Costa Rica & the Panama Canal

Explore Tropical Rain Forests, Snorkel from Wild Beaches & Cruise the Legendary Canal
There are few places in the world where nature is as exuberant, colorful and diverse as in Costa Rica, home to a vibrant array of flora and fauna. From white-faced capuchins and green sea turtles to scarlet macaws and blue morpho butterflies, Costa Rica's tropical wildlife will wow you. But this expedition takes our Central American nature immersion a step beyond to neighboring Panama as well. To many, Panama is synonymous with its famous canal, one of the most celebrated human achievements on the planet. What many people don’t know, however, is that Panama offers natural beauty and biological diversity equal to Costa Rica’s, with prolific birdlife on tropical islands and one of the largest marine sanctuaries on Earth. You get double the rewards on this special itinerary that includes both of these spectacular nature destinations!

    Trip Highlights

    • Explore with Smithsonian ResearchersTransit the Panama Canal with a stop at Barro Colorado Island where we're joined by guides from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
    • Discover Diverse Rain Forest WildlifeEncounter a vivid, varied array of tropical species—monkeys, sloths, agoutis, and 300+ bird species including toucans and scarlet macaws
    • See a Less-Traveled Side of Costa RicaExplore unspoiled Pacific beaches and remote coastal rain forest with stops at Golfo Dulce, the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park

    Sail with the World Leader in Conservation-Focused Small Ship Cruising

    We’re proud to offer a worldwide slate of Adventure Cruises through our partner, Lindblad Expeditions. Nat Hab joined forces with Lindblad in 2016 to expand our mutual collection of nature adventures. Founded in 1958 by Lars-Eric Lindblad, the company pioneered eco-conscious expeditions for “citizen explorers" and today is the world leader in conservation-focused small-ship cruises. Our Adventure Specialists are intimately familiar with the ships and itineraries and are on call to answer any questions you might have.

    1. Transit the Panama Canal as Few Have the Chance To
      Our transit elapses over 48 hours, so you can see the canal and learn about its mechanisms by day, then view it dramatically lit at night. This is an in-depth experience of this remarkable achievement of human engineering, with an immersion in the canal's natural surroundings en route. Within the Canal Zone, we have special permission to overnight at Barro Colorado Island in Gatun Lake, serenaded by the sounds of the rain forest. Barro Colorado has been the site of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute since 1923, and Smithsonian scientists will accompany us on a guided forest walk.
    2. Experience Makes a Difference
      Lindblad has been exploring Costa Rica and Panama for more than two decades. The world's leader in small-ship expedition cruising, Lindblad owns and operates the National Geographic Quest, a new state-of-the-art vessel used on all departures of this voyage. The result is knowledge and attention to detail that few tour operators in the region can provide.
    3. Diversify Your Wildlife Encounters with Local Naturalists
      Every voyage sails with a veteran Lindblad Expedition Leader and a team of Costa Rican and Panamanian naturalists, offering a guide-to-guest ratio of one naturalist for every 12 guests, with a wealth of daily activities to choose from. The intimate scale of the ship means we can easily reach places inaccessible to larger vessels, offering quieter and more in-depth nature encounters. The ship's naturalists know these shores and trails intimately; they are adept at spotting wildlife, and their expertise means a more meaningful adventure for you.
    4. Gear Up to Explore the Region's Exceptional Biodiversity 
      The ship is a base camp for exploring this remarkable land bridge between North and South America, and it has a full complement of tools to help you be an engaged, active explorer. Five expedition landing craft, plus eight single and 12 double kayaks, provide access to intricate shorelines and remote rivers. Step ashore on empty beaches with no tourist infrastructure. Snorkel gear is available for every guest, so you’ll never miss a chance to swim with colorful fish and other tropical marine life. Video microscopes, high-definition screens, hydrophones and other tools provide added opportunities for in-depth understanding.
    5. Take Advantage of Optimally Timed Wildlife Sightings
      Traveling with our own personal expedition team grants us access to their deep knowledge of Costa Rican and Panamanian habitat. They know when rain forest inhabitants are most active, and forays are scheduled accordingly. There may thus be some early morning outings or walks in the forest as wildlife is awakening for the day. Your early rising will be amply rewarded with freshly roasted Costa Rican coffee to fuel you before setting out to spend time with blue-footed boobies, noisy parrots and delicate butterflies.
    6. Get the Finest Possible Nature Photos
      Fascinating wildlife, untouched beaches and lush rain forest vegetation afford terrific opportunities for photographers. Juxtaposed with the massive concrete and steel engineering project that is the Panama Canal, the diversity of photo opportunities are hard to surpass. A Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor is on board to provide assistance with your camera and instruction in elements of composition to help you take your best photos ever.
    7. We’re Committed to the Planet
      Natural Habitat Adventures is a standard-setter in eco-conscious travel. We have been the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company since 2007. And we continue to break innovative ground in adopting practices that help to protect our global environment. Because of our concern for the environment, we are pleased to partner with Lindblad Expeditions for our Adventure Cruises, a company that shares our values and commitment to the planet.
    8. Natural Habitat Adventures is WWF's Travel Partner
      Because of our environmental commitment and the outstanding quality of our adventures, World Wildlife Fund has chosen Natural Habitat Adventures as its worldwide travel partner, a designation we’re very proud of! When you book your Lindblad Expeditions cruise with us, a portion of your trip fee supports WWF.

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