May 23, 2019: PONANT, the leader in luxury expeditions and extraordinary itineraries to destinations only small ships can reach, has announced that Edie Rodriguez, Americas Brand Chairman of PONANT, will host “AN EXPLORATION IN NATURE IN COSTA RICA & THE PANAMA CANAL,” a 10-night/11-day nature experience aboard the new luxury EXPLORER ship, Le Dumont-d’Urville, scheduled for January 6 -16, 2020. The new itinerary is featured in PONANT’s Quintessential Collection, a series of themed immersion cruises designed to inspire travelers to dig deeper into their destinations. Rates start at $5,870 per passenger based on double occupancy.
“I am particularly excited about sharing this experience with our guests,” noted Edie Rodriguez. “Of the over 100 countries that I have visited, Panama and traveling to and through the Panama Canal, which I have done three times previously continues to stand out as unforgettable experiences. We have invited Paul Donahue, who has worked with birds and mammals in nature reserves throughout Central America since 1972, to be our featured speaker. He has explored virtually all of the sites on the itinerary.”
The expedition highlights Costa Rica’s outstanding efforts to preserve its natural treasures, more than any other Central American country. It will explore the luxuriant vegetation and fascinating fauna of three national parks, including Corcovado National Park, described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity.”
Guests will board the ship at Puerto Caldera in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, followed by a visit to Curù Wildlife Refuge where more than ten thousand species of plants, three hundred species of birds and two hundred species of butterflies are present and where the less dense undergrowth makes spotting wildlife easier than in the deeper forest. Howler monkeys, spider monkeys, vultures, brown pelicans, and Scarlet Macaw all call this area their home.
The itinerary continues with visits to Manuel Antonio National Park, before moving traveling to Corcovado National Park, the largest park in Costa Rica with 13 different eco-systems; Cebaco Island in Panama; and Punta Alegre to discover the Darien National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to meet the Embera people. On day eight, the ship will transit the Panama Canal for a visit to the San Blas Islands to learn about the culture and craftsmanship of the indigenous Kuna people. A visit to Holandes Cayes follows before disembarkation in Colon on day eleven.
Adding to the fascination will be daily talks by Paul Donahue who has extensive experience leading birding and natural history tours all over Central and South America. He has divided his time between research and ecotourism, and with his wife Teresa Wood, has constructed rain forest canopy walkways in Peru and Costa Rica. From 1991-94 they co-directed the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research in northeastern Peru.
Photo courtesy of PONANT