Best of Costa Rica with a Panama Twist

Price

$5,355/Couple for 7 NIGHTS

Costa Rica
The ultimate excursion of seeing two parts of Central America in 8 days. The first stop on this excursion to Costa Rica will consist of hiking through Rincon de la Vieja National park while enjoying 3 days at an all inclusive resort. Starting out day 4 you will be taking an adventurous boat ride through the rainforest and visiting an indigenous village and national marine park. Continuing this unknown journey you will fly into Panama's coral reef sanctuaries, visit Archaeological sites and the Historic District, another world heritage property, while admiring a modern engineering marvel – The Panama Canal.

Summary

Due to excellent facilities and its close proximity to scores of attractions, Liberia is an ideal stopover for many visitors. With the recent opening of the Daniel Oduber Quiróz International Airport, the once sleepy cowboy town of Liberia is undergoing comprehensive metamorphosis as it transitions from old colonial town to modern-day tourism hub. Liberia's international airport, Costa Rica's second, serves famed destinations on Costa Rica's Guanacaste coast and Nicoya Peninsula.

Playa Hermosa, which means "beautiful" in Spanish, is an aptly named gray-sand beach that perches between two mountains. In fact there are two Playa Hermosas, the other being in the Central Pacific Coast near Jaco. Guanacaste's Playa Hermosa is situated between Playa del Coco and Playa Panama, Hermosa is seldom as crowded as its neighbors. It is a fabulous getaway for those seeking quality relaxation. Most visitors bring a blanket and sunscreen to soak up Guanacaste's burning sun, and due to its calm surf, Hermosa is a favorite for swimmers.

Isla Colon, named after Italian explorer Christopher Columbus whom, overwhelmed by the most incredible contrasts of vivid color and sheer unspoiled natural surroundings, decided to drop anchor and immerse in this heavenly place. Not much has changed since then. Bocas is the best place to sink your toes in the white sand, to explore lush tropical rainforests and coral reefs and to look for the faithful sea turtles that have come to these islands for millennia.

Tocumen International Airport is a regional hub for commercial flights heading to and from The Caribbean, South America, North America and Central America (also, the European cities of Frankfurt, Madrid and Amsterdam are served). It is one of the few airports in the region that has two landing runways able to serve the largest commercial aircraft operating today. Common airliners at the airport include Boeing 737s, Embraer 190s and Airbus A320s. The largest passenger aircraft flying to/from the airport are the Airbus A340 and the Boeing 777 flown by Iberia Airlines and KLM, respectively.

Day to Day Itinerary

DAY #1

LIBERIA AIRPORT (LIR) PICK-UP WITH TRANSFER TO PLAYA POTRERO
CHECK-IN AT SUGAR BEACH HOTEL (3-NIGHTS)

DAY #2

RINCON DE LA VIEJA NATIONAL PARK HIKE - WORLD HERITAGE SITE
LIBERIA CITY TOUR

DAY #3

LEISURE AT HOTEL

DAY #4

TRANSFER TO AIRPORT
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT TO BOCAS DEL TORO (PANAMA)
ISLA COLON AIRPORT (BOC) PICK-UP WITH TRANSFER TO BOCAS INN
CHECK-IN AT BOCAS INN HOTEL (2-NIGHTS)
BOCAS DEL DRAGO TOUR

DAY #5

BASTIMENTO MARINE NATIONAL PARK

DAY #6

TRANSFER TO AIRPORT
DOMESTIC FLIGHT TO PANAMA CITY
ALBROOK AIRPORT (PAC) PICK-UP WITH TRANSFER TO HOTEL
CHECK-IN AT HOLIDAY INN - CLAYTON (2-NIGHTS)

DAY #7

ARCHEOLOGICAL RUINS & HISTORIC DISTRICT - WORLD HERITAGE SITE
MIRAFLORES VISITOR CENTER

DAY #8

TRANSFER TO AIRPORT

Activities

Spanning 14,084 hectares (34,800 acres), Rincon de La Vieja National Park (World Heritage Site) is filled with a wide range of natural wonders that includes nine volcanic craters, pristine tropical forests, waterfalls, and hot springs. The park extends over six life zones, and not surprisingly, has a huge amount of biodiversity. You will have the opportunity to spot such creatures as howler monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and even pumas. Your naturalist guide will help to interpret and inform as you hike along the park's trails, ensuring an exciting and educational day spent in one of Costa Rica's most magnificent national parks. A SERIES OF ERUPTIONS AROUND THE CRATER OF RINCON DE LA VIEJA VOLCANO HAS CREATED A SAFETY HAZARD FOR VISITORS WISHING TO HIKE TO THE CRATER. PERHAPS STABILITY WILL RETURN TO THIS ACTIVE VOLCANO BUT UNTIL THEN NO HIKERS ARE ALLOWED NEAR THE CRATER.

