Small modern expedition ship with blue hull & white upper decks sits offshore from white-sand beach with palm trees in Panama.
Capuchin monkey with blonde fur around face & chest & dark fur on head & lower body sits in dense forest canopy.
Multicolored, bright, woven textile squares hang from rope between palm trees over white-sand beach in Panama.
Indigenous women in Panama with brightly colored beads, woven headbands with red flowers & colorful clothes stand in a line.
2 parrots with red, yellow & blue feathers sit & preen on a tree branch among bright green forest canopy, seen in Costa Rica.
View Photos
Central America Costa Rica Cruise

Secrets of Central America

Discover Panama and Costa Rica on this 11-day expedition cruise aboard 184-guest Le Bellot. Learn about unique biodiversity while visiting dream islands, natural reserves and fascinating local communities.

Aside from the legendary daytime canal crossing, the highlights are many on this luxury Panama Canal cruise. San Lorenzo’s Fort is an unusual fortress classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The San Blas Islands offer golden sand, crystal-clear waters and the Kuna people with their traditional craft of molas, weaved textiles in sparkling colors. In Costa Rica’s Rio Esquinas, explore monumental mangroves where emblematic species reign supreme. And the stunning Curú nature reserve’s tropical rainforest may provide glimpses of multicolored birds, monkeys, iguanas and sloths.

The magnificent Darien National Park in Panama is another UNESCO World Heritage site and home to remarkable plants and wildlife. Sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, mangroves, swamps and tropical rainforests vie with each other for beauty and offer a feast for photographers. This will also be an opportunity to meet the astonishing semi-nomadic Emberas community.

The 8-day Panama & Costa Rica by Sea: The Natural Wonders of Central America is a themed departure from a collection of Ponant sailings operated in alliance with Smithsonian Journeys. The abbreviated itinerary generally follows the same route as the main itinerary (with fewer stops), but is tailored for English-speaking travelers who want to engage with the world. These Ponant voyages in alliance with Smithsonian Journeys uniquely include transfers to and from the ship on embarkation and disembarkation days, talks and discussions aboard ship by world-class experts from Smithsonian Journeys, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the local environment and culture. Look for the themed icon in the Rates and Dates table below.

Passage on this Iceland luxury cruise is aboard either Le Bellot, a high-end Explorer vessel with a capacity of 184 guests. This luxury French expedition ship offers refined and attentive service, a plethora of onboard activities and unrivaled elegance. Appreciate understated sophistication, an international feel and top-notch guides aboard this small expedition vessel. Explore the region’s abundant natural splendors and local indigenous communities off the ship, then return on board for 5-star hotel service and a plethora of activities such as performances, culinary tastings and enriching lectures.

Read on for details about this luxury Panama Canal cruise, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Costa Rica cruises and Costa Rica trips.



Itinerary

Secrets of Central America: Colón to Puntarenas Itinerary

This itinerary starts in Colón, Panama and ends in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, with a transit through the Panama Canal and daily opportunities to explore the history, culture and wildlife of the region.

Route map of Secrets of Central America luxury cruise from Panama to Costa Rica via the Panama Canal.
Read More
Day 1
Embark Colón, Panama

Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is today an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city. Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

dinner

Read More
Day 2
Fort San Lorenzo (Colón)

In the Colón District, Fort San Lorenzo faces the sea, its canons pointing towards the horizon as they used to under the Spanish Crown. This construction is part of a group of buildings exemplifying the military architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries along the Caribbean coast of Panama, hence its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander along the fort’s alleyways accompanied by the melodious singing of the birds that have made the surrounding forest their home. Enjoy an unforgettable port of call combining history and walking in nature.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
San Blas Islands

Located on the northeast coast of Panama, the San Blas archipelago is a string of coral islands in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. More than 300 islands and cays cover an area of 115 square miles (300 square kilometers) offering travelers a multitude of treasures. Sheltered behind a long coral reef, the San Blas Islands are full of enchanting anchorages. The long sandy white beaches bound by crystal-clear waters will allow you to relax and enjoy incredible marine fauna before engaging with the Kunas Indian community. Still subsisting on hunting and fishing, they will welcome you in their villages of bamboo houses gathered near the beaches.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
Daytime Crossing of the Panama Canal

