DISCOVER THE MAGNIFICENT BEAUTY OF THIS VIBRANT, ECOLOGICAL PARADISE
April 24 - May 3, 2020

 
 
Scarlet Macaws, Corcovado National Park

Scarlet Macaws, Corcovado National Park

Nowhere else in the world can you find a concentration
of wildlife like that of Central America – in particular Costa Rica and Panama. Costa Rica alone has over 840 identified species of birds and with over a quarter of the country identified as national parks, these protected areas are a naturalist’s dream. Famous for its manmade canal, Panama is also home to 940 avian species, as well as 125 mammal species endemic to this country. RCGS Resolute is the ideal vessel to explore this region due to its large outdoor deck areas and panoramic viewing platforms.

This adventure begins in San Jose, Costa Rica, where we will meet at a central location before transferring to Puerto Caldera on the Pacific coast. From the Nicoya Peninsula we will work our way south, visiting four different national parks or protected areas. Our small ship gives us unprecedented access to the colourful bays and hidden coves of this lush, tropical coastline. When RCGS Resolute drops anchor, we’ll launch our zodiacs, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards, so you can explore even further in guided small groups. You will also be able to explore on foot, hiking the trail networks of the parks, or strolling along the white sandy beaches.

After a week we will leave this tropical coastal paradise and head for historic Panama City, located at the Pacific entrance to one of the modern wonders of the world - the Panama Canal. The penultimate day of our voyage will be spent travelling from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, through the 100-year old canal. We will end our voyage in Colon, Panama.

Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, Curú National Wildlife Refuge

Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, Curú National Wildlife Refuge

Expedition Highlights...

› Explore the protected national parks of Costa Rica & Panama

› Hike through rugged rainforests learning about the many endemic wildlife species

› Enjoy optional specialized birding walks in most reserves.

› Experience this tropical paradise in a zodiac, kayak or on a stand-up paddle board, or take in an underwater perspective while snorkeling.

› Enrich the experience with informative talks and presentations from local guides and a stellar expedition team

› Enjoy photographer-in-residence, active cruising and wellness programs

› Travel through the Panama Canal – one of the modern wonders of the world

Costa Rica to Panama route

Costa Rica to Panama route

Day by day itinerary... 

DAY 1 / SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA (Friday, April 24, 2020)

The journey will start with a visit to the Doka Estates; one of the largest coffee and sugarcane plantations in Costa Rica. This family-owned business will offer a taste of history as we learn more about the various stages of coffee processing and how the oldest Wet Mill found in Costa Rica plays a part. Following our tour, we will transfer two hours west to Puerto Caldera. Here we will meet our vessel, RCGS Resolute, head aboard and settle into our rooms. Tonight we will enjoy dinner and then migrate to the deck, reveling in the first of many tropical sunsets. RCGS Resolute will make a short sail across the Gulf of Nicoya to anchor off the Nicoya Peninsula, ready for the next day’s adventures.

DAY 2 / NICOYA PENINSULA & CURÚ NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, COSTA RICA

Today we will explore the Curú National Wildlife Refuge which is nestled at the southeast tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. From a gentle walk along the well established trails in the heart of the park, to a more challenging hike on the Finca de Monos trail - a prime Spider Monkey viewing area - there are several ways to explore this national treasure and its diverse wildlife. The refuge hosts one of the most beautiful beaches on the peninsula and has spearheaded many successful sustainable development programs from reintroducing the near extinct Spider Monkey, to the coral reef restoration project and migratory bird monitoring. We anticipate opportunities to kayak, paddle board or snorkel as well.

Red-lored Parrot, Curú National Wildlife Refuge

Red-lored Parrot, Curú National Wildlife Refuge

DAY 3 / MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK, COSTA RICA

Our adventure continues in the Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the smallest yet most visited national parks in Costa Rica. Boarding our zodiacs, we will access the park, slowly cruising along the turquoise blue waters of this tropical paradise. Boasting over 100 species of mammals, 184 species of birds and a plethora of diverse flora, this park is a wildlife lover’s dream. Keep your eyes peeled for both two and three toed sloths, white-faced monkeys and toucans as you explore the entanglement of trails weaving through the park. The network of hiking trails crisscross the parkland, providing access to its rainforest, white sand beaches, waterfalls and coral reefs. You may also catch a glimpse of the dramatic volcanic rock formations, Punta Cathedral and Punta Serrucho, from several of the beaches that line the Manuel Antonia National Park.

