The best time to cruise the Panama Canal

Gwen Pratesi

Transiting the Panama Canal from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many travelers, especially for history and engineering buffs. If you're considering this bucket-list sailing, you'll want to find the best time to cruise the Panama Canal, whether that be to find better weather, lower pricing or fewer crowds.

The Panama Canal cruise season peaks between October and April, outside of the rainy season that can start as early as mid-March and extend into the fall. With a tropical climate, this region is home to rainforests, incredible biodiversity, lush landscapes, abundant wildlife and beautiful beaches, but the weather can be wet at certain times of the year.

Panama Canal itineraries come in several flavors. One-way cruises sail between Florida and California, Washington or Canada; these complete a full transit of the canal. Partial-transit itineraries sail round-trip from Florida ports and only go through the locks on the Caribbean side. Some ships depart from or end in Panama or Costa Rica and feature itineraries that focus on the Pacific Coast of Central America or the Caribbean.

In addition to visiting Panama, many itineraries include ports of call in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia or Mexico, which can be the highlight of the trip, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.

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It used to be that only smaller Panamax ships could squeeze through the locks of the Panama Canal. However, with the opening of a new set of locks in 2016, larger New-Panamax-sized ships can transit, as well. That means you take a Panama Canal cruise on a small-masted Windstar ship or luxury Silversea cruise or can sail on a megaship as large as the 1,094-foot-long and 136-foot-wide Norwegian Bliss.

Here, we look at Panama's peak cruise season month by month, so you can consider the weather, pricing and crowds to determine the best time to cruise through the Panama Canal.

Pros: October is one of the best months for cooler temperatures, lower fares and fewer crowds.

Cons: October is still the rainy season, and it's humid. It's also hurricane season in the Caribbean.

Ships: Princess, Holland America, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, Oceania, Hurtigruten Expeditions, Lindblad and luxury lines Scenic and Silversea offer sailings during the month.

October is a rainy month, but it's also one of the coolest months of the year, with high temperatures in the low to mid-80s. The average year-round temperature in Panama is about 86 degrees, so it doesn't vary much during the year, but it's more humid in October with the wet weather. It's also possible to have hurricanes this time of year if you're cruising in the Caribbean.

For outdoor adventure seekers, it's too wet for hiking in the rainforests, but other activities benefit from the rainy season, including whitewater rafting. In Quepos, Costa Rica, Windstar Cruises offers rafting trips to the town of Santo Domingo, where you can take a float trip on the Savegre River. Experienced surfers can also check out the big swells on both coasts of the country.

If you have an extended stay in Panama City, consider a trip to the Archipelago de las Perlas (Pearl Islands) in southeastern Panama to view the humpback whales. It's a short flight to the islands, or you can travel by ferry to see the whales that are still in the waters around the archipelago after coming to breed in August and September. If traveling earlier in the month, you may also see nesting loggerheads and green turtles southeast of Panama City in Isla Canas (Cane Island) or Bocas del Toro.

Related: Best Panama Canal cruises for a bucket-list trip

tauck tours panama canal

Pros: November is one of the best months for lower cruise fares.

Cons: November is still the rainy season and the end of hurricane season. You can also expect some crowds in port with the national holidays.

Ships: Windstar, Star Clippers and Seabourn will also have vessels transiting the Panama Canal in November.

November can be rainy — and even the rainiest month of the wet season — with temperatures starting to warm closer to December. The month brings a mix of low-priced early-season fares but also several public holidays that bring crowds of both tourists and residents to attractions in places like Panama City and Boquete.

For a rainy-day excursion, ride the Panama Canal Railway, one of the world's great train rides. If you're in Panama City, plan an indoor excursion with a visit to the world's first museum dedicated to biodiversity, the Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo.

You can celebrate Panama's Separation Day on Nov. 3 or Flag Day on Nov. 4. These holidays, along with a few others in November, feature parades, parties and other displays of national pride, so you can expect it to be busy in towns across the country.

Related: The best time to go on a cruise

Pros: December is the beginning of the dry season, so the weather will be drier and less humid.

Cons: The month is one of the busiest times for tourism, so you can expect to pay higher fares and have more crowds in port.

Ships: A few additional cruise lines offer Panama Canal crossings during December, including Celebrity, Carnival, Crystal and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

With drier weather and high temperatures hovering around 88 degrees, it's less humid in the region in December. However, it's the holiday season, so cruise fares and other costs, like hotels for pre- and post-cruise stays, will be more expensive if you travel this month. December is one of the peak tourism months in Panama, with Panamanians traveling for the holidays and visitors from North America and Europe escaping the cold weather at home.

December is the best month to plan excursions to places like Panama's rainforest and Chagres National Park to meet the indigenous Embrera people. You can also take an eco-cruise on Gatun Lake, which concludes with a visit to the Agua Clara Locks Visitor Center, where you'll learn about this engineering feat that connects two oceans. If you're comfortable exploring on your own, rent a car or hire a local guide to visit places like Soberania National Park.

Related: Tips for booking the best cruise shore excursion for your money

tauck tours panama canal

Pros: January is regarded as one of the best months to visit Panama with the drier weather and high temperatures around the mid-80s. It's also less bustling with tourists than it is in December.

Cons: It's peak season on land and at sea, so hotel and cruise prices are high. Panama City will also be busy with the jazz festival mid-month.

Ships: Cunard, Azamara, Emerald Cruises and Tauck Tours (with a chartered Ponant yacht) enter the market in January.

January's dry weather makes the month the perfect time to explore Central America's national parks, jungles and tropical rainforests, including Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio National Park and Curú Wildlife Refuge and Panama's Darien National Park. During your visit, be sure to look for monkeys, sloths, iguanas, blue-footed boobies, capybaras, crocodiles and even manatees on a jungle boat tour along the canal and into Gatun Lake.

If you're a jazz buff, the Panama Jazz Festival is held in Panama City in mid-January, January 16-21. The six-day event features hundreds of renowned jazz musicians from around the world with live performances, a gala evening and concerts. If you're embarking in Colon, Panama, you can fly into Panama City a few days early for the festivities. The distance between the two cities is less than 50 miles. Alternatively, linger in Panama after your cruise to attend the festival, or look for sailings with full-day stops in Panama City during the jazz festival.

Related: When is the best time to book a cruise?

Pros: February is the second-best month to cruise the Panama Canal, with optimal weather during the dry season.

Cons: It's still peak season with higher cruise fares and prices ashore — but there are fewer cruise lines in the region. Snowbirds are still avoiding the cold weather and snowstorms at home, so you can expect many tourists, especially in Panama City. Carnival typically occurs across the country in February, depending on when Easter falls that year, bringing crowds.

Ships: Ponant is the only new addition in the region, offering one sailing early in the month. The other cruise lines sailing the Panama Canal in February are Holland America, Oceania, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival, Lindblad, Tauck, Emerald and Windstar.

Take advantage of the final weeks of the dry season to book active outdoor adventure excursions like hiking, kayaking and zip lining. Another option is the Rainforest and Aerial Tram tour to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort in the 55,000-acre Soberania National Park. The tram climbs 280 feet through the dense jungle vegetation to reach the tree canopy above. During the ride to the top, keep an eye out for local wildlife, including white-faced capuchin and howler monkeys, sloths, butterflies, iguanas, toucans and frogs.

Carnival is a festival in mid-January in Panama City and other towns around the country. It's one of the biggest celebrations in Central America — even bigger than the Christmas holidays for most families, so you can expect crowds during that time.

tauck tours panama canal

Pros: March is the last month of the dry season, although the rains can start by midmonth during some years. You can expect pleasant weather, although it's quite warm, with temperatures reaching as high as the low 90s. You can also find late-season low fares on some of the larger ships.

Cons: It's still one of the busiest months for travel with the moderate weather.

Ships: New luxury line Explora Journeys joins the vessels in the region in March with an extended sailing that includes transiting the Panama Canal.

With the warmer temperatures, March is an ideal month to head to the beaches on one of the San Blas Islands, an archipelago of about 365 islands and cays off the Caribbean coast of Eastern Panama. Some cruise lines that visit the archipelago are Windstar, Star Clippers, Hapag-Lloyd and Ponant.

You can also look for excursions through the cruise line — or make independent arrangements — to go on an adventurous hike under the canopy of the rainforest, take a boat tour to explore the diverse flora and fauna along the canal or go windsurfing or sailboarding on Costa Rica's Lake Arenal with the Arenal Volcano as the backdrop. March is also the last month for surfing enthusiasts to hit the big waves on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts.

Should Semana Santa (Holy Week, from Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday) fall in March, there will be more crowds nationwide in Panama with religious processions and reenactments, parades and other special events. Many venues and attractions may be closed on some days during the festivities.

Pros: April is one of the best months to look for lower late-season fares on the larger ships.

Cons: The weather may not be ideal. The high temperatures in Panama hit just below 90 degrees on most days of the month. Mid-April is also when the wet season typically begins, so you can expect high humidity and rain. It's also still a busy time with tourists, so the prices are high ashore. If Easter falls in April, you may have to contend with the crowds celebrating Holy Week during the festivities.

Ships: If you're interested in a sailing on a luxury cruise ship, Silversea is the only luxury line still in the region in April. For a cruise on a large ship, choose among itineraries on Norwegian, Holland America, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess.

With the high temperatures and humidity — and the threat of rain — you might want to take tours where you can easily escape from the heat and the showers. If you're in Panama City, visit the vibrant neighborhood of Casco Antiguo in the city's historic district.

Dating back to 1673, the UNESCO World Heritage Site features landmarks like the Panama National Theater and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Mary. You'll also find some of the city's best restaurants, beautiful squares and plazas and top-rated museums. If you've booked a pre- or post-cruise hotel in town, be sure to catch a sunset from one of the city's many rooftop bars.

Bottom line: The best time to cruise the Panama Canal

When to cruise the Panama Canal will depend on what's most important to you.

If having the best weather is your top priority, January, February and early March offer the best weather during the dry season with low humidity — but it's also the most expensive time to travel to the region. You can expect crowds, especially with the festivals during that time.

If you want the best pricing and fewer crowds, October and November are the rainy season, so the pricing will be lower — and you'll avoid the holiday crowds and high fares in December.

Late March and April also offer lower fares as it's the beginning of the rainy season, but you can expect crowds during the Holy Week festivities in the country.

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The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

Tour description:.

Marvel in awe of one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century... cruise along the canal that revolutionized shipping patterns... gaze in awe as you pass the tropical forests, secluded beaches, diverse wildlife and clear waters that make up Costa Rica and Panama, and whose many treasures remain undisturbed by development. A 7-night voyage aboard Ponant's Explorer Class yacht features a complete transit of the Panama Canal, and an opportunity for cultural exchange with locals in Panama and along Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Explore the rich interior and its abundant wildlife with our expert naturalists. Go swimming or snorkeling, land on islands via tender or Zodiac craft, visit a gold museum in San José and learn how coffee beans are harvested and brewed to perfection. Experience the pleasures of Tauck small ship cruising on a Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise!

