Gems of Central America: Panama to Guatemala

03/26/22 to 04/07/22
SH Minerva
13 Days
2 Guest
Price From
$ 6,179
Per Person
Trip Details

Experience paradise for yourself on this sublime 13-day expedition cruise. Walk on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, explore straight-out-of-a-storybook tropical islands and visit the most biodiverse areas on the planet. This is an unmissable adventure for wildlife enthusiasts. You’ll also encounter some of the best examples of colonial architecture in Latin America when we visit Granada and León. Discover the region’s ancient history on a visit to the World Heritage Site of Joya de Cerén. You’ll take on this incredible journey aboard your boutique cruise ship, enjoying every moment in style and comfort.

Trip Highlights
Experience the lush rainforest and biodiversity of Piedras Blancas National Park
Visit the Costa Rica’s Manual Antonio National Park where you can spot scarlet macaws, toucans, hawks, sloths, armadillos and much more.
Spend some time relaxing on one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful islands, Isla Tortuga
Explore the celebrated architecture of Granada, one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Nicaragua
Discover the UNESCO-protected site of Joya de Cerén in El Salvador, Maya village preserved in volcanic ash, known as the ‘Pompeii of Central America’
Itinerary Map
Fuerte Amador (Panama City) Day 1

Located west of Panama City, at the Pacific terminus of the Panama Canal, Fuetre Amador is a manmade causeway, constructed with material excavated from the canal. Before boarding your boutique cruise ship, be sure to stop in at the Miraflores Locks’ visitor’s centre. Here you will learn about the impressive engineering that went into building this legendary waterway. Watch the mighty barges make their way through the canal from the panoramic observation deck. A short taxi ride away, Panama City is a modern and vibrant place that has evolved around its Spanish colonial centre, the Casco Veijo. Here you can wander through a conquistador-era UNESCO World Heritage Site, sip coffee in the street cafés or enjoy some shopping in the malls.

Contadora Island Day 2

Isla Contadora (Counting House Island) was once the accounting centre for pearls extracted from the surrounding Pearl Island archipelago. In 1979 the Shah of Iran retreated to the island in exile, paving the way for future high-profile residents and visitors. Today the island is known as a prestigious destination and tax haven for the wealthy. The beaches on the island are spectacular, and the snorkelling is excellent. We will spend the day exploring the shoreline, perhaps venturing a little further out into the archipelago.

CoÍba Island Day 3

A notorious penal colony until 2004, Coíba Island is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. In addition to the 1,450 plant species on the island, Coíba’s forests are home to hundreds of unique animals. From 1919, the island housed Panama’s most dangerous criminals. However, unlike a standard penitentiary with walls, Coíba’s prisoners were scattered across the island in 30 makeshift camps, creating their own shelters from their natural surroundings. The prisoners here were in constant danger not only from each other, but also from the sharks and crocodiles that inhabited the island’s waters. The island’s dangerous status meant that it was largely left alone until the prison closed in 2004. The ecosystem flourished during this time, with astonishing results. The jungles of Coíba are home to howler monkeys, scarlet macaw and crested eagles and endemic species including the Coíba spinetail.

Golfo Dulce & Casa Orquideas Day 4

The deep and well sheltered Golfo Dulce, or ‘Sweet Gulf’, borders the Osa Peninsula’s eastern shore. The northeast section of the gulf is part of the 35,000-acre Piedras Blancas National Park, a stunning tract of rainforest that used to be part of Corcovado, and still protects the same amazing biodiversity. As you explore the lush rainforest here, you’ll come face to face with some of the tallest trees in the world, you’ll also come across pretty waterfalls and perhaps also toucans, macaws, anteaters, sloths, howler monkeys and more. This afternoon we will make our away across the Golfo Dulce in our zodiac boats, towards the beautiful Casa Orquideas. This vibrant botanical garden is the product of 40 years of work by an ex-pat couple, who once cultivated cacao here. Nowadays, it’s an Eden of exotic fruit trees and enormous palms. It also houses a collection of rare orchids including the white bat flower. This is a wonderful spot for birdwatching

Quepos Day 5

The bustling town of Quepos is a great base for accessing Manual Antonio National Park, one of the most popular parks in Costa Rica. The park has it all really, beautiful mountain vistas, mangrove forests, lagoons, beaches and lush rainforest. With over 350 species of birds and over 100 species of mammal, wildlife enthusiasts will be in heaven. Head along the stunning Perezeso trail to spot scarlet macaws, toucans, hawks, sloths, armadillos and much more. Back in Quepos, take walk through the pretty Marina Pez Vela to see the impressive fishing boats. There are also plenty of restaurants, galleries and shops around town to enjoy.

