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A Centennial of Awe2014 marks the 100th year since the Panama Canal first opened its interoceanic route - a U.S. Army Corps of Engineering feat that put Panama at the center of global trade. Building the Panama Canal was an engineering feat that revolutionized shipping patterns from 1914 onward, saving time and fuel that would have been unimaginable in earlier times. The Canal’s operations and passage remain a source of fascination to this day. Not subject to revolutionary change, but equally fascinating, are the tropical forests, secluded beaches, diverse wildlife and clear waters of Costa Rica and Panama - treasures that have in many instances remained undisturbed by development. Discover indigenous island lifestyles that seem as remote from the forces of change as their locations, modern-day cities with Spanish colonial roots in San José and Panama City, a working coffee plantation and timeless waterfalls.
Day 1: Arrive San José
Tour begins: Real InterContinental Hotel & Club Tower Costa Rica. You will be met upon arrival at San José’s Juan Santamaría International Airport and transferred to Real InterContinental Hotel & Club Tower Costa Rica in the relaxed suburb of Escazú. Dinner is at your leisure tonight in the hotel.
Day 2: Coffee, Waterfalls & Wildlife
Near-perfect growing conditions have made coffee one of Costa Rica’s most important exports. Visit a working coffee plantation to see how the beans are harvested and roasted. Tour a rainforest eco-park that is known for its majestically tall waterfalls and as a protected reserve for toucans, spider monkeys, red-eyed leaf frogs and jaguars - to name a few of the more than 100 resident species. Join us this evening for a welcome dinner.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3: San José Sites & the m/v Tere Moana
City sightseeing includes visits to the National Theatre, a grand symbol of civic pride dating back to 1897, and the Gold Museum, which houses pre-Columbian works of gold crafted by indigenous islanders. The theatre’s interior glistens with Baroque gold overlays and Carrara marble. Visit Sarchi, an artisans’ hamlet outside of San José where workshops display the traditional painted carretas (ox carts) and other handmade products bearing the colorful starburst designs that have become a symbol of Costa Rica. Embark the m/v Tere Moana in Puerto Caldera late this afternoon.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 4: Undisturbed Rainforest Beauty
Disembark for an excursion to the Punta Rio Claro National Wildlife Refuge on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, known for its amazing biodiversity. Hike its trail with a naturalist through protected rainforest landscapes to learn about the diverse ecosystems and wildlife that thrive here, including monkeys, toucans, macaws and many others. Take a swim before a return to ship for the Captain’s welcome dinner.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: Fun in the sun on Coiba Island
The ship anchors first off tiny Granito de Oro for swimming, snorkeling or kayaking*, then at Panama’s idyllic Coiba Island National Park, where you'll transfer via Zodiac for the delights of a day spent in the sun and the sea. Swim in the warm, clear water, observe the underwater world while snorkeling or just relax on the secluded white-sand beach. A barbecue lunch on the beach is a special highlight.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: Remote & Rich Cultures of the Darien
Extraordinary biological diversity and the customs of indigenous tribes living far removed from the conveniences of modern life have both contributed to the Darien’s being recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Visit an Embera Indian community living in the surrounds of pristine jungle in ways seemingly unchanged from those of their ancestors; see their homes made of local materials and suspended high above the ground on pillars, traditional dancing which mimics the movements of the birds and animals that inhabit the rainforest, and skilled carvings made of tagua vegetable ivory and cocobolo wood.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 7: Full Transit of the Panama Canal
Opened in 1914, the Panama Canal represents an incredible engineering endeavor - a ship traveling from New York to San Francisco saves over 7,000 miles by not having to sail around South America. Your crossing will take approximately eight to ten hours as the m/v Tere Moana passes through three locks (the Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatún), being raised up and over the isthmus’ land surface a total of 85 ft. before reaching the Caribbean Sea. Although clearance for transit by daylight cannot be guaranteed, the passage, enhanced by commentary from a local guide, will be a highlight any time of day.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 8: San Blas Island Paradise
Off Panama’s Caribbean coast, drop anchor within the beautiful Archipelago of San Blas. Visit Acuatupo Island, home to Guna Indians who have preserved their distinctive language, customs and culture with few outside influences. Go ashore to tour an indigenous village where Guna women embroider mola fabrics with brilliantly colored images of fish, birds and jungle animals; fishing is still done by canoe; and coconuts remain sources of cool milk. Later, re-anchor among the islands of Holandes Cayes, near a beach idyllic for swimming, snorkeling or relaxing before returning to the ship for an onboard farewell dinner.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 9: Disembark Colón / Gamboa Rainforest
Disembark in the port city of Colón, and then head to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Choose between gliding through the rainforest on an aerial tram that puts you at eye-level with exotic birds or cruise along canal waterways to see playful monkeys in their natural habitat. This afternoon, sightsee in “neighborhoods” of the Panama Canal Zone including Ancon Hill, a residential enclave where wildlife still thrives within an urban setting, and the new Panama Canal Expansion Observation Center.
