Secrets of Central America – 11 Day Panama & Costa Rica Cruise

Secrets of Central America – 11 Day Panama & Costa Rica Cruise

From AUD $12,000


PONANT takes you to discover Panama and Costa Rica with an 11-day expedition cruise. A circuit of extraordinary beauty around the isthmus of Panama, a link between two continents, which concentrates a biodiversity that is unique in the world; from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, you will experience dream islands, natural reserves and encounters with the fascinating local communities.
San Lorenzo’s Fort is the first port of call on your cruise aboard Le Bellot. Admire this unusual fortress built by the Spanish Crown to protect transatlantic trade. Now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an exceptional example of military architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries.
You will then discover the golden sand and crystal-clear waters of the coral islets of the San Blas Islands. The Kuna live among the palm trees and pirogues; this people perpetuates, among other things, the traditional craft of molas, weaved textiles in sparkling colours.
After crossing the legendary Panama Canal that connects the Atlantic to the Pacific, Le Bellot will sail to the heart of the Pearl Islands, nestling in the Gulf of Panama. There, our naturalists will offer to take you on an outing in a zodiac dinghy.
Your ship will then head for the magnificent Darien National Park in Panama. This little corner of paradise is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to remarkable plants and wildlife. Sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, mangroves, swamps and tropical rainforests vie with each other for beauty and offer a feast for photographers. This will also be an opportunity to meet the astonishing semi-nomadic Emberas community.
During the final stop in Panama, in front of Cebaco Island, you will have the possibility to enjoy the beach or to take walks nearby.
Your ship will then take you to Costa Rica. The next stage of your cruise: Rio Esquinas. You will ride aboard one of our zodiac dinghies to observe this lush environment where monumental mangroves and emblematic species reign supreme.
After a day spent discovering Drake Bay, your final visit will be the stunning Curú nature reserve. Deep inside the tropical rainforest you may be lucky enough to see multicoloured birds, monkeys, iguanas and sloths.

Trip Name
Secrets of Central America - 11 Day Panama & Costa Rica Cruise
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition / Cruise Ship Length: 131 metres Passenger Capacity: 184 Built: 2019-2020 Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience. As the first ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Bellot will embody the unique atmosphere that is the cruise line’s hallmark: a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort. Aboard this ship that flies the French flag, you will experience the incomparable pleasure of an intimate cruise, with the possibility of exploring an ever-increasing range of destinations in an ethnic-chic ambiance with luxury service. Experience a luxurious setting where the accent is on authenticity and passion for travel. RESTAURANTS As it is an essential part of French culture, gastronomy will naturally have pride of place aboard this new ship. To the back of Deck 4, you will find a 260 m² panoramic restaurant which can accommodate all of our passengers in a single sitting. Designed differently to that on our other ships, this dining area, which opens onto the outside, will have a buffet of salads, desserts and cheeses at your disposal. Our discreet and attentive crew will provide table service for hot meals. In a relaxed atmosphere, an outdoor grill on Deck 3 will serve grilled meats with a variety of salads and desserts. PUBLIC AREAS Le Bellot has many common areas that are designed and equipped to meet all of your needs while preserving the intimacy of each passenger. A 140 m² reception area includes: A reception/concierge desk, An excursions desk, The ship’s administrative services, The sales office, manned by our Guest Relations Officer, Our 50 m² boutique which sells clothing, jewellery, beauty products, postcards and various accessories, Toilets accessible to passengers with reduced mobility. A new hydraulic platform with adjustable height provides:   Easier boarding than on any other cruise ship, Easier Zodiac embarkation and disembarkation for expeditions, Easier access to the sea for swimming and practising various water sports such as kayaking or paddle-boarding. A pool deck offering: A pool with a panoramic view, equipped with a counter-current swimming system, A pleasant solarium, An outdoor bar and lounge with armchairs and sofas. A 200 m² main lounge which can accommodate all of our passengers to share convivial moments and to host activities organised during the day or evening. Lastly, a theatre that seats 188, equipped with: The latest sound and lighting technology, A LED wall as the stage backdrop, for the projection of high-resolution images and videos.


