Costa Rica and Panama

Jan 26, 2005
Ohio & Florida
LOCATION: Costa Rica & Panama

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Scarlet Macaws, Hummingbirds, Frigate Birds, Blue-footed Boobies, Capuchin Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys, Crocodiles, Iguanas, Rainforest, tropical plants and flowers.

WHERE TO STAY: Shipboard – We were on Lindblad Expeditions’ Sea Voyager

BEST TIME TO GO: November through Mid April. We went in early March 2004.

Here is a really nice easy-to-do trip that can be done in one week or stretched up to two weeks long. You fly from Miami to Costa Rica and return from Panama (or reverse). These flights are only about 3 hours.
The Sea Voyager is a very comfortable 60 passenger ship with open seating and no dress-up required.
The basic trip is seven days down the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and Panama and then through the Panama Canal. Costa Rica has devoted almost 25% of its land to National Parks and you visit several of them. We saw the Manuel Antonio National Park and the Corcovado National Park. Arriving at the first one by ship we were able to land before the park opened so we had it to ourselves. The second one is difficult to visit, except by ship, because it is very remote and isolated.
Panama is not as far along in preserving its environment, but Isla Cobia has recently become a National Park, quite a change from being a remote penal colony. The trip through the Panama Canal was very interesting. Lindblad is the only line which has made special arrangements to stay overnight in Gatun Lake in the middle of the Canal. This allows a half-day to visit the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (the largest anywhere) on Barro Colorado Island. The researchers lead us around the island and told us about their work. There is no guarantee of going through the canal in daylight, but you do get two chances with the stop in the middle.
Lindblad offers several add-ons and variations if you have more time. We did the Monteverde Cloud Forest where we saw lots of Hummingbirds and the Resplendent Quetzel. There are only three cloud forests in the world, this one, one in Cuba, and one in Africa.
Other options include: Arenal Volcano, the Darien Rainforest and the Embera Indians in Panama (instead of going through the Panama Canal). Nicaragua

The group bird list had over 150 species!

I have posted photos from the trip in Birds and Animals here:
Costa Rica

The Panama Canal in Landscapes here:
And Costa Rica in Flowers here:

Bob & Nan

More of our trip photos are posted at:
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