A Panama Canal cruise is on many individuals’s bucket lists. Crusing by way of the world-famous canal is a dream come true for lots of vacationers and we are not any exception.
We could not wait to spend time on one of many seven wonders of the fashionable world. We had been to Panama earlier than and watched the ships undergo the Panama Canal, however now, we have been on board being watched by spectators.
UnCruise Panama to Costa Rica
Taking an UnCruise is just not your regular on a regular basis cruise. It’s a small ship expedition to personal islands, untouched seashores, and off the crushed path locations.
We had 10 days of journey in the hunt for wildlife, immersing within the tradition, and having fun with extraordinary surroundings.
With solely 40 passengers on our itinerary, we made new pals and shared journey tales with like-minded individuals who take pleasure in in search of one thing completely different when reserving a trip.
We’ve taken two UnCruises, one to Alaska and now this cruise to Costa Rica. The frequent issue between each is the passengers.
They honestly make the journey and now we have left our expeditions with fond reminiscences of the folks we met and can always remember.
An UnCruise may need the next price-point than a median cruise, however while you think about that all the things (together with excursions and alcohol) is included, it finally ends up being an ideal deal.
The second we board the ship, we do not have to fret a few factor. All now we have to do is select which exercise we need to do every day when expedition chief Meagan asks us at dinner.
Day-after-day now we have a option to exit exploring on skiff boats (zodiacs), kayaking, or mountain climbing.
There’s even paddle boarding, snorkeling, displays, and stretch courses on the menu every day as nicely.
All About The UnCruise Panama to Costa Rica Expertise
The Panama to Costa Rica UnCruise takes us from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean and is damaged down into two components.
Panama – begins on the Canal after which we journey to the Pacific Coast the place we spend time in and on the water. As our guides stated “Panama is all about being on and within the water and having fun with seaside life.”Costa Rica – is extra land targeted with visits to personal gardens and homes and the place we hike in the hunt for wildlife.
Our journey begins in Panama Metropolis, a contemporary metropolis that can fully shock and delight.
Panama Metropolis is a enjoyable place to probe for a day or two and UnCruise presents pre-cruise excursions if you wish to benefit from your journey.
We joined the pre-trip tour at it was an effective way to see the highlights of town with a neighborhood information.
In the event you determine to take a Panama cruise, you’ll want to spend a while in Panama Metropolis, it’s a fascinating mix of previous and new!
We met up with the remainder of the passengers on the Bristol Lodge the place we board our bus to start our journey.
Earlier than getting on the ship, we pop in at Aguas Clara.
Aguas Clara is an enlargement of the Panama Canal to permit bigger ships to sail by way of. It sits on Gatun Lake which is a great spot for wildlife watching in Panama.
As a matter of truth, there’s a strolling path in Aguas Clara that goes by way of the rainforest so guests can seek for sloths, toucans, and monkeys.
It’s thrilling to observe the ships undergo understanding that we’ll be on the Canal in one other 24 hours.
We spend the night time on the ship and the next morning we take an tour to Fort San Lorenzo whereas we look ahead to our time slot on the canal.
The UNESCO World Heritage Website was constructed by the Spaniards within the 1500s as a army fort.
It is a ravishing setting overlooking the Chagres River and the Pacific Ocean.
It’s an fascinating cease, however what I discover much more fascinating is the place our ship was parked. We take our zodiacs from our ship, The Safari Voyager by way of what appears to be like like a “boat graveyard.”
Many deserted ships are scattered all through the bay perpetually ready their flip to undergo the Panama Canal.
We’re advised that the transport firms ran out of cash or broke down earlier than going by way of the locks, so they’re caught sitting within the sea awaiting a gradual dying.
As we speak, ships should have insurance coverage to have the ability to cowl the salvage prices.
The time has lastly come and by 2 pm, we’re heading to the Panama Canal.
It’s fascinating to see how a lot work goes into coming into the locks. A tug boat guides us in, however not earlier than at the very least a dozen males hop off of it onto our ship.
They’re there to throw and safe the strains that hooked up to little trains (often known as mules) that drive on both facet of the canal guiding the ship from the shore.
When going by way of the Panama Canal, the captain’s duties are taken over by the Panama Canal Authority pilot who communicates with the mules and males guiding the strains.
It takes hours to undergo the Canal, Lake Gatun after which the ultimate locks. We’re crusing on the Pacific Ocean eight hours later and are quick asleep in our beds earlier than we even go away the Panama Canal.
However we’re grateful that we had a day passage and will see all the interior workings of the canal earlier than handing over for the night time.
Panama Pacific Coast
We awoke vibrant and early for morning stretch class on deck with our expedition chief Megan. What an effective way to start out the day!
Dave and I take pleasure in cappuccinos within the lounge at early chicken breakfast after which be a part of everybody within the eating room for a hearty buffet.
