Panama and Costa Rica
Panama and Costa Rica host a wide range of flora and fauna species, surpassing the total found in North America and Europe. Over 200 national parks, game sanctuaries, and forest reserves preserve more than 25% of the total land area in these countries. Visitors can appreciate abundant natural wonders, including tropical flower paradises, rainforests, mangrove woods, and idyllic beaches.
In a world where nature, wilderness, and indigenous cultures are gradually disappearing, Panama and Costa Rica remain steadfast in preserving their essence. By exploring the lush rainforests, immersing oneself in native cultures, and sailing between tropical islands, you can witness awe-inspiring beauty. The wildlife viewing opportunities are exceptional, stretching from the Caribbean to preserved forests.
Central America’s most cosmopolitan capital
Volcano Arenal National Park
Explore tropical rainforests
San Blas Islands
Pristine natural beauty and reefs
Panama City provides an ideal starting point for exploring the region’s jungle, boasting a colonial trend metropolis as its centerpiece. Explore the local culture by visiting the San Blas Islands, encountering the vibrant Guna community, and observing the island lifestyle. The Panama Canal is a significant attraction, which offers an opportunity to witness the operation of mighty locks utilized by sailing yachts and giant freighters. For adventure lovers, the volcanic landscapes of Arenal are ripe for exploration, with the mountain cloud forest of Monteverde providing a serene setting for lodging. Moreover, the Pacific Coast offers beautiful beaches for relaxation and encounters with diverse wildlife, including howler monkeys, hummingbirds, and sloths.
Upon arriving at the International Airport of Panama (PTY), a driver will promptly take you to your hotel in the cosmopolitan Panama City. The city is renowned for blending contemporary urban architecture and an impressive old town, offering a unique cultural experience. This dynamic metropolis is a melting pot of various cultures and traditions, making it a fascinating destination for tourists and business travelers. Should your flight arrive in the morning, you can take a guided tour of the historic district.
Three nights in Panama City.
Throughout history, a persistent aspiration has been to establish a connection between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at the narrowest point of Central America. However, it was not until 1914 that this ambitious undertaking became technically feasible. The Panama Canal is a remarkable engineering feat, traversing under 80 kilometers and comprising 12 lock basins. It enables vessels to navigate an altitude differential of 25 meters. The Panama Canal represents one of the most significant waterways and remarkable ship canals across the globe.
The present itinerary offers an opportunity to venture outside the city and witness the engineering feats of the Panama Canal and Miraflores Locks. During the excursion, participants will experience a partial canal transit, requiring a brief trip to the Port of Balboa and Miraflores Locks. Here, attendees will observe a boat elevated 17 meters above sea level. Subsequently, they will journey to the next set of locks, ascending to a height of 26 meters above sea level and entering the Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres River converges with the canal.
It is worth noting that the building of the canal required the formation of Gatun, the world’s biggest artificial lake. The itinerary includes visiting Gatun by bus before returning to Balboa.
Later in the day, we will visit the Embera Indigenous people who have lived in harmony with nature along the scenic Chagres River for ages. The community is renowned for its unwavering commitment to preserving its traditional way of life and impressive basket-weaving skills passed down through generations. We can expect to witness the artistry of these skilled artisans firsthand and learn about their unique customs and traditions.
The prospect of living on a secluded island, free from the distractions of modernity, with a palm-lined beach and a breakfast of coconuts, is an idyllic fantasy for many. The San Blas Islands, situated off the coast of Panama, offer a glimpse into this Caribbean paradise. Life here is characterized by a simplicity that is both beautiful and unencumbered. The Kuna people, who occupy approximately 370 coral islands, have balanced welcoming tourism in moderation and preserving their ancient culture and religious practices for sustainable tourism.
You’ll go on an exhilarating island excursion to unwind for a full day. A 4×4 vehicle will be at your service to transport you from your hotel to the dock, approximately two and a half hours away from Panama City. Subsequently, you will take a boat ride to your preferred island, and the duration of the journey will vary based on the island you choose. Once you arrive at the island, you can explore its pristine waters and diverse marine life, which offers canoeing, snorkeling, diving, and artisanal fishing activities. Additionally, you may visit the local community to gain insights into their history, political structure, and traditions.
Lunch is included, and the menu comprises the freshest and most delectable food based on the day’s catch, ensuring an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Today, you have a morning flight to Costa Rica. Upon arrival at the international airport (SJO), a driver will take you to your hotel in Arenal.
The Volcano Arenal was once a constant and awe-inspiring natural wonder that frequently produced threatening ash columns, massive explosions, and streams of glowing molten rock until 2010; it remains a highly recommended destination despite the absence of fiery night views. As part of the conservation area, the park features rugged terrain and diverse landscapes, including approximately 15 kilometers of well-marked trails that trace old lava flows. Hikers often encounter howler monkeys, coatis, sloths, and white-face capuchins within the park’s boundaries.
This destination is a testament to the forces of nature. It provides an opportunity to explore the vast beauty of a conservation area. The park’s trails offer an immersive experience, giving hikers a glimpse into the distinctive landscapes and the magnificent creatures that inhabit them. The Volcano Arenal and its surrounding park are ideal for nature enthusiasts and adventurers, as it showcases the raw beauty of the natural world.
