Vantage celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!
Join Vantage Deluxe World Travel for an incredible small ship expedition cruise aboard the elegant, 5-star Ocean Explorer. Discover the natural beauty and magnificent wildlife of Panama and Costa Rica as you sail from Panama City to Puntarenas, visiting some of the most biodiverse regions along the Pacific coast of Central America.
Throughout your small ship expedition journey, you’ll have opportunities to board Zodiac boats and head ashore to explore unspoiled islands, encounter indigenous wildlife, and hike through lush jungles and mangrove swamps. Your Expedition Team is comprised of highly skilled and knowledgeable experts in the fields of geology, marine biology, ornithology, and more. They will be with you to guide your discoveries every step of the way. In all, you’ll enjoy 8 included features, including six days of expedition activities in Panama and Costa Rica; and Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Along with days spent exploring ashore, you’ll enjoy the comfort and luxury of sailing aboard the 5-star Ocean Explorer. This elegant vessel is built with expedition travel in mind and features ULSTEIN X-BOW® technology. You’ll feel pampered throughout the entirety of your journey with sumptuous accommodations, world-class gourmet dining, and first-rate personalized service. Treat yourself to a soothing massage at the onboard spa, soak in the top-level hot tubs as you take in the passing scenery, or head to the fitness center for a workout. You’ll find everything you need on board to ensure this small ship expedition crosses every item off your travel wishlist.
Please note that the nature of these journeys requires a certain level of physical fitness, and guests should be able to walk three miles unassisted over potentially-uneven terrain, be prepared to anchor offshore, and possess the physical agility to embark and disembark small Zodiac crafts in unpredictable waters.
Fly to Costa Rica
Today, you’ll board a flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport to assist with transfers to your hotel. Check in and relax as you prepare for the adventure that awaits on your small ship expedition cruise. Dinner tonight is on your own.
Enjoy San Jose at your leisure
The modern, cosmopolitan city of San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and one of its most popular destinations for visitors. You’ll have a day at leisure to explore this lively city at your own pace today. Explore the many museums and cultural spots in the metropolitan area; pop into one of the lively bars for a refreshing cocktail, or tempt your tastebuds at one of the numerous restaurants the city has to offer. The bustling Mercado Central (Central Market), dating back to the late 19th century, is one of the oldest landmarks in Costa Rica and a fascinating place to visit during your time here.
Enjoy a highlights tour and board the Ocean Explorer
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll head to the pier to begin the cruise portion of your journey, with a highlights tour of San Jose and Puntarenas along the way.
Upon arrival at the pier, you’ll board your elegant small ship to begin the cruise portion of your journey. There will be time to settle in and perhaps have a drink on deck as you set off on your adventure. Tonight, enjoy a special Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers.
Explore the biodiversity of Corcovado National Park
Join your Expedition Team on an exploration of Corcovado National Park, one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Located on the Osa Peninsula, its more than 100,000 acres contain shallow lagoons, marshlands, mangrove swamps, rainforest, and almost 30 miles of sandy beach. Within this massive, protected territory you’ll find hundreds of species of trees, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and marine life.
Join your Expedition Team for two days of exploration in Golfo Dulce
At over 600-feet-deep at its center, and featuring a lush tropical rainforest and miles of secluded beaches, Golfo Dulce is home to numerous species of marine and wildlife, including humpback whales. There is no other place in Costa Rica with such diverse flora and fauna. Golfo Dulce is easily one of the wettest and most humid sections of the country, with more than 200 inches of rainfall per year, assuring that the surrounding area will be thriving with vegetation and wildlife. You’ll spend two days exploring the mangroves, jungles, and wetlands with your knowledgeable Expedition Team.
Uncover the marine wonders of Coiba Island
Situated 30 miles off the Pacific Coast of Panama, in the Gulf of Chiriquí, you’ll find UNESCO-listed Coiba Island. Once used as a Panamanian penal colony, today the island serves as a protected marine reserve. Its use as a penal colony meant that access to the island was extremely restricted. As a result, minimal human interaction has allowed the island’s natural resources to thrive. Today, you’ll board a Zodiac craft and head ashore with your Expedition Team for a guided excursion.
Discover the Gulf of Panama with your Expedition Team
Located off the southern Pacific coast of Panama, the Gulf of Panama’s numerous islets — with their stretches of coastline dotted with numerous coastal settlements, quaint fishing villages, and picturesque harbors — are a draw for visitors the world over. You’ll enjoy two days in this picturesque region, led by your Expedition Team. Birdwatchers may have opportunities to spot frigate birds, brown pelicans, neo-tropic cormorants, and brown boobies.
Disembark the Ocean Explorer and say hello to Panama City
The cruise portion of your journey comes to an end today in Panama. You’ll enjoy breakfast on board, then wave goodbye to the Ocean Explorer as you head to your hotel in Panama City. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a tour of the city’s highlights. Upon arrival at the hotel, you’ll have the afternoon at leisure with dinner on your own tonight.
Explore Panama City at your leisure
Panama City is Central America’s most cosmopolitan capital, and you’ll have a full day at leisure to explore it for yourself. Head to Casco Viejo, the historic side of Panama City and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take a step back in time. Bask in sweeping vistas of the city's skyscrapers, explore ancient churches, and savor fresh seafood at El Mercado de Mariscos.
Return home today
Today, you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight back to the U.S.
Please Note: Ocean cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.