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Costa Rica, Panama Canal & Colombia

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Departure Dates

  • Apr 13, 2019 - Apr 24, 2019

TOUR RATES FROM: $7,990

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Costa Rica, Panama Canal & Colombia

Enjoy some of the loveliest islands and rainforest ecosystems in Central America and the Caribbean Sea on a 10-night voyage aboard the all-suite, recently refurbished Hebridean Sky. Cruise from Costa Rica, with its fine selection of national parks, to Cartagena, Colombia, a captivating port with beautifully restored Spanish colonial buildings. As you sail along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama, transit the Panama Canal in daylight, and continue through Caribbean waters, the region’s natural beauty comes alive—rainforests teeming with exotic wildlife and bird species; sugary beaches fringed by sparkling azure waters; and dense forests that cascade down impressive mountainsides to the shore.

Guest Lecturers
Roderic Mast
is executive vice president of the Oceanic Society, whose global mission is to protect endangered wildlife and preserve threatened marine habitats worldwide. Rod is an author, photographer, lecturer, and seasoned traveler and tour guide, having visited more than 130 countries. He is a marine biologist, expert in sea turtles, and creator of the State of the World’s Sea Turtles Program.

Roger Cohn is the editor of Yale Environment 360, an award-winning online magazine published at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He formerly was editor of Mother Jones and executive editor of Audubon. Roger, who graduated Yale College in 1973, will lecture on key environmental issues affecting Panama and Costa Rica, including the loss of tropical rainforests and coral reefs, and discuss the state of environmental journalism.

Patricia Leigh Brown, a former staff writer for The New York Times, divides her time between New Haven and San Francisco. She continues to contribute to the Times from California and writes regularly for The Huffington Post and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Patti is teaching a residential college seminar at Pierson College this year. She will lecture on the art of travel writing, including writing about Central America and writing your own travel journal.

Michael Littman, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton, is a historian of technology and innovation. His teaching interests range from automatic control systems and microprocessing to the history of modern engineering and a Freshman Seminar entitled “The Art and Science of Motorcycle Design.” He will offer insights into the history and mechanics of ships and canals.

Tour Map

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For more information or with any questions call 888-484-8785 or email info@nationaltrusttours.com

Ship Information

The all-suite Hebridean Sky (formerly the Sea Explorer) is known for its effortless elegance, impeccable service, and atmosphere of charm and camaraderie. During the ship’s most recent refurbishing, in 2016, a host of new amenities as well as state of the art stabilization, fuel efficiency, and an upgraded communications systems were added. Wood and brass appointments throughout the vessel convey the feeling of a private yacht. Passenger suites are arranged over five decks; all have outside views, and on the Scott and Shackleton Decks have private balconies. Each of the 59 suites features a sitting area; en suite bathroom with walk-in rainfall shower; large wardrobes and excellent storage; mini-fridge; flat-screen TV; telephone; individual temperature controls; electronic safe; and hair dryer. In all but two suites, the beds can be configured as two twins or one queen (suites 601 and 602 have fixed queen beds). Meals are served at a single seating and feature local produce, the daily catch, and local specialties whenever possible. An elevator serves all passenger decks, and medical services are available 24 hours a day. Other amenities include Wi-Fi access in the library, public areas, and all suites; complimentary Internet access on computers in the library; a panoramic top-deck observation platform; and a bar/lounge.

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Itinerary

Saturday, April 13
Home • San Jose, Costa Rica

Depart the U.S. on independent flights to San Jose, and transfer to the hotel upon arrival. This evening enjoy a welcome reception and dinner. Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose (R,D)

Sunday, April 14
San Jose (Embark)
After a welcome orientation and lecture, enjoy a short city tour before transferring to Puerto Caldera to embark the Hebridean Sky.

Monday, April 15
Manuel Antonio
National Park Often rated as one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, Manuel Antonio National Park packs a variety of impressive landscapes into approximately 4,000 acres, including white sand beaches, lush foliage, imposing mountains, and dense forests that reach to the shoreline. Swim in the park’s beautiful bay or explore the park’s fragile rainforest ecosystem on the well-maintained trails, keeping an eye out for sloths and monkeys.