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All fares are in US dollars, per person, based on double occupancy, and reflect promotional savings, are for new bookings only, are subject to availability, and must be booked by September 1, 2019. Promotional savings in categories F-B on the December 21st sailing and categories C-D on the December 27th sailing only. *Included roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco is based on availability in class of service. Offer may be combined with applicable 3rd guest in stateroom offer but may not be combinable with other offers. Port, security, and handling charges of $149 per person are additional. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Call for details. Ship’s registry: Bahamas.

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The Panama Canal & Costa Rica - Westbound

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Day 1: Bienvenidos A Panama

Location: panama city, panama, accommodation name: jw marriott panama, meals included: dinner.

Tour begins: 6:30 PM, Hilton Panama or JW Marriott Panama. Welcome to Panama! A transfer awaits to take you from Tocumen International Airport to the Hilton Panama or JW Marriott Panama. Meet your Tauck Director and your fellow travelers at our welcome cocktail reception and dinner this evening at your hotel.

Day 2: Exploring Panama City

Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Begin today’s exploration of Panama City in its key historic district, Casco Viejo; a walking tour will show you this walled cobblestoned city, built in the 1670s at the foot of Ancon Hill, to provide safety from attack. The area is a gem of Spanish colonial architecture in various stages of redevelopment, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; you’ll also have free time to explore on your own. After lunch at a local restaurant, tour the former Canal Zone, driving through Ancon Hill, a lush residential enclave that was home to US military facilities until a 1977 treaty granted Panamanian sovereignty over the “Zone;” Albrook, a former US Air Force Base; and Clayton, once a US Army base. Then enjoy a fascinating visit to the exhibits and gardens of the Biomuseo, the Panama City biodiversity museum designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. The evening is yours to spend as you please in Panama City.

Day 3: Gamboa Rainforest / Embark Cruise

Accommodation name: le dumont d'urville, meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

From Panama City, start across the Isthmus of Panama; during a stop at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, you’ll choose between an aerial tram ride through the rainforest at eye-level with exotic birds and animals (aboard the only gondola of its kind in Panama), or a boat cruise along waterways leading to hidden islands, where you might spot monkeys at play. After lunch at a local restaurant, learn more about the Panama Canal on a visit to the Agua Clara locks. In the late afternoon, arrive at the pier in Colón to board your Explorer Class yacht for 7-night Panama Canal cruise.

Day 4: The Guna People Of The San Blas

Your yacht arrives in the archipelago of San Blas today, where you’ll transfer by Zodiac for a wet landing at Holandes Cayes. Here, you’ll visit Guna Indians, whose language and customs reflect lives with few outside influences, women sell handmade molas – reverse-appliquéd fabrics with brilliant images of fish, birds and jungle animals – and fishing is still done by canoe. After your visit to a Guna village, you can spend a leisurely afternoon swimming and snorkeling before returning by Zodiac to your ship. This evening, your Explorer Class vessel begins preparations for tomorrow’s entrance into the Panama Canal.

Day 5: Transiting The Panama Canal

Opened in 1914, and considered an engineering marvel of the 20th century, the Panama Canal opened trade to the Americas by creating a transit path between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Thanks to the canal, today ships traveling from New York to San Francisco save over 7,000 miles by not having to chart a course around South America. Early this morning, your ship will arrive at Gatun and position outside the canal for her full transit from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We'll welcome aboard a canal pilot, the local navigation professional who will guide our ship into the Gatun Locks, Lake Gatun and into the narrow Gaillard cut. Later, we transit the Pedro Miguel locks before finally clearing Miraflores locks and passing beneath the Bridge of the Americas to the Pacific Ocean at Balboa. Your Tauck Director, Tauck Naturalist and an official of the Panama Canal Authority will provide both technical and historical information about this engineering wonder. The process may take approximately eight to ten hours; while passing through the three locks, your yacht will be be raised up a total of 85 feet before reaching the Pacific Ocean!

Day 6: The Emberá People Of The Darién

Today you’ll stop in the beautiful but remote Darien region of Panama, calling on Play del Muerto for a wet landing by Zodiac craft to visit an indigenous community of the Emberá people, whose lifestyle remains largely unaffected by modern times. You’ll meet the locals, watch them perform traditional dances, see how they live, and perhaps purchase some of their “Cocobolo” wood or “Tagua” vegetable ivory carvings. Return to the ship for lunch; enjoy a naturalist lecture this afternoon.

Day 7: Day At Sea

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea on the Pacific Ocean today, taking advantage of your Explorer Class ship’s many amenities. Throughout the day, your Tauck Directors and naturalist guides will circulate about the ship answering questions – sharing their experiences and scanning the horizon for marine mammals and pelagic birds – and will also offer compelling lectures.

Day 8: Manuel Antonio National Park

Call on the city of Quepos this morning, a perfect jumping off point for a choice of excursions in Costa Rica's eco-wonderland. They include a walking tour with a naturalist guide in Manuel Antonio National Park, where you’ll find coral reefs and white sand beaches, considered among the most beautiful in Costa Rica, lined with rainforest; a faster-paced, guided early-risers walking tour of the park; an exciting river float trip* on the Savegre River; or a horseback ride through a mountain forest. Back aboard the ship, enjoy dinner at your leisure tonight, as your ship sets out from Quepos.

Day 9: Playa Herradura

Your ship arrives at Playa Herradura for a choice of shore excursions offering a range of eco-activities. One includes a walking tour in Carara National Park with a local naturalist guide, after which you'll learn about various coastal bird and wildlife species on a mangrove boat tour just outside the national park; another choice offers a more active, faster-paced walk in the park, followed by the mangrove cruise. A third choice features a visit to Tropical Forest Sky Walk near the boundary of Carara Biological Reserve, where you’ll hike across suspended cable bridges skimming the top of the rainforest, up to 126 feet above the ground; from your lofty perch, you’ll see the marshlands of the Tarcoles River and views of the ocean in the distance. Your guide will point out species of birds, monkeys, butterflies and other mammals that you may encounter. Still another possibility is a visit to the spectacular Pura Vida Gardens, whose beautifully manicured gardens are bordered by one of the tallest waterfalls in the country. Pura Vida is home to over 60,000 flowering plants, including 60 varieties of heliconia, ten varieties of ginger, and orchids; look for butterflies, macaws, parrots, parakeets, toucans, kingfishers, birds of prey, and waterfowl. After your tour, enjoy a traditional lunch in the garden restaurant.

Day 10: Ox Carts In Sarchi And Gold In San José

Location: san josé, costa rica, accommodation name: costa rica marriott hotel san josé.

As your cruise ends in Puerto Caldera, bid farewell to your Explorer Class ship and her crew, and set off to discover Costa Rica’s fascinating interior en route to the capital city of San José. Visit the artisan village of Sarchi, known for the production and painting of the traditional ox carts ( carretas ) and other handmade products seen all over the country, bearing the colorful starburst designs that have become a symbol of Costa Rica. Continue on to Costa Rica’s capital city, San José. Here, sightseeing includes a visit to the National Theatre, an ornate symbol of civic pride dating back to 1897; the theatre’s interior shines with Baroque gold and Carrara marble. You’ll also take in the Museo del Oro Precolombino (Pre-Columbian Gold Museum) and its collection of pre-Columbian works of gold. After lunch at a local restaurant, arrive and settle in at your hotel; the evening is yours to spend as you wish in San José.

Day 11: Coffee, Waterfalls & Rainforest Wildlife

Meals included: breakfast, dinner.

Coffee has long been one of Costa Rica’s most important exports. Today you’ll visit the Doka Coffee Plantation, located on the fertile slopes of Alajuela’s Poás Volcano, where the soil and altitude make for ideal growing conditions. Your guide explains how the beans are produced and roasted and how different microclimates affect the taste. Also explore and have lunch at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a private rainforest eco-park and wildlife refuge known for spectacular waterfalls and flowing white rivers; this protected reserve buzzes with the sounds and sights of wildlife including toucans, butterflies, spider monkeys, two-toed sloths and red-eyed leaf frogs – to name a few of the 100+ species. Join us this evening for a farewell reception and dinner at your hotel in San José.

Day 12: Journey Home

Meals included: breakfast.

Tour ends: San José, Costa Rica. Transfers from the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José or InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall to Juan Santamaría International Airport are included. Allow 3 hours for check-in formalities.

What's Included

Reviews from travellers on this tour, panama canal & costa rica.

first class experience. access to off the beaten track places. small ship cruising is great. all inclusive pricing including ALL tips. the naturalists were friendly and informative especially Hernan. the only disappointment was going thru the canal at night wet landings on secluded beaches for snorkeling and meeting indigenous people

The tour directors were fabulous, informative and a lot of fun. The ship crew was fantastic. All the planned activities were well worth the trip. Love the small ship feel. It was fun meeting all the people from all parts of the United States. Holding the hands of the children as they met us on the island and sharing their native dance, history and culture. Enjoyed the nature walks with the 4 naturalists on the ship. Loved the rain forest, humming birds, butterflies, monkeys, wild animals, etc. even though it rained the whole day. Love the waterfalls. I would take this trip again.

Totally Impressed by Tauck!

Panama-Canal-Costa Rica westbound. This was our first experience with Tauck and we were completely impressed by their professionalism, logistic efficiency and the care and little extras offered by our tour directors. Our expectations were exceeded in almost every way. Two: Transiting the Panama Canal - quite a spectacle! And, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the native Embera people in Darien Province. Sweet, welcoming and beautiful people. Like a visit to a National Geographic article in real life. Plus, outstanding crafts to buy with NO "pushiness".

Alaska Wild

The accomodations were good...and most all meals as well, except for a couple of ' box lunch ' choices..a Every one of the adventures were amazing,and we were blessed with sunshine the entire time. our tour guide and coach driver added to the pleasure with their knowlege and commentaries..The activities were varied,exciting,and memorable.. Landing on a glacier on Mt.Denali !! Taking a sea plane to a lake to view bears !!

More than just a cruise

Our experience on this trip way exceeded our expectations. Tauck has chosen an exceptional ship operator, Paul Gaugain, for this trip and their crew could not have performed at a higher level. The trip directors as well as the 4 Naturalists were also outstanding, esp the 2 from Panama. And for us, it's the people that make the trip. The snorkeling experience on Granita de Oro, a tiny island, so small it was not on my map. The Paul Gaugain's crew outfitted this dot of sand with umbrellas, towels, a bar and an ice cream stand!There is nothing on this island at all except a beautiful sandy beach and a lovely snorkeling reef. When we were there, it looked like a Hawaiian resort.