Aboard your ship, experience something unique, that has inspired the imagination of numerous adventurers in the 20th century: sailing the Panama Canal. Its construction started in 1880 under the direction of Ferdinand de Lesseps. Abandoned then resumed, this marvel of engineering was completed by the United States and opened in 1914. The canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama and links the Atlantic to the Pacific. Including three levels of locks and by raising ships to the level of Lake Gatun, almost as if the water was a lift, it allows them to avoid having to round Cape Horn. *Note: Extenuating circumstances may require a nighttime canal crossing.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Pearl Islands & Pacheca Island

The Pearl Islands archipelago, formed by over 220 islands and islets, is named in memory of the pearl oysters present in the Gulf of Panama. In colonial times, the pearls were extracted and used as ornaments or currency. “La Peregrina” was discovered in this archipelago: this pearl is famous for its perfection and for belonging to several royals and, more recently, Elizabeth Taylor. While the pearls have now disappeared from the azure waters of this paradise with its history of adventures and piracy, you can still swim from the sandy white beaches and observe shoals of multicolored fish performing their gracious ballet.

Isla Pacheca lies in the far north of the maze of more than 200 islands composing the Pearl Islands. This small piece of uninhabited land is a special place for the numerous bird species that have taken up residence there. Among these is the unusual-looking blue-footed booby, which you might spot wandering along one of the island’s beaches. The shore visit in a Zodiac dinghy holds the promise of an unforgettable moment spent in lush nature between white-sand beaches and verdant rainforest.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Playa Muerto, Darien National Park

The most remote and least developed region of Panama, the province of Darien is an unspoiled land with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna. Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, Darien National Park offers its extraordinary scenery of rocky coastlines, mountain ranges, mangroves, rivers and creeks. Discover Playa Muerto, a tiny coastal village home to the Emberas Amerindian community. You will visit the village, attend traditional songs and dances of the locals, and admire beautiful local craft.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Cebaco Island

Off the Pacific coast of Panama, at the entrance to the Gulf of Montijo, Cebaco Island conjures visions of paradise lost. Covered in tropical rainforest, edged by white sandy beaches, home to exceptionally rich plant and wildlife, the island offers a number of hiking routes along which to discover its pristine natural environment. Its magnificent coral reefs, located in the outlying regions of the Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are the refuge for many marine species and offer stunning underwater landscapes.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Rio Esquinas, Costa Rica

The beauty of Costa Rica and the richness of its biodiversity reveal themselves at this port of call in the heart of the mangrove. In the meanders of Rio Esquinas, a tropical corner of paradise, you will discover an incredibly dense ecosystem. Aboard your Zodiac dinghy, you will brush past the tangled arms formed by the roots of the mangrove trees. This green and lush gallery forest and its inhabitants welcome you. Watch closely: common squirrel monkeys, white ibis, Eurasian whimbrels, ospreys, toucans, snowy egrets and great blue herons can be found hiding here.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Drake Bay

Located on Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park covers 164 square miles, making it the country’s largest national park, the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coast, and one of the few remaining large areas of lowland tropical rainforests in the world.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Curú Wildlife Refuge

On the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula, the small Curú Wildlife Refuge is the oldest protected park in Costa Rica. This refuge is an exemplary site in terms of ecotourism as well as a research center for scientists from all over the world. It has been at the heart of an original conservation and sustainable development project since the 1930s. After a short Zodiac trip, you will discover, via the paths that crisscross the tropical forest and lead to magnificent beaches, the most emblematic species of Costa Rica: monkeys, iguanas and over 200 bird species. Since their recent reintroduction, the scarlet macaw and the spider monkey have thrived in this preserved environment.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Disembark Puntarenas, Costa Rica

The capital of the eponymous province, Puntarenas is sometimes called “the pearl of the Pacific” for its unique charm. It sits on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, along the Gulf of Nicoya, lined with long expanses of wild natural environments. Further inland, among the countless natural wonders to be found in the generous rainforest of the Costa Rica’s national parks, Poas and Arena volcanoes tower in all their majestic glory. In this luxuriant natural setting, Costa Rica protects one of the planet’s richest biodiversity: monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, iguanas, crocodiles, waterfalls, canyons and more than ten thousand species of tropical plants.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All meals while on board the ship; captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner; “open bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands); evening entertainment and events; room service; highly qualified bilingual French/English expedition team; lectures presented by the expedition team; Zodiac and shore excursions; park entry fees into protected areas; complimentary unlimited Wifi on board; port fees and taxes (except for child passengers–see Families & Children); gratuities.