Start the adventure with a boat ride around Colon Island to Bocas Del Drago. We will visit Swan's Cay, a rock protruding from the depths of the Caribbean Sea, which serves as rookery for Red-billed tropic birds (the only place to be found in Panama) and Brown boobies. You will enjoy the beach at Bocas Del Drago in search for colorful giant starfish along the coastline.

Panama's first marine national park. You reach Salt Creek by navigating through clusters of Red Mangroves, which provide sea creatures with a protective area during their reproductive and development stages. Enjoy a walk along Caiman trail. This trail takes you through several stages of lowland forest dynamics. Here, we will look for birds such as Red-throated Ant Tanager and Golden-collared Manakin. An older tract of rainforest has tall trees that provide life to birds such as the Three-wattled Bellbird and Green-breasted Mango. After the hike, enjoy a visit to the Ngobe Bugle indigenous community where we will have a chance to enjoy lunch, learn about their culture and purchase handcrafts such as painted woodcarvings and handbags. Snorkel among mangroves and coral reefs, searching for numerous fish species, as well as dynamic and brightly colored sea fans, sponges and brittle starfish.

This World Heritage Site is defined by two properties, the Archaeological sites of Old Panama and the Historic District (aka "Casco Viejo"). Old Panama is the oldest European settlement in the Pacific Coast of the Americas (established in 1519 by Spain). It was laid out on a rectilinear grid and marks the transference from Europe of the idea of a planned town. Abandoned in the mid-17th century, it was replaced four miles west of its original location by a 'new town' (the 'Historic District'), which has also preserved its original street plan, its architecture and an unusual mixture of Spanish, French and early American styles. Its massive historic sea wall built in the 1670s to defend the city from attack by the pirates still stands. Today it is one of the most important historical monuments in the Americas. The streets are filled with buildings that served as homes, cathedrals and churches and government buildings over centuries and many architectural phases. Some of these structures have been painstakingly restored and now house museums, gourmet restaurants, quaint shops and upscale residences offering an excellent peek into the varied history that the district has experienced.

The Panama Canal Visitor Center is an expression of the permanent commitment of the Panama Canal Authority to strengthen the public's knowledge of the Canal. Located on the east side of the Miraflores Locks, the Center allows the visitor to observe transiting vessels from a distance of only a few meters and learn firsthand about the various operations of the Panama Canal, the history of its construction, its participation in the world markets, and the importance of its watershed. The center features an ample, fully equipped theater, three observation terraces, two snack bars and restaurant with panoramic view, a gift shop, and a hall for special events. Four exhibition halls constitute the heart of this Visitor Center. The exhibitions include historic pieces, interactive modules, video presentations, models of the Panama Canal, and objects used in Canal operations. The History Hall portrays the background, technological innovations, and sanitary initiatives that went hand in hand with the construction of the Canal. This exhibition hall honors the hundreds of men and women who made this achievement possible. The Hall of Water: Source of Life emphasizes the importance of water, conservation of the environment and biodiversity, protection of the Canal Watershed, and the Panama Canal Authority's commitment to the sustainable management of this resource and the interoceanic region. The Canal in Action depicts in an amusing manner how the Canal operates and allows us the experience of being inside a navigation simulator and one of the lock culverts. A virtual ocean-to-ocean transit is also made possible through the use of a topographical model. This exhibition showcases Canal improvement, modernization, and maintenance projects. The Canal in the World provides information on the importance of the Canal to world trade; describes the trade routes it serves; and identifies its main users, the various types of vessels that transit the waterway, and the commodities they carry. In addition, it presents an overview of studies conducted in order to guarantee the future competitiveness of the Canal and the benefits to the Republic of Panama.