Canal passage

Overall Tauck lived up to it"s standard of excellence. You failed in transparency of the Panama Canal passage. Your literature mentions briefly that you cannot guarantee daytime passage. The reality is, according to the ships crew, passage of small ships occurs almost always at night. Tauck needs to confront that possibility directly. Meeting the Embera people.

Great Experience

Very interesting and comfortable from beginning to end. Fellow guests friendly and good company. Crews concert - so unexpected and delivered with such panache. Wonderful!!!

Panama Canal Costa Rica

Great Trip. Canal Crossing very interesting and Small Ship very nice Change from large ship. Zip Lining in Costa Rica.

Panama Canal and Costa Rica

This was our second Tauck trip and we greatly enjoyed it. Well organized. Hotels were very comfortable. Great leaders and guides. The ship's crew were excellent and friendly. My only criticism, and it is minor, was that the ship was starting to show signs of wear and tear. Dinner on deck of the ship as it passed through the Panama Canal locks. My only hesitation in recommending Tauck is that as a Canadian it gets very expensive with the weaker Canadian dollar.

This was an amazing trip. It was great to learn all about the building of the canal and the heartache that went into it. It was an unreal experience to actually travel through the canal at night and observe the ships going in the other direction. I enjoyed the many different land excursions we made, lots with a resident naturalist with us. Travelling through the Panama Canal

Dates & Availability

Saturday - Wednesday

Book with Confidence

Low deposit.

Tauck requires a minimum deposit of 350 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Policy

We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of tauck charges.

Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 25% of booking price.

At 7 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

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The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

Itinerary Expand All

Day 1: arrive san josé, costa rica.

Tour begins: San José.

Welcome to Costa Rica! A transfer is included from Juan Santamaria International Airport to the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José or InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall. Join us this evening for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. Stay Two Nights: InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall (D)

Day 2: San José, Costa Rica

San José city sightseeing today includes visits to the Baroque-style, 19th-century National Theatre, a grand symbol of civic pride dating back to 1897 – its interior glistens with Baroque gold overlays and Carrara marble – and the Gold Museum, which houses pre-Columbian works of gold crafted by indigenous islanders.

After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Sarchi, an artisans' hamlet outside of San José where workshops display the traditional painted carretas (ox carts) and other handmade products bearing the colorful starburst designs that have become a symbol of Costa Rica. After returning to the hotel, the rest of the afternoon and evening is free to spend as you wish in San José. (B/L)

Day 3: Coffee, Waterfalls, Wildlife & Your Cruise Begins

Near-perfect growing conditions have made coffee one of Costa Rica's most important exports. Today you'll visit the Doka Coffee Plantation, located on the fertile slopes of Alajuela's Poás Volcano, where the soil and altitude make for ideal growing conditions. Your guide explains how the beans are produced and roasted and how different microclimates affect the taste.

Also explore and have lunch at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a private rainforest eco-park and wildlife refuge known for spectacular waterfalls and flowing white rivers; this protected reserve buzzes with the sounds and sights of wildlife including toucans, butterflies, spider monkeys, two-toed sloths and red-eyed leaf frogs – to name a few of the 100+ species. Embark your ship late this afternoon in Puntarenas for the start of your Panama Canal cruise. Stay Seven Nights: Le Dumont d'Urville (B/L/D)

Day 4: Carara National Park & Pura Vida Gardens

Your ship arrives at Playa Herradura for a choice of shore excursions offering a range of eco-activities. One includes a walking tour in Carara National Park with a local naturalist guide, after which you'll learn about various coastal bird and wildlife species on a mangrove boat tour just outside the national park; another choice offers a more active, faster-paced walk in the park, followed by the mangrove cruise.

A third choice features a visit to Tropical Forest Sky Walk near the boundary of Carara Biological Reserve, where you'll hike across suspended cable bridges skimming the top of the rainforest, up to 126 feet above the ground; from your lofty perch, you'll see the marshlands of the Tarcoles River and views of the ocean in the distance. Your guide will point out species of birds, monkeys, butterflies and other mammals that you may encounter.

Still another possibility is a visit to the spectacular Pura Vida Gardens, whose beautifully manicured gardens are bordered by one of the tallest waterfalls in the country. Pura Vida is home to over 60,000 flowering plants, including 60 varieties of heliconia, ten varieties of ginger, and orchids; look for butterflies, macaws, parrots, parakeets, toucans, kingfishers, birds of prey, and waterfowl. (B/L/D)

Day 5: Adventures In Quepos

Call on the city of Quepos this morning, a perfect jumping off point for a day of activities in Costa Rica's eco-wonderland. Your day begins with a walking tour in Manuel Antonio National Park accompanied by a naturalist guide, where you'll find coral reefs and white sand beaches, considered among the most beautiful in Costa Rica.

Following your walk, you'll have choice of excursions including; a scenic drive through Quepos and a stop at Espadilla Beach; an exciting river float trip* on the Savegre River (which will include lunch); or a horseback ride through a mountain forest. Back aboard the ship, enjoy dinner at your leisure tonight, as your ship sets out from Quepos, bound for the Pacific Ocean. (B/L/D)

Day 6: A Day At Sea On The Pacific

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea today, taking advantage of your Explorer Class ship's many amenities as you make your way across the Pacific Ocean waters off Panama's coast, bound for the remote Darien region of Panama. Throughout the day, your Tauck Directors and naturalist guides will circulate about the ship answering questions – sharing their experiences and scanning the horizon for marine mammals and pelagic birds – and will also offer compelling lectures. (B/L/D)

Day 7: The Emberá People Of The Darien

Today you'll stop in the beautiful but remote Darien region of Panama, calling on Playa del Muerto for a wet landing by Zodiac craft to visit an indigenous community of the Emberá people, whose lifestyle remains largely unaffected by modern times. You'll meet the locals, watch them perform traditional dances, see how they live, and perhaps purchase some of their "Cocobolo" wood or "Tagua" vegetable ivory carvings. Return to the ship for lunch; enjoy a naturalist lecture this afternoon as your yacht begins preparations for tomorrow's entrance into the Panama Canal. (B/L/D)

Day 8: Transiting The Panama Canal

This morning, your ship begins to position for her transit of the Panama Canal. Opened in 1914 and considered an engineering marvel of the 20th century, the Panama Canal opened trade to the Americas by creating a transit path between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Thanks to the canal, today ships traveling from New York to San Francisco save over 7,000 miles by not having to chart a course around South America.

Before our crossing, we'll welcome aboard a canal pilot, the local navigation professional who will guide our ship under the Bridge of the Americas, through Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks, into the narrow Gaillard cut and into Gatun lake, before finally clearing the Gatun Locks on the Atlantic side of the isthmus. Your Tauck Director, Tauck Naturalist and an official of the Panama Canal Authority will provide both technical and historical information about this engineering wonder. (B/L/D)

Day 9: The Guna People Of The San Blas Islands

Your yacht arrives in the archipelago of San Blas today, where you'll transfer by Zodiac for a wet landing at Holandes Cayes. Here, you'll visit Guna Indians, whose language and customs reflect lives with few outside influences, women sell handmade molas – reverse-appliquéd fabrics with brilliant images of fish, birds and jungle animals – and fishing is still done by canoe.

After your visit to a Guna village, you can spend a leisurely afternoon swimming and snorkeling before returning by Zodiac to your ship. Join us for the Captain's farewell dinner tonight, as your yacht sails to Colon, Panama. (B/L/D)

Day 10: Panama City, Panama

After completing the Panama Canal crossing, your Explorer Class vessel arrives this morning at the port of Colón, where you'll disembark and bid your ship and its crew a fond farewell. Once ashore, learn more about the Panama Canal on a visit to the Agua Clara locks. Then start across across the Isthmus of Panama; during a stop at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, you'll choose between an aerial tram ride with a naturalist through the rainforest at eye-level with exotic birds and animals (aboard the only gondola of its kind in Panama), or a boat cruise along waterways leading to hidden islands, where you might spot monkeys at play.

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue across the Isthmus to Panama City; check into your hotel in the city's heart this afternoon. Spend the rest of the day and evening as you wish in historic Panama City. Stay Two Nights: Hilton Panama (B/L)

Day 11: Panama City, Panama

Begin today's exploration of Panama City in its key historic district, Casco Viejo; a walking tour will show you this walled cobblestoned city, built in the 1670s at the foot of Ancon Hill, to provide safety from attack. The area is a gem of Spanish colonial architecture in various stages of redevelopment, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; you'll also have free time to explore on your own.

After lunch at a local restaurant, tour the former Canal Zone, driving through Ancon Hill, a lush residential enclave that was home to US military facilities until a 1977 treaty granted Panamanian sovereignty over the "Zone;" Albrook, a former US Air Force Base; and Clayton, once a US Army base. Then enjoy a fascinating visit to the exhibits and gardens of the Biomuseo, the Panama City biodiversity museum designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. Please join us tonight to cap your memorable Panama Canal cruise experience with a farewell reception and dinner at your Panama City hotel. (B/L/D)

Day 12: Depart Panama City, Panama

Tour ends: Panama City. A transfer from the Hilton Panama or JW Marriott Panama to Tocumen International Airport is included. Please allow at least 3 hours for check-in formalities. (B)

Trip Inclusions Expand All

Journey highlights.

  • Tauck's experienced naturalist, Tauck Director and local guides join the cruise aboard ship, leading excursions ashore to enrich your experience of the jungle, water and flora & fauna
  • Visits to Manuel Antonio National Park and Carara National Park in Costa Rica, the Darien and the San Blas Islands

Cruise Inclusions

  • Tauck's private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions valued at AUD $4,561
  • 7-night cruise aboard one of Ponant's Explorer Class yachts
  • Your cruise may be a shared ship experience with non-Tauck guests onboard as well; all Tauck guests will be accompanied by one Tauck Director for approximately every 40 Tauck guests, and your itinerary will always be highlighted by exclusive, private Tauck shore excursions
  • Full small-ship transit of the Panama Canal with onboard commentary by a local expert
  • 4 nights' hotel accommodations with guided sightseeing in San José & Panama City
  • Aboard ship, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages are included throughout the day.
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • Applicable fuel surcharges, service charges, porterage and most taxes

Included Meals

  • 30 included meals (11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 9 dinners)
  • Itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Price is for land, cruise and specified internal flights. International flights not included.

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Deck Plans Deck 3 Deck 4 Deck 5 Deck 6 Deck 7 (No Cabins)

Deck 3

Cabins Deluxe Stateroom Prestige Stateroom Deluxe Suite Prestige Suite Privilege Suite Grand Deluxe Suite Owner's Suite All Types Balcony Suite

Le Bellot Cabin Image

Deluxe Stateroom

One king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm) and TV. A bathroom with shower. A private 4 m² balcony with two armchairs. A glazed panoramic swing door and rectangular window. Additional services provided include 24-hour room service, inclusive Wifi internet access, individually-controlled air conditioning, dressing room with shelves and closet, dressing table and hairdryer, Dyptique Paris top-of-the-line bath products, minibar, Nespresso coffee maker, Bose Bluetooth speaker and Flat screen TV.