Exclusions

Optional add-on excursions or packages; ground services before or after the cruise (added-cost transfers available upon request); visa expenses; possible immigration reciprocity taxes; luggage handling; beverages beyond those in Inclusions; laundry, hair salon, spa treatments, onboard medical consultations and other personal charges; cancellation, luggage, assistance, repatriation, medical and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 25% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations beyond 14 days after booking confirmation are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
365 days or more – $250
364 to 211 days – 10% of total trip cost
210 to 91 days – 100% of deposit
90 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Secrets of Central America: Colón to Puntarenas cruise begins in Colón, Panama (ONX) and ends in Puntarenas, Costa Rica (various airports nearby, with San Jose/SJO the closest). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Recommended flight arrival and departure times are specific to each voyage; consult your Adventure Specialist for guidelines relating to your departure. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Optional activities on your Secrets of Central America: Colón to Puntarenas cruise include practicing photography, Zodiac cruising, swimming and snorkeling, and shore-based excursions. In addition to these off-ship excursions, a multitude of onboard activities keep guests engaged, including live music, dance and theater; spa treatments; exercise and stretching classes; specialty food, wine and cocktail tastings; organized games; and lectures by guides and possible special guests.

Room Configuration

Select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. This supplement may vary depending on cabin category and remaining capacity per departure. A willing-to-share program is not available. Triple and quadruple rates may be available in select cabin categories; contact AdventureSmith for details.

Families & Children

Children 1 year and older at time of travel are welcomed on this cruise. Children under 18 years old at time of travel may receive special discounts when sharing a cabin with two full-fare adults. A child sharing a cabin with a single adult is considered to be a paying adult. Contact AdventureSmith for details.

Travel Insurance

A medical form for all travelers is required for every departure. Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Secrets of Central America: Puntarenas to Colón Itinerary

This itinerary starts in Puntarenas, Costa Rica and ends in Colón, Panama, with a transit through the Panama Canal and daily opportunities to explore the history, culture and wildlife of the region.

Route map of Secrets of Central America luxury cruise from Costa Rica to Panama via the Panama Canal.
Read More
Day 1
Embark Puntarenas, Costa Rica

The capital of the eponymous province, Puntarenas is sometimes called “the pearl of the Pacific” for its unique charm. It sits on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, along the Gulf of Nicoya, lined with long expanses of wild natural environments. Further inland, among the countless natural wonders to be found in the generous rainforest of the Costa Rica’s national parks, Poas and Arena volcanoes tower in all their majestic glory. In this luxuriant natural setting, Costa Rica protects one of the planet’s richest biodiversity: monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, iguanas, crocodiles, waterfalls, canyons and more than ten thousand species of tropical plants.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

dinner

Read More
Day 2
Curú Wildlife Refuge

On the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula, the small Curú Wildlife Refuge is the oldest protected park in Costa Rica. This refuge is an exemplary site in terms of ecotourism as well as a research center for scientists from all over the world. It has been at the heart of an original conservation and sustainable development project since the 1930s. After a short Zodiac trip, you will discover, via the paths that crisscross the tropical forest and lead to magnificent beaches, the most emblematic species of Costa Rica: monkeys, iguanas and over 200 bird species. Since their recent reintroduction, the scarlet macaw and the spider monkey have thrived in this preserved environment.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Drake Bay

Located on Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park covers 164 square miles, making it the country’s largest national park, the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coast, and one of the few remaining large areas of lowland tropical rainforests in the world.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
Rio Esquinas

The beauty of Costa Rica and the richness of its biodiversity reveal themselves at this port of call in the heart of the mangrove. In the meanders of Rio Esquinas, a tropical corner of paradise, you will discover an incredibly dense ecosystem. Aboard your Zodiac dinghy, you will brush past the tangled arms formed by the roots of the mangrove trees. This green and lush gallery forest and its inhabitants welcome you. Watch closely: common squirrel monkeys, white ibis, Eurasian whimbrels, ospreys, toucans, snowy egrets and great blue herons can be found hiding here.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Cebaco Island, Panama

