Private Journeys

Expedition cruise: Costa Rica, Panama and the Canal

15 days from £6,989pp

Costa Rica / Panama

ANCON EXPEDITIONS ©

Essentials

Transport

11 day expedition/adventure cruise. One land transfer.

Accommodation

This holiday incorporates an adventurous cruise on board a comfortable mid-range expeditionary cruise ship, Safari Voyager, accommodating 62 guests and 29-31 staff and crew. The facilities include exercise equipment and yoga mats; DVD and book library. Equipment is available for the following activities: snorkelling, paddle boarding, hiking and kayaking.

Your hotel in San José is a smart, low-rise mid-range hotel with plenty of facilities, in Panama City you stay in a good quality first class property in the modern business district of the city.

Meals

Breakfast daily; full board on the cruise ship days 3-12.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 30 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return. Your guides on the Safari Voyager cruise are specialists in adventure activities, wildlife and history.

Summary Of Nights

15 days, 14 nights: San José 2; cruise 10; Panama City 2.

Currency

The unit of currency in Costa Rica is the Colon, in Panama is the US dollar, 

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Major credit cards are accepted on board the ship.

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$40 (for the days when you are not on the cruise, will cover food, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants in Panama City and you may pay more.. 

Tipping

The cruise staff and local guides onshore will welcome a gratuity: they often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. Most service industry workers will hope for a tip so it is useful to have spare change for waiters, hotel porters, taxi drivers etc. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants. For the ship’s crew, a gratuity of around $US25-$35 per guest per day is recommended. You can pay this on board by credit card if you wish.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey Grade

This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors. If you have doubts about your fitness for the cruise, we will send you a medical questionnaire. 

Families are welcome (children over 8 years) but there is no special entertainment programme on board for children. Children and and teenagers who are interested in the wildlife and nature as well as water sports should enjoy the cruise. 

Climate

Those travelling between May and October journeys should encounter high temperatures (around 35°C) and high humidity. The ‘official’ rainy (green) season is May to November. December to April is normally a dry season, with plenty of sunshine and daytime temperatures up to and above 30°C

December to April visitors will still encounter high temperatures in lowland areas, but cool evenings around San José with temperatures falling to around 5°C. Rainfall and humidity will be much lower at this time.

Clothing And Special Equipment

Bring practical, comfortable clothing and a light-weight jumper. If you plan to eat in smart restaurants in Panama City, although clothing is not formal (no need for jacket and tie), something quite smart would be appropriate. 

For kayaking light and protective clothing, a sun hat and practical sandals (they will get wet) are advised. For both the evenings and nights, bring warm and comfortable clothing; a light fleece jacket. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well. For swimming and snorkelling in sunny weather a rash guard (UV protected T shirt)  is recommended. 

Strong, comfortable shoes or trainers are advisable and you should bring insect repellant, sun block (there is usually some provided on the ship on a complimentary basis) sun glasses, goggles and swim wear. Snorkel masks and fins, hiking poles are provided for complimentary use. Sea sickness preventatives are provided but you may wish to bring your own if you are susceptible. 

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following; typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.
If you are flying back to San José from Panama City, you may need to show a Yellow fever Vaccination certificate to is is recommended that you bring one.  

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website. 

Country info

When's the best time to visit Costa Rica?

Despite its small size, Costa Rica has a number of distinct microclimates. The Caribbean coast is humid all year round with the driest months being Sep-Oct; wildlife lovers, however, might prefer to visit this region from Jul-Aug to watch nesting turtles. The rest of the country experiences a dry season from Dec-Apr, when there is plenty of sun and temperatures are high, and a rainy season from May-Nov. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule for all regions: for example, the rainy season starts a month earlier in the south Pacific, while the northern areas, including the Guanacaste coast, are not as affected by the seasons and are generally much drier. The highlands and cloud forests have warm temperatures during the day but the high altitude means evenings are much cooler.

What's the official language of Costa Rica?

Spanish.

What's the national currency of Costa Rica?

Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. There’s at least one in most main towns. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too. US dollars themselves are widely accepted.

What's the time difference between Costa Rica and UK?

GMT -5 hours.  

What places combine well with Costa Rica?

A visit to neighbouring Nicaragua or Panama. There are land crossings to both, as well as international flights.

How do I get to Costa Rica?

There is a direct flight from London Gatwick to San José (11 hrs) as well as non-direct flights via US and European hubs.

What are the cultural and sport events in Costa Rica?

International Arts Festival: San José, March. Music, dance, film art exhibitions.
Monteverde Music Festival: Monteverde, Jan - Feb.

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees
  • Use of equipment on board: kayaks, stand-up-paddling boards, snorkelling equipment, walking poles, yoga mats, life jackets,

Included Excursions

  • San Jose: Full day excursion to coffee farm, Poas Volcano & La Paz Waterfall Park
  • Half day shared guided tour of the historical centre of Panama City
  • A choice of activities from the ship - all are included in the price

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees
  • Use of equipment on board: kayaks, stand-up-paddling boards, snorkelling equipment, walking poles, yoga mats, life jackets,

Included Excursions

  • San Jose: Full day excursion to coffee farm, Poas Volcano & La Paz Waterfall Park
  • Half day shared guided tour of the historical centre of Panama City
  • A choice of activities from the ship - all are included in the price

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

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    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

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    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

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    Jim first caught the Latin American travel bug in 2001 when he decided at the last minute to join a friend travelling around Central America – he hasn't looked back since.

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    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

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    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.

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