Le Bellot Cabin Image

Prestige Stateroom

One king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm). One chaise longue. A bathroom with shower. A private 4 m² balcony with two armchairs. A panoramic sliding bay window or glazed panoramic swing door. Additional services provided include 24-hour room service, inclusive Wifi internet access, individually-controlled air conditioning, dressing room with shelves and closet, dressing table and hairdryer, Dyptique Paris top-of-the-line bath products, minibar, Nespresso coffee maker, Bose Bluetooth speaker and Flat screen TV.

Le Bellot Cabin Image

Deluxe Suite

One king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm). An armchair and sofa (90 x 190 cm). A bathroom with shower. A private 6 m² balcony with two armchairs. A glazed panoramic swing door and panoramic window. Additional services provided include 24-hour room service, inclusive Wifi internet access, individually-controlled air conditioning, dressing room with shelves and closet, dressing table and hairdryer, Dyptique Paris top-of-the-line bath products, minibar, Nespresso coffee maker, Bose Bluetooth speaker and Flat screen TV.

Le Bellot Cabin Image

Prestige Suite

A bedroom with king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm). A lounge with convertible sofa to a king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm), armchair, second TV, and sliding courtesy door. Two bathrooms with shower. A private 8 m² balcony with four armchairs. Additional services provided include priority boarding, butler service, champagne and fruit basket on arrival, an assortment of sweet or savoury canapés and fruit basket every day, inclusive Wifi internet access, individually-controlled air conditioning, dressing room with shelves and closet, dressing table and hairdryer, Dyptique Paris top-of-the-line bath products, minibar, Nespresso coffee maker, Bose Bluetooth speaker and Flat screen TV.

Le Bellot Cabin Image

Privilege Suite

One king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm). A lounge area with chaise longue and armchair. A bathroom with shower. A private 8 m² balcony with two armchairs. A panoramic sliding bay window. Additional services provided include priority boarding, butler service, inclusive Wifi internet access, individually-controlled air conditioning, dressing room with shelves and closet, dressing table and hairdryer, Dyptique Paris top-of-the-line bath products, minibar, Nespresso coffee maker, Bose Bluetooth speaker and Flat screen TV.

Le Bellot Cabin Image

Grand Deluxe Suite

A bedroom with one king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm). A lounge with sofa convetible to a double bed (160 x 190 cm), armchair, and second TV. A bathroom with shower and Balneo bathtub. A private 32 m² terrace with two deckchairs and four-seater dining table. 2 panoramic sliding bay windows. Additional services provided include priority boarding, butler service, champagne and fruit basket on arrival, an assortment of sweet or savoury canapés and fruit basket every day, inclusive Wifi internet access, individually-controlled air conditioning, dressing room with shelves and closet, dressing table and hairdryer, Dyptique Paris top-of-the-line bath products, minibar, Nespresso coffee maker, Bose Bluetooth speaker and Flat screen TV.

Le Bellot Cabin Image

Owner's Suite

A lounge with armchair, double sofa bed (160 x 190 cm), and second TV. A bedroom with king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm). A bathroom with shower, Balneo bathtub and smart mirror. A private 40 m² terrace: 2 deckchairs, jacuzzi, and outdoor lounge area with sofa and armchair. Two panoramic sliding bay windows. Additional services provided include concierge service from your reservation until you return from your trip, priority boarding, butler service, a one-hour spa treatment per person (for 2 people) in the well-being space, chosen from the facial and body treatments on offer, premium drinks at the bar, champagne and fruit basket on arrival, an assortment of sweet or savoury canapés and fruit basket every day, inclusive Wifi internet access, individually-controlled air conditioning, dressing room with shelves and closet, dressing table and hairdryer, Dyptique Paris top-of-the-line bath products, minibar, Nespresso coffee maker, Bose Bluetooth speaker and Flat screen TV.

Availability Twin Share (Per Person) Solo (Own Room)

Cabin upgrades optional cabin upgrades. upgrades priced per person, similar cruises.

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The Panama Canal and Costa Rica Westbound

A 12-day tauck tours tour starting from $7,990.

Brochure Price $7,990

Tauck Tours

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  • Dates & Prices
  • What's Included
  • Reviews & Ratings  
  •  Special Savings for Single Travelers
  •  Seasonal Price Savings for specific dates
  •  Special Savings for Groups of 8, 10++

No Departure Date Information was found for this Tour. This could be due to our website undergoing an update.

Please call a tour specialist at 1-800-942-3301 for personalized assistance.

All prices are per person, double occupancy, subject to availability and are quoted in U.S. Dollars. These pages are not endorsed or supported by the tour operator in any way. All information presented is based on promotional material provided by the tour operator. All prices, itineraries, accommodations and dates are subject to change without notice and at any time by the tour operators. Availability is limited and must be reconfirmed at time of booking. The prices on this website are not guaranteed. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or changes in pricing. Please call us toll free at 1-800-942-3301 to confirm availability and pricing.

Tour Highlights

Costa Rica , Panama

See Description

Sightseeing Highlights

Marvel in awe of one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century... cruise along the canal that revolutionized shipping patterns... gaze in awe as you pass the tropical forests, secluded beaches, diverse wildlife and clear waters that make up Costa Rica and Panama, and whose many treasures remain undisturbed by development. A 7-night voyage aboard Ponant's Explorer Class yacht features a complete transit of the Panama Canal, and an opportunity for cultural exchange with locals in Panama and along Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Explore the rich interior and its abundant wildlife with our expert naturalists. Go swimming or snorkeling, land on islands via tender or Zodiac craft, visit a gold museum in San José and learn how coffee beans are harvested and brewed to perfection. Experience the pleasures of Tauck small ship cruising on a Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise!

Cruise along Panama and Costa Rica for a 12-day adventure aboard one of Ponant's Explorer Class yachts, and a full transit of the Panama Canal – plus explore the ecological diversity of Panama, Costa Rica and pristine islands in the Pacific and Caribbean.

Year Round Offers

  • Special Savings for Single Travelers
  • Seasonal Price Savings for specific dates
  • Special Savings for Groups of 8, 10++

Tour begins: 6:30 PM, Hilton Panama or JW Marriott Panama. Welcome to Panama! A transfer awaits to take you from Tocumen International Airport to the Hilton Panama or JW Marriott Panama. Meet your Tauck Director and your fellow travelers at our welcome cocktail reception and dinner this evening at your hotel.

Begin today's exploration of Panama City in its key historic district, Casco Viejo; a walking tour will show you this walled cobblestoned city, built in the 1670s at the foot of Ancon Hill, to provide safety from attack. The area is a gem of Spanish colonial architecture in various stages of redevelopment, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; you'll also have free time to explore on your own. After lunch at a local restaurant, tour the former Canal Zone, driving through Ancon Hill, a lush residential enclave that was home to US military facilities until a 1977 treaty granted Panamanian sovereignty over the "Zone;" Albrook, a former US Air Force Base; and Clayton, once a US Army base. Then enjoy a fascinating visit to the exhibits and gardens of the Biomuseo, the Panama City biodiversity museum designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. The evening is yours to spend as you please in Panama City.

From Panama City, start across the Isthmus of Panama; during a stop at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, you'll choose between an aerial tram ride through the rainforest at eye-level with exotic birds and animals (aboard the only gondola of its kind in Panama), or a boat cruise along waterways leading to hidden islands, where you might spot monkeys at play. After lunch at a local restaurant, learn more about the Panama Canal on a visit to the Agua Clara locks. In the late afternoon, arrive at the pier in Colón to board your Explorer Class yacht for 7-night Panama Canal cruise.

Your yacht arrives in the archipelago of San Blas today, where you'll transfer by Zodiac for a wet landing at Holandes Cayes. Here, you'll visit Guna Indians, whose language and customs reflect lives with few outside influences, women sell handmade molas – reverse-appliquéd fabrics with brilliant images of fish, birds and jungle animals – and fishing is still done by canoe. After your visit to a Guna village, you can spend a leisurely afternoon swimming and snorkeling before returning by Zodiac to your ship. This evening, your Explorer Class vessel begins preparations for tomorrow's entrance into the Panama Canal.

Opened in 1914, and considered an engineering marvel of the 20th century, the Panama Canal opened trade to the Americas by creating a transit path between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Thanks to the canal, today ships traveling from New York to San Francisco save over 7,000 miles by not having to chart a course around South America. Early this morning, your ship will arrive at Gatun and position outside the canal for her full transit from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We'll welcome aboard a canal pilot, the local navigation professional who will guide our ship into the Gatun Locks, Lake Gatun and into the narrow Gaillard cut. Later, we transit the Pedro Miguel locks before finally clearing Miraflores locks and passing beneath the Bridge of the Americas to the Pacific Ocean at Balboa. Your Tauck Director, Tauck Naturalist and an official of the Panama Canal Authority will provide both technical and historical information about this engineering wonder. The process may take approximately eight to ten hours; while passing through the three locks, your yacht will be be raised up a total of 85 feet before reaching the Pacific Ocean!

Today you'll stop in the beautiful but remote Darien region of Panama, calling on Play del Muerto for a wet landing by Zodiac craft to visit an indigenous community of the Emberá people, whose lifestyle remains largely unaffected by modern times. You'll meet the locals, watch them perform traditional dances, see how they live, and perhaps purchase some of their "Cocobolo" wood or "Tagua" vegetable ivory carvings. Return to the ship for lunch; enjoy a naturalist lecture this afternoon.

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea on the Pacific Ocean today, taking advantage of your Explorer Class ship's many amenities. Throughout the day, your Tauck Directors and naturalist guides will circulate about the ship answering questions – sharing their experiences and scanning the horizon for marine mammals and pelagic birds – and will also offer compelling lectures.

Call on the city of Quepos this morning, a perfect jumping off point for a day of activities in Costa Rica's eco-wonderland. Your day begins with a walking tour in Manuel Antonio National Park accompanied by a naturalist guide, where you'll find coral reefs and white sand beaches, considered among the most beautiful in Costa Rica. Following your walk, you'll have choice of excursions including; a scenic drive through Quepos and a stop at Espadilla Beach; an exciting river float trip* on the Savegre River (which will include lunch); or a horseback ride through a mountain forest. Back aboard the ship, enjoy dinner at your leisure tonight, as your ship sets out from Quepos, bound for the Pacific Ocean.