Curú Wildlife Refuge & Isla Tortuga Day 6

Spend the morning exploring the Curú National Wildlife Refuge, located on the southern Nicoa Peninsula of north-western Costa Rica. This is one of the smallest wildlife retreats in the country, but no less diverse. Tread softly along the trails and you might spot spider monkeys, macaws, deer, raccoons or even crocodiles and coyotes. This afternoon we will spend some time on the beaches of Costa Rica’s most beautiful island, Isla Toruga. Everything you’ve ever wanted from a tropical utopia, you’ll find here. Pure, soft white sands, massive coconut palms and clear turquoise waters. Enjoy your afternoon in paradise.

Flamingo Day 7

One of Costa Rica’s prettiest beaches, Playa Flamingo is just about as picture-postcard perfect as it gets. The white sand, shell beach and serene blue sea make for a popular but laid-back holiday resort. We will be visiting the nearby Palo Verde National Park, located on the banks of the Tempisque River. A birdwatcher’s paradise, Palo Verde is the meeting place of the largest concentration of aquatic birds and migratory birds on the Central American Pacific Coast. You can spot toucan, scarlet macaws, the roseate spoonbill, wood storks, tanagers and much more here. In total Palo Verde is home to 279 species of birds.

San Juan del Sur Day 8

Your first stop in Nicaragua is the pretty beach town of San Juan del Sur. A popular surfing spot, the town is known for its dark sand beaches, rolling green hills, fresh seafood and lively atmosphere. We will be exploring further afield as we make our way to the city of Granada. Located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Granada is one of the best-preserved colonial cities in the country. Explore the town and its celebrated architecture, including the cathedral and the Convent of San Francisco. We will also visit an active volcano crater on a trip to the nearby Masaya Volcano.

Puerto Corinto Day 9

Puerto Corinto gives us access to the former Nicaraguan capital, León. León showcases some of the best examples of colonial architecture in the country. Basīlica de la Asunción is the largest cathedral in Central America, while the art house is home to one of the best collections in Latin America. Wander the streets and observe the many churches and squares, all excellent examples of the era’s architecture. You’ll also see political street art displayed on walls and sides of buildings. These colourful murals depict scenes of protest, civil war and revolutionary heroes.

Amapala Day 10

The only town on the volcanic island of Isla del Tigre, Amapala was once Honduras’s primary Pacific port. The island’s first part-time residents were likely pirates, including the legendary Sir Francis Drake, who used the island as a hideout until 1770. Spend time relaxing on the pleasant beaches or enjoy some of the local seafood in this lost-in-time corner of the world.

La Union Day 11

Today we arrive in the small port town of La Unión in El Salvador. As we disembark, we will be greeted with a local dance performance before setting off to explore this striking part of the world. La Uníon is the gateway to the beautiful Gulf of Fonseca, overlooked by the Conchagua volcano. This remote region isn’t often visited by cruise ships and visitors are few. Whilst here we will visit El Salvador’s largest protected area, the Jiquilisco Bay Biosphere Reserve. Cruise through the mangrove canals, past deserted beaches and remote islands as we search for migratory birds and other wildlife. The area is a nesting site for four sea turtle species including the endangered hawksbill turtle.

Acajutla Day 12

Originally a Mayan village, Acajutla is now El Salvador’s main export town for coffee, sugar and balsam. You can still see evidence of the area’s Mayan past in the ruins near the port. The town itself is a pleasant place to spend some time exploring the boutique shops and strolling the dark sand beaches. Further afield, we will be visiting the UNESCO-protected site of Joya de Cerén, a pre-Columbian 600 AD Maya village preserved in ash, known as the ‘Pompeii of Central America.’ We will also visit the fascinating archaeological site of Tazumal. In the K’ich’ language, Tazumal means ‘pyramid where victims are burned’. Archaeologists estimate that the area was first settled in 5000BC.

Puerto Quetzal Day 13

The modern port city of Puerto Quetzal, situated on the Pacific coastline 67 miles south of Guatemala City, is one of Central America’s main ports. From here you can explore the World Heritage Site of La Antigua Guatemala or head out to the stunning Lake Atitlan and explore its surrounding villages. The former capital of Guatemala, Antigua, is a short distance away and definitely worth a visit. Now a World Heritage site, this beautiful colonial town has buildings that date back to the 16th century. The museums and architecture will transport you back in time through the city’s fascinating past.

Rates Include
One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5* hotel or onboard
All transfers between the hotel, port and airport
Onboard accommodation
All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
Standard WIFI inclusion
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
Itinerary Map

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
Number of Guests
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
$ 0
Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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$ 0
Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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$ 0
Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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$ 0
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
Price From
$ 0
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
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$ 0
Other Available Dates
If you really like this cruise but the date is not suitable for you, we are glad to offer other dates for the itinerary.
Please find below all our date offerings.
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09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777