Off the Pacific coast of Panama, at the entrance to the Gulf of Montijo, Cebaco Island conjures visions of paradise lost. Covered in tropical rainforest, edged by white sandy beaches, home to exceptionally rich plant and wildlife, the island offers a number of hiking routes along which to discover its pristine natural environment. Its magnificent coral reefs, located in the outlying regions of the Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are the refuge for many marine species and offer stunning underwater landscapes.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Playa Muerto, Darien National Park

The most remote and least developed region of Panama, the province of Darien is an unspoiled land with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna. Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, Darien National Park offers its extraordinary scenery of rocky coastlines, mountain ranges, mangroves, rivers and creeks. Discover Playa Muerto, a tiny coastal village home to the Emberas Amerindian community. You will visit the village, attend traditional songs and dances of the locals, and admire beautiful local craft.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Pearl Islands & Pacheca Island

The Pearl Islands archipelago, formed by over 220 islands and islets, is named in memory of the pearl oysters present in the Gulf of Panama. In colonial times, the pearls were extracted and used as ornaments or currency. “La Peregrina” was discovered in this archipelago: this pearl is famous for its perfection and for belonging to several royals and, more recently, Elizabeth Taylor. While the pearls have now disappeared from the azure waters of this paradise with its history of adventures and piracy, you can still swim from the sandy white beaches and observe shoals of multicolored fish performing their gracious ballet.

Isla Pacheca lies in the far north of the maze of more than 200 islands composing the Pearl Islands. This small piece of uninhabited land is a special place for the numerous bird species that have taken up residence there. Among these is the unusual-looking blue-footed booby, which you might spot wandering along one of the island’s beaches. The shore visit in a Zodiac dinghy holds the promise of an unforgettable moment spent in lush nature between white-sand beaches and verdant rainforest.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Daytime Crossing of the Panama Canal

Aboard your ship, experience something unique, that has inspired the imagination of numerous adventurers in the 20th century: sailing the Panama Canal. Its construction started in 1880 under the direction of Ferdinand de Lesseps. Abandoned then resumed, this marvel of engineering was completed by the United States and opened in 1914. The canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama and links the Atlantic to the Pacific. Including three levels of locks and by raising ships to the level of Lake Gatun, almost as if the water was a lift, it allows them to avoid having to round Cape Horn. *Note: Extenuating circumstances may require a nighttime canal crossing.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
San Blas Islands

Located on the northeast coast of Panama, the San Blas archipelago is a string of coral islands in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. More than 300 islands and cays cover an area of 115 square miles (300 square kilometers) offering travelers a multitude of treasures. Sheltered behind a long coral reef, the San Blas Islands are full of enchanting anchorages. The long sandy white beaches bound by crystal-clear waters will allow you to relax and enjoy incredible marine fauna before engaging with the Kunas Indian community. Still subsisting on hunting and fishing, they will welcome you in their villages of bamboo houses gathered near the beaches.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Fort San Lorenzo (Colón)

In the Colón District, Fort San Lorenzo faces the sea, its canons pointing towards the horizon as they used to under the Spanish Crown. This construction is part of a group of buildings exemplifying the military architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries along the Caribbean coast of Panama, hence its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander along the fort’s alleyways accompanied by the melodious singing of the birds that have made the surrounding forest their home. Enjoy an unforgettable port of call combining history and walking in nature.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Disembark Colón, Panama

Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is today an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city. Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All meals while on board the ship; captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner; “open bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands); evening entertainment and events; room service; highly qualified bilingual French/English expedition team; lectures presented by the expedition team; Zodiac and shore excursions; park entry fees into protected areas; complimentary unlimited Wifi on board; port fees and taxes (except for child passengers–see Families & Children); gratuities.

Exclusions

Optional add-on excursions or packages; ground services before or after the cruise (added-cost transfers available upon request); visa expenses; possible immigration reciprocity taxes; luggage handling; beverages beyond those in Inclusions; laundry, hair salon, spa treatments, onboard medical consultations and other personal charges; cancellation, luggage, assistance, repatriation, medical and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 25% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations beyond 14 days after booking confirmation are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
365 days or more – $250
364 to 211 days – 10% of total trip cost
210 to 91 days – 100% of deposit
90 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Secrets of Central America: Puntarenas to Colón cruise begins in Puntarenas, Costa Rica (various airports nearby, with San Jose/SJO the closest) and ends in Colón, Panama (ONX). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Recommended flight arrival and departure times are specific to each voyage; consult your Adventure Specialist for guidelines relating to your departure. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Optional activities on your Secrets of Central America: Puntarenas to Colón cruise include practicing photography, Zodiac cruising, swimming and snorkeling, and shore-based excursions. In addition to these off-ship excursions, a multitude of onboard activities keep guests engaged, including live music, dance and theater; spa treatments; exercise and stretching classes; specialty food, wine and cocktail tastings; organized games; and lectures by guides and possible special guests.