Your ship arrives at Playa Herradura for a choice of shore excursions offering a range of eco-activities. One includes a walking tour in Carara National Park with a local naturalist guide, after which you'll learn about various coastal bird and wildlife species on a mangrove boat tour just outside the national park; another choice offers a more active, faster-paced walk in the park, followed by the mangrove cruise. A third choice features a visit to Tropical Forest Sky Walk near the boundary of Carara Biological Reserve, where you'll hike across suspended cable bridges skimming the top of the rainforest, up to 126 feet above the ground; from your lofty perch, you'll see the marshlands of the Tarcoles River and views of the ocean in the distance. Your guide will point out species of birds, monkeys, butterflies and other mammals that you may encounter. Still another possibility is a visit to the spectacular Pura Vida Gardens, whose beautifully manicured gardens are bordered by one of the tallest waterfalls in the country. Pura Vida is home to over 60,000 flowering plants, including 60 varieties of heliconia, ten varieties of ginger, and orchids; look for butterflies, macaws, parrots, parakeets, toucans, kingfishers, birds of prey, and waterfowl. 

As your cruise ends in Puntarenas, bid farewell to your Explorer Class ship and her crew, and set off to discover Costa Rica's fascinating interior en route to the capital city of San José. Visit the artisan village of Sarchi, known for the production and painting of the traditional ox carts ( carretas ) and other handmade products seen all over the country, bearing the colorful starburst designs that have become a symbol of Costa Rica. Continue on to Costa Rica's capital city, San José. Here, sightseeing includes a visit to the National Theatre, an ornate symbol of civic pride dating back to 1897; the theatre's interior shines with Baroque gold and Carrara marble. You'll also take in the Museo del Oro Precolombino (Pre-Columbian Gold Museum) and its collection of pre-Columbian works of gold. After lunch at a local restaurant, arrive and settle in at your hotel; the evening is yours to spend as you wish in San José.

Coffee has long been one of Costa Rica's most important exports. Today you'll visit the Doka Coffee Plantation, located on the fertile slopes of Alajuela's Poás Volcano, where the soil and altitude make for ideal growing conditions. Your guide explains how the beans are produced and roasted and how different microclimates affect the taste. Also explore and have lunch at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a private rainforest eco-park and wildlife refuge known for spectacular waterfalls and flowing white rivers; this protected reserve buzzes with the sounds and sights of wildlife including toucans, butterflies, spider monkeys, two-toed sloths and red-eyed leaf frogs – to name a few of the 100+ species. Join us this evening for a farewell reception and dinner at your hotel in San José.

Tour ends: San José, Costa Rica. Transfers from the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José or InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall to Juan Santamaría International Airport are included. Allow 3 hours for check-in formalities.

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The Panama Canal and Costa Rica Westbound

Escorted tour details, a 12-day tauck tours tour starting from $8,790.00.

The Panama Canal and Costa Rica Westbound

Dates & Prices

  • What's Included

Airfare Disclaimer A NOTE ABOUT AIRFARE: We encourage you to buy your airfare from the tour operator, because if your tour cancels then your airlines tickets will be covered. Purchasing flights separately at a lesser rate and incorporating it with a Non-Guaranteed Departure Date can result in loss of total cost of your flight investment. Depending on the fare rules, flights may be Non-Refundable and/or Non-Transferable. Neither the tour operator and/or Atlas Cruises & Tours will be held responsible for loss if a tour is cancelled for Lack of Participation.

Documents TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Necessary Travel Documents such as Passports and Visas is the responsibility of the traveler. Passports must be valid six months from your return travel date.

All prices are per person, double occupancy, subject to availability and are quoted in U.S. Dollars. These pages are not endorsed or supported by the tour operator in any way. All information presented is based on promotional material provided by the tour operator. All prices, itineraries, accommodations and dates are subject to change without notice and at any time by the tour operators. Availability is limited and must be reconfirmed at time of booking. The prices on this website are not guaranteed. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or changes in pricing. Please call us toll free at 800-942-3301 to confirm availability and pricing.

Escorted Tour Highlights

Costa Rica, Panama

See Description

Sightseeing Highlights

Cruise along Panama and Costa Rica for a 12-day adventure aboard one of Ponant's new Explorer Class yachts, and a full transit of the Panama Canal – plus explore the ecological diversity of Panama, Costa Rica and pristine islands in the Pacific and Caribbean.

Marvel in awe of one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century... cruise along the canal that revolutionized shipping patterns... gaze in awe as you pass the tropical forests, secluded beaches, diverse wildlife and clear waters that make up Costa Rica and Panama, and whose many treasures remain undisturbed by development. A 7-night voyage aboard Ponant's Explorer Class yacht features a complete transit of the Panama Canal, and an opportunity for cultural exchange with locals in Panama and along Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Explore the rich interior and its abundant wildlife with our expert naturalists. Go swimming or snorkeling, land on islands via tender or Zodiac craft, visit a gold museum in San José and learn how coffee beans are harvested and brewed to perfection. Experience the pleasures of Tauck small ship cruising on a Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise!

Year Round Offers

  • Special Savings for Single Travelers
  • Seasonal Price Savings for specific dates
  • Special Savings for Groups of 8, 10++

Tour begins: Panama City.   A transfer from Tocumen International Airport is included to Hilton Panama or JW Marriott Panama  is included. Join us this evening for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel.

Begin today's exploration of Panama City in its key historic district, Casco Viejo; a walking tour will show you this walled cobblestoned city, built in the 1670s at the foot of Ancon Hill, to provide safety from attack. The area is a gem of Spanish colonial architecture in various stages of redevelopment, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; you'll also have free time to explore on your own. After lunch at a local restaurant, tour the former Canal Zone, driving through Ancon Hill, a lush residential enclave that was home to US military facilities until a 1977 treaty granted Panamanian sovereignty over the "Zone;" Albrook, a former US Air Force Base; and Clayton, once a US Army base. Then enjoy a fascinating visit to the exhibits and gardens of the Biomuseo, the Panama City biodiversity museum designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. The rest of the day is yours to explore as you wish.

Your journey today brings you to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, where you'll choose between an aerial tram ride with a naturalist through the rainforest at eye-level with exotic birds and animals (aboard the only gondola of its kind in Panama), or a boat cruise along waterways leading to hidden islands, where you might spot monkeys at play. After lunch at a local restaurant, learn about the Panama Canal on a visit to the Agua Clara locks before boarding your Explorer-continue across the Isthmus to Panama City; check into your hotel in the city's heart this afternoon. Spend the rest of the day and evening as you wish in historic Panama City.

Your yacht arrives in the archipelago of San Blas today, where you'll transfer by Zodiac for a wet landing at Holandes Cayes. Here, you'll visit Guna Indians, whose language and customs reflect lives with few outside influences, women sell handmade  molas  – reverse-appliquéd fabrics with brilliant images of fish, birds and jungle animals – and fishing is still done by canoe. After your visit to a Guna village, you can spend a leisurely afternoon swimming and snorkeling before returning by Zodiac to your ship. This evening, your Explorer Class vessel begins preparations for tomorrow's entrance into the Panama Canal.

Opened in 1914, and considered an engineering marvel of the 20th century, the Panama Canal opened trade to the Americas by creating a transit path between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Thanks to the canal, today ships traveling from New York to San Francisco save over 7,000 miles by not having to chart a course around South America. Early this morning, your ship will arrive at Gatun and position outside the canal for her full transit from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We'll welcome aboard a canal pilot, the local navigation professional who will guide our ship into the Gatun Locks, Lake Gatun and into the narrow Gaillard cut. Later, we transit the Pedro Miguel locks before finally clearing Miraflores locks and passing beneath the Bridge of the Americas to the Pacific Ocean at Balboa. Your Tauck Director, Tauck Naturalist and an official of the Panama Canal Authority will provide both technical and historical information about this engineering wonder. The process may take approximately eight to ten hours; while passing through the three locks, your yacht will be be raised up a total of 85 feet before reaching the Pacific Ocean!

Today you'll stop in the beautiful but remote Darien region of Panama, calling on Playa del Muerto for a wet landing by Zodiac craft to visit an indigenous community of the Emberá people, whose lifestyle remains largely unaffected by modern times. You'll meet the locals, watch them perform traditional dances, see how they live, and perhaps purchase some of their "Cocobolo" wood or "Tagua" vegetable ivory carvings. Return to the ship for lunch; enjoy a naturalist lecture this afternoon.

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea today, taking advantage of your Explorer Class ship's many amenities as you make your way across the Pacific Ocean waters off Panama's coast, bound for the remote Darien region of Panama. Throughout the day, your Tauck Directors and naturalist guides will circulate about the ship answering questions – sharing their experiences and scanning the horizon for marine mammals and pelagic birds – and will also offer compelling lectures.

Call on the city of Quepos this morning, a perfect jumping off point for a day of activities in Costa Rica's eco-wonderland. Your day today is rich with excursions, as you'll have a choice of activities in both the morning and the afternoon! Excursions you may choose from today include: a scenic drive through Quepos and a stop at Espadilla Beach; a horseback ride through a mountain forest; a cruise through the Central American mangroves (keep your eyes peeled for wildlife!); an active hike through the rainforest; a nature walk through Rainmaker Conservation Park; a walking tour of Manuel Antonio National Park and an exciting river float trip* on the Savegre River (which will include lunch). Back aboard the ship, enjoy dinner at your leisure tonight, as your ship sets out from Quepos, bound for the Pacific Ocean.

Your ship arrives at Playa Herradura for a choice of shore excursions offering a range of eco-activities. One includes a walking tour in Carara National Park with a local naturalist guide, after which you'll learn about various coastal bird and wildlife species on a mangrove boat tour just outside the national park; another choice offers a more active, faster-paced walk in the park, followed by the mangrove cruise. A third choice features a visit to Tropical Forest Sky Walk near the boundary of Carara Biological Reserve, where you'll hike across suspended cable bridges skimming the top of the rainforest, up to 126 feet above the ground; from your lofty perch, you'll see the marshlands of the Tarcoles River and views of the ocean in the distance. Your guide will point out species of birds, monkeys, butterflies and other mammals that you may encounter. Still another possibility is a visit to the spectacular Pura Vida Gardens, whose beautifully manicured gardens are bordered by one of the tallest waterfalls in the country. Pura Vida is home to over 60,000 flowering plants, including 60 varieties of heliconia, ten varieties of ginger, and orchids; look for butterflies, macaws, parrots, parakeets, toucans, kingfishers, birds of prey, and waterfowl.

As your cruise ends in Puerto Caldera, bid farewell to your Explorer Class ship and her crew, and set off to discover Costa Rica's fascinating interior en route to the capital city of San José. Visit the artisan village of Sarchi, known for the production and painting of the traditional ox carts ( carretas ) and other handmade products seen all over the country, bearing the colorful starburst designs that have become a symbol of Costa Rica. Continue on to Costa Rica's capital city, San José. San José city sightseeing today includes visits to the Baroque-style, 19th-century National Theatre, a grand symbol of civic pride dating back to 1897 – its interior glistens with Baroque gold overlays and Carrara marble – and the Gold Museum, which houses pre-Columbian works of gold crafted by indigenous islanders. After returning to the hotel, the rest of the afternoon and evening is free to spend as you wish in San José.

