Central America is one of the world’s richest habitats for untamed wildlife. Nature lovers are amazed by sloths, howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, white-faced capuchins and butterflies flitting through lush, primary rainforest.
Cruise Traveller is offering a way to experience this incredible part of the world in depth next October. A new holiday features a cruise operated by Un-Cruise Adventures, using an ideal, boutique-size ship. The cruise is followed by a 10-night exploration of Costa Rica’s diverse natural wonders – a small-group tour that presents adventure in comfort.
‘The Nature, Nests and Nautica of Central America’ holiday lasts 19 nights and concentrates on Panama and Costa Rica. The ship is Safari Voyager, carrying no more than 64 guests in 33 cabins. Safari Voyager, fully refurbished this year, comes complete with personal comforts, window-lined lounge with 270-degree views, cosy library and elegant dining room.
‘The Nature, Nests and Nautica of Central America’ costs from A$13,729 twin share per person. That includes return flights from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne to Panama City and back from San Jose (Costa Rica), a seven-night cruise from Panama City to San Jose aboard Safari Voyager and a 10-night small-group tour in Costa Rica, including stays in resort spas and nature reserve hotels.
All meals are included during the cruise (as are premium spirits, fine wine, craft beers and non-alcoholic beverages). All breakfasts and many main meals are included on the 10-night Costa Rica expedition.
The holiday gets under way on the right note on 28 October 2016 with a flight to Panama and a night’s stay at the Bristol Hotel Panama City, an excellent property and a member of the Leading Hotels of the World group.
After breakfast next day, set out to join Safari Voyager, meet your crew and fellow travellers, and transit from ocean to ocean along the 77-kilometre Panama Canal, a marvel of engineering and human tenacity.
The next seven nights deliver all sorts of delights: the diverse islands of the Gulf of Panama, bird-watching from a skiff, sailing among the islets of Coiba National Park and stopping at exquisite Granito de Oro (“granules of gold”), one of the world’s top 10 diving sites and famed for its white-sand beach.
Heading north now, Safari Voyager ventures to Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica, which adjoins Panama. Golfo Dulce is a birder’s paradise, full of toucans, and hummingbirds, plus, on the botanical side, bromeliads, ginger and heliconias.
You’ll visit Corcovado National Park in the isolated and wild Osa Peninsula, home to all four of Costa Rica’s monkeys, tree frogs, caimans, anteaters, scarlet macaws, coatis, and 16 different species of hummingbird.
Other ports of call: Manuel Antonio National Park, with 109 species of mammals, over 330 bird species, and abundant marine life; and Curu National Wildlife Refuge. Opportunity here for snorkelling, kayaking or paddle-boarding before a celebratory farewell dinner.
Now’s the time to see Costa Rica’s rich wildlife and natural heritage in more detail. A 10-night Collette Exploration tour from San Jose to Villa Blanca Cloud Forest reveals the tropical ecosystems of Tortuguero National Park, Sarapiqui Rainforest and Manuel Antonio National Park.
It starts with a night’s stay in San Jose including breakfast. The 10 nights accommodation include a night at the Doubletree Cariari Hotel San Jose, two nights at the Evergreen Lodge Toruguero National Park, three nights at the Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel Tenorio Volcano, two nights at Si Como No Resort Spa Wildlife Refuge in Manuel Antonio National Park and two nights in the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel Nature Reserve.
Tortuguero National Park protects over 350 species of birds and 13 of Costa Rica’s endangered animals including jaguars, tapirs, ocelots, cougars, river otters and manatees.
There are birdwatching excursions, a visit to an indigenous village, the Villa Vanilla organic spice farm, river rafting and insights into the life of the three-toed sloth. And it comes with some of the best coffee in the world!
Plenty to savour as you wing your way back to Australia.