DAY 4 / OSA PENINSULA & CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK, COSTA RICA

Extending into the sea at the southern end of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, the Osa Peninsula is rich with both wildlife and history. This is the first of two days in one of the country’s most remote destinations and we once again take advantage of our coastal access to explore the ‘Parque Nacional Corcovado’. Almost half of the peninsula is devoted to the park which protects an incredible variety of wildlife, including Costa Rica’s largest population of jaguars and tapirs. The park is also home to the only remaining old growth wet forests on the Pacific coast of Central America, all four of the country’s monkey species: howler, spider, white-faced capuchin and squirrel, 20 species of hummingbird, the endemic yellow-billed cotinga and black- cheeked ant tanager, crimson fronted parakeets, and more. Should the conditions be favorable, kayak or paddle board through the expansive tangled mangoes as the wildlife thrives around you.

Capuchin Monkey, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Capuchin Monkey, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

DAY 5 / OSA PENINSULA & GOLFITO BAY, COSTA RICA

On the second day on the Osa Peninsula we will cross into Golfito Bay, a small gulf surrounded by steep, forested hills. We will venture into the town of Golfito, originally famed for its position as the principle banana port for the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica. Decline in the industry due to labour disputes and rising production costs moved the company’s holdings out of town - now Golfito is best known for its ecological efforts and as Costa Rica’s only city situated in a declared protected area. Mere steps out of town, the Golfito Wildlife Refuge offers an opportunity to hike through tropical forest with trees reaching nearly 45 meters tall. While hiking along one of the many trails, be on the lookout for one of the thousands of species of mammals, birds and reptiles that call the refuge home.

Howler Monkey dining on mangos

Howler Monkey dining on mangos

DAY 6 / COIBA ISLAND & GOLFO DE MONTIJO, PANAMA

As we bid farewell to Costa Rica, our first stop in Panama is Coiba Island, a place with an unusual history. Having separated from the mainland an estimated 15,000 years ago, Coiba is now home to many endemic subspecies, such as the Coiba Island howler monkey and the Coiba Spinetail. In 2005, Coiba National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is home to numerous native flora that have since become extinct on the mainland of Panama due to deforestation. This is also one of the last places in Central America where the scarlet macaw can still be found in sizeable numbers. If time permits, we may have the opportunity to sail to near-by Granito De Oro, which is a top snorkeling location due to the diversity and volume of marine life. In the afternoon we explore the famous wetlands of the Golfo de Montijo, whose 50,000 acres of mangroves are home to a staggering abundance of wildlife. We cruise the shoreline of the gulf with our cameras and binoculars poised, ready to view the wetlands that are teaming with waterfowl and wading birds.

Scarlet Macaws mate hanging upside-down in the treetops!

Scarlet Macaws mate hanging upside-down in the treetops!

DAY 7 / PEARL ISLANDS & ISLA DEL REY, PANAMA

We have now entered the Gulf of Panama, but before we head for the Panamanian mainland, we make one more island-hopping stop at the Pearl Islands, or as locals refer to it, Islas de las Perlas. This archipelago of more than 250 islands received its name from Spanish Conquistadors who found countless pearls when they visited the islands in 1503. Isla Del Ray is the largest and most visited, with several resorts and hotels, while Isla Saboga is less populated, less visited and offers a glimpse into traditional island culture. Most famous for their deserted white sand beaches, fragile ecosystems and marine life, the islands also made a splash when they were featured as the location for the Survivor television series.

Casco Viejo, Panama City

Casco Viejo, Panama City

DAY 8 / PANAMA CITY, PANAMA

After a week of exploring the remote tropical coastline and far- flung islands, we trade our flip-flops for walking shoes today as we venture into the cityscape of Panama City. Steeped in rich Spanish history, its cobblestoned historic centre, Casco Viejo, is framed by colonial era landmarks such as the Presidential Palace and Metropolitan Cathedral. Be sure to enjoy an espresso or mojito in one of the many cafés shaded by bougainvillea in Panama’s old quarter. For those in search of a cultural experience, the numerous museums, including the Museum of Biodiversity, designed by Frank Gehry, is an experience every architectural fan should check off their bucket list. If you are looking for a quintessential Panamanian Hat or a mola made by the Guna Indians in the San Blas Islands, then the markets are a must see. Head to the fish market for a tasty snack or the National Handicraft Market if pottery, molas and jewelry handcrafted by the pre-Spanish indigenous people of Panama is more your style. For anyone looking for a more wildlife focused morning an excursion will be offered to the Soberania National Park/Pipeline Road reserve - one of Panama’s best known nature walks.

DAY 9 / PANAMA CANAL, PANAMA

With our cups full of the cultural experiences of Panama City, today we sit back and let the history come to us. Spending the better part of the day (8+ hours) moving though the 77km Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, we will pass under the Bridge of the Americas before entering the Miraflores Locks. The locks will then take us up to Miraflores Lake, then up again to Gatun Lake, before being lowered back down to the sea level of the Caribbean Sea. You will not simply watch this incredible feat of engineering, you will have the opportunity to experience it firsthand. With the crossing completed, we will then anchor near the city of Colon to enjoy our final dinner together attended by the Captain of the ship and toast our adventures.

