PA3 23 Day Panama Tour & Costa Rica

White Faced Capuchin Monkey on tree
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Partial Canal transit Inter-oceanic Train journey Bocas del Toro: White sands & coral reefs Exploring the canals of Tortuguero Monteverde Cloud forest walk Manuel Antonio's spectacular beaches

INQUIRE ABOUT THIS TRIP
  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices


Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.


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How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?

The easiest way to make a reservation is to contact us by telephone. You can also book online through our website.

A non-refundable $500 deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s).

Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time.

Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.

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I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?

All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location.

This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement.

The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible.

On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available.

Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.

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What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?

Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing, by letter, e-mail, or by fax immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% nonrefundable/ nontransferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, nontransferable. Name changes are not permitted.

Insurable risks may be covered under trip cancellation insurance policies, if purchased. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason.

All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated. We may cancel departures if forced to do so by circumstances such as war, civil or political unrest or what is commonly referred to as force majeure. In these instances we will refund all passengers in full if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date.

If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date; or, if circumstances do not permit, an alternative will be offered at that time. We will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline change fees, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage under such circumstances.

If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you. If this is not acceptable, all monies paid will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given approximately 60 days prior to departure.

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Do you have a shared accommodation program?

Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

Select a date below to reserve your spot:

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Fri 06 Nov 2020Sat 28 Nov 2020 $5750 USD
Sat 06 Feb 2021Sun 28 Feb 2021 $5750 USD
Fri 05 Nov 2021Sat 27 Nov 2021 $5750 USD
Sat 05 Feb 2022Sun 27 Feb 2022 $5750 USD
Fri 04 Nov 2022Sat 26 Nov 2022 $5750 USD

Optional Single Supplement: $1202 USD (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


On our Panama & Costa Rica tour you'll find yourself gliding through the waters of one of the most famous landmarks in the world, the Panama Canal, is the first of many adventures on this exciting 23-day tour through Panama and the naturalist dreamland of Costa Rica.

Taking 34 years to reach completion, the Canal stands today as a marvel of design, engineering and human enterprise and is one of the must-see attractions on a tour of the fascinating country.

That said, the nation's bounties are by no means restricted to the Canal alone and we discover that Panama in fact has a wealth of other lesser-known attractions, from the historic trails in Soberania National Park and the natural wonder inherent in the primeval rainforests Chiriqui Highlands and Boca del Toro, to the bustling streets of the capital, Panama City, and the momentous experiences offered by embarking on the Interoceanic Train.

Crossing into Costa Rica, we begin this stimulating leg of the journey by casting off for a boat trip along interconnecting rivers and canals through remote and untouched wilds to the Caribbean coast.

Lush vegetation and unique bird life line the narrows of our course in the Tortuguero region and then it's back onto land for a visit to the museum to learn about the local ecology and to witness it for ourselves with later expeditions into the fairytale-like Monteverde Cloud Forest.

Arenal Volcano provides one of the most memorable backdrops of any tour in any country and appreciating while reclining on glorious, white-sand beaches makes it all the more unforgettable.

Regions visited: Central America
Countries visited: Panama; Costa Rica and Nicaragua


Testimonials


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(Toronto, ON, CA)

Panama canal tour was excellent. Bus was comfortable. Laura, our tour leader, was extremely helpful and pleasant, I would tour with her again. A good experience.

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(Kanata, ON, CA)

Excellent tour of the Panama Canal and subsequent visits to other locks on the canal. We really enjoyed the tour of Bocas Del Toro and Achipelago, as well as, Tortuguero National Park and the Monteverde Cloud Forest. The city of Granada was also well worth the trip. All local and country specific guides were wonderful. Each had their own charm and demonstrated expert knowledge and pride in their local area and country. All forms of transport were very good. All of the drivers were great and demonstrated care and precision as well as courtesy. Laura, our tour leader, went out of her way to ensure that evening meals were area specific, in pleasant surroundings, and when possible, ready when we arrived. The menues were varied and wholesome. I began to think Laura could walk on water. Besides speaking several languages and learning another, as well as, mastering a number of broad practical skills, she was always available with additional comments to better our understanding of local areas and also, the wider national and international scope. She often read articles from newspapers and magazines about how events in our area fit in with the larger plan of things. This tour was an in-depth view of a unique area of the world.

