Costa Rica & Panamá Experience Guide
One of the 20 most biologically diverse countries in the world, Costa Rica alone is home to around 4% of the earth’s total species. Add in the thousands of species of plants, mammals, and birds found in Panamá, and it’s easy to see just how vital these countries’ habitats are.
Both Costa Rica and Panamá are relatively small in size—just under 20,000 square miles and just over 29,000 square miles, respectively. And narrow Panamá is only 110 miles at its widest point. Despite their small geographic footprint, both countries have dramatically changing landscapes, reaching from the shores of the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, to volcanic peaks that tower above 10,000 feet.
Not far from the equator, the warm tropical climate nurtures the rich tapestry of life… making for an inviting and adventurous exploration.
Both the Dry and the Green seasons offer much to see in Costa Rica and Panamá. While the “Green” season is characterized by more rain, it is important to note that in the rainforest environments, rain can happen in any season. So close to the equator, the two countries are situated between about 7 degrees and 10 degrees north and temperatures change very little from month to month.
A variety of wildlife and natural interactions are possible anytime of year, while some occur with the changing seasons. From whales to birds, this region is known as a migration crossroads. Our chart offers some insight into what Mother Nature might have in store depending on the time of year you choose to travel.
Costa Rica & Panamá Slideshow
Here’s a slideshow of places, peoples, and wildlife you might encounter (depending on your itinerary) as you journey across the bridge of two oceans—the Mogue River, massive Corcovado National Park, historic old Panamá City, awe-inspiring Panamá Canal, and vibrant cultures. Click the image at left to view.
Costa Rica & Panamá Travel FAQs
ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE
Q. Do you have specific arrival and departure guidelines I should follow when making my travel plans?
ACTIVITIES / GEAR
Q. How physically active are the itineraries?
The activity level can be as active or relaxed as you are comfortable with. There are opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and nature walks. However, it is your choice whether to participate in the activities or just relax on the beach (or on board with a book and a tropical drink.). Keep in mind, Central America is hot and humid--you'll want to be sure to hydrate well during activities.
Q. What adventure gear is provided on these itineraries?
Kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling gear (fins/masks/snorkels) are available on board for guest use.
Q. Can I scuba dive?
Sorry, scuba diving is not permitted from the yacht.
Q. How much walking is involved?
These cruises are best enjoyed if you are in good health, fit, and able to enjoy comfortably paced, moderate walks over some uneven terrain and on paths and trails, which can be wet, muddy and slippery. Hiking varies in length from leisurely strolls to 1- to 2-hours-long walks up stair paths in the jungle.
Q. Will we encounter mosquitoes while on the cruise?
Mosquitoes are present all year long in tropical climates, especially in dense, wooded areas. It won’t be a problem while on the boat. Insect repellent is recommend to have on hand for all of our rainforest hikes.
Q. What kind of footwear should I pack?
In addition to comfortable footwear for the boat, we recommend closed-toe waterproof shoes, sandals, or reef shoes with good traction for wet landings and kayaking (or sneakers if you don’t mind getting them wet). Trail conditions can be rugged on hikes (expect roots, rocks, prickly fauna, etc.) and there is always potential for mud. You’ll want fully-enclosed, sturdy hiking shoes with good tread. On some trails, fully-enclosed hiking shoes are required. Bring breathable and/or waterproof hiking shoes--either low-hikers or with full ankle support, as is your preference. You also may want a pair of sandals or shoes with a no-slip sole walking on deck the vessel.
Q. What kind of payments do you accept in Costa Rica and Panama?
The only form of payment for onboard purchases such as additional massages, apparel, and gratuities are cash (Costa Rican Colones, or US Dollars – which are also used commonly in Panama) or credit cards.
- Currency used in Costa Rica are Colones
- Currency used in Panama are US Dollars (also referred to as “Balboas”, but using exactly the same bills)
Q. I have a very sensitive stomach and am prone to seasickness. How rough will the cruise be?
The areas in which we cruise may be rough at times. You may want to plan ahead for motion if you are susceptible to motion sickness.
Seasickness medication is kept on board all of our vessels, however, it is not recommended for children. If you are prone to seasickness or traveling with children, you should consult your physician prior to your departure. The captain will update you when there might be extra motion so you can take the medication in enough time to be effective.
Q. I am extending my vacation and staying a couple days before and after the cruise. Will you pick me up from the airport and transfer me to and from my hotels?
If your pre-/post-cruise hotel stopovers have been arranged through UnCruise Adventures, yes, airport transfers are included. Otherwise, airport transfers are on your own and we ask that you please meet us at our hospitality suite on the day of embarkation.
Q. What immunizations do I need before travel to tropical destinations?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all visitors of Panamá and/or Costa Rica are up-to-date on vaccinations. Get specific recommendations on the CDC website: Panamá | Costa Rica
* The CDC also provides updated recommendations concerning the Zika virus in destinations around the world.
Q. Is the water from the tap in my cabin drinkable?
Yes, the vessel filters its own water on board so there should be no concerns about its safety.
|Itinerary Name||Pure Panama: Cultures, Coasts & Canal||Unveiled Wonders: Costa Rica & Panama Canal||Costa Rica Beaches & Jungles||Ultimate Costa Rica & Panama|
|Duration||8 Nights||8 Nights||8 Nights||15 Nights|
|Begin/End Points||Roundtrip Panama City, Panama||San Jose, Costa Rica to Panama City, Panama (or reverse)||Roundtrip San Jose, Costa Rica||San Jose, Costa Rica to Panama City, Panama (or reverse)|
|Highlights|| || || || |