Costa Rica and the Panama Canal

Costa Rica and the Panama Canal

From AUD $7,980


Inspiring, fun & insightful
Joining an expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal is a singular experience of diverse nature and jungle wildlife coupled with an in-depth crossing of the Panama Canal, a marvel of engineering. A knowledgeable, engaging staff caters to your daily interests and provides insight, all while traveling in comfort.

Escape into wildness
The perfect winter escape. Dense, lush rain forest. Pristine deserted beaches. Monkeys galore. Coatimundis and dozing sloths, plus toucans, macaws, and hummingbirds. Walk deep into the rain forest; the only sounds are the birds and monkeys in the trees and your own footfalls. And slowly, everyday life dissipates as revitalization takes over. Each day reveals distinct facets of the region: forest trails for hiking, a cool swim in a waterfall pool, or a coral reef to snorkel. Opportunities abound to see creatures in their natural environs—both on land and in the sea.

Exhilarating adventures daily
You’ll walk the rain forest, kayak through mangroves, search for wildlife by expedition landing craft, and transit the Panama Canal—a modern wonder of the world. Snorkel at Isla Coiba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the best reefs in the Eastern Pacific. Our expert naturalists and photo instructors are with you every step of the way, always giving you choices and expanding your knowledge. And aboard, you can always savor panoramic views from the National Geographic Quest.

Travel with an exceptional team
Explore with the largest, most knowledgeable expedition team in the region. With one naturalist for every 12 guests, you’re ensured more access and varied points of view. With no assigned groups, you are free to experience the different personalities and specialties of our staff. They know these trails and coastlines well, adding insight, depth, and clarity to each landing. Our naturalists are adept at spotting wildlife and our photo instructors will help you with camera settings in the rain forest and aboard ship. Their enthusiasm for the region and its biodiversity is contagious.

Please Note: Flights are not included in your voyage rate.

Trip Name
Costa Rica and the Panama Canal
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 72 metres Passenger Capacity: 100 guests (in 50 cabins) Built: 2017 Designed with decades of expedition experience in the region, National Geographic Quest more than comfortably accommodates 100 guests in 50 cabins. Her twin expedition craft landing platform allow us to rapidly get on and off the ship to take advantage of wildlife sightings and to ensure we maximize our time off the ship exploring. Created with a shallow draft, Quest draws only nine feet of water allowing her to sail into places where much larger ships cannot go. PUBLIC AREAS: Global gallery; fitness centre; LEXspa; lounge with full service bar and facilities for films and presentations; observation deck; mudroom with lockers for expedition gear, and a partially covered sundeck with chairs and tables. Our ‘open bridge’ provides guests an opportunity to meet our officers and captain and learn about navigation. MEALS: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Breakfast is a wide selection buffet and dinner is served family-style. Menu emphasises local fare. CABINS: All cabins face outside with windows or portholes, private facilities and climate controls. Some cabins have balconies. EXPEDITION EQUIPMENT: Expedition landing craft, a fleet of 24 kayaks, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), hydrophone, splashcam, underwater video camera, video microscope, snorkelling gear for all guests (where applicable). SPECIAL FEATURES: Guest internet access, elevator, National Geographic certified photo instructor, a video chronicler and undersea specialist. WELLNESS: The vessel is staffed by a Wellness Specialist and features a gym with an elliptical machine, treadmill, exercycles, handweights and resistance bands. Treatments in the LEXspa are available by appointment.


