Best Time For A Costa Rica & Panama Expedition Cruise
The best time to cruise to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama is between December and April, which are the countries’ dry seasons, though temperatures and humidity are high year-round. It is during this time that cruisers will find the most sunshine and the driest conditions inside the rainforests. During the wet season, June and July are better months as the rain is not as frequent, but the forests are vibrant with new foliage. The Caribbean coast is rainy all year long, though more sporadic during the “dry” season.
Costa Rica Tours By Land & Lodges
Costa Rica tours and land-based adventures are the traditional way to explore Costa Rica and have worked well for millions of travelers. Land-based tours offer flexibility and a wide range of styles and accommodations to fit any budgetsome of the worlds first and finest eco lodges are located in Costa Rica. AdventureSmith offers a number of land-based tours that are built around small groups, independent travelers and customized itineraries. Each has advantages and will appeal to different travel styles.
Costa Rica & Panama Cruise Tips
Bring bug spray. Don’t forget the bug spray at home and slather it on whenever you head out into the rainforest, especially during the rainy season The area can have mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue and Zika make sure your spray has DEET. With so much of an expedition cruise’s activities located near or on the water , it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Stay hydrated. Central America is hot and humid, all year long. And being in the rainforest makes the heat and humidity seem even stronger. Always have at least one bottle of water with you when you leave your ship and keep sipping from it, especially if you’re hiking or kayaking or doing anything else physically strenuous.
Follow instructions. Most of the places you’ll visit on a Costa Rica & Panama expedition cruise are untamed and there is lots that can hurt you . Your expedition guides know exactly how to keep you safe, so follow any and all instructions and you should be just fine.
Bring a disposable underwater camera. Much of the activity on a Costa Rica & Panama expedition cruise centers around water activities from kayaking to snorkeling. If you don’t have an underwater camera or waterproof case for your phone, invest in a disposable underwater camera before your cruise so you can capture some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll see during your journey.
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Helpful Tips Before You Go
With Costa Rica’s many beaches and rainforests to explore, you will want to pack accordingly for this tropical paradise. It shouldnt be a surprise to hear it rains a considerable amount in Costa Rica. However our cruises sail to Costa Rica during the dry season from October to March, so you wont have to worry about any summer downpours during your vacation. To be safe, you may want to pack waterproof shoes and jackets anyway, just in case you get wet at some point.
Bring swimsuits appropriate for lounging on the beach and enduring in any water sports, such as surfing those famous Costa Rica waves. Pack comfortable closed-toe shoes for exploration, not just flip flops or sandals. These will especially come in handy on certain shore excursions, such as hiking or ziplining the rainforests of Costa Rica. Dont head for your cruise to Costa Rica without proper sunscreen, strong bug spray and a solid camera for capturing Costa Ricas landscape and wildlife.
Its always smart to carry local currency when traveling internationally, which in this case is Colones, but dont stress too much about exchanging it all beforehand. US dollars are readily accepted in Costa Rica and can be used in majority of touristic destinations, such as our Puntarenas and Puerto Limon cruise ports.
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How To Get To Costa Rica
Costa Rica has two international airports for those who want to fly into the country, San Jose and Daniel Oduber. San Jose is the larger of the two and receives flights from the U.S.A and Europe, it is an hour and a half to two-hour drive from there to Caldera Port and Punta Arenas where cruises depart from. Daniel Oduber is a little further away, around a 3 hour drive and does not have as many scheduled flights. Most of the flights here are from the USA.
Where do Costa Rica cruises depart from?
Many Costa Rica cruises depart from Caldera and Arenas ports near San Jose offering easy access from both of the international airports. There are also a few catamarans that leave from Herradura, particularly those going to Tortuga Island. Some cruises will take guests from Costa Rica to Panama or vice versa. Panama and Costa Rica cruises starting in Panama depart from Flamenco Marina near Panama City. Cruises from Costa Rica, on the other hand, will begin in San Jose. From the airports to the ports it is possible to take a taxi but much more cost effective to book a shared shuttle bus in advance.
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Cruises With Stops In Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s tropical wildlife is one of its major attractions.
When taking a cruise of the Caribbean, consider one that has a stop in Costa Rica an island rich in natural beauty. Cruises with stops in Costa Rica generally fall into one of two categories: Panama Canal voyages with major cruise lines that depart from the United States, and sailing cruises in the Central America and Caribbean region offered by luxury boutique cruise lines. Such itineraries include ports on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, Pacific coast or both.
Search For Exotic Species In Carara National Park
Have you ever seen a kinkajou? How about an agouti or coati? Youll have a high chance of spotting at least one of those exotic animals at Carara National Park. The park consists mostly of primary rainforest, so its one of the most biodiverse areas in the country. More than 150 types of birds live here, too, and the best way to see them is to slowly move through the forest on foot with a guide who can help you spot them.