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What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?

Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 60-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.

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Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?

Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.

Full Itinerary


Day 1 Arrival in Panama City
Arrival at Tocumen International Airport, Panama City.

The most cosmopolitan capital in Central America, Panama City is both vibrant metropolis and gateway to tropical escapes. Welcoming both east and west, Panama is a regional hub of trade and immigration. The resulting cultural cocktail mix leads to a refreshing attitude that's dynamic and fluid.

Overnight in Panama City.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Partial Canal Transit
We have an early morning pick-up at the hotel for the 15 minute drive to the port of Balboa where we board the passenger ferry that will take us on the world famous journey through the Panama Canal ("partial" transit; one-way). For many, this tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At the MiraFlores Locks we experience how ships are raised 16 m / 54 feet in a two step process. This activity is achieved by sending water from Pedro Miguel's lake by gravity to fill the chambers where the ship is locked. Once the first set of locks is transited, the vessel arrives at the Pedro Miguel locks to be raised up to 26 m / 85 feet. Again no water pumps are used; they take advantage of gravity to transfer water from Gatun Lake, filling the last Chamber of the Pacific site. We cross the Continental divide and narrowest part of the Panama Canal arriving at the town of Gamboa, home to the dredging division, an important part in the functioning of the canal.

The tour includes breakfast and lunch and a specialist guide. Light clothes, insect repellent, hat, sunscreen and very comfortable shoes, are suggested. Do not forget your camera!

Overnight in Panama City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 Panama City & Interoceanic Train
Today we travel by bus to Portobelo, once the main port of entry and exit for all of South America. The exchange of merchandise took place annually at Portobelo in the form of a fair which lasted from 30 to 60 days. During this time, this sleepy little place was a beehive of activity. Transactions frequently totaled from 10 to 12 million gold pesos. These fairs took place once each year until 1738 when, as a result of continual attacks by pirates, Spain was forced to abandon the Isthmian route for the longer but more secure one around Cape Horn. The frequent pirate attacks forced the Spaniards to adopt a convoy system. Each year two fleets of 40 to 70 ships sailed from Spain, one bound for Veracruz, the other for Portobelo. Our visit / tour also includes the Maria Chiquita coastal area.

For our return to Panama City, we proceed to Colon where we board the Interoceanic Train for a scenic one hour journey back to the capital. The Panama Railroad became the first transcontinental railway when it was completed in 1855 -- of course, a "transcontinental" line is a lot easier to make when you've only got 50 miles to cross! The California Gold Rush brought the new railway lots of business; eventually it was sold to first the French, and then
the Americans, in conjunction with the efforts to build the Panama Canal, and it eventually passed to Panama in 1979 under the terms of the Panama Canal treaty. Now it's a private venture, completely rebuilt, with elegantly refurbished passenger coaches. The passenger trade is just a sideline, though. The real business of the railway is freight, moving containers between the Atlantic and the Pacific in less time and at lower cost than a canal passage. The train follows the canal and runs across narrow artificial causeways in Lake Gatun that are indeed spectacular, and the ambiance of the train is very pleasant. We will also go to Aguas Claras to see the new set of locks with their fascinating overflow tanks.

Overnight in Panama City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Parque Metropolitano & Amerindian Village
Today we head north of downtown to Parque Metropolitano, which protects vast expanses of tropical semi-deciduous forest within the city limits and serves as an incredible wilderness escape from the trappings of the capital. Our walking route takes us to 150m-high mirador (lookout) with panoramic views of Panama City, the bay and the canal all the way to the Miraflores Locks.

This afternoon we visit an Embera / Choco Amerindian village. We take a boat along the route commonly used by the Indians for their daily transport along the river. A short walk through a forest follows, with a local guide to explain botanical novelties and the culture of this authentic village. We return to Panama City.

Overnight in Panama City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Panama City - David, Chiriqui Highlands
Today we are picked up at our Panama City hotel and transferred to Panama City's Albrook domestic airport where we board the scheduled flight to David in the province of Chiriqui.*

This enchanted land is the Chiriqui Highlands, the part of the Cordillera Central that defines the northern border of the province of Chiriqui. Primeval rainforests bedecked with clouds, noisy, chattering birds flash brilliant iridescent colours as they dart about their daily chores, flowering epiphytes bloom en masse high above the forest floor while gurgling streams glisten and tumble hurriedly over great boulders in their dance towards the sea. It is a beautiful
landscape of cloud forests, volcanic peaks, coffee plantations and home to most of Panama's Guaymi Indians.

