The appeal of having access to both oceans, beaches on both sides, a rugged tropical environment, a deep cultural heritage, and bustling cosmopolitan cities make this region a popular draw as a vacation destination. Our somedaytrippers chose Windstar Cruises for their holiday where they will take a cruise on large yacht that accommodates about 200+ guests and will take them through the Panama Canal, around to Isla Parida, then onward to Golfo Dulce for a stop at Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica, then Bahia Drake, Quepos, and Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica. From there they will continue on for a 4-day land-bound stay at the Rancho Pacifico resort in the heart of the Costa Rican rainforests.
Here's the trip plan:
Day 1 - Panama City
They arrive in Panama City a day before the cruise departs and settle into the Bristol Panama Hotel, located in Panama City's Financial District. The hotel boasts a sophisticated contemporary atmosphere, luxury accommodations and gourmet Panamanian Cuisine in their tasting menu restaurant, Donde José, where our somedaytrippers will be dining at the Chef's table where the Chef will be explaining the menu preparation and plating techniques. After dinner, it's off for a night out in Casco Viejo, the historic and cultural center of Panama City which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spending a day in Panama City is a nice way to kick off what will certainly be a memorable vacation.
Day 2 - Colón, Panama
Travel from Panama City to the pier at Cristobal in Colón, Panama, to board the yacht for the 8-day cruise. The all-suite yacht holds 212 guests in its 106 ocean view suites with private verandas - not too big and not too small, just right to give one the feel of being on their own private yacht yet it has many of the amenities found on larger cruise ships with a club, casino, lounges and spas. Anchors away!!
Day 3 - Panama Canal, Panama
During the 10-hour transit through the Panama Canal they can observe the inner-workings of the man-made wonder as the yacht enters three sets of locks that raise and lower the yacht 85 feet between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. There are numerous observation vantage points both inside and outside on the yacht from which they can enjoy this amazing journey.
Day 4 - Day At Sea
Day 5 - Isla Parida, Panama
This nature preserve of some 50 islands and part of Chiriqui Marine National Park has many gorgeous white-sand beaches with crystal clear water to relax in the sun or explore the surrounding nature where you may find parrots, toucans, howler monkeys and much more. The cruise ship will treat its guests to a snorkel and beach party barbecue on one of the secluded beaches that faces the Pacific Ocean.
Day 6 - Golfo Dulce/Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
They will be entering the Golfo Dulce to port at Puerto Jiminez, Costa Rica, where they can explore the vast nature and wildlife in this dense rainforest. There are canals that can be explored by kayak where they can observe many species of birds along the way. On the schedule is a yoga session to unwind and relax in this lush setting.
Day 7 - Bahia Drake, Costa Rica
Bahia Drake, a UNESCO site, is a veritable wildlife mecca. Every kind of rainforest and jungle wildlife, flora and fauna imaginable can be found here. There are options to zipline through this incredible landscape, horseback ride through the dense forest, or take a hiking tour through the Osa Biological Corridor, a wildlife preservation area. There is also some of the best snorkeling in Costa Rica off Cano Island where every conceivable species of sealife exists in crystal clear blue waters. The snorkeling adventure is on the agenda for our somedaytrippers.
Day 8 - Quepos, Costa Rica
Quepos is a small bustling harbor town at the edge of a tropical rainforest and close to Manual Antonio National Park, one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica. A relatively small park but host to many species of birds and an exotic array of animals where there are easy hiking trails from which to enjoy the natural environment, as well as beautiful tropical beaches with great swimming and snorkeling with a gorgeous coral reef just offshore. There are also rainforest canopy tours, horseback riding, and kayaking to further experience the lush tropical setting. Our somdaytrippers plan to do some ziplining through the dense jungle here.
Day 9 - Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica - Rancho Pacifico
The final stop on the voyage, Puerto Caldera offers several nature parks to explore the tropical biodiversity of the landscape. There are a couple land package options to see either the Monteverde Cloud Forest, an amazing ecosystem environment where lush vegetation and exotic forms of life exist, or Tortuguero National Park where they can observe by boat, canoe or kayak Green Sea Turtles nesting in their natural habitat. After exploring Puerto Caldera, they will travel about three hours south by land for a 4-night stay at the eco-resort, Rancho Pacifico.
Days 9-12 - Rancho Pacifico
After a cruise with others why not take a few days with fewer people and amazing peace and luxury. We would recommend you consider the Rancho Pacifico hotel based on their very favorable reviews, location and accommodations. One visitor commented "WOW! Our stay this past week at RP took our breath away!" The resort is about a three-hour drive from the main airport, but you will be amazed when you arrive. Our SomedayTrips contributors James and Darcie have added on this 4-night stay at this small "eco-luxury" resort to wind down, relax and immerse themselves in the surrounding nature and beauty of Costa Rica. The Rancho Pacifico hotel is a relaxing retreat in the lush tropical wilderness of Costa Rica. They will spend their days here enjoying its many luxurious amenities, as well as exotic jungle adventures and activities. Our contributors plan to do some mountain hiking and white-water rafting during their stay here. We will update this article once they return from this hotel.
Looks like a great itinerary and we look forward to the feedback when they return.