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Pura Vida in Panamá and Costa Rica


Berit Elvejord, UnCruise Adventures

Step on board the Safari Voyager and experience the ultimate way to explore Costa Rica and Panamá on the Unveiled Wonders: Costa Rica & Panama Canal itinerary.

Upon your arrival in San José, you’ll get your first taste of pura vida.

The ubiquitous phrase translates literally as “pure life,” but extends into a Costa Rican hello or goodbye, an expression that life is good, and a way to show thanks or appreciation for life.

From day one, the search for pura vida begins, as you arrive in the capital city San José and travel to Caldera Port where the Safari Voyager awaits.

The first half of your expedition begins as each day you discover tropical wildlife throughout a national park, wildlife refuge and a conservation area.

In Curú National Wildlife Refuge at the southeastern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, you can hike with local guides through the remote tropical forest and encounter howler and spider monkeys. Later that day the turquoise waters off of Isla Tortuga beckon for you to snorkel, kayak, and paddle board

Continue your hikes through the jungle at the Osa Conservation Area, which hosts all four Costa Rican monkeys, sixteen different hummingbird species, and thousands of insects.

Monkey hanging out in tree

These species, alongside hundreds of distinct species of plants and trees on the Osa Peninsula, culminate into 2.5 percent of the entire world’s biodiversity is found in an area that only covers 700 square miles!

The Osa Peninsula is separated from the mainland by the Golfo Dulce, one of only four tropical fjords on the planet.

The second half of your pura vida adventure starts in this birdwatchers paradise. Stroll through the botanical gardens rich with toucans, hummingbirds, and butterflies, or explore the rare flora and fauna of mangroves via kayak and skiff.

As you cross into the Panamá waters, you’ll enter the second national park of this journey, Isla Coiba.

Plan to picnic in the white sand beaches of the islet Granito de Oro, where you also get the chance to snorkel at one of the world’s top ten diving sites. Watch for the fish, eels and turtles in the water and invoke Costa Rica’s pura vida as you spend the day on this volcanic outcropping.

Snorkeling in Panama

It will be captain’s choice as you wind your way past islands in the Gulf of Panamá. You might stop at one island’s enormous colony of pelicans and blue-footed boobies, or on Teboga, which houses the second oldest Catholic church in the hemisphere.

Eventually you’ll reach the shimmering lights of Panamá City as the Safari Voyager begins the 48-mile passage of the Panamá Canal.

Your final night on board includes a farewell dinner and a slideshow celebrating the fantastic experiences you’ve had the past week.

Before the morning’s disembarkation in Colón and your return to Panamá City, you’ll have the chance to reminisce on your adventures and take home the memories of pura vida.

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