Meals: B, L
Day 10: Panama City - Past & Present
Discover remnants of Panama's past on a city sightseeing tour of Panama Viejo. Ruins like the convent of St. Francis, the King's Bridge and St. John's hospital speak volumes about the history of one of the oldest cities on the mainland of the Americas. Get a shore-side look at the workings of the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal during lunch and at the Panama Canal Visitors Center, and take a walking tour of Casco Viejo. Its cobblestone streets lead to the French Embassy, the Cathedral, the Teatro Nacional and the lovely waterfront promenade, Las Bóredas. Join us tonight for a farewell dinner.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 11: Journey Home
Fly home anytime. A transfer from InterContinental Miramar Panama to Tocumen International Airport is included. Allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in.
Full transit of the Panama Canal aboard luxury small ship m/v Tere Moana; local naturalists on board for full journey; visit remote jungle village in the Darien; 2 nights hotel accommodations with guided sightseeing in San José and 2 nights in Panama City
This Tauck Tour of Cape Cod, The Islands was exceptional. The tour guide and the driver were exceptionally friendly, informed and courteous. All the amenities; the food, the lodging, the side excursions were excellent. I would recommend this trip to anyone. P.S. The tour even send extensive information before the tour to inform and prepare us for touring this area of the country, telling us how to pack and providing all the necessary information to prepare us for emergencies and other contingency plans. Very helpful.
Tauck is the very best. Dinners were fabulous and private tours were super. This was our 7th Tauck tour and we will be back again.
As always, Tauck trips are the best. You get great tour directors, great accommodations, excellent dining experiences and completely unique visits to not only the usual sights, but to little known delights.
The tour guide was phenomenal and so were the first and last hotels. The third hotel had serious air conditioning concerns, which the tour guide will follow up on. Short pretour or post tour excursions are greatly needed.
The Ireland Forever trip was fantastic. I would definitely recommend it. My 12 year old granddaughter and I went and she loved every minute. it was the perfect family trip and choice for her with the Irish dancing, cooking school, farm visit, pottery/jewelry making and Dublin treasure hunt. All so much fun. We learned a lot about Ireland and its history, too. Staying at the beautiful Castlemartyr country estate and Dromoland Castle were outstanding experiences of country Ireland at its best.
We were very pleased with the added activities which were available only through Tauck. The travel exceeded our expectations.
This trip was complementary to the Central Europe tour we did two years ago. Really enjoyed getting the story of all these countries that were behind the Iron Curtain and are free today.
All of the hotels and all of the local tour guides were outstanding.
Booked with your company for the first time and agent was great. He got all my questions answered and there were many. Tauck trip to Japan was outstanding. Would recommend it highly.
Tauck is the best...again. The bar is set high and they meet it. We had a fairy tale trip that was just wonderful.
The tour was great - guide very professional. Only criticisms - didn't like hotels in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. I think Tauck could have done better. Also would have preferred more time in Buenos Aires and less time in Rio de Janeiro.
Our guide was outstanding. Everything was well planned and went smoothly.
The tour director was excellent. She attended to many details to make us comfortable with no stress.
At the Omni, Mt. Washington I was surprised that our room had a view of the roof one floor below us. When I mentioned this to our tour guide she said she had no control over the rooms, When I asked the Omni staff they said they weren't sure what could be done and that we may want to check with our tour guide. The problem I have with this is that on the part of our guide and the hotel staff neither party wanted to be of service - they both passed on it. There may in fact be nothing that could be done, but the more Egregious Part Is That There Was No Attempt To Resolve A Customer's Problem. I was somewhat shocked by that. It was contrary to everything I had heard and seen about Tauck prior to our trip.
Amazing trip. Wonderful. Tauck provided great services. It would be advisable for people to have a clarification of the need for yellow fever shots. Also there should be more warning on altitude sickness.
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