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Travel through the Panama Canal and along the Costa Rican coast on a memorable small ship adventure cruise

Central America is truly a place to fall in love with nature – be it dense, wildlife-filled forests, white beaches with irresistible waters, or vast jungle-ringed lakes – and you’ll get to experience it all on this memorable small ship adventure cruise. Aboard the M/Y Callisto, surrounded by rich fabrics, woodwork, antiques and fine works of art, cruise along the Pacific Coast and choose to explore lush nature reserves, snorkel among the marine life of idyllic islands, and indulge in beach barbecues. You can travel up river in dugout canoes to a hidden village and spend time with the indigenous locals, swim in crystal clear waters, and enter the locks of the famous Panama Canal. With stops at the likes of Gatun Lake, Punta Patino Darrien, Granito de Oro Island, Puerto Jimenez, and Tortuga Island, this trip is a unique way to experience this diverse corner of Central America.

Panama City, Panama
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Costa Rica, Panama
Adventure Cruising
Physical rating
Min 7
Group size
Min 1, Max 34

Why we love this trip

  • Not many cruise ships can drop anchor among the pristine atolls of Granito de Oro and navigate their way up the historic Panama Canal. The M/Y Callisto is one of them.

  • This trip includes an optional adventure in dugout canoes, paddling up the Mogue River to spend time with Embera Indians. Not something you find on a traditional itinerary.

  • While bigger cruise liners have to moor out at sea and commute into shore via tender, we’ll drop anchor in the middle of port towns like Quepos, Puerto Jiminez and Punta Patino. You can hop on or off the boat as you please.

  • Cruise through the locks of the world-renowned Panama Canal.

  • This is the adventure cruise for nature lovers. Crocodiles, turtles, Coiba Aguit, howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, kingfishers – you’ll have the chance to see them all in their natural habitat. There’s also an on-board naturalist with you for the entire journey.

  • The Pacific waters off the coast of Panama are some of the most beautiful you’ll see anywhere. We’ll be swimming off the back of the boat and exploring the shore via zodiac boats.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a small ship adventure cruise, which means you’ll be sailing on a yacht with between 30 – 50 other people. The boat is spacious and comfortable, but it focuses more on the destination than on-board activities. Instead of a pool, we have the sea itself. Instead of a casino, we’ve got board games and a good book. There’s also no formal dress code to worry about. Wifi is available for a small charge.

  • Our ship moves under engine power, rather than sailing, so all cabins will experience light engine noise when the ship is moving (and occasionally when we drop anchor). It’s probably worth packing earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.

  • Onshore activities and excursions will involve a bit of walking. You’ll be visiting a lot of National Parks, and you may have to cross uneven ground, sometimes in slippery conditions.

  • If you’re concerned about seasickness, there are seasickness tablets on-board. The ship will experience some roll and pitch in choppy conditions, however all of our ships come equipped with stabilisers to minimise movement. Most of our departures run in peak season, when the seas are calmer. Your crew do all they can to minimise any discomfort.

  • There are no lifts (elevators) on-board our ships, so you’ll have to navigate a few steep flights of stairs on-board. Handrails are always available.


