Panama Canal to the Costa Rican Highlands: A Central American Odyssey on National Geographic Quest
Panama To Costa Rica + Monteverde, Arenal Volcano & Tortuguero
See what it means to travel expedition-style
An extraordinary, holistic expedition
Experience all the wildness and beauty of Costa Rica and Panama on a sweeping adventure through the canal, along the coasts, and inland to a mist-shrouded cloud forest, volcano, lake, and a car-free, jungle village. On this expedition you’ll:
- Explore the Pacific and Caribbean sides of Costa Rica, inland rain forests, mountains, and see wonderful wildlife
- Transit the Panama Canal, with an exclusive visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute at Barro Colorado Island
- Kayak, snorkel, swim, hike—actively explore every day
- Hike through the mist-shrouded cloud forest reserve in Monteverde and enjoy great bird watching
- Walk suspension bridges in the dense forest surrounding Arenal Volcano and relax in nearby hot springs
- Visit the remote, car-less town of Tortuguero and venture through rain-forest-shrouded canals in small boats.
Exhilarating coastal adventures
First explore aboard the versatile National Geographic Quest, with a variety of expedition tools. You’ll walk in the rain forest, kayak through mangrove forests, search for whales and dolphins in an expedition landing craft, and transit the Panama Canal—a modern wonder of the world. Snorkel at Isla Coiba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the best reefs in the Eastern Pacific.
An extensive inland exploration
Following your expedition, travel to dramatic Monteverde cloud forest for naturalist-guided walks in the rain forest reserve. Walk suspension bridges along Arenal Volcano, active since 1968. Visit a family owned, third-generation coffee farm with a chance to pick coffee cherries during a tour of the grounds. Drive to Lake Arenal, which we cross in small boats.
Wild Tortuguero: The Caribbean coast
After a short charter flight and a lake crossing by private boat, you’ll find yourself in remote, wild Tortuguero National Park. Stay in a rustic lodge at the water's edge, wander the narrow streets of the car-free village where the rain forest pushes in from all sides. Experience the wildness on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica by venturing into the narrow canals that let us navigate deep into the park in search of monkeys, caiman, and tropical birds.
Travel with an exceptional team
Explore with the largest, most knowledgeable expedition team in the region. With one naturalist for every 12 guests, you’re ensured more access and varied points of view. With no assigned groups, you are free to experience the different personalities and specialties of our staff. They know these trails and coastlines well, adding insight, depth, and clarity to each landing. Our naturalists are adept at spotting wildlife and our photo instructors will help you with camera settings in the jungle and aboard ship. Their enthusiasm for the region and its biodiversity is contagious.
- Adventure and Active
- National Parks and Preserves
- Safari, Animals, and Wildlife
When she rolled out of Nichols Brothers shipyard and into the bay on Whidbey Island, the 100-guest National Geographic Quest became the third ship in the Lindblad fleet built at this storied Pacific Northwest shipyard. In the 1970s, Nichols Brothers built the twin ships National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion, which continue to sail the waters of the west coast of North America and Central America.
National Geographic Quest was purpose-built to explore the fast-moving channels and narrow straits of Alaska, along the coast of Costa Rica, and into the gray whale nursery lagoons of Baja, her design and engineering informed by our nearly 40 years of experience in these regions. Her twin boarding platforms, for example, were suggested by a veteran staffer. Enabling our team to load two Zodiacs at once means guests get off the ship quickly to take advantage of wildlife sightings and maximize exploring time.
Larger than her siblings Sea Bird and Sea Lion, Quest has the same shallow draft, allowing her captain to navigate the same inner reaches and provide the same intimate, "insider" experiences in these charismatic regions. Modern cleaned-lined, with large expanses of glass to keep you connected to the extraordinary views, National Geographic Quest enables you to see, do, and experience the best of her geographies.
Lindblad Expeditions goes to the most amazing places on the planet—40+ geographies in all. And they’ve planted a flag in many of them, deeply committing to remote wild places—like South Georgia and the Falklands; Patagonia, where they opened up Staten Island, ‘the island at the end of the world,’ for eco-tourism; and remote and beautiful regions of Polynesia, including the Marquesas Islands where few go.
Teams that do whatever it take ...
|1||U.S. / Panama City, Panama / Colón/Embark|
|2||Gatún Lake / Panama Canal Transit|
|3||Gulf of Panama Islets|
|4||Coiba National Park, Panama|
|5||Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica|
|7||Corcovado National Park|
|8||Puerto Caldera / Monteverde|
|9-10||Monteverde / Arenal|
|11-12||Arenal / Tortuguero|
|13-14||Tortuguero / San José|
|15||San José / Home|