The park is next to the Tarcoles River, which offers another chance to see the best nature in Costa Rica. Plan to take a motorboat down the river, which twists and turns through a mangrove jungle. Youll likely spot iguanas, macaws, and crocodiles, since the Tarcoles River has the highest crocodile population in Costa Rica.
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The Perfect Way To Travel
If youre looking for an incredible way to explore not only Costa Rica, but several other countries in Central America, a cruise is the best choice for your next Costa Rica vacation! A cruise allows you to relax in luxury while you travel from place to place. There are two primary ports in Costa Rica. From either of them you can enjoy many different Costa Rica shore excursions and experience the lush rainforests, beautiful beaches and exciting adventure tours!
There are two main ports in Costa Rica, Puerto Caldera and Puerto Limon. Depending on the Costa Rica Cruise you choose you might make some small stops to other ports and harbors in and around Costa Rica. Popular stops include San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, Playas del Coco, Quepos, Drake Bay, and Golfito.
Meet Costa Ricas Wildlife
Botanical Garden and Rescue Center
You dont need to venture miles into the jungle to get up close with wildlife like sloths, iguanas, monkeys, and deer. Just plan to visit the Botanical Garden and Rescue Center, which serves as a haven for wildlife injured or displaced due to farming, hunting, or habitat loss.
The center takes in animals that need help and provides vet care and medical attention. Once the animals are healthy and well, the staff at the center continue to keep them engaged with mental health activities, enrichment and games, and opportunities to express their natural behaviors.
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Costa Rica Small Ship Cruise Travel Guides
What are the top 10 reasons to visit Costa Rica? How do you choose your Costa Rica small ship cruise? What tips help make for happy kids in the rainforest? Let AdventureSmiths
experience sailing Costa Rica provide expert insights for your dream Costa Rica cruise. Our travel guides are a resource for you to experience Costa Rica in a way few others have.
When considering travel to Costa Rica, how should one choose their small ship cruise? Or instead opt for a land-based tour? This Costa Rica travel guide outlines the differences and similarities of exploring Costa Rica by land, sea or both.
From animals and beaches to its people and guides, our experts detail the best of Costa Rica. If you need another reason to visit Costa Rica, read this list.
The family travel experts at AdventureSmith have compiled these top 8 tips for travel in the rainforest with kids.
Love is in the air as our experts highlight the hottest romantic small ship cruises. Whether you are looking for a honeymoon cruise, anniversary cruise or just a romantic getaway, lovers of all kinds will appreciate these small ships cruises worldwide.
Spot Wildlife In The Costa Rican Amazon
Stretching across nearly 77,000 acres of land are the Tortuguero Canals, located in Tortuguero National Park. Owing to the wide human-made and natural canals, maze-like pattern they form, and extensive biodiversity around the waterways, the canals are often called the Amazon of Costa Rica. Theyre one of the best places to visit if you want to be in the heart of Costa Ricas nature.
The best way to see the canals is via pontoon boat. A guide can help you spot marine-based wildlife like crabs and turtles, crocodiles, eels, and sometimes even manatees. Keep your eyes focused on the treeline, too, as you could see any number of animals like sloths, monkeys, snakes, macaws, or even the elusive jaguar.
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Custom Guided Tours In Costa Rica
Over the past 10 years we have seen a dramatic increase in the demand for custom tours. Travelers are often attracted to small group tours but perhaps the dates dont work, or they want to upgrade accommodations or change the itinerary. Our Costa Rica experts work with each client to create the perfect tour based on their interests, ability and budget. Custom tours can vary from simple and affordable to extravagant and luxurious. They can be as active or as relaxed as you wish. Custom tours typically include a guide throughout the itinerary but can also be arranged with independent transfers combined with local guides in each region.
Costa Rica & Panama Itineraries
Most cruise itineraries in the Costa Rica & Panama region spend time in both countries starting in one and ending in the other, and including a full transit of the Panama Canal, though UnCruise Adventures also offers sailings that concentrate solely on each country.
Sailings are usually seven nights with an extra night tacked on pre- or post-cruise . Other than embarkation and debarkation day, Lindblad and UnCruise do not dock in any ports, instead using inflatable boats to get back and forth from the ship to all land stops. Windstar and Variety on the other hand occasionally dock rather than take a skiff to shore.
In addition to the visit to must-visit Manuel Antonio, other stops offered by all four lines include the Osa Peninsula, Golfo Dulce and the Gulf of Panama Islets.
Lindblad, UnCruise and Variety add a visit to Panama’s Coiba National Park, while UnCruise and Variety also stop at the Curu Wildlife Reserve on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica and, depending on the itinerary, the Embera native village in the Darien region of Panama. UnCruise and Windstar spend a day in Panama’s Pearl Islands Archipelago.
Windstar includes a day of water fun near Isla Parida in Panama.
Of the four lines, UnCruise is the only one to offer an itinerary that sails only in Costa Rica and another than sails only in Panama .