Room Configuration

Select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. This supplement may vary depending on cabin category and remaining capacity per departure. A willing-to-share program is not available. Triple and quadruple rates may be available in select cabin categories; contact AdventureSmith for details.

Families & Children

Children 1 year and older at time of travel are welcomed on this cruise. Children under 18 years old at time of travel may receive special discounts when sharing a cabin with two full-fare adults. A child sharing a cabin with a single adult is considered to be a paying adult. Contact AdventureSmith for details.

Travel Insurance

A medical form for all travelers is required for every departure. Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Panama & Costa Rica by Sea: The Natural Wonders of Central America Itinerary

The Panama & Costa Rica by Sea itinerary is a more compact version of the main itinerary, tailored to English speakers with world-class experts from Smithsonian Journeys. Make a unique visit to Fuerte Amador, an artificial peninsula situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, as well as the charming seafront town of Quepos.

Route map of Panama & Costa Rica by Sea luxury cruise from Panama to Costa Rica via the Panama Canal.
Read More
Day 1
Embark Colón, Panama

Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is today an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city. Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

dinner

Read More
Day 2
San Blas Islands

Located on the northeast coast of Panama, the San Blas archipelago is a string of coral islands in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. More than 300 islands and cays cover an area of 115 square miles (300 square kilometers) offering travelers a multitude of treasures. Sheltered behind a long coral reef, the San Blas Islands are full of enchanting anchorages. The long sandy white beaches bound by crystal-clear waters will allow you to relax and enjoy incredible marine fauna before engaging with the Kunas Indian community. Still subsisting on hunting and fishing, they will welcome you in their villages of bamboo houses gathered near the beaches.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Daytime Crossing of the Panama Canal

Aboard your ship, experience something unique, that has inspired the imagination of numerous adventurers in the 20th century: sailing the Panama Canal. Its construction started in 1880 under the direction of Ferdinand de Lesseps. Abandoned then resumed, this marvel of engineering was completed by the United States and opened in 1914. The canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama and links the Atlantic to the Pacific. Including three levels of locks and by raising ships to the level of Lake Gatun, almost as if the water was a lift, it allows them to avoid having to round Cape Horn. *Note: Extenuating circumstances may require a nighttime canal crossing.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
Playa Muerto, Darien National Park

The most remote and least developed region of Panama, the province of Darien is an unspoiled land with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna. Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, Darien National Park offers its extraordinary scenery of rocky coastlines, mountain ranges, mangroves, rivers and creeks. Discover Playa Muerto, a tiny coastal village home to the Emberas Amerindian community. You will visit the village, attend traditional songs and dances of the locals, and admire beautiful local craft.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Fuerte Amador, Flamenco Island

An artificial peninsula situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador is the gateway to several noteworthy sites. Right near there, the impressive Miraflores Locks are a shining example of the engineering feats deployed during the construction of the Panama Canal. Further north, in villages nestling amid dense vegetation, lives the Embera tribe, guardian of the forest and of the Chagres River. This proud people have successfully preserved their traditions and their ancestral way of life, which predate the colonization of the region by the Spanish.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
At Sea

During your journey at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the onboard photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Quepos, Costa Rica

Quepos makes for a charming stop-off on the Pacific coast, just next-door to the famous Manuel Antonio National Park, an untouched tropical natural reserve lined with white sandy beaches. The town’s seafront is an opportunity to stroll through market stalls touting pineapples and bananas in the shade of the manchineel trees. In this coastal town criscrossed with tree-lined streets in bloom, admire the houses and their incredible sculpted balconies. Enjoy a spot of shopping in the many traditional boutiques: pick up some handmade cotton clothing, ceramics embellished with Costa Rican designs and home décor pieces in hand-painted wood.