Two nights in La Fortuna or Volcano Arenal.
The Arenal Volcano is a notable geological phenomenon due to its symmetrical, conical shape. The volcano is located in Costa Rica and has been a subject of interest for geological and environmental research. The volcano’s unique features have made it a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors worldwide. The Arenal Volcano is considered an active volcano and has erupted several times. The volcano remains a remarkable natural wonder, showcasing the power and beauty of the Earth’s natural forces.
We’ll go to El Silencio Private Reserve to explore the lava fields from previous eruptions, culminating in a spectacular viewpoint overlooking the volcano and Lake Arenal. The region is well-known for its biodiversity, and visitors should watch for various species, such as orioles, toucans, and monkeys.
Once the hike, a visit to the Baldi SPA, one of the finest hot springs in the area, offers an ideal way to relax and unwind. The spa provides a variety of rejuvenating treatments, including massages that require booking. The Baldi’s facilities feature 25 pools of natural thermal water flowing from the volcano. These medicinal waters are certified by the National Water Laboratory (L.N.A.) and have temperatures ranging from 33 to 66 degrees Celsius, providing guests with various options based on their needs and preferences.
The Fortuna River waterfall is within a 210-acre biological reserve comprising premontane tropical wet forests that transition to higher altitudes. This reserve is part of the Arenal Volcano National Park. It is at an altitude of 520 meters above sea level. The waterfall derives its source from the convergence of mountain streams and the Fortuna River.
To reach the waterfall, one must traverse a path of approximately 530 steps designed to ensure safety. The route includes comfortable resting areas nestled amidst the native trees that populate the forest. Upon arrival at the waterfall, one can access a spacious and relaxing vantage point to capture photos of the 70-meter-high waterfall. You can take a refreshing swim in the clear waters of the Fortuna River.
You will take a ferry across Lake Arenal for about 40 minutes and continue by road to Monteverde for about 2 hours. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was established in 1972 by the Quaker community, who had already dedicated one-third of their property to conservation. To prevent encroachment by settlers, they purchased an additional 328 hectares of land. The community collaborated with environmental organizations to accomplish this goal. Today, the Monteverde Reserve encompasses an area of 41.25 square kilometers.
You’ll go on an engaging nocturnal walk through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, an ecologically rich and biodiverse region known as the “green lung of Costa Rica.” Encompassing over 26,000 acres and is located in the country’s northwest region, the excursion offers an opportunity to observe the active wildlife after dark and to witness the rainforest’s nocturnal wildlife spectacle. With over 350 bird species, including the resplendent Quetzal, participants will have the chance to view a variety of amphibians, mammals, butterflies, and reptiles as the jungle comes alive at night. A knowledgeable guide will lead the hike and provide insight into the incredible biodiversity of this region.
Two nights in Monteverde.
Selvatura Park is a natural reserve that provides a range of exhilarating activities, including the thrilling experience of zip-lining. Visitors can explore its trail system, which comprises seven suspension bridges spanning deep canyons at treetop level. With this in mind, Selvatura Park offers an unparalleled opportunity to traverse the lush ecosystem while enjoying a unique and refreshing experience.
We will walk through the Monteverde Reserve in the afternoon, following the well-marked trails that wind through dense foliage. This exceptional environment presents an opportunity to glimpse the resplendent Quetzal, a bird of iconic stature renowned for its brilliantly colored plumage, visible from January to July. Moreover, the region also hosts several remarkable creatures, including the emerald toucanet. You can also expect to observe white-faced and howler monkeys.
The nature reserve comprises six distinct life zones, each with its unique set of flora and fauna. The reserve features a protected area that supports various habitats, enabling visitors to appreciate the rich diversity of species within a short distance on foot. This conservation area is an excellent platform for observing and studying the natural environment in an undisturbed setting. The reserve maintains strict visitor limits, allowing only 250 individuals to protect the fragile ecosystem at anytime.
We will drive to Manuel Antonio, a locale situated along the Pacific coast. The duration of the drive is approximately four hours. As we approach this small landmass that protrudes into the Pacific, the humidity in the air will increase, and the scent of dense vegetation will permeate the atmosphere. The surroundings will teem with the sounds of tropical birds and monkeys, reminding us of the locale’s tropical nature. Once we reach our hotel, we will have the rest of the afternoon to unwind on the park’s renowned beaches or explore the available trails.
Two nights in Manuel Antonio.
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is an idyllic tropical coastline located in Costa Rica. You can enjoy observing the playful baby monkeys frolicking in the canopy and searching for birds and sloths. The park also boasts turquoise waves and pristine sand that offer endless entertainment. Its rainforested hills and serene beaches make it a stunning destination worth exploring.
Today, you’ll go on an excursion to explore the unspoiled natural beauty of the world-renowned Manuel Antonio National Park, which is replete with exotic wildlife. The picturesque hike will take you to one of the country’s finest beaches, renowned for its white sand and crystal-clear blue waters. Manuel Antonio National Park is known for its stunning location, tropical beaches, rocky outcrops, and lush forests.
A driver will take you to the International Airport of San Jose (SJO) for your flight back home.
map, expenses & price
Panama and Costa Rica
-Nine nights of hotel accommodation
-Professional certified guides
-Tours and excursions as listed
-All Park entrance fees