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Best Time To Cruise In Costa Rica
There are two main seasons in Costa Rica the wet and dry season with a little wiggle room in between. Costa Rica in January to April is dry and perfect for exploring, most of the island is accessible and sea conditions are great. This is also the time of the year when Costa Rica experiences the highest volume of visitors so it is wise to plan ahead and book your trip as early as possible, especially if you are visiting during school holidays. If you are looking for a quieter time of year then head to Costa Rica in May and June, it is a little wetter in the evenings but if you want the place to yourself this is the time to go. In July and August the weather will be quite a bit wetter but if you want to see nesting sea turtles, then thousands of them are passing by throughout this period.
Vessel Will Need To Complete Strict Health Requirements
Opening the country for cruise ship passengers is one thing doing this safely is another thing. Costa Rica was one of the first countries to close down its ports in 2019 however, the country did open up for land-based tourism earlier this year.
In June, the country saw almost 120,000 arrivals at the airports. For cruise ships, the passengers will need to be fully vaccinated before they arrive, though.
The country has told the visiting cruise line that 100% of the crew members on board need to be fully vaccinated and 95% of all guests on board. The full vaccination path will allow guests to enjoy the country by themselves instead of staying in a bubble while visiting.
Guests will also need to fill in a health declaration 72 hours before arrival. The first cruise ship expected to arrive in the country will be from Windstar Cruises, expected to arrive on September 2 the country will focus on smaller luxury vessels first before larger ships come to the country.
Gustavo J. Segura, Minister of Tourism:
During the first phase of this reopening, most cruise ships will be luxury and accommodate smaller capacities of passengers, such as the Lindbland . The first cruise ship to arrive will be the Windstar line on Sept. 2 in Golfito with approximately 150 passengers on board.
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Cruises To Puerto Limon
Puerto Limón is known for its multi-cultural community and a festive annual carnaval celebration. In recent years the area has become even better known as must-see stop for eco-tourists. The region’s unique geography and neo-tropical climate combined with abundant rainforests make for one of the most naturally diverse “biospheres” in the world. And you can take advantage of national parks and reserves in all directions from Limón. Pay close attention when you dock as many guests have reported seeing peaceful sloths lumbering in the trees right in port!
Costa Rica Small Ship Cruises
In recent years a number of small ships have been added to Costa Rica, offering another option for exploring this natural paradise. Large cruise ships have long visited Costa Rica, but these are limited to major ports and day trips from these ports. Small ships are able to explore off the ship, away from port, offering access to regions of Costa Rica that are not accessible to even the most intrepid travelers.
Many Costa Rica small ship cruises also include visits to Panama and transit from Panama to Costa Rica or reverse. This makes sense since the coastlines of Panama and Costa Rica are connected and share similar environments. But this also means that you will spend less time in Costa Rica than on a land tour.
The hallmark of a small ship cruise in Costa Rica is the ability to explore off the ship, away from port.
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Cruises To Costa Rica From Florida Review
Cruises to Costa Rica allow visitors to explore the many wonders of Puerto Limon, the capital city of one of the provinces of this Central American country located in the Caribbean Sea. As a stop on many Western Caribbean cruises, Costa Rica offers a diverse landscape and various shore excursions that will only add to the memories of your vacation.
Most cruise lines that offer cruises to Costa Rica depart from Fort Lauderdale. Princess has a 10-day roundtrip, with stops in Aruba, Cartagena, Columbia, the Panama Canal, Colon, Panama and the Cayman Islands. Holland America offers various itineraries, including a 14-day excursion that goes through the Panama Canal and Celebrity offers 11-nights from Ft. Lauderdale with stops in Cartagena, Colon, Roatan and Cozumel as well. Ft. Lauderdale is also the departure point for cruises to Costa Rica from Cunard, who offer a Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles cruise.
Walk Down Paseo De Los Turistas
This beachfront boulevard runs around the southern border of the town. Cruise ships make trips to the dock and go in end of the road, and a variety of souvenir shops and casual eateries known as kioscos are there to welcome guests.
Their main specialty is the Churchill, a strange dessert combination of condensed milk, syrup, and chopped fruit, which acquired its name in the 1940s from a man who frequently bought it and looked like the British prime minister.
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Adventure Cruises In Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests and coastline host one of the most bio-diverse regions in ‘Manuel Antonio National Park’. A nature lovers paradise.
In Costa Rica, cruises offer travellers the chance to explore more secluded spots of the beautiful coastline. The Costa Rican coast is home to a number of excellent national parks and wildlife refuges. These parks are home to huge tropical rainforests and a range of wildlife such as monkeys, lizards and parrots. These rainforests are predominantly dry which makes them ideal for hiking and photography.A great number of people also cruise Costa Rica for the calm, clear coral rich waters.
Costa Rica is a watersports haven with excellent marine life and coral reefs for snorkelling and scuba diving with fish and turtles aplenty. Paddleboarding and kayaking are also very popular, offering guests the chance to get into the less accessible spots. If relaxing is more your style, then you can take a seat on one of the long quiet beaches and enjoy the sunset while sipping a drink on the deck.