Panama Canal locks

Panama Canal locks

DAY 10 / COLÓN, PANAMA (Thursday May 2, 2019)

After breakfast, it is time to bid farewell to your crew and fellow travellers as we disembark RCGS Resolute. A transfer back to Panama City is provided for all guests and while some of us will travel to the airport, many may wish to add a few extra days to explore more of the masterpiece that is Panama City.

traditional Kuna Molas in the artisan market, Panama City

traditional Kuna Molas in the artisan market, Panama City

Expedition dates...

April 24 - May 3, 2020

Gateway cities...

This trip commences in San Jose - Costa Rica's lively capital city. We recommend you arrive in San Jose at least one day prior to the scheduled voyage departure date. This gives you a buffer in the event of any unexpected travel delays between home and trip departure time. On the first day of the trip we transfer approximately two hours by coach to Puerto Caldera. On arrival we embark the ship, meet our crew and set sail.

At the end of our voyage, our disembarkation point will be the historic port of Colon in Panama. Here you will be transferred to Panama City – either to a central downtown location or to the airport if you are flying out today.

Expedition rates...

Triple Cabin: $4,195 per person
Twin Cabin: $5,495 per person
Superior Cabin: $6,095 per person
Superior-Plus Cabin: $6,395 per person
Shackleton Suite: $7,395 per person
One Ocean Suite: $8,995 per person

Reserve your space before November 30, 2019 and save $750 per person off these rates, plus receive a complimentary pre-daparture hotel night in San Jose, Costa Rica!

All prices are listed in USD.  If traveling alone the ship will attempt to match you with another traveler of the same gender - if no roommate is found you will have the cabin to yourself at the shared rate.

If single travelers prefer a guaranteed single cabin the supplement is 1.5x for the twin occupancy cabins and 2x for the suites (single supplements not available for the triple share cabins). 

innocent looking, the Raccoons at Manuel Antonio National Park are expert snack thieves if you set your bag down unawares

innocent looking, the Raccoons at Manuel Antonio National Park are expert snack thieves if you set your bag down unawares

Included in expedition rates...

Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your voyage; Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport or local hotel on disembarkation; Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes that open on each deck; High quality, eco friendly, Canadian made natural amenities in every cabin; All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea; 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar lounge plus in-cabin tea, coffee, hot chocolate replenished daily; Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine bioligists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers; Daily off-ship excursions by zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings; Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities; Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and community visits; Educational presentations and talks by experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore; Resident photography guide available to assist all guests; Access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management; An emergency trained medical physician onboard every voyage; Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff; Onboard sauna, plunge pool, jacuzzi and fitness centre including personal trainer and massage options (charge applies for massage and spa treatments); Access to well stocked library full of reference books; Optional sea kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddling boarding, etc. (included in the voyage fare); End of voyage video, photos and take home USB; Port fees and all permits to access visited areas.

Not included in expedition rates...

Any airfare; Visa and passport expenses; Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged); Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged); Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses; Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone); Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (comprehensive travel insurance is mandatory on all One Ocean Expeditions trips); A voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount – $US12-15 per day)

Staty-tailed Trogon, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Staty-tailed Trogon, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

The right ship = The best experience... 

RCGS Resolute offers exceptional onboard facilities and provides an ideal platform for expedition cruising in remote locations. Outstanding observation areas both inside and from the outer decks allow you to be completely absorbed by the coastal landscapes along the way. Our priority is to craft specially designed itineraries that provide you with maximum time in the pristine locations we visit. The vessel has capacity of just 146 guests and we break into small, special interest groups. There are wonderful hiking options onshore, visits to small coastal communities, historic sites and throughout the voyage we enjoy outstanding wilderness areas. Cruising in the zodiacs photographing the landscapes, or observing coastal marine and bird life is a highlight for many. For the more adventurous, sea kayaking and stand-up paddle boards are another memorable experience. 

Passports & Visas...

At the time of publication, US, Canadian, UK, Australian, New Zealand, and South African passport holders travelling to Central America for touristic purposes do not require a visa for stays up to 90 days. Ensure your passport is valid for more than six months after your intended stay in these countries. For visitors travelling on other passports, be sure to check with your consulate.

Kayaking option...

The sea kayaking program is open to any passenger with an adventurous spirit and some prior paddling experience. Included in the voyage fare, an expression of interest must be mentioned at the time of booking. You will need to complete a special questionnaire outlining your previous kayaking experience. Please request this document if you are interested in joining the sea kayaking program on occasion.

Tamandua Anteater, Corcovado National Park

Tamandua Anteater, Corcovado National Park

 

ABOUT OUR ITINERARY: Small ship expedition cruising can sometimes be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and sea conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to
take advantage of optimal weather and sea conditions or to maximise our encounters with wildlife. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.

All photos by Mark Grantham, on the 2019 expedition.