Eating is communal and you may select to sit down with a bunch or by yourself. We love how rapidly everybody bonds on an UnCruise and shortly we have been all having fun with our meals like one massive blissful household.
It’s then out on the skiffs to discover the coast and the Pearl Islands. This can be a spotlight of our journey.
It looks like a mini Galapagos tour as we spy on Blue Footed Boobies, Cormorants, frigate birds and large flocks of pelicans.
The rocky coast is ideal for chicken watching and we get our fill as our expert skiff pilot Minor navigates by way of rocky outcrops whereas our information Carlos informs us of the wildlife.
Blue Footed Booby
We take many skiff excursions alongside the Panama coast in the hunt for wildlife, however one thing we did not anticipate was all of the seaside time.
Seashores and Watersports
We board skiffs and are dropped off at secluded seashores practically day-after-day the place we’re free to snorkel, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or just benefit from the refreshments introduced alongside by the employees.
Beer, water, and juice await us onshore.
Dave and I reap the benefits of kayaking and paddle boarding earlier than popping a chilly one as we lounged within the chairs.
Snorkeling in Panama
It takes a couple of days earlier than now we have our first guided snorkeling tour. In the event you aren’t snug within the water, skiffs carry floating noodles and PFD’s (private floatation gadgets) that can assist you out within the water.
No one judges anybody’s abilities as we’re all there to have a great time. And a great time now we have certainly!
Our favourite snorkeling spot is on the picturesque island of Granito de Oro in Coiba Nationwide Park.
Granito de Oro
This little piece of land in the midst of the ocean is straight out of Gilligan’s Island. We arrange right here for the day with the same old toys of kayaks, paddleboards, and refreshments readily available.
We then joined a information to take us across the island exploring the reef.
It’s so thrilling to identify a sea turtle feeding. There are a few sea turtles hanging out offshore, however it’s the turtle shoving meals into his mouth together with his fins that captured our consideration.
As we swim on, we see a white-tipped reef shark got here out simply lengthy sufficient to indicate off its swimming abilities because it loops round a reef.
The subsequent factor we all know, an ell pokes its head out to say hey as colleges of colourful fish seem like a rainbow earlier than our eyes.
I am glad we received within the water on this island as a result of it was the perfect snorkeling of the journey!
Top-of-the-line things about journey is experiencing different cultures.
A spotlight of this journey goes deep into the Darien Jungle to go to the Embera Tribe of Panama.
This joyful tribe welcomes us with smiles and dancing. They decide us up from our ship in conventional dugout canoes taking us by way of a river stuffed with birdlife to the village.
We study of their customs, dance with the villagers and purchase a few of their prized handmade crafts.
Dave and I simply purchased a home and may’t wait to hold the masks on our wall.
At instances I fear about the sort of cultural tourism, but it surely was clear that the Embera folks welcome our arrival and earn a dwelling off of our presence.
Our new masks to go on our wall
One thing I liked was how every handcraft was labeled with a value and there was no negotiation. They know their worth and cost accordingly.
As we sail the open waters to Costa Rica, bottlenose dolphins welcome us to their residence.
It’s the first time now we have the complete ship out on deck as all of us “ooh and ah” over the railings watching the dolphins play in our wake.
We’re prepared for critical wildlife recognizing, and if the dolphins are any signal of what’s to come back, we’re going to get it!
Costa Rica is understood for its birds and all Dave and I actually wished to see was a toucan.
Fortunate for us our first river tour in Costa Rica presents a few toucans in plain sight.
We might have spent loads longer on the skiffs looking for wildlife. Plainly we’re simply getting began and have to return.
We’re dropped off at a few completely different non-public gardens on the Costa Rica coast and get to spend a few hours strolling the grounds.
However Dave and I as an alternative, discover a hammock and revel in out with a contemporary chilly one.
What we actually need to do is seek for sloths, macaws, and monkeys, however it’s too scorching even for them presently of day, so we do because the wildlife does, sit back within the shade.
Our ultimate day actually provides us the perfect wildlife expertise of the journey. We awake early to affix the chicken watching tour on the Curu Nationwide Wildlife Refuge.
Dave and I had but to see a sloth or monkey and have been feeling fairly jealous of the day hikers that noticed a sloth simply 10 minutes into their hike. Why did not they radio us to have us be a part of them?
Whereas we by no means did see our sloth, we did get our fill of howler and spider monkeys, iguanas and white-nosed coatimundis.
We might have spent the complete day on the refuge spending quiet moments on the path looking for extra wildlife, however alas, we solely had the morning and are again on board to the following location.
All good things should come to an finish.
As we sip wine within the lounge reminiscing concerning the cruise with our fellow passengers felt privileged to be on board with such nice folks.
It was a memorable journey stuffed with memorable folks.
UnCruisers are journey seekers who like to have a great time. All of us laughed and bonded collectively creating reminiscences that can final a lifetime.
We won’t look ahead to our subsequent journey.