* Due to 12 kilo weight restriction on this flight and on the flight from Bocas back to Panama City, we strongly recommend that you pack a smaller bag for the next few nights and leave excess baggage in storage at our Panama City hotel.

Overnight in Chirqui Highlands.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Chiriqui Highlands
Today we will travel to Cerro Punta to explore the area with a local naturalist guide on a nature walk.

This area is good for resplendent quetzal, black and yellow silky flycatcher, prong billed barbet, and the volcano hummingbird. From here we'll travel to the area of La Amistad International Park Headquarters. La Amistad is a bi-national park that stretches from Costa Rica into Panama, a small portion of which extends into the Chiriqui province encompassing mostly cloud forests. Here the land rises in excess of 1500 m / 4,950 feet and warm air ascends the mountains where it meets with cooler air and condenses into a persistent cloud cover. Cloud forests exhibit a unique ecosystem with an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna.

We also tour Haras Cerro Punta, a thoroughbred breeding farm in a mountain valley between Cerro Punta and Guadalupe – the highest inhabited part of Panama. The 100-hectare farm is surrounded by one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the country. With an average population of 200 animals, the farm turns out racehorse champions for Panama and beyond.

NOTE: The order of our Chiriqui sightseeing may vary due to weather, accommodation availability, and other logistical considerations.

Overnight in Chirqui Highlands.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Chiriqui Highlands - Bocas del Toro
After a leisurely morning we prepare for our drive to Almirante on the Caribbean side of the country. En route we stop to view the impressive Fortuna Dam and spectacular waterfalls along the Continental Divide. We will be crossing the Palo Seco Protected Area that serves as buffer zone to La Amistad International Park. The transition from the cloud forests to the coral reefs of Bocas del Toro is impressive. In Almirante we are met by our boat and transferred to the island.

Five hundred years ago, Christopher Columbus arrived at a tropical paradise he named Bocas del Toro. Overwhelmed by the most incredible contrasts of vivid colour and sheer unspoiled natural surroundings, Columbus decided to drop anchor and spend a bit of time in this idyllic place. Not much has changed since that pristine time with the exception of the provocative Calypso beat and the alluring accent of the Caribbean inhabitants. Bocas is the best place to sink your toes in the white sand, to explore lush tropical rainforests and coral reefs and to look for the faithful sea turtles that have come to these islands for millennia.

Overnight in Bocas del Toro.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Bocas del Toro
Ninety-two percent of this island is covered by tropical forest that helps keep a natural balance of the ecosystem. This huge national patrimony has 200 species of plants, 55 amphibious and reptiles, 57 mammals, 200 types of birds, 1500 bugs, and more than 58 species of corals.

Bocas del Toro Province is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the north, Veraguas Province to the east, Chiriqui Province to the south and Costa Rica to the west. Most of the province is on the slopes of the Talamanca and Central mountain ranges, but the majority of its 93,000 inhabitants live in low-lying areas along the coast and on islands.

The province contains the large Archipielago de Bocas del Toro at the mouth of the Laguna de Chiriqui, beginning 35km from the Costa Rican border. The chain consists of 68 islands and numerous mangrove keys. Around them are fields of coral, a titanic variety of marine life and water so emerald in colour that Christopher Columbus named the region Veraguas, a contraction of verdes aguas (green waters).

Today we have a boat tour to the surrounding attractions of the island so you can appreciate the incredible beauty of this place. There will be time for swimming in the surf and walking along the coastline to Red Frog Beach where you will be amazed by a sort of symphony of rather non-musical chirping that sounds like it must be coming from crickets. When you look closer, however, you will be surprised to find that this strangely beautiful noise is coming
from a small frog, about the size of your thumbnail.

Overnight in Bocas del Toro.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Bocas de Toro - Fly to Panama City: Panama City Touring
Today we fly back to the capital and enjoy some city sightseeing on arrival.

