of museums, landscaped parks, lively cafés, art galleries and an interesting fusion of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial, Moorish and Modernist. On the city tour, visit the National Theater, a regal Baroque edifice modeled on Milan’s La Scala, and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.

After lunch, enjoy a scenic transfer to Puerto Caldera to embark Le Champlain.

Day 3, Morning Curú National Wildlife Refuge

Curú National Wildlife Refuge is a unique blend of sustainable agriculture, forest management and wildlife protection, reestablishing species like the scarlet macaw and spider monkey. Encompassing five distinctive untouched habitats—including mangrove swamps and both dry and humid forests—it is the ideal place to see the intricacies of interdependent ecosystems. Enjoy a guided walk in the morning, the best time of day to observe an abundance of wildlife, including capuchin and howler monkeys, coatis, iguanas and more than 230 species of birds.

Day 3, Afternoon Tortuga Island

Nestled in a private reserve near the stunning Nicoya Peninsula, idyllic Tortuga Island is named for its tortoiselike volcanic rock formations. Against a backdrop of coconut palm trees and whitesand beaches, enjoy opportunities to swim and snorkel in this protected island’s clear, sheltered waters—home to fascinating marine life such as angelfish, spotted eagle rays and seahorses.

Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception on board this evening.

Day 4 Quepos for Manuel Antonio National Park

Experience an unparalleled diversity of wildlife in this lush tropical haven—a captivating combination of rainforest, beach and coral reef, home to more than 100 species of mammals, almost 200 species of birds and various reptiles and amphibians.

Explore this protected biodiverse paradise where expert naturalists will help you spot colorful toucans, screeching howler monkeys, camouflaged iguanas, arboreal squirrel monkeys, two and threetoed sloths and rambunctious capuchin monkeys.

Day 5 Rio Seco Rainforest

Rio Seco Rainforest is the perfect off-the-beaten-path destination only accessible by boat. It is a 400-acre private property, which is part of the Piedras Blancas National Park. Piedras Blancas National Park is home to toucans, macaws, tapirs, pumas, jaguars and 4 species of monkeys. In Rio Seco Rainforest you can enjoy a picture-perfect secluded beach along the peaceful waters of the gorgeous Golfo Dulce. There is a tropical fruit orchard for you to discover the locals’ favorite fruits and gardens with colorful plants. Explore a network of hiking trails of various lengths, where naturalist tour guides will search for wildlife while they tell you all the secrets of this incredible ecosystem.

Day 6 Cébaco Island, Panama

In the sparkling Gulf of Montijo, snorkel in the emerald waters of seldom-visited Cébaco Island, where schools of brilliantly colored fish, giant manta rays and four different species of turtles swim amid spectacular rock reefs.

Day 7 Panama City

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage designated Historic District of Casco Antiguo, a charming neighborhood replete with cobblestone streets and architecturally significant historical edifices, including a 16thcentury cathedral. Tour the Miraflores Visitor Center, which elaborates on the canal’s intricate lock system. The Biodiversity Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry, showcases the ecological significance of Panama’s exotic flora and fauna.

Day 8 Daylight Transit Panama Canal

By special arrangement, cruise from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea through the mighty locks of the fascinating Panama Canal and enjoy a lecture on its history. Transit times through the canal are controlled by the Panama Canal Authority and traffic conditions.

Day 9 Colón

Disembark in Colón and visit the Panama Canal Expansion Agua Clara Visitor Center to enjoy panoramic views of the canal’s new longer, wider locks and impressive, 166-square-mile Gatún Lake. Transfer to Panama City for your return flight home. (Agua Clara visit is departure flight time permitting.)