Near-perfect growing conditions have made coffee one of Costa Rica's most important exports. Today you'll visit the Doka Coffee Plantation, located on the fertile slopes of Alajuela's Poás Volcano, where the soil and altitude make for ideal growing conditions. Your guide explains how the beans are produced and roasted and how different microclimates affect the taste. Also explore and have lunch at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a private rainforest eco-park and wildlife refuge known for spectacular waterfalls and flowing white rivers; this protected reserve buzzes with the sounds and sights of wildlife including toucans, butterflies, spider monkeys, two-toed sloths and red-eyed leaf frogs – to name a few of the 100+ species. Join us tonight at your hotel for a farewell reception and dinner, marking the end your Panama Canal cruise.

Tour ends: San José, Costa Rica.   Transfers from the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José or InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall to Juan Santamaría International Airport are included. Allow 3 hours for check-in formalities.

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The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

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Uniquely Tauck

Costa Rica and Panama Canal Cruise Map

EXPERIENCE WITH TAUCK

Tauck's experienced naturalist, Tauck Director and local guides join the cruise aboard ship, leading excursions ashore to enrich your experience of the jungle, water and flora & fauna

Visits to Carara National Park in Costa Rica, the Darien and the San Blas Islands

TAUCK VALUE INCLUDES

Tauck's private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions valued at $3,147

7-night cruise aboard one of Ponant's Explorer Class yacht

Your cruise may be a shared ship experience with non-Tauck guests onboard as well; all Tauck guests will be accompanied by one Tauck Director for approximately every 40 Tauck guests, and your itinerary will always be highlighted by exclusive, private Tauck shore excursions

Full small-ship transit of the Panama Canal with onboard commentary by a local expert

SEE WHAT YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES

Guests should be able to easily walk one to two miles, which may include climbing one or two flights of stairs and walking over uneven pavement, groomed hiking trails or cobblestones. Standing up to one hour or more may be required.

Moderately paced, and may include some early morning hotel departures, one or two on-tour flights, and extended motor coach travel.

Cultural journeys and expeditions

Marvel in awe of one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century... cruise along the canal that revolutionized shipping patterns... gaze in awe as you pass the tropical forests, secluded beaches, diverse wildlife and clear waters that make up Costa Rica and Panama, and whose many treasures remain undisturbed by development.

See for yourself what small ship cruising is all about, insidetauck presentation, special presentation with longtime tauck director ivan hoyos.

Tauck Director Ivan Hoyos has introduced Tauck guests to the extraordinary world of nature in Panama, Costa Rica, and the Panama Canal for 20+ years. In our special insideTauck presentation, he shares his insights into the Tauck small ship cruising experience and what makes cruising the Panama Canal with Tauck so special.

Watch Video

Cruise with Wildlife Filmmaker, Tim Martin

Tim Martin is a TV executive producer, wildlife photographer and conservationist. He worked in the BBC Natural History Unit for over 20 years, producing award winning series including Lost Land of the Jaguar, Animals with Cameras, Bear Family & Me and Natural World. Tim is currently producing a series for Netflix and running Farm Wilder, a non-profit that promotes sustainable and wildlife friendly farming in the UK. Travel with Tim on our January 15 departure, enjoying expert insights about the wildlife and natural wonders of Costa Rica and Panama. Ask at booking for details.

Full transit of the Panama Canal

Join a special club by cruising through the remarkable panama canal.

When the Panama Canal first opened in 1914, some enthusiasts called it one of the "seven wonders of the world" – it was certainly one of the world's most incredible engineering endeavors. For the first time, a ship traveling from New York to San Francisco could save over 7,000 miles by not having to sail around South America. Over a century later, you'll join the special ranks of travelers to traverse the entire length of the canal; crossing aboard a small ship makes the experience an even more memorable one. Taking approximately eight to ten hours, your vessel passes through three locks (the Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatún) as it's raised up and over the isthmus' land surface for a total of 85 ft. before passing between the Atlantic and the Pacific!

Manuel Antonio National Park

Exploring the eco-treasures of costa rica's manuel antonio national park.

Although Manuel Antonio National Park encompasses the smallest land area of any national park in Costa Rica, it is home to more than a hundred species of mammals and nearly 200 species of birds, outranking virtually every other park in Costa Rica's richly biodiverse national park system. Mammalian residents include sloths (like the brown-throated three-toed sloth and Hoffmann's two-toed sloth), monkeys (mantled howler monkey, Central American squirrel monkey, and white-headed capuchin monkey), white-nosed coati and many more. Along with the rich tropical rainforests that all this wildlife calls home, the park also comprises coral reefs and miles of white sand beaches, considered among the most beautiful in Costa Rica... a virtual paradise!

Fascinating trip - Tauck finds little gems that we would never see on our own. Our TD lives near the Canal Zone, so we got a unique history from a local's POV.

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Your Journey

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About Booking This Tour

How to Book a Tour

See your travel advisor, or call Tauck at 800-468-2825 to make a reservation.

At the time of booking, please have the following information ready for all members of your party:

  • Tour Name and Departure Date
  • Traveler's Name: First and last names as they appear on your passport or driver's license
  • Traveler's Address(es)
  • Email Address*
  • Traveler's Phone Number(s)*
  • Emergency Contact Information: Please provide the name and phone number  of a relative or friend (not travelling with you) whom we could contact during the tour in the unlikely event of an emergency
  • Interest in purchasing a travel protection plan (US and Canada)
  • Interest in extending your trip by staying in a Tauck recommended hotel before your trip begins or after it ends
  • Interest in our specially negotiated airfares

* Required Fields

Deposits & Final Payment

The deposit and the fees for the optional Protection Plan or Cancel Fee Waiver [CFW] coverage are due at time of booking.

The deposit amount is $1,500 per person

Final Payment is due to Tauck  60  days before departure for lands trips, and  120  days before departure for cruises and rail journeys. If your deposit was made by credit card, final payment will be automatic unless you opted out at time of booking. Bookings without full payment at this time may be subject to cancellation without notice. Failure to make payment will be a considered a cancellation by the guest and all applicable cancellation fees will apply.

Cruise Protection Plan

Effective for plans purchased as of July 1, 2021:

Tauck's Cruise and Event Protection

Tauck's Cruise & Event Protection provides you with cancellation protection before your journey begins as well as insurance benefits while you are traveling. It must be purchased within 10 days of your initial deposit. Guest Protection includes the following:

Cancellation Waiver – Provided by Tauck:

Under Tauck's Cancellation Fee Waiver you can cancel your tour for ANY REASON and Tauck will  reduce the regular cancellation fees outlined herein, provided we are notified of cancellation before your cruise departs. Certain terms and restrictions apply (see below*).

*Extreme Circumstances:  In the event of an act of God, war (whether declared or undeclared), terrorism, accident, natural disaster, outbreak of disease, or other event or circumstance beyond our control that contributes to or results in cancellation rates above our historical cancellation rates in the absence of such event or occurrence, Tauck reserves the right to issue a credit to you in lieu of a money-back refund, applicable to a future Tauck journey.  Travel Insurance Benefits – Underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company.

  • Trip Cancellation –  Should you cancel for covered reasons, the plan reimburses cancellation fees imposed, up to your total trip cost. 
  • Trip Interruption –  If you have to interrupt your tour for covered reasons, the plan provides reimbursement to catch up to your tour or return home.
  • Travel Delay –  Provides reimbursement for missed, prepaid travel arrangements if you are delayed by a common carrier, natural disaster, unannounced strike, or other reasons as cited in the plan.
  • Medical Expense –  Reimburses covered medical expenses incurred in the event you become injured or sick during your trip. 
  • Baggage / Personal Effects Protection –  Provides reimbursement in the event your luggage or personal effects are, lost, stolen, damaged or delayed during your trip.

Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services –  Provided by Carefree Travel Assistance; 24-hour emergency telephone assistance hotline for medical and travel related problems.

The cost of Tauck's Cruise and Event Protection is:   $799   per person

This plan provides cancellation coverage for your trip and other insurance coverages that apply only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.

This optional Cruise and Event Protection must be requested at time of booking and fee must be included in initial payment. Details will be provided with written confirmation of your reservation. Cruise and Event Protection does not protect travel agent commissions. Reimbursements will be made according to original method of payment. The amount of any refund shall be reduced by any recoveries obtained by you from any third parties.

To obtain your state-specific Certificate of Insurance that contains the complete terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of the certificate, visit  affinitytravelcert.com/docs/TACCREINTL

If You Have To Cancel

If you cancel within 10 days of initial deposit

Within the first 10 days after you place your initial deposit, you may cancel your reservation for any reason with no cancellation fees.

If you cancel more than 10 days after initial deposit

Regardless of reason, cancellations result in costly charges from our travel and hotel providers covering penalties and fees incurred by canceling confirmed bookings. These fees vary from tour to tour. Therefore, the following fees apply for this tour.

Cancellation Fees with Tauck's Cruise Protection Plan:

120 days or more before departure: Loss of cost of Tauck's Cruise and Event Protection fee per person 119 – 60 days before departure: Loss of 25% of the cost of the cruise, not including air (if applicable), plus loss of Cruise and Event Protection fee, per person 59 – 1 days before departure: Loss of 50% of the cost of the cruise, not including air (if applicable), plus loss of Cruise and Event Protection fee, per person Cancellation Fees without Tauck's Cruise Protection Plan: 120 days or more before departure: $1500 per person 119 – 60 days before departure: Loss of 50% of the cost of cruise, not including air (if applicable), per person 59 - 1 days before departure: Loss of 100% of the cost of cruise, not including air (if applicable), per person Time of cancellation will be when notice is received in our Wilton Woods, CT office.

Tour Interruption Fees

If you have to interrupt your tour en route, you may be entitled to a refund for the unused land portion if it exceeds 24 hours; certain restrictions apply. Such refunds are based upon the number of overnights missed less a fee of $40 per person per day for unused transportation and other fixed expenses.

Partial Room Cancellation

A person who cancels or leaves a tour while a roommate remains constitutes a cancellation of one type of accommodation and rebooking of another type of accommodation. The price charged to the remaining person is the new, higher price for the new accommodation.

In the event of an unforeseen circumstance beyond our control, Tauck reserves the right to amend the cancellation and transfer terms outlined herein. Note: All Guests, regardless of residency, who book a Tauck journey have the option of purchasing the Cancellation Waiver provided by Tauck in the event they need to cancel their trip after making their reservations. Tauck's Cruise & Event Protection, which includes both the Cancellation Fee Waiver and the Travel Insurance Benefits and Assistance Services described above, is not available to residents of Puerto Rico.