Tuesday, April 16
Corcovado National Park • Drake Bay
Corcovado National Park is considered the crown jewel in Costa Rica’s extensive system of national parks and biological reserves. Biologically rich and diverse, the abundance of wildlife is due in part to the park’s great variety of habitats and vegetation and in part to the park’s location on the “land bridge” that links North America and South America. Explore the park or enjoy a boat tour of Drake Bay to observe its dolphin, whale, and sea turtle populations.

Wednesday, April 17
Golfo Dulce • Osa
Peninsula Anchor off the Osa Peninsula, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Golfo Dulce to the east, and home to at least half of all of the species living in Costa Rica. Visit the Orchid House, a private botanical garden with beautiful landscaping, amazing flowers, and unique fruits, or learn about medicinal plants and organic chocolate production at Finca Kobo. The afternoon is free for snorkeling in the warm waters of the Golfo Dulce.

Thursday, April 18
Coiba Island, Panama
Linked by the underwater Cordillera mountain chain to the Cocos and Galapagos Islands, Coiba Island is surrounded by one of the largest coral reefs on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Its waters teem with marine life, including whale and tiger sharks, sperm whales, sea turtles, angel rays, and giant schools of fish. Coiba is also a refuge for a number of threatened terrestrial animals, such as the crested eagle, and several subspecies of agouti, possum, and howler monkey. Established as a national park in 1992, Coiba Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Swim and snorkel in this amazing marine world, then enjoy a hearty barbecue on the beach.

Friday, April 19
Darien Rainforest
Travel by motorized cayuca (traditional canoe) into the Darien Rainforest to meet the indigenous Embera people and learn about their ancestral customs, which date back to pre-Columbian times. The rainforest is on the Panamanian side of the Darien Gap, a large swath of undeveloped swampland and forest between Panama and Colombia that interrupts the Pan-American Highway.

Saturday, April 20
Panama City • Agua Clara Locks
Discover Panama City’s historic and cultural highlights, including the new Biomuseum, designed by Frank Gehry and dedicated to exhibitions on Panama’s biodiversity. Also explore Panama Viejo (“Old Panama”), the architectural vestiges of the first Spanish city founded on the Pacific coast of the Americas; and the San Felipe District, the colonial heart of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Continue to the newly opened Agua Clara Locks, which allows larger ships carrying twice as much cargo to transit the Panama Canal.

Sunday, April 21
Panama Canal
Daytime Transit The 48-mile Panama Canal cuts through the Isthmus of Panama to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Built between 1881 and 1914, the canal has been named one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Begin our transit from the Pacific side at the two-stage Miraflores Locks, rising rapidly to the level of Gatun Lake. Then descend via the Gatun Locks, a three-stage lock, which brings the ship back down to sea level on the Atlantic side.

Monday, April 22
San Blas Islands
The San Blas Islands (Guna Yala) form an archipelago off the north coast of Panama. They are home to the Kuna (Guna) Indians, who were driven off Panama during the Spanish invasion. Visit a local community where native women produce intricate, highly distinctive, and much acclaimed needlework.

Tuesday, April 23
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena was founded in 1533 by Spanish maritime explorer Pedro de Heredia and named after the Spanish town where most of Heredia’s crew had resided. Spend a full day exploring Cartagena’s colonial walled city and the Casillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a superb example of Spanish military engineering. Las Bóvedas, structures built into the walls of the old city as storage vaults, were used as dungeons during the civil wars of the 19th century and now house shops and boutiques offering traditional Colombian handicrafts. Celebrate your journey with a farewell reception and dinner.

Wednesday, April 24
Cartagena • Home
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)

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Pre or Post Tours

Pre-Tour
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica

April 11-13

Explore the trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Perched atop Costa Rica’s continental divide at 4,662 feet and sustained by moist clouds and fog, Monteverde’s complex ecosystem supports more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species, and at least 2,500 varieties of plants, 420 of which are orchids alone.

Post Tour
Bogota and Medellin, Colombia

April 24–28
Begin this four-night extension in Colombia’s capital city of Bogota, located on a high plateau in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes. Explore its notable museums, historic center including the La Candelaria neighborhood with its Spanish Colonial, Baroque, and Art Deco architecture, and the colorful Paloquemao market, a foodie’s paradise. Continue to dynamic Medellin to learn about its creative award-winning urban design and civic social progress projects. Also visit the Antioquia Art Museum’s collection of works by Medellin native Fernando Botero, and the Santa Elena flower farm, which supplies 600,000 flowers to the annual flower festival.

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