Day 1 - Day 1 COLÓN
Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is today an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city. Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened.
Day 2 - Day 2 PORTOBELO
In the province of Colón, along the magnificent Caribbean coast of Panama, Portobelo is located not far from the famous canal. Given its name of “beautiful port” by Christopher Columbus, who discovered it in 1502, this charming and peaceful bay was one of the most important ports for the shipping of precious metals from the New World to Spain. Don’t miss a visit to its fortifications, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town has preserved the strong religious and cultural traditions of its colonial past, such as the veneration of the Black Christ and a strongly-rooted Afro-Caribbean culture. The Congo ceremonies retrace the story of Spanish domination over black slaves through traditional dances and music.
Day 3 - Days 3 - 4 SAN BLAS ISLANDS
Located on the north-east coast of Panama, the San Blas archipelago is a string of coral islands in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. More than 300 islands and cays cover an area of 300 square kilometres offering travellers a multitude of treasures. Sheltered behind a long coral reef, the San Blas Islands are full of enchanting anchorages. The long sandy white beaches bound by crystal-clear waters will allow you to relax and enjoy incredible marine fauna before engaging with the Kunas Indian community. Still subsisting on hunting and fishing, they will welcome you in their villages of bamboo houses gathered near the beaches.
Aboard your ship, experience something unique, that has inspired the imagination of numerous adventurers in the 20th century: sailing the Panama Canal. Its construction started in 1880 under the direction of Ferdinand de Lesseps. Abandoned then resumed, this marvel of engineering was completed by the United States and opened in 1914. The canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama and links the Atlantic to the Pacific. Including three levels of locks and by raising ships to the level of Lake Gatun, almost as if the water was a lift, it allows them to avoid having to round Cape Horn.
Pacheca is a small uninhabited island in the far north of the Pearl Islands, home to numerous birds that our naturalist guides will help you to observe and recognise from the ship’s deck. The Pearl Islands archipelago, formed by over 220 islands and islets, is named in memory of the pearl oysters present in the Gulf of Panama. In colonial times, the pearls were extracted and used as ornaments or currency. “La Peregrina” was discovered in this archipelago: this pearl is famous for its perfection and for belonging to several royals and, more recently, Elizabeth Taylor. The Pearl Islands archipelago, formed by over 220 islands and islets, is named in memory of the pearl oysters present in the Gulf of Panama. In colonial times, the pearls were extracted and used as ornaments or currency. “La Peregrina” was discovered in this archipelago: this pearl is famous for its perfection and for belonging to several royals and, more recently, Elizabeth Taylor. While the pearls have now disappeared from the azure waters of this paradise with its history of adventures and piracy, you can still swim from the sandy white beaches and observe shoals of multi-coloured fish performing their gracious ballet.
The most remote and least developed region of Panama, the province of Darien is an unspoilt land with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna. Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, Darien National Park offers its extraordinary scenery of rocky coastlines, mountain ranges, mangroves, rivers and creeks. Discover Playa Muerto, a tiny coastal village home to the Emberas Amerindian community. You will visit the village, attend traditional songs and dances of the locals, and admire beautiful local craft.
Off the Pacific coast of Panama, at the entrance to the Gulf of Montijo, Cebaco Island conjures visions of paradise lost. Covered in tropical rainforest, edged by white sandy beaches, home to exceptionally rich plant and wildlife, the island offers a number of hiking routes along which to discover its pristine natural environment. Its magnificent coral reefs, located in the outlying regions of the Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are the refuge for many marine species and offer stunning underwater landscapes.
Day 8 - Day 9 RIO ESQUINAS
The beauty of Costa Rica and the richness of its biodiversity reveal themselves at this port of call in the heart of the mangrove. In the meanders of Rio Esquinas, a tropical corner of paradise, you will discover an incredibly dense ecosystem. Aboard your Zodiac dinghy, you will brush past the tangled arms formed by the roots of the mangrove trees. This green and lush gallery forest and its inhabitants welcome you. Watch closely: common squirrel monkeys, white ibis, Eurasian whimbrels, ospreys, toucans, snowy egrets and great blue herons can be found hiding here.
On the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula, the small Curú Wildlife Refuge is the oldest protected park in Costa Rica. This refuge is an exemplary site in terms of ecotourism as well as a research centre for scientists from all over the world. It has been at the heart of an original conservation and sustainable development project since the 1930s. After a short zodiac trip, you will discover, via the paths that criss-cross the tropical forest and lead to magnificent beaches, the most emblematic species of Costa Rica: monkeys, iguanas and over 200 bird species. Since their recent reintroduction, the scarlet macaw and the spider monkey have thrived in this preserved environment.
Day 10 - Day 11 PUNTARENAS