Tour Highlights

  • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF 100% GUIDED ACTIVITIES
  • EXPERIENCE THE STUNNING ARCHITECTURES OF HISTORIC DISTRICTS AND FORTRESSES
  • LEARN ABOUT THE FASCINATING CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE REGION
  • NESTLE DOWN THE SIDES OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
  • JOURNEY ALONG THE BREATHTAKING WATERS OF GREAT RIVERS WHILE VISITING MARINE SANCTUARIES
  • LOOK OFF THE BOW FOR WHALES, DOLPHINS, FLYFISH, SEA TURTLES
  • ENJOY OF BOTH CARIBBEAN SEA AND PACIFIC OCEAN BREEZES AND ADMIRE ITS COASTLINES
  • EXPLORE LUSH TROPICAL RAINFOREST AND CORAL REEFS
  • VISIT THE 8TH WONDER OF THE WORLD: THE PANAMA CANAL

Lodging

Hotel Sugar Beach

Hotel Sugar Beach is on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the Guanacaste Province, a Northwestern region of Costa Rica. The beach, Playa Pan de Azucar, remains secluded and pristine. Nature is all around, the sounds of birds, and the sea create a sense of awareness and relaxation. 1 Honeymoon Suite, sleeps 2. Kings Size Bed, Private Balcony.

Bocas Inn

Bocas Inn, listed among the top 20 destinations in Mexico and Central America by Outside Magazine's Travelers edition, is situated up in Isla Colón (Columbus Island). This charming family lodge located on the water's edge of the Island, hosts seven comfortable air-conditioned bedrooms with private bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, an open air dining hall, a sun deck, a hammock balcony and spectacular local food specialties making Bocas Inn a favorite among visitors to this Caribbean destination. Cold beers and tropical drinks are always present at the Akee Bar. The lodge is located only 5 minutes from the Bocas airport and in walking distance to local restaurants, souvenir shops, bars and parks.

Holiday Inn – City of Knowledge

Holiday Inn – City of Knowledge is located in what was formerly known as Fort Clayton, headquarters to the US Army Southern Command now relocated to Fort Buchanan (Puerto Rico), sits just minutes away from some of the best attractions and businesses in Panama including the Panama Canal, the Albrook Shopping Center (with free shuttle service from our hotel), and the Chagres National Park.

Transportation

Private transport service offers a safe, convenient, and flexible way to travel anywhere within Costa Rica. Private transport can be scheduled anytime you wish and from any airport, hotel, private home or identifiable landmark in Costa Rica. All the vehicles used for private transportation are air conditioned, well-maintained minibuses (passenger vans) driven by reliable and punctual Costa Rican professionals, who are eager to help your group move safely about the country.

Not Included

  • MEALS (U.N.O.)
  • INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE
  • GRATUITIES
  • HOTEL EXTRAS

What to Bring

  • Binoculars (preferably 7x35 or bigger, also available for purchase at FTS online store)
  • Camera with extra batteries & film
  • Flashlight with extra bulb & batteries
  • Insect repellant, Sunscreen, bathing suit
  • Hat, Day pack / dry sack
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
  • Sandals, sneakers / hiking boots
  • Long pants, Rain gear, Windbreaker
  • Money in small denominations
  • Toiletries & personal medications

What to Expect

Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the finest in the eco-tourism industry. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:

  • Naturalist guide/Tour leader: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
  • Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
  • Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
  • Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase
  • International airport bellmen (red caps): US$1.00 per piece of suitcase
  • Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to tidal/weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.
  • Weight restrictions apply to luggage in domestic flights as follows: each passenger is allowed 1 bag of up to 25 lbs. (11 kg) per person. Carry-on luggage is limited to 10 lbs. passenger (4.5 kg).
  • Passengers are responsible for excess baggage fees and are subject to US$1.00 per extra pound and only allowed depending on flight occupancy.
  • Free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to a foreign country.
  • It allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.
  • Provides routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • We encourage you to enroll before boarding your flight by visiting https://step.state.gov/step/.
  • Travel protection is the unique combination of insurance benefits and assistance services specifically designed to help protect travelers.
  • Coverage benefits can include Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical/Dental Coverage, Emergency Medical Transportation, Travel Delay, Baggage Delay, Baggage Coverage, and Accidental Death.
  • Travel protection insures your prepaid and nonrefundable tickets, accommodations and other travel expenses, in case you miss your trip for a covered reason.
  • There are many covered reasons for cancelling a trip; however, the most common is an injury or illness. For example, a family is planning a summer vacation and a week before the trip, a close relative is admitted to the hospital with a life-threatening illness. The family could file a claim for any prepaid, nonrefundable expenses or other costs associated with a change or cancellation of their vacation plans.
  • While you can buy travel insurance up until the day before you depart, we recommend you purchase as early as possible to receive the maximum benefits if you have to cancel your travel arrangements for a covered reason.
  • Travel protection policy coverage generally starts at 12:01 A.M. on the day the scheduled trip begins. Therefore, travel protection cannot be purchased after that time.
  • FTS can only recommend the services of companies that provide top-quality coverage and impeccable customer service to our clients. You may purchase your policy directly by contacting Allianz Travel Insurance at http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/.