Travel Terms and Conditions

Click here  to find Tauck's Travel Terms & Conditions.

Travel Requirements For This Tour

Air Information and Luggage Restrictions

AIRFARE: Airfare to and from this destination is not included in the journey cost. If purchasing your air elsewhere, it is very important to provide us with your confirmed arriving and departing flight information no later than 3 weeks before your arrival date. Flight information can be submitted to Tauck (or verified, if you've already provided it) in the My Account section of Tauck.com.

TAUCK AIRPORT TRANSFERS are included at the start and end of the journey between the airport and the Tauck hotel. Airport transfers are available for any pre tour or post tour hotel stays immediately consecutive to the tour, providing flight information is received in the Tauck office no later than three weeks in advance. Details on locating your transfer upon arrival to the tour start city will be included in your final documents.

AIRLINES and CHECKED LUGGAGE: Due to space limitations during your Tauck journey, we ask that you please limit your checked luggage to one average-size suitcase per person. Besides complying with the Tauck restriction noted above, you should also be sure to research and comply with all airline baggage restrictions relating to your flights to and from your Tauck journey. Airlines have become much more strict in enforcing size and weight limits in recent years, and are free to revise luggage policies without notice. Researching and complying with airline luggage restrictions is the responsibility of the guest, and Tauck cannot be held responsible for any costs or disruptions to travel caused by the failure to research and comply with airline policies. PLEASE NOTE that if you are booked on a tour that includes on-tour flights, the checked luggage weight restrictions for these flights may be lower than the weight restrictions for your international flights.

Checked Luggage – General

Due to space restrictions, we ask that you please limit your checked luggage to one suitcase per person weighing no more than 50 pounds (23 kg) and with overall dimensions (length + width + height) not exceeding 62 inches (158 cm).

Besides complying with the Tauck restriction noted above, you should also be sure to research and comply with all airline baggage restrictions relating to your flights to and from your Tauck journey. Airlines have become much more strict in enforcing size and weight limits in recent years, and luggage exceeding airline standards for size or weight may result in expensive overage fees or other consequences.

Airlines are free to revise luggage policies without notice, and certain airlines have different baggage allowances for different classes of service. Researching and complying with airline luggage restrictions is the responsibility of the guest, and Tauck cannot be held responsible for any costs or disruptions to travel caused by the failure to research and comply with airline policies.

Tauck luggage tags will be provided by your Tauck Director on Day 1 of your itinerary. Please do not attach a Tauck luggage tag to any carry-on items, as the Tauck tags designate luggage that is to be handled and transferred by ground operators and hotel staff during your journey.

Carry-on Luggage - General

Although oversize bags and wheeled, carry-on luggage are popular for airline travel, they are often not convenient or appropriate for motor coach travel or for many on-tour flights. Most modern sightseeing motor coaches offer limited space for numerous or larger items. Space under seats or in the overhead rack is typically small, and designed to accommodate items like coats, hats, purses, and small camera bags, etc.

For your day-to-day travel while on tour, we recommend that you limit your hand luggage to a small, soft-sided carry-on piece, and that you bring only those items you need handy during the day such as make-up, medications, cameras, film, etc. Items too large to fit under the motor coach seat or on the overhead rack must be stored in the luggage bays beneath the motor coach, and may be inaccessible during daytime travel.

Health, Safety and Mobility

HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS

A doctor and limited medical facilities are available onboard. However, if you take special medications, please bring an adequate supply with you; they may not be available onboard. Medical services and all medicines (except acetaminophen, aspirin and anti-nausea pills) dispensed to you by the ship's doctor will be charged to your shipboard account. If you become ill during the voyage and the physician is unable to care for your needs onboard, you will be transferred to medical facilities onshore.

The Ponant Explorer Class vessels is registered in the France. Please check with your health insurance provider to determine whether you are covered while traveling. If you will not be covered under your current policy, we strongly suggest that you arrange for adequate coverage while on tour.

If you have a medical condition that might limit your participation in activities, please consult your physician for pre-departure health advice and notify us as soon as possible, if you have not already done so. We will advise your Tauck Director accordingly.

VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Some of the countries visited on this itinerary may require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against certain diseases in order to enter the country. These requirements are subject to frequent change as outbreaks occur and subside in different areas, and it is therefore crucial that you obtain the very latest information on entry requirements as you prepare for your journey.

For the most current information, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by clicking here  and the World Health Organization (WHO) by clicking here . You may also wish to visit the web sites for the embassies of the countries you will be visiting. Besides providing details on vaccination requirements, these sites can also provide information on vaccinations that may be recommended (but aren't required) and other potential health issues for which no vaccines are available.

Any decisions relating to your health, of course, should not be based solely on information provided by a web site.  It is critically important that you consult with your personal physician prior to your journey to obtain any required vaccinations and to review any optional recommendations offered by the CDC or other sources.

Please be sure to discuss your journey with your physician at least four to six weeks in advance of your departure, as certain vaccinations take time to become fully effective.  Also, be certain to ask your physician for proof of any vaccinations you receive, and to pack this proof along with your other travel documents in your carry-on luggage (not in your checked luggage).

Researching and complying with vaccination entry requirements for the countries visited on this itinerary is the responsibility of the traveler and not Tauck. Tauck is therefore not responsible for any expenses incurred or disruptions to travel caused by improper or incomplete vaccinations, or by the failure to provide proof of required vaccinations.

If you do not obtain the necessary vaccinations and proper documentation, you may be denied entry into one or more countries, or temporarily quarantined until the necessary vaccinations are administered, or until proper documentation is provided.

To enjoy this cruise, you should be in good health and able to walk reasonable distances, often over unpaved and uneven, rocky and sandy terrain, as our activities include visiting national parks, biological reserves, rainforests and rustic villages. Some of the most memorable sightseeing can only be accomplished on foot. Additionally, you must be steady and balanced aboard ship while you cruise the shores of Panama and Costa Rica. Some ship to shore transportation is by Zodiac (capacity 20 persons) and involves 'wet landings', which requires wading through shallow surf to reach shore. Occasionally you may get wet with spray.

PLEASE NOTE:  We regret that this Tauck itinerary cannot accommodate wheelchairs or motorized scooters.  Likewise, we regret that we're unable to provide individual assistance to guests with walking difficulties or other personal needs.  The responsibility of the Tauck Director who accompanies your trip is to ensure that the larger group enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing individual assistance to any one guest.  Guests requiring such individualized assistance must be accompanied by an able-bodied companion who can provide it.

Le Bellot  has one elevator.

SPECIAL DIETARY REQUESTS

The restaurants, hotels, caterers and numerous other partners we work with all do their best to accommodate special dietary requests from Tauck guests. However, given the diverse nature of those food providers (from small wineries to grand hotels to world-famous restaurants in more than 70 countries worldwide), some of our partners are better able than others to accommodate such requests. We therefore cannot guarantee that all dietary requests can be accommodated at every meal. Also, please note that where dietary requests can be accommodated, choices will frequently be limited.

Smoking is not permitted on the motor coaches or inside the ship, including inside staterooms. Smoking is only permitted on the outer decks in the designated smoking areas. These regulations pertain to e-cigarettes as well.

Airline Disinsection

Please check with your carrier or refer to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) guidance letter that requires airlines and travel agents to disclose to consumers countries that require the use of insecticides by airlines. Please click here for more information.

Travel Documents

If you are a U.S. citizen , you will need a passport valid for six months beyond the completion of your Tauck journey for entry into Panama and Costa Rica. You will not need a visa for the short duration of this tour. Please note that longer stays abroad for any purpose may require additional travel documentation.

If you are a citizen of another country traveling internationally , you should contact a consulate or embassy of Panama and Costa Rica to determine what travel documentation is required.

You will be issued a boarding card, which you must present before embarking the ship in each port.

We recommend that you make at least two photocopies of all the travel documents that you bring with you. Include copies of the photo page of your passport that contains the date of issuance, the date of expiration and your citizenship. Secure one set of copies in the safe in your room while traveling and leave one set behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your documents are misplaced, lost or stolen.

Note: For activities marked with an asterisk (*) in day-by-day descriptions, participation is at your own risk; a signed liability waiver will be required.

TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN AS A GUARDIAN: If you are traveling as the guardian of a child/children, we strongly suggest that you carry a letter from both parents of the child authorizing emergency treatment in the event of illness or accident. For travel abroad, many foreign countries have specific entry requirements for children under 21 who are traveling internationally without BOTH parents. (These requirements are in response to the increased incidence of children being abducted and taken abroad.) PLEASE NOTE THAT TAUCK IS NOT RESPONSIBLE for the disruption of travel caused by improper documentation for children traveling without both parents.

Although warm and humid, the climate along our route is moderately comfortable. From January through March, the weather is at its best; humidity is low and rainfall is minimal. Average high temperatures range from 75 to 80 °F (24 to 27 °C) in Costa Rica's Central Valley to 85 to 90 °F (29 to 32 °C) along the coast and in Panama.

To read about current weather conditions, we suggest you log on to the Internet website, noaa.gov , by clicking here .

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The Panama Canal & Costa Rica - Eastbound 2021

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  • Marvel in awe of one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century... cruise along the canal that revolutionized shipping patterns... gaze in awe as you pass the tropical forests
  • secluded beaches
  • diverse wildlife and clear waters that make up Costa Rica and Panama
  • and whose many treasures remain undisturbed by development.A 7-night voyage aboard Ponant's Explorer Class yacht –Le Dumont d'Urville – features a complete transit of the Panama Canal
  • and an opportunity for cultural exchange with locals in Panama and along Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Explore the rich interior and its abundant wildlife with our expert naturalists. Go swimming or snorkeling
  • land on islands via tender or Zodiac craft
  • visit a gold museum in San José and learn how coffee beans are harvested and brewed to perfection. Experience the pleasures of Tauck small ship cruising on a Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise!

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Travel themes.

  • Small Ship Cruise

Destinations

  • Central America

Trip includes

  • Tauck's experienced naturalist, Tauck Director and local guides join the cruise aboard ship, leading excursions ashore to enrich your experience of the jungle, water and flora & fauna Visits to Manuel Antonio National Park and Carara National Park in Costa Rica, the Darien and the San Blas Islands Tauck’s private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions valued at $2,572 7-night cruise aboard one of Ponant's new Explorer Class yachts Your cruise may be a shared ship experience with non-Tauck guests onboard as well; all Tauck guests will be accompanied by one Tauck Director for approximately every 40 Tauck guests, and your itinerary will always be highlighted by exclusive, private Tauck shore excursions Full small-ship transit of the Panama Canal with onboard commentary by a local expert

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Travel Map

PORTOFCALL : Panama City, Panama

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Dates & Availability

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Tauck .