Our tour includes a visit to the ruins of Old Panama and Casco Viejo (the old city compound) which dates from the late 1600's. We will learn of the events in history leading up to the eventual movement of the capital city to its present location. Casco Viejo is home to monuments to Ferdinand de Lesseps and others who were instrumental in the ill-fated French attempt to construct a canal through Panama. Here we visit the Altar de Oro at the San Jose
church. As it's name would suggest this large barouque altar is made of pure gold. The church was built soon after the first Spanish settlement was established on the Pacific Coast in 1519. In the 17th Century this settlement was abandoned and moved to it's present location on the small peninsula that that contains the San Felipe district of the city. When the church itself was moved so was it's most famous possession. Our tour ends with a visit to the Panama Canal Museum.

Overnight in Panama City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Panama City - San Jose, Costa Rica
Today we fly from Panama City to San Jose, Costa Rica.

San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is on a plateau in the Central Valley at 1200m (3,700 ft), ringed by lush green mountains and valleys. The population of this city is probably half of the whole country! The main downtown area is a bustling collection of well-laid-out streets filled with bustling traffic and lined with eclectic, historic architecture. On the surface, it is a gritty downtown area, but you'll also find friendly people, quirky spots, and the historic side of San Jose which might just change your initial impression.

Overnight in San Jose.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 San Jose - Boat to Tortuguero
This morning we travel by bus from San Jose through Braulio Carillo National Park, one of Costa Rica's largest. If season/harvest time permits, we will visit a working banana plantation and then pass through a region known for its cocoa production. We then board our riverboat* and spend the afternoon journeying through myriad interconnecting rivers and canals that take us finally to the Caribbean coast and Tortuguero Park.

The park is a water thoroughfare which is a 160 km (100 mile) stretch of natural rivers, lagoons and estuaries, and connecting man-made waterways that run almost to the Nicaraguan border. The canal is the main "highway" of the northern coastal region, complete with directional signs and branches from the main trunk route.

As we go along the canal, keep a keen lookout for views of pastel-coloured toucans and monkeys of various type; if we're lucky, a lazy sloth hanging from a branch, and maybe a coati or two roaming the forest. Stands of mangroves and water hyacinth appear here and there. Scattered along the way are people, too -- fishers and farmers whose dugouts serve all the purposes of pickup trucks elsewhere. Mostly the banks remain wild, and the calls of monkeys and whistles of birds predominate over the noises of humans.

* We strongly recommend that travellers bring a smaller bag to take to Tortuguero due to limited sapce on the boat and the lack of personnel to help you with baggage. Your luggage will be securely stored until we are reunited with it upon departure from Tortuguero.

Overnight in Tortuguero.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12 Tortuguero: Forest Walk & Village
Tortuguero Park is a fascinating place to explore. An early morning boat ride offers an opportunity to observe an awakening coastal rain forest full of lush vegetation and unique bird life.

After lunch we visit the village of Tortuguero accessible only by river boat; you may choose to walk on the Caribbean beach where several turtle species lay their eggs each year. We will visit the Tortuguero Museum with its excellent displays pertaining to the ecology of the area and an informative video presentation specific to turtle conservation in Tortuguero and the entire Caribbean region (the Green Sea and Hawksbill turtles' nesting season runs from July to October with the peak in August, and the Leatherback turtles nest from February to April. It is possible to see individual turtles at any time of the year).

NOTE: The exact order of our activities in Tortuguero may vary depending on weather and other variables.

Overnight in Tortuguero.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13 Tortuguero - Baldi Hotsprings - Arenal Volcano
After an early breakfast we travel by boat 1½-hour from Tortuguero to the Cano Blanco dock. From there we continue by road (+/- 5 hours) to the La Fortuna/Arenal area.

We travel through rolling hills covered with sugar cane fields to overnight near Arenal Volcano. We make a stop at the Baldi Hotsprings (located near Arenal and outside the Risk Zones established by the National Prevention of Risks and Emergency Commission). Here a geothermally-heated river flows through beautifully landscaped grounds featuring many plant and tree species and great birdlife. We will have time to relax in or around the various pools (bring a towel). The springs feature several hot pools with different temperatures fed by individual springs and three swim-up bars.

This evening (weather & volcanic activity permitting) we can view the volcano.

