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Expedition cruise: Panama, the Canal and Costa Rica

Transport

13 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 and kayaking.

Your hotel in Panama City is a good quality mid-range property with plenty of Panamanian character.

Meals

Breakfast daily; full board on the cruise ship days 3-14.

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.

Included excursions

• Half day shared guided tour of historical Panama City.
• A choice of activities from the ship - all are included in the price.

Summary of nights

15 days, 14 nights: Panama City 2; cruise 13. 

Included in the journey 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.

Not included in the journey price

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

Currency

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

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.. 

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.

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

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. 

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 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 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. 

Strong, comfortable shoes or trainers are advisable and you should bring insect repellant, sun block, sun glasses, goggles and swim wear. 

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.

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

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.   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. 

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US, you will need to fill in an ESTA application online at ESTA online.

This costs $14 per person, and must be applied for by you personally.

Passports must also be e-passports with an embedded digital chip  Avoid locking suitcases when transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

Clients with a different nationality should refer to our Briefing Dossier and check with the Panamanian and Costa Rican Consulates.
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