Embarkation will take place between 1.00m and 1.30pm. Once all are on board, we set sail crossing the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks to enter Gatun Lake.
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Optional excursion is offered today. Early in the morning our tenders will bring you to the Island where you will be met by the guides who will provide you with information concerning the Barro Colorado Nature Monument and more in particular, about the Smithsonian Institute Research Facility and prepare you for the trail walk. The walk takes between 2 ½ to 3 hours and includes explanations about the different interactions that take place in the forest and existing projects being done on BCI. Scientists research over 120 species of mammals and hundreds of plants and tree species and in fact the facility is one of the most studied places on earth and a prototype for measuring diversity of plants and animal life. The tour also includes a visit to the Visitor's Center.
After the Visitor's Center, you will head to the dining hall to for a cafeteria style lunch featuring a variety of dishes, along with a vegetarian section.
Following lunch, there will be time to ask questions and relax before rejoining the ship by tenders around 3.30 pm.
Late in the evening we once again exit the Gatun Lake at the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks.
Optional Activities
  • Barro Colorado Island Smithsonian Research Institute - EUR83
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
We arrive early morning in Panama City. There will be an optional City excursion
We will visit to the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks, the first locks of the Canal coming from the Pacific Ocean. Observe the movements of the ships in the locks and visit the Canal Museum to better understand how one of the world's most acclaimed engineering marvel was accomplished.
Later we reach, Panama Viejo - Old Panama -for a walking tour and refreshment and some time at leisure.
Overnight at sea en route to Punta Patino, Darrien.
Optional Activities
  • 1/2 Day Panama City Tour - EUR58
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
We wake anchored in San Miguel Bay in front of the Punta Patino Reserve.. Take an optional excursion this morning. Right after breakfast, local pirogues will take us to the Mogue River and then upstream. We will enjoy the view of big mangrove forests and sight of herons, egrets, ibis, common black Hawks, king fishers and many other birds. We will reach a settlement, home of the Embera Indians. We are welcomed by the sound of local instruments played by a group of villagers. The Embera paint their bodies with a natural ink called Jagua. The Emberas will show us around their Village made of homes perched on stilts and will perform traditional dances.
Early in the afternoon we will rejoin our pirogues or Cayucos and go downstream to return to the ship before sailing onto Coiba Island. Overnight at sea.
Optional Activities
  • Emberra Village Visit - EUR105
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After a day at sea we reach Coiba and anchor near tiny Granito de Oro island. We will have time for late afternoon snorkeling and swimming on the island. Overnight at anchor
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Morning arrival in Isla Coiba for an optional walking exploration. Coiba Island is surrounded by smaller islands which are nicknamed the Galapagos of Panama for their pristine environment and wildlife. The island hosts many species of mammals including some endemic ones like the Coiba Aguti as well as, crocodiles, turtles and lizards. It is also known for its amazing underwater life.
Our Ship Naturalist will take you on a 1 and 1/2 hour hike uphill. Sightings of howler and white faced monkeys are frequent. The views at the top of the island are rewarding and spectacular.
We'll have some time for swimming and snorkelling and a beach BBQ before setting sail for Golf Dulce. Overnight at sea
Optional Activities
  • Coiba Island Walking Tour - EUR30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
PLEASE NOTE: The Coiba Island excursion involves a medium to strenuous uphill hike.
We reach Golfito in the early morning for immigration procedures before continuing our sailing to nearby Casa Orquideas where we for an optional excursion to this beautiful private sanctuary. The gardens contain all sorts of tropical plants, and samples of other species brought from all over the world.
We'll have time for a swim before returning to the boat and enjoying a BBQ on deck en rout to Puerto Jimenez.
We reach Puerto Jimenez early in the afternoon for an optional Osa Peninsula excursion. This is a short and easy walk through a very nice patch of secondary forest, where you will have the chance to see up to 4 different kind of monkeys, scarlet macaws and many other species of birds.
Our walking excursion starts after a short walk from where our zodiacs land. The trail and the property are part of one of the Biological Corridor’s for the worldwide known Corcovado National Park. The trail it’s mostly flat and shaded and offers comfortable walking.
Overnight at sea en route to Quepos.
Optional Activities
  • Casas Orquideas Garden Tour - EUR40
  • Osa Exploration Walk - EUR57
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
We arrive early in Quepos where there is an optional excursion to Manuel Antonio National Park, undoubtedly one of the highlights of this cruise.
Manuel Antonio National Park is the jewel of the Costa Rica's large number of national parks. Its' fragile rainforest ecosystem shelters an abundant wildlife including the easy to see monkeys and a great variety of tropical birds. We will take you by bus to the Park Entrance for your one & half hour guided walk in the dense rainforest. Your local guides and our naturalist will lead you through small trails and you will encounter an extraordinary animal life and a thousand different species of flora. The trail followed is very well maintained and is easy walking with no uphill climbs. Our hike ends with a swim at a park's beach.
In the afternoon, we sail to Playa Biesanz for an afternoon swim. (Guests who have taken the Titi Forest Canopy excursion will rejoin the ship in Playa Biesanz(
Tonight is our Tropical theme night.
Late evening, we set sail for Curu. Overnight at sea.
Optional Activities
  • Quepos - Titi Forest Canopy Tour - EUR80
  • Quepos - Manuel Antonio National Park - EUR60
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Arriving at Curu Nature Reserve, we take an optional walking tour with our naturalist guide. He will introduce you to the the variety of wildlife that thrives here, including up to 200 species of birds, capuchin and howler monkeys as well as sloths and anteaters.
The reserves includes 4.5 kilometers of coastline with beautiful white sand beaches and tiny coves. Although it is a small reserve, two thirds is preserved as primary forest.
This is one of the most scenic regions of Costa Rica, known for calm seas and transparent waters. There will be time for a swim and some snorkelling before returning to the boat.
Late morning, we will set sail for Tortuga Island, arriving around noon for swimming and snorkelling. Lunch will be a BBQ on the beach and your afternoon at leisure on this amazing island.
Overnight at anchor.
Optional Activities
  • Curu Nature Reserve - EUR50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
PLEASE NOTE - The landing at Curu Nature Reserve will be a wet landing where the zodiac will stop in shallow waters and disembarking will involve a short wade through shallow water to the beach.
We depart Tortuga Island early morning for the sail into Puntarenas. Disembarkation will take place betwee 9.00 and 10.00am
Meals Included
  • Breakfast


9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners


Small Cruise Ship


Small Cruise Ship 9 nights

Dates & availability

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Your adventure cruise ship

Peregrine's adventure cruise ship, Callisto

On this itinerary, you'll be travelling aboard the Callisto.

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Important notes

Your voyage is operated by our partner company, Variety Cruises.
On this itinerary, shore excursions are optional and are paid on board the ship in Euro’s. The price and a description of these excursions are listed in the day to day itinerary.
Adventure Cruising trips have a deposit of A$600 per person (different amounts apply in other currencies) and the balance is due 90 days before departure.
It is not possible to share with a stranger on a Variety Cruises voyage and single travellers must pay the Single Occupancy rate.
Children from the age of 7 can be accommodated on these voyages. Each boat has one cabin category that will accommodate a 3rd person allowing for triple sharing. Any child under the age of 18 must share with an adult.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.