Day 1 - DAY 1: San José, Costa Rica/ Puerto Caldera/Embark
Upon arrival in San José, transfer by land to Puerto Caldera and embark our ship National Geographic Quest.
Day 2 - DAY 2: Corcovado National Park
Anchor off the Osa Peninsula to see some of the most pristine lowland rain forest on the Pacific coast. In the environs of Corcovado National Park, swim in waterfall pools, take an optional horseback ride on the coast, or trek through the rain forest for a chance to see four species of monkeys—howler, spider, capuchin, and squirrel.
Day 3 - DAY 3: Golfo Dulce/Osa Peninsula
Go ashore in the pristine waters of Playa Blanca. Head inland to meet and share with inspiring local families living in remote communities and working with cocoa, heart of palm, and sugar cane. Hike mature rain forest or kayak in peaceful waters in Golfo Dulce, the only tropical fiord in the continent. In the evening, enjoy drinks ashore and, hopefully, a beautiful sunset.
Day 4 - DAY 4: Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Enter the mangrove-fringed Golfo Dulce along the southwestern edge of Costa Rica. Visit Casa Orquídeas, a tropical paradise of ornamental palms, bromeliads, heliconias, and orchids, closed to the general public and reached by boat only. Keep your eye out for tanagers, parrots, and toucans. Later, explore the placid bay, ideal for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, Zodiac rides, and swimming.
Day 5 - DAY 5: Isla Coiba National Park
The first stop in Panama this morning is at the remote Isla Coiba, one of the many islands of Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once a penal colony, the island has long been protected and accessible by special permit only. Among its many endemic species are the Coiba Island agouti and the mantled howler monkey, as well as four varieties of sea turtle. Discover rich marine life while snorkeling, go kayaking or hiking, try stand-up paddleboarding, or simply relax on the beach.
Day 6 - DAY 6: Gulf of Panama Islets/Panama Canal Transit
Today, explore the tiny islets of the Gulf of Panama by Zodiac or kayak. Here we might spot frigatebirds, brown pelicans, neotropical cormorants, and brown boobies. Set sail for the Panama Canal this afternoon. Stretching more than 50 miles, the canal was a colossal engineering feat completed in 1914. It is still traversed by some 14,000 ships every year. As cargo ships tend to pass through the canal during the day, we’ll most likely begin our crossing at night, when the canal is dramatically lit.
Day 7 - DAY 7: Gatún Lake/Panama Canal Transit
Board our Zodiac to visit Barro Colorado Nature Monument in Gatún Lake by special arrangement. Scientists have worked at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Barro Colorado Island since 1923, researching its 120 mammals and diverse tree species. It is also the site of a National Geographic supported project that tracks tagged animals using automated radio signals and wireless technology. Join local guides for a walk through the forests. This evening, continue through the complex lock system of the canal.
Day 8 - DAY 8: Colón/Panama City, Panama/Disembark
After breakfast, disembark in Colón and transfer to the airport in Panama City for your flight home.
Day 9 - Please Note:
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
06-12-202013-12-2020AUD $7,980Category 1
06-12-202013-12-2020AUD $8,740Category 2
06-12-202013-12-2020AUD $9,280Category 3
06-12-202013-12-2020AUD $10,330Category 4
06-12-202013-12-2020AUD $11,530Category 5
06-12-202013-12-2020AUD $11,930Category 1 Single
06-12-202013-12-2020AUD $13,120Category 2 Single
13-12-202020-12-2020AUD $10,330Category 4
13-12-202020-12-2020AUD $11,530Category 5
13-12-202020-12-2020AUD $11,930Category 1 Single
13-12-202020-12-2020AUD $13,120Category 2 Single
13-12-202020-12-2020AUD $7,980Category 1
13-12-202020-12-2020AUD $8,740Category 2
13-12-202020-12-2020AUD $9,280Category 3
20-12-202027-12-2020AUD $8,740Category 1
20-12-202027-12-2020AUD $9,600Category 2
20-12-202027-12-2020AUD $10,200Category 3
20-12-202027-12-2020AUD $11,350Category 4
20-12-202027-12-2020AUD $12,670Category 5
20-12-202027-12-2020AUD $13,100Category 1 Single
20-12-202027-12-2020AUD $14,420Category 2 Single
27-12-202003-01-2021AUD $8,740Category 1
27-12-202003-01-2021AUD $9,600Category 2
27-12-202003-01-2021AUD $10,200Category 3
27-12-202003-01-2021AUD $11,350Category 4
27-12-202003-01-2021AUD $12,670Category 5
27-12-202003-01-2021AUD $13,100Category 1 Single
27-12-202003-01-2021AUD $14,420Category 2 Single
03-01-202110-01-2021AUD $8,120Category 1
03-01-202110-01-2021AUD $8,740Category 2
03-01-202110-01-2021AUD $9,440Category 3
03-01-202110-01-2021AUD $10,620Category 4
03-01-202110-01-2021AUD $11,720Category 5
03-01-202110-01-2021AUD $12,120Category 1 Single
03-01-202110-01-2021AUD $13,240Category 2 Single
10-01-202117-01-2021AUD $8,120Category 1
10-01-202117-01-2021AUD $8,740Category 2
10-01-202117-01-2021AUD $9,440Category 3
10-01-202117-01-2021AUD $10,620Category 4
10-01-202117-01-2021AUD $11,720Category 5
10-01-202117-01-2021AUD $12,120Category 1 Single
10-01-202117-01-2021AUD $13,240Category 2 Single
17-01-202124-01-2021AUD $8,120Category 1
17-01-202124-01-2021AUD $8,740Category 2
17-01-202124-01-2021AUD $9,440Category 3
17-01-202124-01-2021AUD $10,620Category 4
17-01-202124-01-2021AUD $11,720Category 5
17-01-202124-01-2021AUD $12,120Category 1 Single
17-01-202124-01-2021AUD $13,240Category 2 Single
24-01-202131-01-2021AUD $8,120Category 1
24-01-202131-01-2021AUD $8,740Category 2
24-01-202131-01-2021AUD $9,440Category 3
24-01-202131-01-2021AUD $10,620Category 4
24-01-202131-01-2021AUD $11,720Category 5
24-01-202131-01-2021AUD $12,120Category 1 Single
24-01-202131-01-2021AUD $13,240Category 2 Single
31-01-202107-02-2021AUD $8,120Category 1
31-01-202107-02-2021AUD $8,740Category 2
31-01-202107-02-2021AUD $9,440Category 3
31-01-202107-02-2021AUD $10,620Category 4
31-01-202107-02-2021AUD $11,720Category 5
31-01-202107-02-2021AUD $12,120Category 1 Single
31-01-202107-02-2021AUD $13,240Category 2 Single
12-03-202119-03-2021AUD $8,120Category 1
12-03-202119-03-2021AUD $8,740Category 2
12-03-202119-03-2021AUD $9,440Category 3
12-03-202119-03-2021AUD $10,620Category 4
12-03-202119-03-2021AUD $11,720Category 5
12-03-202119-03-2021AUD $12,120Category 1 Single
12-03-202119-03-2021AUD $13,240Category 2 Single


    • Venture into remote wilderness: hike among monkeys, sloths, and tropical birds, and explore far from any inhabited places
    • Transit the Panama Canal—a historical marvel of engineering
    • Kayak cool azure waters where the rain forest meets the sea
    • Explore idyllic islands; snorkel over a vibrant coral reef and take an expedition landing craft cruise through mangroves.