Overnight at Arenal / La Fortuna.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 Arenal National Park
This morning we include a guided walking tour (+/- 3 hours) through Arenal National Park.

Our tour occurs around the base of Arenal Volcano, where you will see some of the evidence that remains of the massive 1968 eruption. Along the way our guide will point out the wildlife that has persevered through the tumultuous mid-century period of volcanic activity. In 1968 lava covered huge swaths of the jungle, and has since hardened into black lava flows, smothering miles of rainforest growth. Now the base of the volcano is host to several different ecosystems, including secondary rainforest and clear, open spaces with relatively thin vegetation.

Along the trail our guide will point out to you volcanic boulders that the volcano shot out during the eruption. We’ll also walk along the edge of Arenal Lake, the largest dammed lake in Central America. During the hike we'll come to a few viewing points where you will have an excellent view of the volcano. At the end of the trail we'll reach an observatory with an optimal view of the volcano (weather-permitting!).

After a break for lunch, we'll visit the Mistico Hanging Bridges for a self-guided tour of a magnificent tropical forest. We will cross 16 hanging bridges and behold a majestic 18-meter-high waterfall from a comfortable trail, with non-slip surfaces and no steps. There will be much to take in, from the treetops through to the forest floor. This experience will allow you to be able to appreciate the multitude of species which are housed by this spectacular biological corridor.

* These activities are leisurely in nature, with undulating terrain on a well-maintained track. By this point on the trip, your group leader will have a good sense of your abilities and can discuss your suitability for the excursions a day or two prior.

Overnight in Arenal/La Fortuna Area.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15 Arenal - Monteverde Cloud Forest
Today we travel through a rustic rural countryside to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve area (+/- 4 hours).

Covered in a mantle of moss, ferns and orchids, this private reserve is home to over 400 species of birds and a great number of animals. The forest is created by the winds, particular temperature and moisture conditions, and mountainous topography which combine during the dry season to hold a steady cloud cover along the continental divide. The rains and the moisture in the air nourish trees and plants rooted in the ground, as well as many plants
that live at the upper levels of the forest, and take their nutrients directly from the mist and dust that pass through the air. The result is an enchanted fairy-tale environment where trees are laden with orchids, bromeliads, mosses and ferns that obscure their branches, where the moisture and mild temperatures and sunlight filtered by the forest canopy encourage the exuberance of begonias, heliconias, philodendron and many other tropical plants in every available space on the ground.

This afternoon we have a guided tour of the "Butterfly Garden" where butterflies and other endemic insects are raised and protected in a controlled environment allowing scientists to study them -- their place in the food chain and their response to things like increased pollution and climate change.

Overnight in Monteverde.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16 Monteverde Cloud Forest
We have a full morning exploring the cloud forest reserve with the help of a local naturalist guide. There is more to the forest than the trees and lesser plants. Of over 320 bird species, the most notable is the quetzal with its long arc of tail feathers. Assorted trogons in addition to the quetzal inhabit the reserve, along with more than 50 varieties of hummingbird. About 500 kinds of butterfly are found at Monteverde. Among the more than 100 mammalian species are howler, white-faced and spider monkeys, coatis and their cousins, raccoons; as well as the rarely observed pumas, ocelots, jaguars, tapirs, and kinkajous.

This afternoon you may choose to go on an optional "Canopy Walk" excursion, located within the cloud forest. Suspension foot-bridges are strung across deep gorges allowing one to get a bird's eye view of the forest from a totally different perspective than we experienced this morning. At a leisurely pace, one can complete this easy and fascinating walk in about 90 minutes. Your Tour Leader can help you plan this activity (your Tour Leader will advise re the current price while on tour).

REMEMBER: This can be a wet and windy place by definition; you should be prepared for varied conditions.

Overnight at Monteverde.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 17 Monteverde - Rincon de la Vieja
An early departure takes us down to the Pan-American Highway on which we travel north to Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

The Rincon de La Vieja National Park is located in the mountain range of Guanacaste, province of Guanacaste and Alajuela. The active volcano's slopes are covered with both wet and dry forests that contain hidden lakes, rivers and waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife -- the resplendent quetzal, three-wattle bellbirds, morpho butterflies, tapir, coatimundis and three kinds of monkeys. Known for its stunning diversity of flora and fauna, this national park is home to two volcanoes, the Rincon de la Vieja and the Santa Maria, as well as six different volcanic peaks and thirty two rivers and streams. The park has small geysers, bubbling mud pots and mineral hot springs that have earned it the name, "Costa Rica's Yellowstone".