The capital of the eponymous province, Puntarenas is sometimes called “the pearl of the Pacific”, for its unique charm. It sits on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, along the Gulf of Nicoya, lined with long expanses of wild natural environments. Further inland, among the countless natural wonders to be found in the generous rainforest of the Costa Rica’s national parks, Poas and Arena volcanoes towers up in all their majestic glory. In this luxuriant natural setting, Costa Rica protects one of the planet’s richest biodiversity: monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, iguanas, crocodiles, waterfalls, canyons, and more than ten thousand species of tropical plants.
Day 11 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $12,000Deluxe Stateroom
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $13,420Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $14,130Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $14,990Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $21,250Deluxe Suite
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $29,070Prestige Suite Deck 5
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $30,640Prestige Suite Deck 6
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $32,190Privilege Suite
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $35,470Grand Deluxe Suite
03-02-202513-02-2025AUD $37,310Owner's Suite
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $12,000Deluxe Stateroom
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $13,420Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $14,130Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $14,990Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $21,250Deluxe Suite
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $29,070Prestige Suite Deck 5
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $30,640Prestige Suite Deck 6
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $32,190Privilege Suite
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $35,470Grand Deluxe Suite
13-02-202523-02-2025AUD $37,310Owner's Suite
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $12,000Deluxe Stateroom
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $13,420Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $14,130Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $14,990Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $21,250Deluxe Suite
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $29,070Prestige Suite Deck 5
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $30,640Prestige Suite Deck 6
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $32,190Privilege Suite
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $35,470Grand Deluxe Suite
23-02-202505-03-2025AUD $37,310Owner's Suite
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $12,000Deluxe Stateroom
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $13,420Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $14,130Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $14,990Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $21,250Deluxe Suite
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $29,070Prestige Suite Deck 5
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $30,640Prestige Suite Deck 6
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $32,190Privilege Suite
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $35,470Grand Deluxe Suite
05-03-202515-03-2025AUD $37,310Owner's Suite
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $12,510Deluxe Stateroom
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $14,000Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $14,740Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $15,620Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $22,130Deluxe Suite
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $30,270Prestige Suite Deck 5
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $31,890Prestige Suite Deck 6
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $33,520Privilege Suite
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $36,930Grand Deluxe Suite
19-01-202629-01-2026AUD $38,850Owner's Suite
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $12,510Deluxe Stateroom
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $14,000Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $14,740Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $15,620Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $22,130Deluxe Suite
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $30,270Prestige Suite Deck 5
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $31,890Prestige Suite Deck 6
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $33,520Privilege Suite
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $36,930Grand Deluxe Suite
05-03-202615-03-2026AUD $38,850Owner's Suite
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $12,510Deluxe Stateroom
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $14,000Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $14,740Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $15,620Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $22,130Deluxe Suite
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $30,270Prestige Suite Deck 5
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $31,890Prestige Suite Deck 6
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $33,520Privilege Suite
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $36,930Grand Deluxe Suite
15-03-202625-03-2026AUD $38,850Owner's Suite


    • Outings and shore visits in zodiac inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides.
    • Discover the fabulous National Parks, biodiversity and tribes of Central America.
    • UNESCO sites: The fortifications of Portobelo; the Darien National Park from Playa Muerto, and its magnificent jungle.
    • In Costa Rica, outings in the Curú Wildlife Refuge, sanctuaries of unspoiled nature.
    • The magnificent San Blas archipelago and its fabulous underwater wildlife.
    • Sail through the Panama Canal, truly a masterpiece of civil engineering.
    • Fauna and lush flora: tropical forest, howler monkeys, sloths, tropical birds.
    • Encounter with the indigenous Emberas tribe in the Darien National Park.
    • In Panama, the opportunity to learn about the crafts and traditions of the Guna people in the San Blas Islands.