Gulf of Panama and the Panama Canal, 12/16/2022, National Geographic Quest
National Geographic Quest
Costa Rica, Panama & Colombia
Today we visited the islands of Bona and Otoque in the Gulf of Panama. Bona Island is currently uninhabited. Many decades ago, the island was home to a guano quarry operation. Today, it is on its way to becoming a wildlife refuge, thanks to the thousands of pelagic birds that nest on these rocky islands.
Later in the evening, we started our Panama Canal crossing through the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks.
Mauricio was born and raised in Panama City. He is studying at the University of Panama to obtain his bachelor’s degree in Biology and has worked on research projects collaborating with institutions like the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute an...
Today National Geographic Quest arrived at Caletas Beach in Corcovado National Park. You can see so much here in the protected forest on this peninsula. We organized groups of guests for coastal hikes and enjoyed great views of the beach and the shorelines of the Osa Peninsula. Forest hikes allowed us to experience the rainforest, and various walks were offered to guests. We saw lots of wildlife, including spider monkeys, mantled howler monkeys, and yellow-throated toucans. We returned to the boat for a delicious lunch and relocated to the entrance of Drake Bay. We explored Rio Agujitas in two rounds of Zodiac cruises. This was a highlight for many of our guests. The river was so calm and full of wildlife. We saw green kingfishers, boat-billed and yellow-crowned night herons, American crocodiles, and white-throated capuchin monkeys. We observed the towering canopy trees from the river and the forest’s vegetation, including woody lianas, climber plants, and palm trees with prop roots that anchored them to the very uneven forest floor. We returned to beautiful National Geographic Quest and celebrated the success of another great expedition.
We spent our second day at Golfo Dulce, the beautiful, pristine bay on the southwest coast of Costa Rica. We landed on Playa Blanca for an immersive experience with the “Ticos,” as Costa Ricans are called. Today we had the opportunity to experience a little bit of the Costa Rican culture. Some guests headed off to learn how chocolate and vanilla are cultivated–and eaten! Other guests learned about heart of palm, and some tried their luck with gold panning (no luck this time). While experiencing all this, we had wonderful encounters with white-faced capuchin monkeys, mantled howler monkeys, and several bird species, such as the spectacularly colorful scarlet macaws. Indeed, today was a very meaningful and complete day.