The Natural Parks & Wildlife of Central America - with Nat Geo


from$ 8540 AUD



Note: Current p/p indicative rate. Final price may change due to currency fluctuations.

Ship
Le Soleal
City
Puerto Quetzal to Guayaquil

Ponant Bonus - Save up to 30% on Ponant Small Ship Cruises

Ponant Bonus - Save up to 30% on Ponant Small Ship Cruises


2019-10-11

2023-01-01


Overview

Set sail aboard Le Soléal for a 14-day expedition cruise crossing no fewer than five countries. PONANT proposes an all-new circuit discovering the most beautiful sites of Central America, featuring nature parks, idyllic islands and encounters with the local populations. Before you board the ship in Puerto Quetzal, do not miss the chance to visit the impressive and majestic Mayan site of Tikal, as well as the wonderful baroque monuments of La Antigua de Guatemala. Your cruise will start with a visit to two superb Costa Rican national parks: the Curù Wildlife Refuge and the Manuel Antonio National Park. Deep inside the tropical rainforest or under the rainforest canopy, you may be lucky enough to see multicoloured birds, monkeys and iguana. Le Soléal will then reach the Cocos Island, more than 500 kilometres off the coast of Costa Rica. This idyllic speck of land has an amazing ecosystem, housing turtles, manta rays, dolphins and whale sharks. On the way to Ecuador, Le Soléal will stop in the Pearl Islands, which nestle in the Gulf of Panama, before sailing on to the magnificent Darien National Park. This little corner of paradise is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to remarkable plants and wildlife. Sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, mangroves, swamps and tropical rainforests vie with each other for beauty. This will also be an exceptional opportunity to journey back in time as you discover the Embera tribe. These proud people have successfully preserved their traditions and their ancestral way of life.

Overview

  • GEEPN
  • 14 Days
  • Le Soleal

Cruise Itinerary

  • Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala)
  • Guayaquil (Ecuador)
  • Central America

Departures

Note: Current p/p indicative rate. Final price may change due to currency fluctuations.

Cruise Itinerary

Located on the Pacific coast, 100 kilometres south of the capital, the city of Puerto Quetzal is the largest port in the country. Close to the city, the ravishing little old city of Antigua, is a former colonial capital listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. You’ll admire the wealth of its historical monuments.


During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.


On the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula, the small Curù Wildlife Refuge is the oldest protected park in Costa Rica. This refuge is an exemplary site in terms of ecotourism as well as a research centre for scientists from all over the world. It has been at the heart of an original conservation and sustainable development project since the 1930s. After a short Zodiac® trip, you will discover, via the paths that criss-cross the tropical forest and lead to magnificent beaches, the most emblematic species of Costa Rica: monkeys, iguanas and over 200 bird species. Since their recent reintroduction, the scarlet macaw and the spider monkey have thrived in this preserved environment.


You will land in a Zodiac® on the beaches of the Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the jewels of Costa Rica. Protected since the 1970s, this small park, only 16 km² and bordered by the idyllic beaches of the Pacific Ocean, is home to rich biodiversity. Along peaceful paths or during a break on the beach, you will be welcomed by a tropical forest full of life: from the discreet sloth to the noisy howler monkey and the mischievous white-faced capuchin. On the fine sandy beaches rising to lush hills and coconut trees, you will be amused by the dance of the racoons that race down from the trees to tease visitors.


During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.


Situated 550 kilometres off the coast of Costa Rica, Cocos Island boasts an incredible ecosystem consisting of a lush tropical forest, more than 200 waterfalls, and turquoise-blue waters that are home to turtles, manta rays, whale sharks and other marine life. Cocos Island is also known as “Treasure Island”. The nickname comes not from the richness of the island’s flora and fauna, but from the fact that, between the 17th and 19th centuries, it was a favourite place for pirates to hide their booty. Today, it is a destination for distinguished researchers and highly skilled divers. The only way to reach this veritable Garden of Eden is by cruise ship.


During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.


Off the Pacific coast of Panama, at the entrance to the Gulf of Montijo, Cebaco Island conjures visions of paradise lost. Covered in tropical rainforest, edged by white sandy beaches, home to exceptionally rich plant and wildlife, the island offers a number of hiking routes along which to discover its pristine natural environment. Its magnificent coral reefs, located in the outlying regions of the Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are the refuge for many marine species and offer stunning underwater landscapes.


Pacheca is a small uninhabited island in the far north of the Pearl Islands, home to numerous birds that our naturalist guides will help you to observe and recognise from the ship’s deck. The Pearl Islands archipelago, formed by over 220 islands and islets, is named in memory of the pearl oysters present in the Gulf of Panama. In colonial times, the pearls were extracted and used as ornaments or currency. “La Peregrina” was discovered in this archipelago: this pearl is famous for its perfection and for belonging to several royals and, more recently, Elizabeth Taylor. An artificial peninsula situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador is the gateway to several noteworthy sites. Right near there, the impressive Miraflores Locks are a shining example of the engineering feats deployed during the construction of the Panama Canal. Further north, in villages nestling amid dense vegetation, lives the Embera tribe, guardian of the forest and of the Chagres River. This proud people have successfully preserved their traditions and their ancestral way of life, which predate the colonisation of the region by the Spanish.


The most remote and least developed region of Panama, the province of Darien is an unspoilt land with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna. Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, Darien National Park offers its extraordinary scenery of rocky coastlines, mountain ranges, mangroves, rivers and creeks. Discover Playa Muerto, a tiny coastal village home to the Emberas Amerindian community. You will visit the village, attend traditional songs and dances of the locals, and admire beautiful local craft.



During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.


Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Pacific”, Guayaquil is the most inhabited city in Ecuador. Founded by the conquistadors in 1535, it borders the coasts of the province of Guayas. You can stroll without any cares in the world, in the upper part of the city, next to the Las Peñas district. This Bohemian district with its colourful houses offers an impressive view of the city, if you’re courageous enough to climb the steps which separate the chapel rooms from Cerro Santa Ana lighthouse. The city is also blessed with many parks and gardens, perfect for taking a breather.


Itineraries are subject to change.


Le Soleal

Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 142 metres Passenger Capacity: 264 Built: 2013 Sailing under the French flag, this magnificent yacht of only 132 staterooms and suites, with balconies, joined in 2013. You will be enchanted by the contemporary decor inspired by the luxury yachting world, with fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white. A refined ambience is enhanced by the quality of the workmanship and materials: white Corian counters in the lobby contrast with the warmth of leather to recall a boat's hull, while the central scuplture of enamelled pieces takes its inspiration from the sea.  In the loungebar, the carpet picks up a tennis stripe theme symbolising a certain idea of cruising, one synonomous with French elegance and a chic seaside spirit.

Highlights

• A cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert onboard. • An expedition cruise discovering the nature parks, biodiversity and tribes of Central America. • Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides. • UNESCO World Heritage sites: La Antigua de Guatemala from Puerto Quetzal, the national park of Cocos Island, Darien National Park, the historic centre of Quito from Guayaquil. • An exceptional call at Cocos Island, considered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau to be “the most beautiful island in the world”. • Birdwatching opportunities around Pacheca Island. • Encounter with the indigenous Emberas tribe in the Darien National Park.

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