Flexibility is a hallmark of our expeditions

More avenues for exploration give you the most interesting options. Explore mountains, tropical rain forests, and idyllic islands. Learn about the abundant wildlife residing here. Combine all this wildness with a transit of the legendary Panama Canal—aboard National Geographic Quest. While the routing below outlines what you’ll do, we will always remain flexible in our approach to take advantage of sightings and opportunities for discovery.


  • DAY 1: U.S./Panama City, Panama/Colón/Embark

    Upon arrival in Colón, transfer by land to Panama City and embark our ship National Geographic Quest. (D)

  • DAY 2: Gatún Lake/Panama Canal Transit

    By special arrangement, National Geographic Quest will anchor in Gatun Lake near the Barro Colorado Nature Monument overnight. Today, choose hikes and Zodiac cruises at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute facility on Barro Colorado Island, or take a boat ride to the mouth of the Chagres River and hike on the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center trails. This evening, continue through the complex lock system of the canal. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 3: Gulf of Panama Islets

    Today, explore the tiny islets of the Gulf of Panama by Zodiac or kayak. Here we might spot frigatebirds, brown pelicans, neotropical cormorants, and brown boobies. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 4: Coiba National Park, Panama

    Our last stop in Panama this morning is at the remote Isla Coiba, one of the many islands of Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once a penal colony, the island has long been protected and accessible by special permit only. Among its many endemic species are the Coiba Island agouti and the mantled howler monkey, as well as four varieties of sea turtle. Discover rich marine life while snorkeling, go kayaking or hiking, try stand-up paddleboarding, or simply relax on the beach. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 5: Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

    Spend the day exploring the mangrove-fringed Golfo Dulce, on Costa Rica’s southwest coast. Visit Casa Orquídeas, a tropical paradise of ornamental palms, bromeliads, heliconias, and orchids, closed to the general public and reached by boat only. Keep your eye out for tanagers, parrots, and toucans. Later, explore the placid bay, ideal for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, Zodiac rides, and swimming. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 6: Osa Peninsula

    Go ashore in the pristine waters of Playa Blanca. Head inland to meet and share with inspiring local families living in remote communities and working with cocoa, heart of palm, and sugar cane. Hike mature rain forest or kayak in peaceful waters in Golfo Dulce. In the evening, enjoy a beautiful sunset.

  • DAY 7: Corcovado National Park

    Anchor off the Osa Peninsula to see some of the most pristine lowland rain forest on the Pacific coast. In the environs of Corcovado National Park, swim in waterfall pools, take an optional horseback ride on the coast, or trek through the rain forest for a chance to see three species of monkeys—howler, spider and capuchin. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 8: Puerto Caldera/Monteverde

    Disembark and transfer to bird watch and search for American crocodiles. Later, visit the Bat Jungle exhibit or hear from an early Quaker settler. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 9-10: Monteverde/Arenal

    Enjoy a visit to a butterfly farm and a tour of the Monteverde reserve. Get a new perspective on the region as you sail across Lake Arenal. Check into your hotel and relax in the naturally heated pools. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 11-12: Arenal/Tortuguero

    Walk the Arenal Hanging Bridges, strung through two miles of dense rain forest canopy. Then, a charter flight will bring us to Tortuguero, a spectacular lowland forest on Costa Rica’s northeast coast. Tour the wildlife-rich canals of Tortuguero National Park in small, guided boats. Later, check into a rustic lodge at the water’s edge for dinner. (B,L,D)

Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

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