Overnight near Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 18 Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Known for its stunning diversity of flora and fauna, this national park is home to two volcanoes, the Rincon de la Vieja and the Santa Maria, as well as six different volcanic peaks and thirty two rivers and streams. The park has small geysers, bubbling mud pots and mineral hot springs that have earned it the name, "Costa Rica's Yellowstone". One more thing that is unique from Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is the Vrizea Vulcanicola bromeliad, endemic to this
park and Costa Rica.

We will have a full morning with a somewhat CHALLENGING walk (undulating, uneven terrain -- talk to you Tour Leader re your suitability) along Las Pailas Trail to view the best volcanic activity you can see in the country. The trail takes us through cloud forest, open grassy slopes and near a wide array of volcanic features including impressive boiling mud pots, fumaroles and thermal streams.

This afternoon you can continue your on-foot exploration on your own or take part in a number of optional activities, including river tubing, horseback riding and/or hot springs soaking. Or you can simply relax and enjoy the birdsong and magnificent views.

Overnight near Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 19 Rincon - Crocodile Safari - Quepos
This morning we continue southward to the town of Quepos, gateway for the Manuel Antonio National Park, an unspoiled haven of natural beauty on the shores of the Pacific. En route we'll enjoy an informative crocodile safari.*

The safari provides visitors with an exciting opportunity to enjoy one of Costa Rica's most beautiful ecosystems. The tour takes place along the Tarcoles River and is accompanied by a bilingual guide, who will share interesting information and spot an assortment of critters. Most notably, the Tarcoles River is known for its abundance of crocodiles, some of which can grow up to 15 ft in length. Other animal sightings include over 50 species of bird -- including the rare scarlet macaw -- as well as an assortment of iguanas and lizards. Heading downstream, the boat will also pass through Estero Guacalillo, an extensive mangrove system which houses four different types of mangrove trees.

We continue to Quepos.

* Occasionally, due to tides and logistical considerations, we may accomplish this sightseeing on the day we travel from Quepos back to San Jose.

Overnight in Quepos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 20 Manuel Antonio National Park
This morning we enjoy a leisurely walk through part of Manuel Antonio Park. While strolling the forest trails and the white sand beaches, we'll likely encounter monkeys, iguanas, sea creatures and bird life of amazing variety. After our morning walk, you may like to continue to explore the park and return to the hotel by taxi on your own.

Manuel Antonio National Park is an area of sand curving around a bay strewn with islands of rock, and shaded by green bordering forests. All are backdropped by dramatic cliffs. Manuel Antonio beach is one of the few places in Costa Rica where unspoiled primary forest grows right to the high-tide mark, allowing visitors to bathe at times in the shade.

South Espadilla is the northernmost of the park's beaches, followed by calmer Manuel Antonio beach, offshore of which are some coral spots. Third Beach has tidal pools where brightly coloured fish and eels are temporarily stranded. Last is Puerto Escondido, access to which is made difficult by the bordering rocky promontory.

Overnight in Quepos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 21 Quepos Area
Today is at leisure to enjoy this charming area.

There are several optional activities, including boat trips and nature walks, or returning to Manuel Antonio. Your Tour Leader will provide information on any optional activites available throughout our tour (costs, durations etc) at our Day 1 orientation. S/he can then make reservations if necessary on your behalf (we caution you against making any bookings in advance from home, as your Tour Leader may elect to switch our included content around due to variables such as weather and other logisitical considerations).

Overnight in Quepos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 22 Quepos - San Jose
Today we head back to the capital.

Time permitting, we recommend a visit to the Gold Museum in downtown San Jose (optional), easily the country's best with thousands of different examples of Pre-Columbian gold artifacts (the museum closes at 16:30).

Overnight in San Jose.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 23 Departure
Departure from San Jose.