Accommodations

Le Bellot

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Disembark Puntarenas, Costa Rica

The capital of the eponymous province, Puntarenas is sometimes called “the pearl of the Pacific” for its unique charm. It sits on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, along the Gulf of Nicoya, lined with long expanses of wild natural environments. Further inland, among the countless natural wonders to be found in the generous rainforest of the Costa Rica’s national parks, Poas and Arena volcanoes tower in all their majestic glory. In this luxuriant natural setting, Costa Rica protects one of the planet’s richest biodiversity: monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, iguanas, crocodiles, waterfalls, canyons and more than ten thousand species of tropical plants.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All meals while on board the ship; captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner; “open bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands); evening entertainment and events; room service; highly qualified bilingual French/English expedition team; lectures presented by the expedition team; Zodiac and shore excursions; park entry fees into protected areas; complimentary unlimited Wifi on board; port fees and taxes (except for child passengers–see Families & Children); gratuities.

Exclusions

Optional add-on excursions or packages; ground services before or after the cruise, aside from Transfers program; visa expenses; possible immigration reciprocity taxes; luggage handling; beverages beyond those in Inclusions; laundry, hair salon, spa treatments, onboard medical consultations and other personal charges; cancellation, luggage, assistance, repatriation, medical and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 25% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations beyond 14 days after booking confirmation are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
365 days or more – $250
364 to 211 days – 10% of total trip cost
210 to 91 days – 100% of deposit
90 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Panama & Costa Rica by Sea cruise begins in Colón, Panama (ONX) and ends in Puntarenas, Costa Rica (various airports nearby, with San Jose/SJO the closest). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Recommended flight arrival and departure times are specific to each voyage; consult your Adventure Specialist for guidelines relating to your departure. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Included activities on your Panama & Costa Rica by Sea: The Natural Wonders of Central America cruise are onboard lectures and discussions with subject matter experts from Smithsonian Journeys, the travel component of the Smithsonian Institution. Also included is an excursion in every port of call such as Zodiac cruising; hiking; and guided explorations of cities, museums, monuments, and archeological sites. You will have the opportunity to choose your included excursions prior to departure. Onboard your ship a multitude of onboard activities keep guests engaged, including live music, dance and theater; optional spa treatments; exercise and stretching classes; specialty food, wine and cocktail tastings; organized games; and more.

Room Configuration

Select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. This supplement may vary depending on cabin category and remaining capacity per departure. A willing-to-share program is not available. Triple and quadruple rates may be available in select cabin categories; contact AdventureSmith for details.

Families & Children

Children 1 year and older at time of travel are welcomed on this cruise. Children under 18 years old at time of travel may receive special discounts when sharing a cabin with two full-fare adults. A child sharing a cabin with a single adult is considered to be a paying adult. Contact AdventureSmith for details.

Travel Insurance

A medical form for all travelers is required for every departure. Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change.

Jan 06 - Jan 13, 2025
Le Bellot • 8 days
themed trip icon of a blue bird flying
From $6824USD
Per Person
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Feb 03 - Feb 13, 2025
Le Bellot • 11 days
From $9790USD
Per Person
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Feb 13 - Feb 23, 2025
Le Bellot • 11 days
From $8890USD
Per Person
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Feb 23 - Mar 05, 2025
Le Bellot • 11 days
From $8440USD
Per Person
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Mar 05 - Mar 15, 2025
Le Bellot • 11 days
From $8890USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Le Bellot

The 184-guest Le Bellot is a modern, luxury expedition ship cruising the Arctic and Caribbean. She offers an upscale onboard ambiance, impressive service, and an engaging expedition program of both onboard lectures and off-ship excursions.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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9 Day Land Tour
Costa Rica Coast to Coast

Traverse Costa Rica coast to coast on this 9-day land tour, exploring the rainforest of Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast. Home base on the Osa Peninsula and enjoy daily excursions guided by expert naturalists in search of wildlife.

From $5185USD
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9 Day Land Tour
Costa Rica Explorer

The Pacuare River, Arenal Volcano and the beautiful beaches of the Pacific, combine in this Costa Rica land tour that includes river rafting, guided hikes, hot springs, hanging bridges, zip lining, plus a free day to explore tropical Manuel Antonio National Park.

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8 Day Land Tour
Tropical Rainforests & Manuel Antonio

Experience rainforests, volcanos and tropical beaches on this active Costa Rica land adventure. Visit waterfall gardens, a wildlife preserve, and Arenal and Manuel Antonio National Parks. Zipline through the cloud forest and kayak among mangroves.

From $2675USD
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