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Tauck Reviews & Ratings

Other tauck reviews, nine tours and done.

Sad to see a once good tour company stumble and fall into mediocrity. That’s Tauck post-Covid. My May 2023 tour of Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley was done o...

Skip this cruise - not worth it

My husband and I went on the Treasures of the Mediterranean Isles Trip jn October 2022. This was our third Tauck cruise with Ponnant but our first post covid and the...

Tauck/Aon terrible travel insurance

Tauck partners with Aon for travel insurance. We bought this insurance through Tauck specifically to cover us in case of a positive for test for Covid and could not ...

See all Other Tauck reviews

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Tour operator.

It's easy to see the world's sights. To stand in long lines, push through the crowds, and generally have the same standard-issue vacation as everyone else. But that's not good enough for us, and it's not good enough for you. We believe that travel should be easy. It should be fun. It should be worth your time and the price you paid. It should re-energize and transform. And above all else, it should be beyond the ordinary. Because how you see the world matters.

In 1882, Herman Tauck arrived in New York City from Germany in search of the American dream. His determination and values were passed on to his son, Arthur Tauck, who would realize that dream. With ingenuity and an innovative spirit, Arthur started Tauck Motor Tours, a travel company that would give birth to a new industry. The first tour, through the back roads of New England, was created by this 27-year-old in 1925. It embodied the same successful formula used by Tauck today: do the right thing. Craft a life-enriching travel experience; provide it at a single all-inclusive price; ensure there is great value for money; and rely on recommendations of satisfied customers to build a following and grow the business.

Two elements that did change over the next 90+ years – and three generations of Taucks – were the scope of destinations served and the variety of modes of travel used. Today Tauck delivers life-enriching travel experiences to every corner of the globe, incorporating small cruise ships, premium riverboats, trains, helicopters and more. What started as a New England motor coach tour company has truly evolved into an extraordinary global travel company. The fourth generation of Taucks is now involved in the company. While remarkable in any business, this seamless continuity across generations speaks to shared vision and values.

Throughout its history, the concept of “family” at Tauck has gone far beyond those sharing the surname to include hundreds of valued employees, and hundreds of thousands of loyal guests. The story of Tauck is the story of a unique American family company celebrating a passion for travel – a story that will continue to inspire generations to come.

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  • Spain and Portugal Tours
  • Smaller Groups
  • Family Travel

New for 2024: Smaller Group journeys!

Thanks to feedback from our guests, we're pleased to introduce Smaller Group departures averaging 15 guests. Limited space still available.

View Smaller Group Journeys

Behind the Scenes

A Closer Look At Tauck

Travel with the "world's best", named to the travel + leisure® "world's best awards" list for 26 consecutive years.

In each of the last 26 years, Tauck has been honored in the Travel + Leisure "World's Best Awards," celebrating the very best in luxury tours, river cruises, hotels and more. Over nearly a century, as a family-owned travel company, our values and vision have remained true to our founding tenets – and we're extremely grateful for the recognition our guests and the industry have awarded us.

Awards & Accolades

England, Scotland & Wales

The best of the british isles.

A royal look at landmark sites and countryside gems in three storied countries. Discover the best the British Isles have to offer on this two-week journey… the pageantry, the poetry, the timeless traditions, and the wondrous landscapes.

Italian Cuisine with Olga Cuckovic

An exclusive insidetauck event.

Watch a recording of our recent insideTauck event with our resident foodie, Olga Cuckovic, for a presentation of Italian culinary magic, where she'll explore authentic dishes, the differences between regional cuisines, and unique meal and beverage customs – like why Italians don't drink cappuccino after a meal.

Remembering Normandy

As we honor the 80th anniversary of D-Day, discover the stories that define Normandy's past and present, and see how this iconic region continues to captivate visitors with a blend of wartime history, solemn memorials, cultural richness, natural beauty and culinary delights.

Land Tours & Cruises

Explore The Possibilities

tauck tours panama canal

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RIVER CRUISES

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TAUCKS EVENTS

What's Trending

Northern spain, rioja valley and madrid.

The perfect blend of art and architecture, natural beauty, historic treasures and delectable cuisine.

Switzerland

Journey into the Alps, climb mountains by cogwheel train, and stay in historic hotels in world-famous resort towns.

A Week In… Ireland

Hidden gems and must-see sights from coast to coast, including two nights at 16th-century Dromoland Castle.

Classica Italia

The perfect journey through Italy… the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Rome, Venice, and Florence.

Book Today... And Travel Dreams Begin

Discover The World

Call us, or call your travel advisor, to book your preferred departure date today – and explore our beautiful brochures to find your inspiration for your next journey.

tauck tours panama canal

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IMAGES

  1. Costa Rica & Panama Canal Cruise 2024

    tauck tours panama canal

  2. Costa Rica & Panama Canal Cruise 2024

    tauck tours panama canal

  3. Along Panama Canal and Costa Rica with Tauck Small Ship Cruising

    tauck tours panama canal

  4. Central America Tours & Vacation Packages

    tauck tours panama canal

  5. Panama Canal Full Transit Boat Tour: Triphobo

    tauck tours panama canal

  6. Costa Rica & Panama Canal Cruise

    tauck tours panama canal

COMMENTS

  1. Panama Canal Tours

    Read reviews and view photos. Book a Panama Canal tour! Full Refund Available up to 24 Hours Before Your Tour Date. Quick & Easy Purchase Process

  2. Costa Rica & Panama Canal Cruise 2024

    Embark on Tauck's 12-day Costa Rica cruise of the Panama Canal and Pacific & Caribbean islands. Experience Tauck's award-winning small ship cruises. 800-788-7885 or your travel ... Tauck Bridges family tours are designed to inspire wonder and enrich understanding. Every travel detail is taken care of so you can share experiences, and connect ...

  3. Panama Canal tour, partial review and tips

    We are on the Panama Canal Tour, beginning in Panama City, ending in San Jose, Costa Rica. The First tour on the new ship, Le Champlain. We were at an advantage from the start as we had been on the sister ship, Le Laperouse in the summer and only one of the tour directors had been on that ship. We had a mid priced state room on deck 5.

  4. The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

    100+ reviews. 80%. Download brochure. By Tauck. none. USTOA. Small Ship Cruise. Cruise along Panama and Costa Rica for a 12-day adventure aboard one of Ponant's new Explorer Class yachts, and a full transit of the Panama Canal - plus explore the ecological diversity of Panama, Costa Rica and pristine islands in the Pacific and Caribbean ...

  5. The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

    Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Tauck's 12 Day The Panama Canal & Costa Rica - Westbound. Cruise along Panama and Costa Rica for a 12-day adventure aboard one of Ponant's new Explorer Class yachts, and a full transit of the Panama Canal - plus explore the ecological diversity of Panama, Costa Rica and pristine islands in the ...

  6. The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

    Go swimming or snorkeling, land on islands via tender or Zodiac craft, visit a gold museum in San José and learn how coffee beans are harvested and brewed to perfection. Experience the pleasures of Tauck small ship cruising on a Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise! Tour begins: Panama City.

  7. The best time to cruise the Panama Canal

    The Panama Canal cruise season peaks between October and April, outside of the rainy season that can start as early as mid-March and extend into the fall. ... Tauck's Panama and Costa Rica itinerary. TAUCK/FACEBOOK. ... Ships: Cunard, Azamara, Emerald Cruises and Tauck Tours (with a chartered Ponant yacht) enter the market in January.

  8. Tauck

    Visits to Manuel Antonio National Park and Carara National Park in Costa Rica, the Darien and the San Blas Islands. Tauck's private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions valued at $3,147. 7-night cruise aboard one of Ponant's Explorer Class yacht.

  9. The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

    The Panama Canal & Costa Rica. By Tauck. Aug 22, 2022 Inside Tauck. Join us for a special inside Tauck live presentation - a fascinating talk with longtime Tauck Director Ivan Hoyos, who for 20+ years has introduced Tauck guests to the extraordinary world of nature in Panama and Costa Rica. He'll be focusing on our small ship cruise, The ...

  10. Tour

    Cruise along Panama and Costa Rica for a 12-day adventure aboard one of Ponant's new Explorer Class yachts, and a full transit of the Panama Canal – plus explore the ecological diversity of Panama, Costa Rica and pristine islands in the Pacific and Caribbean.

  11. The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

    The Panama Canal & Costa Rica - Westbound. 12 Days Panama City San Jose. Operated By: Tauck. From 14,250. Book online and enjoy exclusive savings with Global Journeys on Tauck's 12 Day The Panama Canal & Costa Rica beginning your journey in San Jose and travelling through to Panama City. 2025 season departures.

  12. Tauck Tours: The Panama Canal and Costa Rica Westbound (Tauck-PCW2023)

    The Panama Canal and Costa Rica Westbound is a 12 day tour from Tauck Tours with dates starting from $7,990. Get a quote today for the guaranteed best value & service from Atlas Cruises & Tours.

  13. The Panama Canal and Costa Rica Westbound

    Tour Operator: Tauck Tours Tour Code: Tauck-PCW2025 Number Of Days: 12 Starting Price: $8,790.00 Call Now To Speak With A Tour Expert: 800-942-3301. Dates & Prices; ... Experience the pleasures of Tauck small ship cruising on a Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise! ...

  14. costa-rica-and-panama-canal-cruise

    Tauck Director Ivan Hoyos has introduced Tauck guests to the extraordinary world of nature in Panama, Costa Rica, and the Panama Canal for 20+ years. In our special insideTauck presentation, he shares his insights into the Tauck small ship cruising experience and what makes cruising the Panama Canal with Tauck so special.

  15. Tauck Tours Panama

    Tauck Tours Panama Tauck Tours - Call Us For Outstanding Value and Service Tours Panama. Home. Tour Operators. Tauck. ... The Panama Canal & Costa Rica - Westbound 2025. 3 reviews. 12 Days: Tauck: Deluxe: Small Ship Cruising: Panama City: San Jose: Costa Rica, Panama: $9,390 View Tour. Book With Flexibility.

  16. The Panama Canal & Costa Rica

    100+ reviews. 80%. Download brochure. By Tauck. none. USTOA. Small Ship Cruise. Cruise along Panama and Costa Rica for a 12-day adventure aboard one of Ponant's new Explorer Class yachts, and a full transit of the Panama Canal - plus explore the ecological diversity of Panama, Costa Rica and pristine islands in the Pacific and Caribbean ...

  17. Escorted Tours, Small Ship and River Cruises and Family Travel

    The Yellow Roads of Europe are routes off the beaten path that bring you closer to the less-visited sights and the everyday life of the country. Explore by land, river cruises, small ship cruises, Tauck Bridges family adventures, and for the truly adventurous, small group tours. View Our Europe Tours. Destinations.