BUEN VIAJE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map


*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


El Panama Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Panama City
Country: Panama

Rooms: The hotel offers comfortable air-conditioned rooms that are well equipped with a host of in room amenities. General:
Health
... guests can work out at the well-equipped gymnasium or relax at the refreshing sauna or take a dip at the relaxing swimming pool.


Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Bocas del Toro Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Bocas del Toro
Country: Panama

This charming hotel offers a unique blend of simple elegance and historical ambiance of Caribbean wood craftsmanship with the sparkling
... beneath. Nicely appointed with wood and nautical furnishings the 11 room boutique hotel offers the concept of comfort with 400-thread count cotton sheets, WI-FI , flat Screen cable TV, air conditioning, telephones, coffee makers, ocean and town balcony views.

Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Sleep Inn

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: San Jose
Country: Costa Rica

The Sleep Inn San Jose conveniently located in the heart of the city, only fifteen kilometers from the Juan Santamaria
... Airport. It is only a short distance from tourist attractions like the Teatro Nacional, Museo de Jade, and Museo de Oro.


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Click here to visit hotel website

Pachira Lodge

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Tortuguero
Country: Costa Rica

The lodge is strategically located only 5 minutes away from the extraordinary Tortuguero National Park, and right across the main
... facing the town of Tortuguero. Surrounded by a network of very scenic canals, this is considered one of the most exotic regions of the world, characterized by its rich in flora and fauna.

Read More.

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Baldi Hotsprings Resort

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Arenal
Country: Costa Rica

Set at the base of the Arenal Volcano, this upscale hotel and hot spring is modern with rustic rooms with
... areas and terraces or balconies, as well as minifridges and tea and coffeemakers.

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Hotel Manuel Antonio

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Quepos
Country: Costa Rica

The hotel is conveniently located within minutes from the World Famous Manuel Antonio National Park and the small sport fishing
... of Quepos. All rooms feature well-appointed bathrooms, telephone, air conditioning, TV.


Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Rincon de la Vieja Lodge

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Rincon de la Vieja
Country: Costa Rica

This lodge is almost a rustic museum, an old Hacienda house, constructed of wood with 49 double rooms with private
... and hot water surrounded by forest. There is a bar, a small swimming pool, a family style restaurant, telephone, fax & internet service and TV area. Electricity provided falling water into a turbine, 24 hours a day.
Read More.

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Hotel El Patio del Malinche

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Granada
Country: Nicaragua

Hotel El Patio del Malinche is situated in a renovated, colonial house where the original style of houses from Granada
... been combined with modern hotel amenities like wireless internet, a pool, and air conditioning. There are two interior patios in the hotel. The central location, only a few blocks from Granada's central park, makes it possible to easily reach the interesting sites in town.

Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website


Trip Information


Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner daily (hotels and local restaurants). All transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, hotel porters (if available). Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving/late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.

Exclusions

International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuity, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), departure taxes, domestic and international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on not included meal costs, shopping, and locally paid departure taxes.

Seasonality and Weather

PANAMA: This tour is offered during the northern winter and outside hurricane season. Temperatures are high across the whole country throughout the year, though cooler at higher altitudes. The rainy season lasts from May to Nov.

COSTA RICA: In the Central Valley (San Jose) the average temperature is 22C (72F). In the coastal areas the temperature is much hotter and humid. The "green" season runs May-Nov. The warm dry season is Dec-May, though temperature differences between summer and winter are slight.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Road transport by private air-conditioned motor coach, 12-32 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Numerous nature walks and walking tours on uneven surfaces. Internal flights in Panama via scheduled domestic carriers in smaller aircraft with limited space for luggage. Panama City-San Jose via scheduled airline.

Our difficulty level "2" rating refers to the above-mentioned busy days, walking tours on uneven terrain, lack of handrails (public and elsewhere, ie shower stalls), and fatigue that can be caused by heat and humidity.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

Accommodation

Well-located, heated/air-conditioned, mid-range (3-star) hotels with en suite toilet and bath throughout (probably shower only). Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than doubles. Hotel porter service is sometimes available (see 'inclusions') though you should be independent with your luggage. Some hotels have outdoor swimming pools.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader, driver/s, and local step-on guides at various locations.

Group Size

Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader

PA3 TRIP DETAILS

DURATION23 days

TOUR STARTPanama City

TOUR ENDSan Jose

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